Articles of Interest, October 31st, 2007

Just wanted to share some “interesting” articles:

Islamic History Month

Unfortunately, I found out about this late, however I wanted to share this site.  Canada declared October Islamic History Month, and the site has some great statistics and pages.  Some of my favorite excerpts are:

The Top 20: How Islamic inventors changed the world

“The story goes that an Arab named Khalid was tending his goats in the Kaffa region of southern Ethiopia, when he noticed his animals became livelier after eating a certain berry. He boiled the berries to make the first coffee. Certainly the first record of the drink is of beans exported from Ethiopia to Yemen where Sufis drank it to stay awake all night to pray on special occasions.”

“The ancient Greeks thought our eyes emitted rays, like a laser, which enabled us to see. The first person to realise that light enters the eye, rather than leaving it, was the 10th-century Muslim mathematician, astronomer and physicist Ibn al-Haitham. He invented the first pin-hole camera after noticing the way light came through a hole in window shutters.”

“A thousand years before the Wright brothers a Muslim poet, astronomer, musician and engineer named Abbas ibn Firnas made several attempts to construct a flying machine. In 852 he jumped from the minaret of the Grand Mosque in Cordoba using a loose cloak stiffened with wooden struts. He hoped to glide like a bird. He didn’t. But the cloak slowed his fall, creating what is thought to be the first parachute, and leaving him with only minor injuries. In 875, aged 70, having perfected a machine of silk and eagles’ feathers he tried again, jumping from a mountain. He flew to a significant height and stayed aloft for ten minutes but crashed on landing – concluding, correctly, that it was because he had not given his device a tail so it would stall on landing. Baghdad international airport and a crater on the Moon are named after him.”

“By the 9th century, many Muslim scholars took it for granted that the Earth was a sphere. The proof, said astronomer Ibn Hazm, “is that the Sun is always vertical to a particular spot on Earth”. It was 500 years before that realisation dawned on Galileo. The calculations of Muslim astronomers were so accurate that in the 9th century they reckoned the Earth’s circumference to be 40,253.4km – less than 200km out. The scholar al-Idrisi took a globe depicting the world to the court of King Roger of Sicily in 1139.”

1001 Muslim Inventions.. 

Be sure to check this site out. 🙂

This whole Confederate Flag thing!

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I did a post 8 months ago:  Confederate Flag: Hate or Heritage? and it has been a constant thorn in my side!  Who knew people were so passionate about this issue? 🙂  OK, well I did that’s why I wrote it.

In the responses that ensued, I believe my point was proven.  Overall no matter how you slice it racist intention or not aside, many blacks view the Confederate Flag as a symbol of white supremest ideology while many whites believe it’s part of their Southern Heritage?

The reason I and many others don’t quite buy into that, even though we know without a shadow of a doubt (or we should know) that every rebel flag owner is not, I repeat, is not a racist, that doesn’t detract one iota from the feelings that image/flag generates in us, because I don’t and many others do not believe that the flags supporters have adequately defined what “Southern Heritage” is all about.

We have heard it all from Southern “culture” to remembrance of the dead Confederate troops, but none has convincingly explained what culture in the south the flag helps remind us of that is no longer there and what noble cause the troops fought for that all people should honor.

I mean I wrote this post 8 months ago and every day I check my blog stats and out of my daily average of about 90 views a day this one post almost always accounts for at least half of them!

Which is why I can’t quite understand why it is that on average 45 people a day who frequent that thread have not put forward an adequate definition as to why they support the Confederate flag.  At best, I get proof that many are not racists, but I knew that, at worst I get flooded with racial slurs and accusations.

However, I haven’t been given a definition of southern “culture” or “heritage” yet, that adequately defines what was lost in the south’s culture and heritage that must be preserved and this flag calls remembrance to.

In the minds of many blacks it’s pretty cut and dry.  That culture is a culture of white supremacy, slavery, and hostility to blacks.  That culture is a culture of total disregard of humanity and human rights…unless of course your white.  And the Confederacy began because of state’s rights, however those rights were to protect the institution of slavery and considering blacks as nothing more than property, which they ultimately fought and died for.

Let’s make one thing clear:  Just because I was born and raised in NJ that doesn’t mean that I don’t like the south.  I live and love Virginia, I was partially raised in North Carolina, and a good chunk of my family resides in the great state of Alabama.  I’m just a little confused.  Please humor me, you staunch defendants of this flag.  What did the South loose that was so great and worthy of remembrance?  What part(s) of their culture was lost?  What heritage must be protected and preserved?  If it’s the fried chicken, collard greens, baked macaroni and cheese, black-eyed peas, etc. etc. i.e. Sunday dinner, hush puppies, etc. (sorry I’m hungry) I am all for that, I support you.  Can’t say I don’t find the southern dialect a little funny, I am from the north, but heh, many laugh at those from NJ, NY, and of course Boston, but heh, I would defend that too!

Is it country music?  Lawd knows I can’t stand it, but I would defend that too!  Nascar can’t stand it either, but defend able nonetheless.

What is it?

To me and many blacks, the only thing missing is the slaves and the ability to treat black people anyway you want without repercussion, although many still try today, and some do get away with it!  The only thing added is that blacks do own land, businesses, are in politic, etc. are are successful.  Black people can actually vote now (although many fools don’t) and black women don’t have to nurse white babies, scrub floors, etc. no more 60 year old black men calling 20 year old white men sir, etc. etc.

I just don’t get it, nor do many blacks…

Muslims to not comment and act on this is akin to criminal negligence of our beliefs!

So, I’m browsing the net at lunch and what do I read:

Santorum says Islam ‘not just something you do on Sunday’

Muslims, I have to be frank. We have got to confront the racists, ignorant, and bigots who support this satanic crap “Islamo-Fascism Awareness Week.” on truth. I think it goes without saying who makes up the majority of their supporters, but if we just ignore these radical fanatics, we do more harm than good. How can we sit back and let lies like:

“While Christianity presents a humble, meek message emphasizing love, he said, Islam stemmed from the strong rule of the prophet Mohammed. “Every aspect of life was ruled.”

“Islam, unlike Christianity, is an all-encompassing ideology,” said Santorum, a Penn State alumnus. “It is not just something you do on Sunday…. We (as Americans) don’t get that.”

Come on now!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

I sure as hell didn’t pick up a Bible yesterday and many African American Muslims grew up in the church. Jesus (pbuh) did teach humility, meekness, and PEACE. But Christians which Jesus (pbuh) was not, since they took Rome in the first centuries until today, overwhelming have killed, destroyed, colonized, and enslaved more people, nations, religions, etc. then any other hands down! The Dark Ages in of itself came as a result of strong rule! Give me a break. Furthermore, Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) didn’t strongly rule anybody! For the majority of his prophethood, he and the Muslims were attacked, killed, etc. When they finally won, not a drop of blood was spilled in Mecca. During those last years of his life, Islam flourished through trade and peace with others, including Jews and Christians who prayed at the Prophet’s mosque in Medina and were allowed in Mecca. Not to mention trade, give me a break.

Theologically speaking, Islam unlike Christianity is the ONLY all encompassing ideology between the two! Find me one verse in the Bible that remotely suggests that which the Quran does about other religions! Islam is the Only religion that recognizes the truth of other religions and their Prophets and goes as far as saying that Jews and Christians will go to heaven along with Muslims as long as they are pious.

I was a Christian and I know full well as Christians do, that their mantra is not all encompassing, but specifically, says that if you don’t accept their teachings you will go to hell.

Compare:

Jesus answered, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.” John 14:16

-and-

That if you confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus and believe in your heart that God has raised Him from the dead, you will be saved. For with the heart one believes unto righteousness, and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation. Romans 10:9 – 10

These are two “bedrock” verses upon which Christians establish their faith. They are not inclusive, but quite the opposite and display the truth, that many Christians believe doctrinally, that unless you believe in God the way they do, you will go to hell (although it’s not popular to say it that way these days in the public).

Now compare that with:

VERILY, those who have attained to faith in this divine writ (Muslims), as well as those who follow the Jewish faith, and the Christians, and the Sabians ALL who believe in God and the Last Day and do righteous deeds shall have their reward with their Sustainer; and no fear need they have, and neither shall they grieve. (Quran 2:62)

-and-

But as for those from among them who are deeply rooted in knowledge, and the believers who believe in that which has been bestowed upon thee from on high (Muslims) as well as that which was bestowed from on high before thee, (Christians, Jews, etc.) and those who are es­pecially constant in prayer, and spend in charity, and all who believe in God and the Last Day these it is unto whom We shall grant a mighty reward. (Quran 4:162)

-and-

True piety does not consist in turning your faces towards the east or the west but truly pious is he who believes in God, and the Last Day; and the angels, and revelation, and the prophets; and spends his substance however much he himself may cherish it upon his near of kin, and the orphans, and the needy, and the wayfarer, and the beggars, and for the freeing of human beings from bondage; and is constant in prayer, and renders the purifying dues; and truly pious are they who keep their promises whenever they promise, and are patient in misfortune and hardship and in time of peril: it is they that have proved themselves true, and it is they, they who are conscious of God. (Quran 2:177)

It is quite obvious from these verses in the Quran that it is Islam not Christianity that doctrinally (not to be confused with what actual people do) is all inclusive, as Islam teaches that many people will go to heaven and will be rewarded by God, not just Muslims, as God sets the criterion that one must believe in Him and live righteously. Islam doesn’t teach that one has to believe in a particular religion, prophet (pbut), nor any particular religious rite, etc.

Mission:

What needs to be done is we have to confront liars such as Rick Santorum who have an audience and call them on their blantant lies against Muslims and Islam. Let them back up their claims with scriptural and historical evidence. Truth stands clear from Falsehood.

Muslims we cannot allow this to continue. We don’t have to be violent or even be quick to anger, but we must be forthright with the truth in the face of falsehood and vie with one another in good deeds. The good deed of the moment: Send out press statements to counter their every claim, using reason, peace, scripture, and history. They made the statement, the burden of proof is on them. Once they are publically caught up in their lies then we have truly done something. Jihad of the pen is the only way!

I had to make this a posting: What is an "Average American?"

american-flag.jpg

I was compelled to write this based on the comments of a poster “Average American”.  It became very clear to me that I have to cover up some very common misconceptions as to what that means, especially in the light of the fact that so many of my readers are not from America but are from the other side of the planet.

First and foremost, there is truly no such thing as an “Average American” because to many Americans that implies many different things.  The only true way to define what is meant by the statement “Average American” is in light of that individual American’s beliefs and ideas.  That way we can at least define what segment of America that individual claims to represent.  Even still, there will be many flaws in the claimants understanding and description as an “Average American” as Americans are rarely monolithic.

Secondly, it doesn’t take much to make such a claim.  America is a true melting pot, consisting of varied and diverse people, religions, etc. that somehow despite the obvious differences come together in the great experiment called American Democracy, that for the last several centuries actually works!

Now my purpose is not to give a history or civics lesson, but to merely lay the foundation of my “beef” with those who claim to be an “Average American” and use that title and/or association to criticize me or my religion.

In truth, I am in many circles considered an Average American.  I’m a black descendant of slaves, who grew up in the inner city of NJ, living in and working in the Nations Capital, with a wife and children with the same background, who served in the Military, grew up in a “good Christian household”, wanted to be like Mike, loves Apple Pie, and America’s team the Dallas Cowboys!

So what does that mean?  Absolutely nothing outside of context!

Now if one was to check my post “The next time people want to lie against Islam and our feelings toward others….”

They could get the gist of my rant.

To sum it up, I posted a “good news” article that lends more credence to my constant mantra that the majority of Muslims are of the strand that I am and the reason why people don’t know is because they refuse to read and the media aids in their ignorance by not promoting positive news, but sensationalist ratings-based news about Islam, to further the falsehood that we are all foaming at the mouth barbarians.

Then true to form, a poster “Average American” gave me a lecture about how it’s somehow my fault and other Muslims like me for the perception he and others have about us.  I have heard this mantra before as I am a black man in the US and for decades, blacks have been told that it’s our fault white Americans believe we are all gangster’s, pimps, and Ho’s with little intelligence and are all on welfare.  Therefore, I don’t respond well to this type of rhetoric and will venture to say that those of the mindset about black Americans, are the same people with the mindset about Muslims and Islam.

This particular group uses extreme examples and isolated events, history, people, etc. to promote an ignorant, sometimes border and blatant racist agenda, to somehow cover their “truth” or opinion about those different than themselves.  What irritates me and others to no end is their unwillingness to accept overall fact, in leu of their selective “facts” and once confronted with the truth, blame their thesis on lack of access to the facts.

Case in point, the crowd that lumps all blacks and black males into one box, willfully ignore that the majority of black Americans are employed, educated, take care of their families, are religious, etc. etc. etc.  Yet, we are often characterized by music videos and the 9 o’clock news that will never talk about what good black people do, but only what young thugs and ignorant blacks do.  Never mind that blacks have the means to spend on average 13 trillion dollars a year, let’s only perpetuate the myth that the majority of blacks are poor welfare kings and queens.  Let’s substantiate this myth with the popularity of rap music (which the majority is bought by whites, and the labels are owned by whites) or the fact that blacks make up the majority of the prison system (but how did they get there, considering that the majority of gun manufactures are white owned and I don’t recall blacks frequently visiting Columbia for drugs…) then let’s add fuel to the fire by only allowing “entertainment” to be released that substantiate these myths in the form of movies, music, etc. (ignoring the ownership and power behind that), then let’s say we are truthful, ignore the overwhelming contribution of black inventors, scientists, educators, etc.  or the fact that the only reason whites enjoy their position is because of over 400 years of free labor, etc. etc.  Then when faced with these facts, let’s claim ignorance or simply deny it. 

In fact, let’s blame black people for not doing enough to project that image and say it’s not our fault because we believe about you the way we do, but yours for not doing enough!  As if blacks controlled the news, Hollywood, or the music industry!

Now let’s meditate on the run-on sentence worthy of a “D” in English class.

How does it apply to Muslims and/or Muslim/Islam opinions by the so-called “Average American?”

Lets see:

They lump all of Islam and Muslims into one box, willfully ignoring the fact that the majority of Muslims are not the same as they are from all corners of the Earth, have various beliefs, and consist of over a billion people etc. etc. etc.  Yet, we are often characterized by skewed histories, isolated text and of course the 9 o’clock news that will never talk about what good Muslims do, but only what terrorists, radicals, etc. say or do.  Their bread and butter is the latest Osama Bin Laden tape.  Never mind that Muslims per capita are the most affluent bloc in America, representing the most likely to be professionals, college educated, and the least likely to have been found guilty of any crime,  let’s only perpetuate the myth that the majority of Muslims are backward terrorists or terrorists in training.  Let’s substantiate this myth with a 24 hour news cycle that continually feeds us the latest suicide bombing, or crazy Mullah’s fatwa, proclamation, or statement (even though the majority of which is against fellow Muslims… so who are they really against?) or the fact that the majority of this “news” comes from reports in the “Muslim World” (but of course, the dictators in power just happened in a vacuum and the West had nothing to do with their creation or staying in power) then let’s add fuel to the fire by only allowing foreign born Muslims onto radio and television shows to defend Islam and Muslims (of course to “prove” that there is no such thing as black, white, or Asian Muslims.., they are only Arabs from the Middle East) this way, Islam/Muslims can continually be viewed as “other”, “different”, ..etc. then let’s say we are truthful and ignore the overwhelming contribution of Muslim inventors, scientists, educators, etc.  or the fact that while Europe was in the Dark Ages it was largely due to the fact that Muslims preserved the ancient texts and expounded on them, that it was Muslims that pioneered mathematics, medicine, etc. and helped get the West out of the Dark Ages, largely brought on ironically enough, because of the Church.  Then when faced with these facts, let’s claim ignorance or simply deny it.  In fact, let’s blame Muslims for not doing enough to project that image and say it’s not our fault because we believe about you the way we do, but yours for not doing enough!  As if Muslims controlled the news, Hollywood, or the music industry!

See how similar the story is?

I am convinced that the “Average American” that thinks like this represent a single bloc of people and not all Americans, because the “Average American” bloc I belong to, doesn’t have problems with Muslims or Islam, in fact, many of our families have Muslims in them, we allow Muslims to speak in our Churches and events, and understand the history and role Islam played in our ancestry.

My point:  Let’s not get into this “Average American” crap.  Let’s just say how we feel and take accountability for our own thoughts, because all one does is expose them self, their agenda, and the bloc of like minded individuals they represent.

Yes, I know I used horrible English, Grammar, spelling, etc.  But I’m certain if you want to get what I’m saying you will, and if you don’t, it’s not surprising.

I close with the last back and forth from the posting that inspired this one:

  1. Average American Says:
    October 24, 2007 at 10:23 am eRobert,Your response makes my point exactly! I’m sorry you fail to see the larger issue here, I did not post in order to argue points with you. I posted here hoping to present my understanding of a very current and important concern, that of Muslim aggression, in a manor that might attract a new solution.

    I know this characterization of my perspective is likely to offend you, I want to express these issues in terms and in views common within the Muslim world. In other words, I hope to turn around the situation so that it may disturb you as it dose the average American. Why? So there is a common dissatisfaction from which to converse. It is a very quick and clear way to demonstrate basic misconceptions we both may hold.

    My original post here was my attempt to portray common views held by the average American. From your responses I think I achieved my goal as well as proving my argument in the process.

    You made the timeless claim that there are two arms of Islam, one peaceful and one not.

    You claim no responsibility for the other arm while proclaiming your innocence.

    You basically spend your whole response offering the difference between yourself and the other side of Islam.

    You do all this while accusing me the whole time of ignorance and hypocrisy…

    I think you know better than I that the average American only sees one Islam, my whole point. There is no separation between the super aggressive arm and the peaceful arm in the mind of the average American. This means you, being an American Muslim, do bear responsibility for the actions taken in the name of Islam in the mind of a vast majority of this country.

    In fact, I think there is a lot of support for the theory that both of the arms of Islam are in fact working in concert to achieve their ultimate goal. What would that be? World domination of course, just look at the doctrine of these aggressive Muslims, convert or kill! It really would be an effective approach to use the peace arm to gain foothold in places not receptive to overt aggression, such as the United States. Once there is a significant network in place a gradual change could be implemented creating a place for extremist. It has already occurred in other countries, many times. In fact, the Southern Poverty Law Center, even has classified the Nation Of Islam as a hate group. The extremist are already here!

    With Islam’s long history filled with so much international aggression, domination and oppression, it is not hard to see why the average American should be concerned in today’s world.

    Robert I had hoped you could offer more of an original solution. Disclaiming responsibility and diverting attention is an old and tired defense at best. There is only one Islam, either is will be defined in history as a very aggressive religion only kept in check by the sword or maybe the last word has yet to be written? To any objective observer it seems clear, based on history and current events, that the sword is and integral part of Islam and has so far been the only check for Islam.

    America will wake up one day, you know as well as I do, that is why I bothered to offer you this perspective hoping you may see the bigger picture and care enough to act.

    I hold no hatred for peaceful people but I demand the same respect from others, this is where the hate arm of Islam and the average American

  2. Robert Salaam Says:
    October 24, 2007 at 12:11 pm eThis is where I believe you miss the entire ship.

    I am an Average American, you are an Average American, in truth, what is an Average American? See what you are merely doing is applying your understanding and noted biases to your theorem that you imply is representative of “Average American” thought? Which is false, because their is no true way to gauge such things. Primarily because you and I claim the same title yet hold two different views.

    My point in my initial diatribe was to display this myth that is perpetrated that Islam and Muslims can be placed in a selective box that non-Muslims such as yourself under the auspice of an Average American decide is the true “everyday” belief.

    Maybe the collective thought process of the groups you belong to believe that way, but I can tell you that the “average” black person in America doesn’t regard Islam in the way you do, as most of us have Muslim family members, and many of us regard Farrakhan and the NOI as heroes/leaders.

    So which “Average” America do you speak for? I completely disagree with your assessment that you know what Average Americans believe. Now if we were talking about the average middle to upper class white American, then we may have something. But minorities in America don’t see Islam through the prism that you do, and are closely alighned with my thought process Muslim or not.

    Now to speak to the Average America you represent, I believe your data and beliefs toward Islam and Muslims is biased and based on falsehood. Since it’s inception, Islam/Muslims have pioneered science, mathematics, medicine, trade, navigation, etc. Through these pioneering acheivements Islam spread to the world.

    Revisionist historians, aka Europeans, wrote his story to reflect nothing but negative ideas about culture(s) they did not understand or couldn’t believe were more advanced than themselves. This is reflected in almost every his storical text as it relates to non-European cultures from a European perspective.

    As such we see such negative commentary through Orientalist writings that have resurfaced today in major propanda approaches to shape minds. I believe most of your ideas find their root their.

    Prior to 9/11 Islam/Muslims were not viewed in the light they are today, only in “select” circles. That is because true to actual facts the majority of Muslims have been active participants in American society and culture. However, after 9/11 new claims and accusations were raised and implied on a group largely ignored previously in order to shape public opinion that somehow Islam is now a foreign-Arab concept, with no compatibility with the west.

    Those who took the bait were the “average American” the constituency I believe you represent. Based on a fear that was largely unknown to them, i.e. being the majority with power and control of all others, being now shaken it was easy to feed anything to this group, hence the idea that a religion and people that have been in America since it’s exception, are not all of a sudden “different”.

    This group has been groomed to ignore the reality that a good chunk of Western “advancement” and culture are bi-products of Islamic/Muslim influence. Not to mention the revisionist history about the relationship between Jews and Muslims, which in truth compared to that of Christians and Jews, is by far much closer and peaceful, but I digress…

    There is but one Islam, the sad truth is “average Americans” care not to examine what that is, but choose to define it according to their “needs”.

    However, like every religion, group, or nation, their are those who claim Islam as their faith that do good and do bad.

    The hypocrisy comes in when that truest of all truths is not recognized and wrongly applied to suit ignorant agenda’s.

    The hypocrisy comes in when it is easy to distinguish the actions of a Christian, Jew, Buddhist, etc. and be able to seperate them from the larger faith group or community, yet when it comes to Islam, people refuse to use the same logic.

    This refusal is blatantly rooted in an agenda based on willful ignorance. The justification to ignore logic is based on the false history…i.e. “throughout history Muslims…..therefore Muslims today are….” or “if you read verse….in the Quran…it is easy to see why Muslims…”.

    Now the question is how are such comments applied? When one already ignores facts and says that Islamic history is steeped in violence and aggression against others…contrary to the overwhelming reality that Islamic history is steeped in progressive ideas and peaceful relations with other cultures, then it’s easy to recognize the bias in it’s inception. Not to mention the idea that somehow you can isolate a verse or saying or two, or a historical event or two and apply it to over 1400 years of history, thousands of verses and sayings and a billion plus people and say your belief or understanding is definitive.

    Hypocrisy is when one doesn’t accept the same standard for themselves as they impose on others. If one can skew the truth about Islam and Muslims based on isolated understandings, then one should be able to do the same for other religions, groups, and nations.

    So the “Average Americans” should easily be able to apply their “logic” about Muslims to both Christianity and America and concede that in the former for almost 2000 years Christians have been a backward, isolated, supremist people, who want to shape the world in their image. This has included the destruction, enslavement, and colonializing of various peoples, meanwhile imposing their beliefs on others. In the case of the European strand, this meant to impose the idea of a Caucasian god and lord, that is superior to the cursed inferior races and ethnicities of other people and/or gods. In the case of the latter, throughout its several year history, this country has been responsible for the brutal enslavement of millions of Africans, the majority of Muslim majority nations, denied, killed and destroyed those peoples religion, culture, and history, and continously denied their descendants basic human rights, that while proclaimed in their government documents, were only meant to apply to white males. Not to mention this war loving country has not gone one century in it’s history without a war, conflict, or battle against another nation, people, or even itself. This nation while proclaiming superiority over the world is the only nation to ever use nuclear weapons on another, while staunchly ensuring only countries of it’s choosing have the right to posses said arsenals. This brutal Empire currently have military personnel in every corner on the globe in both temporary and permanent foreign military installations in order to project and maintain it’s strength….

    Now, like I said, if you want to deal in truth, I’m more then willing, but when you come to the table floating one-sided half truths, attempting to get the beam out of others eyes and not your own, then I am scripturally compelled to call you and those of like mind as they are.”

I had to make this a posting: What is an “Average American?”

american-flag.jpg

I was compelled to write this based on the comments of a poster “Average American”.  It became very clear to me that I have to cover up some very common misconceptions as to what that means, especially in the light of the fact that so many of my readers are not from America but are from the other side of the planet.

First and foremost, there is truly no such thing as an “Average American” because to many Americans that implies many different things.  The only true way to define what is meant by the statement “Average American” is in light of that individual American’s beliefs and ideas.  That way we can at least define what segment of America that individual claims to represent.  Even still, there will be many flaws in the claimants understanding and description as an “Average American” as Americans are rarely monolithic.

Secondly, it doesn’t take much to make such a claim.  America is a true melting pot, consisting of varied and diverse people, religions, etc. that somehow despite the obvious differences come together in the great experiment called American Democracy, that for the last several centuries actually works!

Now my purpose is not to give a history or civics lesson, but to merely lay the foundation of my “beef” with those who claim to be an “Average American” and use that title and/or association to criticize me or my religion.

In truth, I am in many circles considered an Average American.  I’m a black descendant of slaves, who grew up in the inner city of NJ, living in and working in the Nations Capital, with a wife and children with the same background, who served in the Military, grew up in a “good Christian household”, wanted to be like Mike, loves Apple Pie, and America’s team the Dallas Cowboys!

So what does that mean?  Absolutely nothing outside of context!

Now if one was to check my post “The next time people want to lie against Islam and our feelings toward others….”

They could get the gist of my rant.

To sum it up, I posted a “good news” article that lends more credence to my constant mantra that the majority of Muslims are of the strand that I am and the reason why people don’t know is because they refuse to read and the media aids in their ignorance by not promoting positive news, but sensationalist ratings-based news about Islam, to further the falsehood that we are all foaming at the mouth barbarians.

Then true to form, a poster “Average American” gave me a lecture about how it’s somehow my fault and other Muslims like me for the perception he and others have about us.  I have heard this mantra before as I am a black man in the US and for decades, blacks have been told that it’s our fault white Americans believe we are all gangster’s, pimps, and Ho’s with little intelligence and are all on welfare.  Therefore, I don’t respond well to this type of rhetoric and will venture to say that those of the mindset about black Americans, are the same people with the mindset about Muslims and Islam.

This particular group uses extreme examples and isolated events, history, people, etc. to promote an ignorant, sometimes border and blatant racist agenda, to somehow cover their “truth” or opinion about those different than themselves.  What irritates me and others to no end is their unwillingness to accept overall fact, in leu of their selective “facts” and once confronted with the truth, blame their thesis on lack of access to the facts.

Case in point, the crowd that lumps all blacks and black males into one box, willfully ignore that the majority of black Americans are employed, educated, take care of their families, are religious, etc. etc. etc.  Yet, we are often characterized by music videos and the 9 o’clock news that will never talk about what good black people do, but only what young thugs and ignorant blacks do.  Never mind that blacks have the means to spend on average 13 trillion dollars a year, let’s only perpetuate the myth that the majority of blacks are poor welfare kings and queens.  Let’s substantiate this myth with the popularity of rap music (which the majority is bought by whites, and the labels are owned by whites) or the fact that blacks make up the majority of the prison system (but how did they get there, considering that the majority of gun manufactures are white owned and I don’t recall blacks frequently visiting Columbia for drugs…) then let’s add fuel to the fire by only allowing “entertainment” to be released that substantiate these myths in the form of movies, music, etc. (ignoring the ownership and power behind that), then let’s say we are truthful, ignore the overwhelming contribution of black inventors, scientists, educators, etc.  or the fact that the only reason whites enjoy their position is because of over 400 years of free labor, etc. etc.  Then when faced with these facts, let’s claim ignorance or simply deny it. 

In fact, let’s blame black people for not doing enough to project that image and say it’s not our fault because we believe about you the way we do, but yours for not doing enough!  As if blacks controlled the news, Hollywood, or the music industry!

Now let’s meditate on the run-on sentence worthy of a “D” in English class.

How does it apply to Muslims and/or Muslim/Islam opinions by the so-called “Average American?”

Lets see:

They lump all of Islam and Muslims into one box, willfully ignoring the fact that the majority of Muslims are not the same as they are from all corners of the Earth, have various beliefs, and consist of over a billion people etc. etc. etc.  Yet, we are often characterized by skewed histories, isolated text and of course the 9 o’clock news that will never talk about what good Muslims do, but only what terrorists, radicals, etc. say or do.  Their bread and butter is the latest Osama Bin Laden tape.  Never mind that Muslims per capita are the most affluent bloc in America, representing the most likely to be professionals, college educated, and the least likely to have been found guilty of any crime,  let’s only perpetuate the myth that the majority of Muslims are backward terrorists or terrorists in training.  Let’s substantiate this myth with a 24 hour news cycle that continually feeds us the latest suicide bombing, or crazy Mullah’s fatwa, proclamation, or statement (even though the majority of which is against fellow Muslims… so who are they really against?) or the fact that the majority of this “news” comes from reports in the “Muslim World” (but of course, the dictators in power just happened in a vacuum and the West had nothing to do with their creation or staying in power) then let’s add fuel to the fire by only allowing foreign born Muslims onto radio and television shows to defend Islam and Muslims (of course to “prove” that there is no such thing as black, white, or Asian Muslims.., they are only Arabs from the Middle East) this way, Islam/Muslims can continually be viewed as “other”, “different”, ..etc. then let’s say we are truthful and ignore the overwhelming contribution of Muslim inventors, scientists, educators, etc.  or the fact that while Europe was in the Dark Ages it was largely due to the fact that Muslims preserved the ancient texts and expounded on them, that it was Muslims that pioneered mathematics, medicine, etc. and helped get the West out of the Dark Ages, largely brought on ironically enough, because of the Church.  Then when faced with these facts, let’s claim ignorance or simply deny it.  In fact, let’s blame Muslims for not doing enough to project that image and say it’s not our fault because we believe about you the way we do, but yours for not doing enough!  As if Muslims controlled the news, Hollywood, or the music industry!

See how similar the story is?

I am convinced that the “Average American” that thinks like this represent a single bloc of people and not all Americans, because the “Average American” bloc I belong to, doesn’t have problems with Muslims or Islam, in fact, many of our families have Muslims in them, we allow Muslims to speak in our Churches and events, and understand the history and role Islam played in our ancestry.

My point:  Let’s not get into this “Average American” crap.  Let’s just say how we feel and take accountability for our own thoughts, because all one does is expose them self, their agenda, and the bloc of like minded individuals they represent.

Yes, I know I used horrible English, Grammar, spelling, etc.  But I’m certain if you want to get what I’m saying you will, and if you don’t, it’s not surprising.

I close with the last back and forth from the posting that inspired this one:

  1. Average American Says:
    October 24, 2007 at 10:23 am eRobert,Your response makes my point exactly! I’m sorry you fail to see the larger issue here, I did not post in order to argue points with you. I posted here hoping to present my understanding of a very current and important concern, that of Muslim aggression, in a manor that might attract a new solution.

    I know this characterization of my perspective is likely to offend you, I want to express these issues in terms and in views common within the Muslim world. In other words, I hope to turn around the situation so that it may disturb you as it dose the average American. Why? So there is a common dissatisfaction from which to converse. It is a very quick and clear way to demonstrate basic misconceptions we both may hold.

    My original post here was my attempt to portray common views held by the average American. From your responses I think I achieved my goal as well as proving my argument in the process.

    You made the timeless claim that there are two arms of Islam, one peaceful and one not.

    You claim no responsibility for the other arm while proclaiming your innocence.

    You basically spend your whole response offering the difference between yourself and the other side of Islam.

    You do all this while accusing me the whole time of ignorance and hypocrisy…

    I think you know better than I that the average American only sees one Islam, my whole point. There is no separation between the super aggressive arm and the peaceful arm in the mind of the average American. This means you, being an American Muslim, do bear responsibility for the actions taken in the name of Islam in the mind of a vast majority of this country.

    In fact, I think there is a lot of support for the theory that both of the arms of Islam are in fact working in concert to achieve their ultimate goal. What would that be? World domination of course, just look at the doctrine of these aggressive Muslims, convert or kill! It really would be an effective approach to use the peace arm to gain foothold in places not receptive to overt aggression, such as the United States. Once there is a significant network in place a gradual change could be implemented creating a place for extremist. It has already occurred in other countries, many times. In fact, the Southern Poverty Law Center, even has classified the Nation Of Islam as a hate group. The extremist are already here!

    With Islam’s long history filled with so much international aggression, domination and oppression, it is not hard to see why the average American should be concerned in today’s world.

    Robert I had hoped you could offer more of an original solution. Disclaiming responsibility and diverting attention is an old and tired defense at best. There is only one Islam, either is will be defined in history as a very aggressive religion only kept in check by the sword or maybe the last word has yet to be written? To any objective observer it seems clear, based on history and current events, that the sword is and integral part of Islam and has so far been the only check for Islam.

    America will wake up one day, you know as well as I do, that is why I bothered to offer you this perspective hoping you may see the bigger picture and care enough to act.

    I hold no hatred for peaceful people but I demand the same respect from others, this is where the hate arm of Islam and the average American

  2. Robert Salaam Says:
    October 24, 2007 at 12:11 pm eThis is where I believe you miss the entire ship.

    I am an Average American, you are an Average American, in truth, what is an Average American? See what you are merely doing is applying your understanding and noted biases to your theorem that you imply is representative of “Average American” thought? Which is false, because their is no true way to gauge such things. Primarily because you and I claim the same title yet hold two different views.

    My point in my initial diatribe was to display this myth that is perpetrated that Islam and Muslims can be placed in a selective box that non-Muslims such as yourself under the auspice of an Average American decide is the true “everyday” belief.

    Maybe the collective thought process of the groups you belong to believe that way, but I can tell you that the “average” black person in America doesn’t regard Islam in the way you do, as most of us have Muslim family members, and many of us regard Farrakhan and the NOI as heroes/leaders.

    So which “Average” America do you speak for? I completely disagree with your assessment that you know what Average Americans believe. Now if we were talking about the average middle to upper class white American, then we may have something. But minorities in America don’t see Islam through the prism that you do, and are closely alighned with my thought process Muslim or not.

    Now to speak to the Average America you represent, I believe your data and beliefs toward Islam and Muslims is biased and based on falsehood. Since it’s inception, Islam/Muslims have pioneered science, mathematics, medicine, trade, navigation, etc. Through these pioneering acheivements Islam spread to the world.

    Revisionist historians, aka Europeans, wrote his story to reflect nothing but negative ideas about culture(s) they did not understand or couldn’t believe were more advanced than themselves. This is reflected in almost every his storical text as it relates to non-European cultures from a European perspective.

    As such we see such negative commentary through Orientalist writings that have resurfaced today in major propanda approaches to shape minds. I believe most of your ideas find their root their.

    Prior to 9/11 Islam/Muslims were not viewed in the light they are today, only in “select” circles. That is because true to actual facts the majority of Muslims have been active participants in American society and culture. However, after 9/11 new claims and accusations were raised and implied on a group largely ignored previously in order to shape public opinion that somehow Islam is now a foreign-Arab concept, with no compatibility with the west.

    Those who took the bait were the “average American” the constituency I believe you represent. Based on a fear that was largely unknown to them, i.e. being the majority with power and control of all others, being now shaken it was easy to feed anything to this group, hence the idea that a religion and people that have been in America since it’s exception, are not all of a sudden “different”.

    This group has been groomed to ignore the reality that a good chunk of Western “advancement” and culture are bi-products of Islamic/Muslim influence. Not to mention the revisionist history about the relationship between Jews and Muslims, which in truth compared to that of Christians and Jews, is by far much closer and peaceful, but I digress…

    There is but one Islam, the sad truth is “average Americans” care not to examine what that is, but choose to define it according to their “needs”.

    However, like every religion, group, or nation, their are those who claim Islam as their faith that do good and do bad.

    The hypocrisy comes in when that truest of all truths is not recognized and wrongly applied to suit ignorant agenda’s.

    The hypocrisy comes in when it is easy to distinguish the actions of a Christian, Jew, Buddhist, etc. and be able to seperate them from the larger faith group or community, yet when it comes to Islam, people refuse to use the same logic.

    This refusal is blatantly rooted in an agenda based on willful ignorance. The justification to ignore logic is based on the false history…i.e. “throughout history Muslims…..therefore Muslims today are….” or “if you read verse….in the Quran…it is easy to see why Muslims…”.

    Now the question is how are such comments applied? When one already ignores facts and says that Islamic history is steeped in violence and aggression against others…contrary to the overwhelming reality that Islamic history is steeped in progressive ideas and peaceful relations with other cultures, then it’s easy to recognize the bias in it’s inception. Not to mention the idea that somehow you can isolate a verse or saying or two, or a historical event or two and apply it to over 1400 years of history, thousands of verses and sayings and a billion plus people and say your belief or understanding is definitive.

    Hypocrisy is when one doesn’t accept the same standard for themselves as they impose on others. If one can skew the truth about Islam and Muslims based on isolated understandings, then one should be able to do the same for other religions, groups, and nations.

    So the “Average Americans” should easily be able to apply their “logic” about Muslims to both Christianity and America and concede that in the former for almost 2000 years Christians have been a backward, isolated, supremist people, who want to shape the world in their image. This has included the destruction, enslavement, and colonializing of various peoples, meanwhile imposing their beliefs on others. In the case of the European strand, this meant to impose the idea of a Caucasian god and lord, that is superior to the cursed inferior races and ethnicities of other people and/or gods. In the case of the latter, throughout its several year history, this country has been responsible for the brutal enslavement of millions of Africans, the majority of Muslim majority nations, denied, killed and destroyed those peoples religion, culture, and history, and continously denied their descendants basic human rights, that while proclaimed in their government documents, were only meant to apply to white males. Not to mention this war loving country has not gone one century in it’s history without a war, conflict, or battle against another nation, people, or even itself. This nation while proclaiming superiority over the world is the only nation to ever use nuclear weapons on another, while staunchly ensuring only countries of it’s choosing have the right to posses said arsenals. This brutal Empire currently have military personnel in every corner on the globe in both temporary and permanent foreign military installations in order to project and maintain it’s strength….

    Now, like I said, if you want to deal in truth, I’m more then willing, but when you come to the table floating one-sided half truths, attempting to get the beam out of others eyes and not your own, then I am scripturally compelled to call you and those of like mind as they are.”

Cartoonists apparently never get enough….

Muslims, for the sake of Allah (swt) let’s leave this idiot to his foolishness. Let’s not give the media what the want as the sister “Amatullah” has already done with her threat to “slaughter him like a lamb”. Let us be reminded of the Holy Prophet (saw) and his example when being insulted to his face in Mecca merely looked at the insulter after prayer and just walked away. A fools mouth is his undoing and in this case a fool’s pen.

Let’s allow Allah (swt) to take care of this one, Insha’Allah and not allow ourselves to be continually painted as foaming at the mouth barbarians.

Certainly, disrespect and outright defamation of our Prophet (saw) and religion shouldn’t be tolerated. But as Muslims we are enjoined to rise above that of characters such as this cartoonist and the paper and country that supports him. If we must protest, which I strongly disagree with, let our actions and words be peace.

The best reaction should be no reaction. Let us focus on our ummah and spiritually and remember the blessings of Ramadan. Let us look at this as a test and a reminder that Shatain is still at work and waiting for the opportunity to keep us off the straight path.

In these cases which have been numerous and will unfortunately continue, we should ask ourselves “What did Muhammad (saw) do?” As we know, he prayed for guidance of those ignorant, and was steadfast with patience and prayer.

We should not be surprised that a society that rejects justice has no true “freedom”.

For those who don’t know what I’m talking about:

Artist defiantly draws Prophet Mohammed

Story Highlights

  • Artist Lars Vilks stands by Mohammed cartoon even amid al Qaeda threats
  • Vilks says, “If you don’t like it, don’t look at it”
  • Woman tells CNN: “I could slaughter him in the name of Allah”
  • Al Qaeda offers $100,000 for killing him, with $50,000 bonus for slitting his throat
  • The reminder…

    Sayings of our beloved Prophet (saw)

    “God is merciful to those who show mercy to others.”

    “Power consists not in being able to strike another,
    but in being able to control oneself when anger arises.”

    “A perfect Muslim is one from whose tongue and hands mankind is safe.”

    “Islam is purity of speech and hospitality.”

    “Every religion has a distinctive virtue
    and the distinctive virtue of Islam is modesty.”

    When asked what was most excellent in a human being, he answered,

    “A friendly disposition.”

    “The best of God’s servants are those who when seen remind you of God; and the worst of God’s servants are those who spread tales to do mischief and separate friends, and look for the faults of the good.”

    “Whoever believes in one God and the Hereafter,
    let him speak what is good or remain silent.”

    “God is gentle and loves gentleness.”

    “Whoever restrains his anger when he has the power to show it, God will give him a great reward.”

    Quran:

    3:110 YOU ARE indeed the best community that has ever been brought forth for [the good of] mankind: you enjoin the doing of what is right and forbid the doing of what is wrong, and you believe in God. Now if the followers of earlier revelation had attained to [this kind of] faith, it would have been for their own good; [but only few] among them are believers, while most of them are iniquitous:

    3:114 They believe in God and the Last Day, and enjoin the doing of what is right and forbid the doing of what is wrong, and vie with one another in doing good works: and these are among the righteous.

    7:199 MAKE due allowance for man’s nature, and enjoin the doing of what is right; and leave alone all those who choose to remain ignorant.

    16:90 BEHOLD, God enjoins justice, and the doing of good, and generosity towards [one’s] fellow-men; and He forbids all that is shameful and all that runs counter to reason, as well as envy; [and] He exhorts you [repeatedly] so that you might bear [all this] in mind.

    90:17 and being, withal, of those who have attained to faith, and who enjoin upon one another patience in adversity, and enjoin upon one another compassion.