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Sunday, June 9, 2013

Capital Punishment

Capital Punishment has existed since the dawn of time. As an American it disturbs me that the United States is the ONLY western nation on a list of the 21 Nations who executed the most criminals in 2011. China topped the list having executed more than 4,000 people. My country is number five on the list bookended in the top ten by Iran, Saudi Arabia, Iraq, Yemen, North Korea, Somalia, Sudan and Bangladesh at number ten. Every other “Enlightened” Western Nation has abandoned the barbaric practice.
I have mentors who support Capital Punishment. I respect their opinions but I disagree on this issue. I have discussed it at length with my Atheist mentor whom I consult frequently on secular matters. Her only objection to Capital Punishment is that the sentence isn’t evenly applied in the United States. She sent me a link once that contained statistics showing poor minorities are more often sentenced to death for the same crimes committed by poor white citizens. Aside from this disparity, she supports the right of the state to remove violent criminals from society without paying for the costly up keep of overcrowded prisons. As an enlightened westerner, I refuse to allow this issue to be reduced to a matter of economics. I am against Capital Punishment. I do not support Judicial Killing any more than Vigilante Killing. The only acceptable circumstance for taking a life is self-defense.
Many in my country who support Capital Punishment point to the most heinous crimes committed by those on Death Row to justify the State’s punishment. Often these are the same people who say “do not inhibit my gun rights, instead focus on mental illness health care,” then fail to take mental illness into account when defending the Capital Punishment.
The analysis of motive has its place in our justice system. It should be used in determining guilt and the likelihood of recidivism. Obviously, if the criminal in question is likely to continue the pattern of crime following release, even with efforts at rehabilitation, Life in Prison is the only acceptable sentence. An Offender spending the rest of their lives in prison gives them the opportunity to reflect and repent. Not all of them will but, those who do have a chance to experience remorse and ask forgiveness prior to being called to judgment by Allah (swt). They must be allowed to keep all the time Allah (swt) allotted them to do so. By giving the State the power to kill them, we interfere with the offender’s redemption. Our lives are given to us by HIM. Only HE should decide when we are called to his judgment. Humans judge you by your words and actions. Only HE knows your heart.

Friday, April 19, 2013

Boston Marathon Tragedy: My Response

Hate will persevere if we cannot get the faithful to believe the true message, untainted by Cultural Patriarchal Misogyny or greed or lust or envy or any number of ulterior motives so-called scholars have. America is the one place on Earth where I can be the Muslim I believe Allah (swt) wants me to be. The evil and misguided continue to try and take that away from me. They cannot make me hate, so they make people hate me. This is not how Allah (swt) wishes us to conduct our lives. Repent. Wash the blood from your hands and answer for your crimes. 

Monday, February 25, 2013

Domestic Violence in Islam

This is a conversation that needs to happen in the Muslim community. I am hoping that two articles on the Huffington Post’s Religion page that were brought to my attention yesterday will help this conversation along. They were written almost a year apart but both inspired me not just to reflect deeply, but to discuss the issue in more depth with my Religious and Secular mentors. It is my understanding that the first caused somewhat of a controversy on Twitter and inspired the second. I have read both carefully (more than once) and shared them with my most trusted mentors, including my Father. After much conversation and prayer, I've come to the conclusion that both articles are fundamentally well intention but, at the same time flawed. However, conversation being the ultimate goal they are an excellent start.

The first article The Islamic Solution to Stop Domestic Violence (published online at the Huffington Post’s Religion page, 03/05/12) was written by a gentleman named Qasim Rashid. He is a man I know only from Twitter (@MuslimIQ) and one or two articles I've read by him. Based on this minuscule amount of information, I do believe his intention is pure & he truly wants to end domestic violence. However, despite the title of his article (me and my mentors agree to different extents) his primarily focus of prevention is somewhat muddle in the short space he tried to use. After including a variety of supporting points in preamble to his main thesis there wasn't much space left to drive his main point home. He introduced examples of his own actions (volunteer work on behalf of victims) that suggest he is opposed to violence but, failed (for some) to state in no uncertain terms , “I Qasim Rashid, believe violence is wrong & Domestic Violence is unjustified by Islamic texts.” I don’t know if this was an oversight or on purpose but I believe such a statement would have strengthened his position.

One example he did use in his thesis was the wisdom behind verse 4:34 as grounds for his position. I have only ever read only one interpretation of this verse from my Father’s Quran. It reads:

The men are to support the women by what God has gifted them over one another and for what they spend of their money. The reformed women are devotees and protectors of privacy what God has protected. As for those women from whom you fear disloyalty, then you shall advise them, abandon them in the bedchamber, and separate them; if they obey you, then do not seek a way over them; God is High, Great.

I have personally never read any interpretation of this verse that uses the word strike instead of separate but, I understand that translations of this verse very. Cultural/Patriarchal Misogynistic interpretations of the verse do exist that (I believe wrongly) use the word Strike. As Rashid quite correctly points out that the verse requires a Muslim couple to go through certain steps to resolve conflict and (& my Father agrees) it is absurd to suggest that the Quran requires such extensive lengths to avoid [emphasis added] violence, only to ultimately permit [emphasis added] it. Rashid goes on to state that this verse forces men to control their anger, remove themselves from the emotionally charged situations that may lead to domestic violence, while admonishing women to also incline towards reconciliation. However, the fact remains that an undisciplined (i.e. entitled) man, violent or narcissistic, will go to any length to justify his un-Islamic behavior.

To his credit, Rashid does go further; bringing up the fact that the Prophet Mohammad (swt) explicitly admonishes Muslims, ‘Do not beat your wives’ Indeed, the Prophet (swt) NEVER beat his wives. “Therefore demonstrating in word and deed that Muslim men cannot harm women for any [emphasis added] reason.
He closes with the reminder that domestic violence occurs because men let their anger rule their behavior. This I believe is a reference to an earlier warning where he (perhaps erroneously) cites findings by Dr. James Q. Wilson as medical fact. The Doctor’s position interpreted by the writer is:

…the part of the brain that stimulates anger and aggression is larger in men than in women. Likewise, the part of the brain that restrains anger is smaller in men than in women.

I haven’t seen the research so I don’t know if this is true. The second article posted 02/24/13, disputes it. However, it was brought to my attention by one of my secular mentors that this information has been interpreted by some as carte blanche for men to be violent. I believe that if you take the entire article in context, that is a misinterpretation of the writer’s intention. This information (correct or not) was intended as a reminder to men that they (may) have a pre-disposition toward violence that they themselves must guard against in emotionally charged situations and use the steps in the Quran as a guide to prevent violence.

The second article, Response to 'The Islamic Solution to Stop Domestic Violence' initially caused a bit of confusion because of its title which suggested it was a response specifically to Rashid’s. However the first paragraph states, the points discussed [there] are not limited to the post [Rashid’s article &] it addresses similar arguments that have been made by other writers [emphasis added]…on this issue It is VERY important to remember that sentence when reading the rest of the post as, it brings up issues Rashid never addressed in his prevention focused article, so strictly speaking it is a response to the ISSUE not the POST even though they reference him more than once in the body of the post.
Though only Hyshyama Hamin is listed at the author in the bi-line of the Response, there were four other women credited as co-writers at the end. I mention this simply because I only recognized two out of the five women associated with this article and have had significantly more interaction with one (out of the two I recognized) on Twitter than I have with Rashid. Based on that interaction I have no reason to believe this woman had any malicious intent as a participant in this Response, nor do I think she would take part if she believed there was malice on the part of any of the other co-writers. What’s more, I believe their overall intent mirrored Rashid’s: To END Domestic Violence. So I applaud their Response as the next step in a productive conversation on Domestic Violence.

As I stated earlier, this Response refutes information in the original (older) article regarding Dr. Wilson’s findings. Further, the women make a valid point that these findings should not be interpreted as black and white fact since (as with most things involving the human condition) numerous independent variables affect men’s attitudes toward women. I suggest you read the actual article to fully appreciate the depth and breathe of these variables that must always be kept in mind when discussing all forms of Violence Against Women.

The Response quite correctly praises Rashid for bringing up that 4:34 …in fact restricts the husband from using violence and thus promotes the adoption of a restraint and reconciliation approach, which is certainly a more progressive interpretation. But they also point out that this interpretation is more of a "preventative" measure and not necessarily a "solution." It’s true: prevention was predominantly the emphasis of his post. I don’t know him so, I don’t know what he meant by “solution” in the title. It's a Question best asked of him directly.

Moving on, another excellent point raised by the Response is about the full range of victims affected by Domestic Violence. By using verse 4:34 specifically, Rashid limits the example of prevention to spouses. The Response rightly points out that children, elderly women, daughters, sisters and mothers etc. are also affected. They suffer at the hands of their male family members, as well as female family members (such as a mother-in-law abusing the daughter-in-law and vice versa). However, the gist of Rashid’s position was summed up perfectly after he reminds us that not only did the Prophet (swt) clearly warn Muslims not to beat their wives and that he NEVER beat his own wives but, though he didn't go into relationship details, he went further stating that Prophet himself demonstrated in word and deed that Muslim men cannot harm women for any reason. Easy to comprehend and accept in the calm quiet of my living room as my Father dozes peacefully on the sofa. However, the post’s chief flaw (no matter how well intended) is that it fails to take into account the many causal and contributory social-economic and gender based factors raised by the Response and some would say simplistically says "it's a sin, don't do it." Additionally, the Response quite correctly encourages dialog on these factors that was lacking in the original post due to the writer’s laser focus on Religious examples of proper behavior without taking into account human nature beyond the questionable references to Dr. Wilson’s work. 

I am immensely grateful to Qasim Rashid for his desire to prevent Domestic Violence and his article that opened this conversation about it. I am grateful to the five women who were inspired enough to cobble together a response to and expansion of it. It is my sincere hope that this conversation continues beyond the pages of the Huffington Post and Twitter, beyond social media and transitions in to action that will ultimately lead to an end to Domestic Violence.

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Ridiculous Violence Over an Act of Free Speech

 "He who does not show mercy to others will not be shown mercy" - Prophet Mohamed (pbuh)
And Allah invites to the Home of Peace and guides whom He wills to a straight path (10:25)
And when they hear ill speech, they turn away from it and say, "For us are our deeds, and for you are your deeds. Peace will be upon you; we seek not the ignorant." (28:55)
"Show forgiveness, enjoin what is good, and turn away from the foolish (i.e. don't punish them)." (7:199)
"And those who avoid the major sins and immoralities, and when they are angry, they forgive," (42:37)
He said, "I will ask forgiveness for you from my Lord. Indeed, it is He who is the Forgiving, the Merciful." (12:98)
"And remove the fury in the believers' hearts. And Allah turns in forgiveness to whom He wills; and Allah is Knowing and Wise." (9:15)
"If U should punish them - indeed they R Ur servants; but if U 4give them - indeed it is You who is the Exalted in Might, the Wise." (5:118)
"Degrees [of high position] from Him and forgiveness and mercy. And Allah is ever Forgiving and Merciful." (4:96)
Kind speech & forgiveness r better than charity followed by injury. And Allah is Free of need & Forbearing. (2:263)

There are many ways to react to insult. Certainly, the Prophet Mohammed (sws) is a revered figure in Islam. I was taught from a young age that he was to be respected. However, I was raised in the United States of America where there exists in the frame work of our Constitution a separation of Mosque/Church and State. The First Amendment to our Constitution provides for freedom of Speech, Press, Assembly and Religion. That means people of my Country can say, print, gather and worship as they choose. It also means people with sour guts who want only to vomit on others are free to do so with vile and hateful speech. Consequently, the older I’ve gotten the more I’ve seen The Prophet disrespected by those who don’t believe he was God’s Messenger. I’ve seen many people respond vehemently to these insults and wondered why? Yes, these types of insults are disconcerting to me as I’ve always tried to be respectful of other people’s beliefs. That is what I was taught. But, I was also taught that it was better to forgive than to attack. The Quotes above are just a small sample of what I was taught when I was growing up. So, my bewilderment at the sight of a Brother becoming enraged and yelling at non-Muslims for their transgressing grew to horror with the knowledge that people were being killed for it.
Peacefully protesting the mass production of insult, such as a blasphemous film, is perfectly in-keeping with democracy and totally acceptable and understandable. Demonstrations are one thing. Violence is something else entirely. Words must NEVER be met with violence. That is not in keeping with what I was taught.
That said, the only thing I find more distressing than the violence that resulted from this film, is the absence of that passion in the face of bloody and indiscriminant mass murder that has been going on every day in Syria for over a year. How can people be so engaged over an expression of contempt and so disengaged over the deaths of thousands at the hands of a brutal dictator? This is the question I have asked myself every night as I lay my head down to sleep. I have never been more ashamed of my Brothers in my life.

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

CAIR: Civil Rights Champions or Oppressors of Free Expression

When I was growing up, my parents spoke of the Ummah. Perhaps it was my inexperience with the world outside our home or just a youthful imagination, but somehow I interpreted their description of it into this mythical land in Islam where there was harmony and every being was graced by the love and mercy of Allah (swt).
After I graduated High School, my world expanded. I have discovered the Ummah is not a place of harmony but of conflict. There is divisiveness and discord that never occurred in my home growing up. Yes, we had disagreements about ordinary things, but never about Islam. On Islam there was always agreement; Allah (swt) is a Just and Merciful God with a boundless capacity for forgiveness.
Since I graduated from private school and started taking college classes, I’ve been exposed to a larger world. A world far different than the one I envisioned when I was growing up. In the real world there are those who don’t view men and women as equals. There are those who view people of different races, religion or social economic backgrounds as less than them.
Until recently, I knew nothing about CAIR (Council on American Islamic Relations) other than it existed.
I never gave it much thought beyond that until March when I was on Twitter and witnessed the bullying event described in my first blog post. After that, I was prepared to dismiss the CAIR masses as a bunch of egomaniacal bullies out to force their opinions down everyone’s throat. Like the Muslim Brotherhood and other supremacist organizations. This assessment was solidified in my mind when I tested the waters with my father and mentioned CAIR in passing. The first time I brought it up, all he said was, “They’re dirt.”
It wasn’t the first time I had heard him say that about a person or organization but it somehow always surprised me. Before he took the parental controls off our computer and cautioned me about sharing to much personal information with strangers; he would describe people as ignorant or confused about Islam or America and the liberties afforded us in the west but his criticism always came from a place of compassion and he urged forgiveness because only Allah (swt) knows what was truly in their hearts.

“And Allah invites to the Home of Peace and guides whom He wills to a straight path” (10:25)

"Show forgiveness, enjoin what is good, and turn away from the foolish." (i.e. don't punish them) (7:199)

"And remove the fury in the believers' hearts. And Allah turns in forgiveness to whom He wills; and Allah is Knowing and Wise." (9:15)

I was nine years old when we were attacked on 9/11. I asked my father if it was true that the attackers were Muslim, he said they thought they were but were wrong because they didn’t understand Islam.
Things started to change when I left the familiar security of a private school. Over that first summer, I had more time to myself and started going out into the world more and more on my own, choosing my own books to read (not just books assigned in school or ones my father gave me) watching more TV, etc. he warned me that there were people who he called “dirt.” They were people who had no morals. People who only wanted to take from trusting people and the community who would not give back. He again cautioned me about sharing personal information. He has used the word “dirt” many times since then to explain people or organizations that clearly upset him Ahmadinejad, Bridget Gabriel, almost anyone in the GOP, convicts on MSNBC’s “Lock-up” or men on “To Catch a Predator” (two shows I never watched before graduating and don’t watch when Father is home) and others. I accepted his explanation and went about my business as I’ve always done. However, my new independent access to forums like Twitter gives me often contradictory information on many controversial subjects. So, as I continue to sift through a seemingly endless supply of information and misinformation I have found it difficult to draw and maintain any concrete conclusions on my own.
Part of the problem is researching through mainstream media. There doesn’t appear to be an equal balance in reporting from trusted mainstream news outlets on this organization’s activities.  Most of the negative reporting comes from highly suspect right wing organizations like Jihad Watch, Muslim Media Watch or overt bigots like Pam Geller or Bridget Gabriel. The few sources that are not blatantly right wing or bigoted still present highly subjective stories loaded with conjecture. Much the same way CAIR approaches stories about their detractors. Let’s be honest they use the words Islamaphobe, Zionist, racist and bigot quite liberally.
There are however, questions that cannot be ignored that CAIR has yet to satisfactorily put to rest…Holy Land Foundation being chief among them. But there’s also:
·         Did Siraj Wahhaj conspire to blow up New York City monuments or is he "one of the most respected Muslim leaders in America" as CAIR described him when they included him on its advisory board?
·         CAIR defamed Muslims Hisham Kabbani and Khalid DurĂ¡n. Is CAIR responsible for the death threats that resulted from that defamation?
·         Sheik Omar Abdel-Rahman was convicted for conspiring to blow up New York City landmarks, including the Lincoln and Holland tunnels in 1995. How can CAIR justify calling the conviction a "hate crime" against Muslims?
·         Why do CAIR Representatives refuse to outright condemn Islamic terrorist groups Hamas and Hezbollah.
·         Does CAIR “effectively give aid to international terrorist groups” as claimed by former FBI assistant director and chief of the FBI’s counterterrorism section, Steven Pomerantz, once charged?
·         Does CAIR effectively have the right to speak in the name of the Muslim community given the number of Muslims who disagree with them?
I don’t know if CAIR is a Front Group for Hamas as many claim and point to The Holy Land Foundation as proof. I don’t know if it’s sincere in its claim to want open dialog with non-Muslims “to promote justice and mutual understanding,” or enhance understanding of Islam, promoting justice and empowering American Muslims in an effort to protect Civil Rights.
Here’s what I do know:
I have yet to hear satisfactory justification for the attacks made against the group of Muslims who stood up in support of the New York Police Department in March. They’ve thrown lot of slurs around but have yet to provide a substantive rebuttal to the issues raised that day. Hardly what I expect from an organization that says it wants to empower American Muslims. And not what I was taught was appropriate behavior for Muslims.
"He who does not show mercy to others will not be shown mercy" Prophet Mohamed (sws)
It is better to forgive than to attack.
What I am left with is more questions:
·         Is it fair to judge an entire organization based on the actions of a few?
·         Should and organization priding itself on “empowering American Muslims” allow this type of un-Islamic behavior to continue unchecked by its employees and associates?

Friday, April 6, 2012

Hijabs and Hoodies

The two hot topics for conversation among me and my friends right now are Trayvon Martin and Shaima al-Awadi. Due to the influence of social media, friends wear Hoodies in solidarity with Travon and female friends who don’t ordinarily wear the hijab have worn it in solidarity with Shaima. People speak very passionately about these tragedies and with very little patience for Law Enforcement. In addition to talking to friends, I’ve read several blogs and news stories about them. It surprises me how quick people are to link these two cases as instances of neglect and hatred toward minorities in America. In an effort to separate fact from fiction, let me remind people of a few things.
First what we know about Trayvon Martin.
1)    Trayvon Martin (a 17 year old African-American boy) was shot dead by George Zimmerman (a Latino/White man) who admitted to shooting Trayvon.
2)    The Sanford Police Department chose to accept George Zimmerman’s word about it being self-defense.
3)    The Police did NOT to collect evidence that we see Crime Scene Investigators agonize over on TV every week.
a.     George Zimmerman walked out of the Police Station in the same clothes he was wearing when he walked in.
b.    George Zimmerman was not tested for drugs or alcohol.
4)    Nothing seemed to have been done until the lack of action by the police led to activism in social media.
5)    Since Trayvon Martin became national news, there have been leaks from the Police Department that have both smeared him and shed more light on the injustice that took place there.
a.     He was suspended from school 3 times for none-violent offences.
b.    911 dispatch tapes recorded George Zimmerman calling Trayvon Martin a racial slur AND the Dispatcher telling George NOT to follow Trayvon.
c.     Police confirmed that Trayvon Martin had no juvenile offender record.
6)    Joe Oliver and a Lawyer crop up out of nowhere to defend George Zimmerman.
a.     Joe Oliver claims to be a family friend but the only confirmed connection between Joe Oliver and George Zimmerman is the fact that they worked in the same place.
b.    Joe Oliver claims George Zimmerman had a broken nose and huge gash on the back of his head.
c.     No Medical records have been produced to confirm or deny these claims.
7)    George Zimmerman’s story that Trayvon Martin knocked him down, punched him in the nose and then slammed his head into the ground is proven to be overstated by surveillance tape from the night Trayvon was shot.
a.     The Police tape shows no blood or injury on Zimmerman.
b.    The Police tape show him wearing a jacket. Why did a police report state his “shirt” was wet w/ grass stains if he was wearing a jacket?
All of these facts lead me to suspect the case was miss-handled. Whether or not these facts are the result of institutionalized racism or incompetence is not for me to say. I’ve never been to Florida. I’ve never had any dealings with any of the Police agencies there. However, I do see the failing that have happened in this case and they need to be correct.
Second, here’s what we know about Shaima al-Awadi.
There is a lot less information available about Shaima partially (I believe) because the events happened more recently.
1)    Shaima al-Awadi (32 year old Arab woman) tragically was found savagely beaten in her own home by Fatima Al Himidi, Shaima’s daughter.
2)    There was a broken window or door leading into the house.
3)    A note was found near the body.
a.     Daughter said the note said, "go back to your country, you terrorist."
b.    El Cajon Police said the note was “threatening” but have not yet said what was written on it.
c.     The family says they had found a similar note inside of their house before, but did not report it to authorities.
4)    Unlike what happened with Trayvon Martin, no one waited for the Police to show up and say, “I did it.”
5)    The previous note was thrown away by the family, leaving the Police no physical evidence to work with.
6)    Police and Crime Scene Investigators are by all appearances are doing their due diligence.
7)    Police have not ruled out the possibility that this was a hate crime.
8)    Three days after being hospitalized, Shaima al-Awadi was taken off life support and died.
There is no evidence to suggest the El Cajon Police Department is in any way mishandling their investigation. The only thing Shaima al-Awadi has in common with Trayvon Martin based on what we know as fact is that they were both minorities and they were both tragically taken from us before their time. Trayvon Martin’s case appears to have been mishandled from the start.
Unlike Trayvon Martin’s State, I HAVE lived in California. I actually lived in El Cajon for a brief period when I was very small. I don’t remember much about it but I do remember living in other parts of San Diego. I also remember my family turning to the San Diego Police Department for assistance more than once. My memories of those instances were positive and when my parents spoke of them following the contact their gratitude was clear. In the absence of evidence that the ECPD has brushed aside the death of Shaima al-Awadi (the way the Sanford Police Department obviously did with Trayvon Martin) I can only conclude that racism is playing no part in the investigation. Tentatively (until a suspect is named or arrested in the Shaima al-Awadi case) however, there ARE facts that suggest both deaths were the result of Racism. This is why I urgently call on those in my wider religious community to make an effort to improve our relationship with Law Enforcement.
Until then however, I include both families in my prayers daily. I pray they receive strength, patience and mercy. I urge everyone to think before you speak and ESPECIALLY before you act.

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Cyber Bullying

According to Wikipedia: "Cyber Bullying is the use of information and communication technologies to support deliberate, repeated, and hostile behavior by an individual or group, which is intended to harm others. As it has become more common in society, particularly among young people, legislation and awareness campaigns have arisen to combat it."
I find this phenomenon very disturbing. I have heard of instances on the news and sat through lectures about it in school but had never witnessed it first hand before the 5th of March. That’s when the American Islamic Leadership Coalition (AILC) held a rally for the New York City Police Department (NYPD). I was surfing the net when a friend sent me a link to a blog (CLICK HERE TO READ THE BLOG) and the twitter handle (CLICK HERE TO SEE TWITTER ACCOUNT) of a Women’s Rights Activist she has been following for a few years. I hadn’t intended to become so involved with what was going on but felt a serious lack of mercy and compassion in the things that were being said about this sister (CLICK HERE TO SEE HER BLOG) in the comment section of the blog and on twitter. A sister whose life’s work appears to be, to make the world safer for girls and women.
The source of the vitriol surrounding this sister seems to be her decision to stand with the AILC during a rally where they expressed their support for the NYPD. As I watched twitter, she answered again and again why she made the choice she made. She stated that while she didn’t agree with the NYPD’s actions in every case, she was willing to reach out to them with forgiveness and compassion to find the path forward.
“And the retribution for an evil act is an evil one like it, but whoever pardons and makes reconciliation - his reward is [due] from Allah. Indeed, He does not like wrongdoers.” (42:40)
I admit, I don’t know the whole story behind what the NYPD did (something about spying) but, this is America. Surely this sister has the right to seek reconciliation if that is where her conscience leads her. According to her, she has turned to the NYPD several times in the past to help her in her work with girls and young women. With the help of the NYPD, she has changed lives. Commendable work if you ask me…and since I’ve already offered that opinion let me offer another; Even if you disagree with the groups represented there by speakers, isn’t it our duty to follow this young woman’s example and forgive rather than to condemn. One person I interacted with on twitter compared this activist to a wife beater and a racist police officer. Slurs like “Uncle Tom” and “Aunt Jemimah” have no place in civil discourse and no positive change can occur without civil discourse. Mud-Slinging certainly has no place in the Muslim American Community. Don’t we have enough haters outside our community?
“Who spend [in the cause of Allah] during ease and hardship and who restrain anger and who pardon the people - and Allah loves the doers of good;” (3:134)
I realize may be wasting my time because I also noticed something else about the whole uproar surrounding the AILC’s decision to publicly support the NYPD: The woman singled out for bullying/harassment on twitter and elsewhere (CLICK HERE TO SEE ANOTHER EXAMPLE OF BULLYING) was not representing a group – like The American Islamic Forum for Democracy (AIFD), Muslim Canadian Congress (MCC), Alliance for Iranian Women (AIW), LibForAll Foundation, all of whom had speakers at the event – but a single individual who stood in the back and didn’t speak. I believe this is because the victim of these Bullies is an individual who stood alone without the backing of a large non-profit…and all their lawyers. The Bullies went after what they perceived as the weakest member of the pack. That’s what Bullies do…especially when they lack the mercy and compassion that Islam demands of us.
“Allah would explain to you and guide you by the examples of those who were before you, and would turn to you in mercy. Allah is Knower, Wise.” (4:26)
The behavior of Bullies in our community does more to enable and advance islamophobia than this woman – whose life’s work has clearly been helping others.
"Images of hate serve only our most destructive aims - a masochistic appeasement of the worst of ourselves." – Raquel Evita Saraswati