Saturday, June 23, 2007

Some Muslims are not bad

Politics is so tiring, and so stressful. As of today, there is about 3-5% more stress in my life than I can handle. This is between my finances, my two jobs, summer school, and life planning... it's rough. So I haven't been following the news... it's a failing on my part I suppose. On the other hand, tonight was a more politically charged event at the masjid, for the "Friday Night Program."

First was a talk by a brother about Somalia and issues dealing with the need for Muslims to assume their own leadership. It's generally assumed I think that if Muslims anywhere in the world had the option of free and fair elections then they would invariably elect Muslim leadership. Perhaps even the "Islamists" that Americans today fear so much. As a Muslim I can see why that would be the case... do Americans see? Why would these crazy Muslims choose Muslim leaders? Perhaps because we believe in our faith.

The West you see is trying to reform Islam, the way Christianity sort of reformed itself. America et. al. are trying to introduce a dichotomy to the faith that really doesn't exist--introducing "secularism" you could say. Why does a religion need secularism? That is the senselessness. They see politics and not faith in the Muslim world, politics only. I started to wonder, though, how can Muslims even begin to realize a goal of self-leadership if they are uneducated... as they are uneducated.

In the world of ignorance, tolerance and respectability lose way against the instinct to survive. That, I think, is what you see in such "war-torn" parts of the Muslim world. How can 'democracy' have a hope in an uneducated society? Even in this country, it was incumbent upon citizens to educate themselves, but education assumed... it was necessary for the concept to work.

The brother talked about the peace in Mogadishu when Muslims were in charge. Then he talked about how the US opted to bomb the city, of some 2 million people, because 3 suspected terrorists were in it. Three suspected terrorists that never could actually be found, and which some American newspaper apparently said were as elusive as the Iraq WMD's. Interesting.

After the brother's talk and after Isha salaat another brother spoke for a few minutes, about an organization I think which is trying to publish a book, titled The Palestinian's Holocaust, American Perspectives. He explained that originally it was "African American perspectives" but they nixed the "African" part to appeal to a wider audience. The book is filled with quotes by different people, Malcolm X to Alison Weir to George Washington and Jimmy Carter. Because injustice is wrong, and what is happening to the Palestinians is wrong.

Anyway, I had never heard of Alison Weir before then, but she is the director of a website, If. Americans. Knew. If they knew what? If they knew the truth about Israel and Palestine.

Upon getting home I found I had an email about some PBS thing which was supposed to air tonight, I didn't pay much mind to it honestly since I had missed it by being at the masjid. But as I started to do my laundry (I like to do laundry late at night, not sure why... but I have to stay up with it because the drier does not stop automatically) I turned on the TV, and Friday night isn't big, the best I could find was Foxnews. Fauxnews. Well Hannity and Colmes was on so I watched that a bit... apparently some video about Islamists and Muslims was supposed to air but got pulled off. Apparently it was pointing out a few very anti-Islam (I shouldn't say that, but... ouch) Muslims who were opposed to "the terrorists."

But on the site I found this interesting article. I hope you read. She is talking about the message or purpose of funding such videos. On the same site I watched the video about young women and girls being strip searched in the airport, having their maxi pads taken and forced to wait and bleed in the airport, one of them even in a wheelchair. Sick... just sick. Who does that? What sort of human being does that?

The video may or may not be aired some time in the future. It may or may not be the one that was supposed to air tonight. Either way, here is a news story about it at the Washington Post if you're interested in that.

I find it immensely disturbing how "the media" is so easily manipulated and how Islam can be viewed as something so awful. I received an email from someone today, it was supposed to be da'wah oriented on my end, but the response I received was uniquely disturbing... he brought up terrorism. Someone interested in learning about Islam from a perspective of faith would not, I'd think, start accusing Islam of being the only "group of faith" in the world today that is murdering innocent people, over "god." It struck me as a stupid, ignorant, bigoted remark, one that I might hear from someone who does watch Foxnews, but not for amusement but for real news...

He must have forgotten Ireland (catholic/protestant) and India (Hindu/Muslim) just to get me started, but more importantly... Israel?? The stupid part of the remark isn't that Muslims are the only religious people killing others.... although that is clearly uninformed and something... but the worst part is I think that he doesn't even realize why there is killing. Shi'a/Sunni fighting he informed me is the result of a disagreement of the caliph. Then again... maybe I can't decide which is worse. Sigh.

The whole exchange is troubling, and I'm not sure how to respond. I don't have the time in general to begin a long-term debate... especially with someone who has the opinion of me that I left Christianity too soon. Just a few words on that. I became Muslim, and here is why:

I believe in God.

And that pure, short and simple fact is a bond among Muslims, true, the centrality of life for a Muslim even... but it is not the cause of vicious wars and power struggles in the poor, impoverished, uneducated parts of the world that happen to be inhabited by Muslims. The post prior to this one of mine describes a story showing the imperative to be humble and kind among Muslims...

When will that picture air on PBS?


Yusuf Smith said...

As-Salaamu 'alaikum,

Northern Ireland wasn't really about religion, it was about land. The Protestant side are descendents of people, mostly Scots, who were planted there in the 17th century by the English who wanted to consolidate their control over Ireland. It was an early act of white colonialism (albeit over white people) and they are to Ireland as whites are to South Africa and Zimbabwe. Of course, the hard line unionists justify their position with anti-Catholicism, but they are just as religiously conservative (or not) as Catholics ever were.

Amy said...

Do you find this position similar to what is happening in Palestine?

Thanks for the facts btw--I did not know that.

Yusuf Smith said...

As-Salaamu 'alaikum,

There are similarities between northern Ireland and Palestine, and some Ulster Unionists see Israelis as their "brothers" in being a population under threat from terrorists. During the 1996 Drumcree affair (in which a Catholic community in Belfast was surrounded by a Protestant mob, which included the leader of the major Unionist party at the time, who wanted to allow an Orange Order group to march through their neighbourhood), Israeli flags were flown by some of the Unionist crowd for this reason.

But I don't think it's quite the same. The Jews themselves agitated for a "return" to Palestine and were given it by the major powers, partly out of sympathy and partly to ward off mass Jewish immigration from eastern Europe. The Ulster Protestants were brought in by the English crown for the crown's purposes. They are loyal to the United Kingdom (even though many British people actually despise them), not to themselves as is the case with the Israelis, even if they do enjoy massive American protection.

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