Monday, September 06, 2010

Afraid of Your Neighborhood Mosque?

Are you afraid of what happens at that mosque down the road, or the one across town? Afraid they're training terrorists? Afraid there's a madrasa* teaching kids to be violent? Afraid the imam is teaching men to abuse their wives?

Or maybe you're not afraid; maybe you're concerned because you believe that's actually going on.

But I'm fairly certain that it's not. In fact, that mosque is probably America's best line of defense against terrorism--and that's one of many reasons that a community should support their local mosques. And why, in general, Americans should support the construction of mosques for American Muslims.

Sadly, the efforts of soldiers fighting and dying overseas (and killing Muslims) foster terrorism by increasing hatred from Muslims and further radicalizing them. I say it's sad because people are dying (on both sides) and the efforts only make the situation worse. American mosques combat the radicalism among Muslims. Visit one--listen to what the preachers are saying. Mosques are open, free, just visit and see what they're teaching. What you'll hear is talk about prayer, fasting, charity, kindness to parents.

If a Muslim has been radicalized, he's probably not going to be too regular at the mosque--he won't hear at the mosque the rhetoric he wants to hear; that is, the kind which validates his radicalism, basically. Instead, he'll be told to be patient, to increase in worship, and act in service to his community. But if he does visit the mosque, then perhaps he'll find a community there who can help to guide him aright.

So don't be afraid of the local mosques. Feel free to visit them--encourage a group visit if you don't want to go alone. Take a group from your church or synagogue--or invite a Muslim you know to come speak at your Sunday school class. Open mutual dialogue at interfaith or multi-faith events--ask them what they are doing, subscribe to their newsletter if they have one. And when you see they're not up to any trouble, consider that the faith of Muslims can positively affect the community in which they live. That it can help take care of the poor, and refugees, the hungry, the homeless, the battered women and orphan children. That it can promote positive activities for youth to keep them "off the streets" and out of trouble. And that it can even help keep the country safer.

Please, visit a mosque.

*By the way, madrasa is just the Arabic word for school.


Saladin said...

I was at the Idris masjid the other night for taraweeh. Aside from a lot of bumping shoulders and sweating, no one had the slightest bad thing to say. About anyone or anything.

I've rarely seen more congenial people, particularly those working so closely together.

Terrific post and so true. Education is how we'll combat so many of the wrongs in the world. Islamophobia dies in the light of truth.

Humayun Rashid [BD] said...

﴿قُلْ إِنَّ صَلَاتِي وَنُسُكِي وَمَحْيَايَ وَمَمَاتِي لِلَّهِ رَبِّ الْعَالَمِينَ﴾
"Say (O Muhammad صلى الله عليه وسلم) 'Verily my Salat (prayer), my secrifice, my living, and my dying are for Allah, the Lord of the Alamin (mankind, jinn and all that exists"

Anonymous said...

If the mosque is the best way to fight terrorism that is a sad state of affairs for your religion.

Amy said...

If intelligent discourse is lost, and the world must turn to violence--then it's the world in a sad state, more than any country, any people, or any religion.

Anonymous said...

Narrated 'Abdullah bin Umar: Allah's Apostle said, "A Muslim is a brother of another Muslim, so he should not oppress him, nor should he hand him over to an oppressor. Whoever fulfilled the needs of his brother, Allah will fulfill his needs; whoever brought his (Muslim) brother out of a discomfort, Allah will bring him out of the discomforts of the Day of Resurrection, and whoever screened a Muslim, Allah will screen him on the Day of Resurrection . " [Sahih Bukhari, Volume 3, Book 43, Number 622 and Volume 9, Book 85, Number 83; Sahih Muslim, Book 032, Number 6250]

Anonymous said...

I'm actually scared because I want to be Muslim, but have social anxiety and so many issues I'm just nervous.
I don't know how to go down and be like "welp, here I am".

Le sigh.

Amy said...

Anonymous, I had a lot of anxiety after I converted, before attending the mosque. Try reaching out in a format you feel comfortable with--facebook groups, blogs, email, etc., and try to find a local Muslim you don't mind meeting in person, and ask them to help you in visiting the mosque.