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Sick Thugs Rob Bank in Islamic Ensembles

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liczbinski.JPG

More updates: I have adjusted the post a bit to give credit where credit’s due, and because it is being wrongly perceived by some.

Important Update via Tariq (a message from Philly mayor Mike Nutter– he deserves our props for this, you can send a thank you on his MySpace account):

Dear Muslim Faith Leaders,

As you know, a Philadelphia Police Officer has been shot in the line of duty. It has been widely reported that the assailants were wearing “muslim garb” as a disguise during the attack.

I want to make it clear that I do not think that this crime was an act of violence directed from or against the Muslim community. The assailants merely chose Muslim-like dress as a way to alter their appearances.

I hope the Muslim community, and all other communities across Philadelphia, can work together as we deal with this horrible act of violence. This City needs every one of all faiths, races, and ethnicities to come together in peace. I am calling on the religious community to recognize tomorrow as a day of peace and to pray for Sergeant Liczbinski and his family..

Sincerely,

Michael A. Nutter

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————-

This story is not new anymore. I have been hearing about it on NPR for the whole week. Tariq talked about it here. Fortunately, NPR hasn’t made it a point to tell us about the “Muslim connection” in the story. I don’t doubt that other news stations are making the point. Two of the thugs, at least one of whom was a Muslim, dressed up in jilbaabs, abaya, niqaab, gloves— the whole 9-yards, and used this sacred Muslim ensemble to rob a bank, and later killed a police officer, Sgt. Stephen Liczbinski. Sgt. Liczbinski’s funeral is today in Philadelphia. A young Sgt. Liczbinski (age 40) leaves behind a wife and three children, as well as an extended family of nine siblings.

The story sickens me. It sickens me for all the sisters that have to go through such great pains in order to dress up in a way that they believe pleases Allah. This is not a question about the fiqh of niqaab. Those who wear it are not doing it to make a statement. They are doing it to please Allah, in what they believe is the correct Sunnah. And regardless of our views on niqaab, we have to be fully supportive of their RIGHT to wear what they feel pleases Allah. And I am going off in this tangent to preempt any comments that delve into this fiqhi issue. The actions of these individuals puts all our niqaabi sisters in a perilous situation. We cannot blame the average Joe on the street about being jumpy when he sees one or more of these niqaabi sisters entering shops or malls. We can only blame these thugs for the harm they have and will cause.

I remember before coming to this part of America (just over 2 years ago), a BAM (black American Muslim) brother who said he “fled” from Philadelphia, warned me to make sure that if I go to some of the masajids in Philadelphia, I should ensure that my pants were above my ankles. The lack of an overflowing beard, or any for that matter, would be also a source of great consternation for me, he warned. Then he told me about some of the reasons he fled. He could not take the cultish mentality of some of the brothers there. While the brothers and sisters were so concerned about their pants, beards, thowbs, niqaabs, gloves, the same brothers would be involved in all sorts of crimes, both against the society and against their own families (we all know of the marriage-musical-chairs). Another brother told me of a story where a Muslim brother at an ATM had a gun pointed at his head from behind. When the robber-to-be took the wallet, he noticed that the guy he was robbing was a Muslim. “Assalamaalaikum brother, here’s your wallet back”. It was not ok to rob a Muslim, but it was perfectly ok to rob someone who wasn’t!

So, when I arrived in Philly, I went to the Germantown Masjid. Fortunately, I did not face the severity of condascending looks that I was warned against. Interestingly, the Imam was giving a talk (who I knew for a long, long time because we had invited him to Houston several times), and it was still the same 10-year old talk. Perhaps the lack of dirty looks directed at me, was related to what I had been told by some of my friends that things were “cooling down”, and becoming better: that the leadership of the Germantown Masjid is working on changing things as Tariq talks about in this post. Credit where credit’s due.

I am not going to make conclusions as to how practicing the Muslim robber(s) were. I don’t know enough. The overflowing beard of the person in this picture doesn’t mean much. If you knew Philly, you’d know that having long beards and having pants above the ankles is a fad that is copied by many people, Muslims and non-Muslims alike. I found this out when I couldn’t understand how so many “brothers” hung out with half-naked women on the streets, until I was told that this was more fashion than religion. I did notice the “sajda sign” on the person’s forehead, but again I am not going to jump to any conclusions about his “piety”. All I know is that these guy are thugs, who have shamed not only their own families, but the entire Muslim community for their actions.

The Germantown Masjid refused to do janazah prayer for the dead thug. I don’t have the knowledge to pass judgement on this, but a comment on Tariq’s post refers to this hadith:

Abu Dawud narrates that the Prophet ordered that Ma’iz be stoned for adultery. He did not pray over him, yet he did not prohibit anyone else from doing so.

If there is indeed precedent and permissibility of such a refusal, then I fully support the Masjid’s decision. The state of Islamophobia is such that a burial by a Masjid would have totally sent the wrong message. Even if the Masjid admin had put all sorts of disclaimers, the news of a cop-killer getting “Muslim burial” would have usurped any denials of support or disclaimers. Furthermore, I hope that such an action will send the message to other community members that criminals will not be tolerated in the Masjid. This is another sign walhamdulilah, that things are moving in the right direction in Germantown.

I would like to add that the problem with this cultish mentality that continues to exist in many quarters of America, especially the Northeast, is that Islam is restricted to a few superficial things: your appearance and the basics of Tawheed. I am not saying that these masajids haven’t taken brothers out of crimes and drugs, but they haven’t done as well as Imam Siraj’s masjid for instance in New York. Furthermore, no sense of community or fraternity with the non-Muslims around them has been inculcated in the hearts of these Muslims. The mantra of a “dream hijrah” continues to make them non-productive members of their communities, and we all know that the hijrah isn’t happening. And this hijrah-mentality does push back on any desire for “community building” and influencing culture change around them. Sister Umm Zaid has said a lot of things that I wanted to say. Please note that this isn’t BAM-bashing or salafi-bashing. In fact, many who are raising awareness about this cultish mentality include both BAMs and salafis. It isn’t the manhaj or the race that is the problem. It is a case of horribly misplaced priorities.

In conclusion, I hope that the Germantown masjid and other masjids would continue to rethink their positions, and take their communities in the positive direction, as I am told they are heading in. I hope other Masjids who are still holding to the “old ways” will consider the consequences of isolation from the wider community. I hope they will start educating their attendees, including but beyond Tawheed. I hope they will be able to discern between integration and assimilation: the former is a need, the latter is undesirable. May Allah help our brothers and sisters. Ameen.

P.S. After a reminder from a brother, I must add that many years ago, I and many others were afflicted by the cultish aspects I mentioned, and it took a lot of time to wean off them. So, I do recognize that this is not easy and what helped me was the presence of good students of knowledge like Sh. Waleed especially, whose wisdom helped remove me from the myopia that the cultish mentality inculcates. So, my purpose is not to be condescending here. May Allah forgive me.

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Abu Reem is one of the founders of MuslimMatters, Inc. His identity is shaped by his religion (Islam), place of birth (Pakistan), and nationality (American). By education, he is a ChemE, topped off with an MBA from Wharton. He has been involved with Texas Dawah, Clear Lake Islamic Center and MSA. His interests include politics, cricket, and media interactions. Career-wise, Abu Reem is in management in the oil & gas industry (but one who still appreciates the "green revolution").

32 Comments

32 Comments

  1. Amad

    May 9, 2008 at 10:44 AM

    You know it is interesting that in Saudi all women wear niqab… yet that has never been a reason for others to be worried. But such incidents make it harder and harder to defend this right to cover your face, even if they are one in a million. It is the publicity that makes such isolated incidents appear larger than they are.

  2. MR

    May 9, 2008 at 11:15 AM

    Wow.

  3. Mr GQ

    May 9, 2008 at 11:55 AM

    Praise the lord!

  4. Amad

    May 9, 2008 at 12:40 PM

    And GQ, we always praise Allah, but with respect to your comment, the point is?

  5. Mr GQ

    May 9, 2008 at 12:49 PM

    Wow, a comment of mine that actually got through and approved. lol

  6. Abu Noor Al-Irlandee

    May 9, 2008 at 4:51 PM

    Obviously any one mosque is not required to bury every single Muslim, as the article you linked makes clear, the mosque was not saying that janazah should not be said for the brother. Indeed, it is a collective obligation upon the Muslim community that some Muslims do the janazah prayer. Obviously the action is horrible, and I mourn for the family of the officer who was killed. Here is a link for information on how to donate to the family of the officer http://www.nbc10.com/newslinks/16163849/detail.html

  7. Pingback: …::MvMuslims::… » Blog Archive » Links: 09-May-2008

  8. Ahmed

    May 9, 2008 at 6:59 PM

    us salaam alikuim,

    I was a little disappointed in reading this post. I thought it was going to cover this important topic of the shooting but it was a side track muse about the problems w/ some of the Phili Muslim communities. At this moment, that issue is secondary. Actually they are indirect victims of this man’s actions also.

    Lets talk about what would should be done now. How would the Prophet (s) handle this ?

    Long time MM reader and supporter,

    Ahmed

  9. Amad

    May 9, 2008 at 7:07 PM

    salam… the only reason we are covering the topic, Br. Ahmed, is because it involves Muslim(s). And being that we are not providing news, it makes sense to discuss some of the issues in Phily. There is a fundamental problem when people feel that they are upon the “haqq” and yet don’t have a problem doing drugs or robbery, etc. The education is flawed…

    I am not saying that there is a direct cause and effect here. But I am saying is that the focus on appearance and other peripheral issues are making our brothers less likely to be integrated in the society, and more likely to not think twice before “robbing the kuffar”.

  10. AbdelRahman Murphy

    May 9, 2008 at 7:46 PM

    I wonder if they rob “moobtadees” too.

    I hadn’t heard about this until I read this post, it makes me sick to my stomach. This is what happens when Aqeedah is taught as an engineering science of, “this group is right, this group is wrong.” Aqeedah should transform the hearts of humans, not make us hate one another and even justify bad habits.

    Allah help us all insha Allah.

  11. Abu Noor Al-Irlandee

    May 9, 2008 at 8:03 PM

    As salaamu ‘alaykum Amad,

    While I don’t disagree with you that it is not healthy spiritually to become overly focused on physical appearance or other peripheral issues and to be generally harsh and rude in manner on top of that…but I disagree completely that tragedies such as this occur because Muslims are not “integrated” into the society. This is a brother who based on everything in the articles I’ve read is someone who did not grow up as a Muslim and whose family is not Muslim. He, like most of us, is completely ‘integrated’ into the society. Unfortunately the part of society from which he comes and into which he is integrated is one which, for a variety of reasons, contains criminal elements. The cause of such tragedies is when people who are trying to enter into Islam are not able to fully abandon all of the negative habits and characteristics they have learned adopted from their experience in the larger society despite the fact that they may adopt, or in some cases become especially zealous about superficial aspects of Islamic personality or culture. So, the fact of the matter is that these are problems in the society and just because we take shahadah, they do not magically disappear, as much as we hope that they would. It is not a problem of not being integrated into the society.
    Now, to the extent such a brother will try to justify such actions on the basis of some kind of perverted “this is dar ul harb” or “it’s ok to steal from kaffirs” logic, that is an additional problematic issue. But even when that is the case, I still believe that is just a false rationalization for such behavior, not the ’cause’ of it. The brother (May Allaah have mercy on him) had a long criminal history, it is not a matter of someone who grew up completely law abiding and then Islam suddenly led him to think about crime.

    I admit that the niqab aspect of this story is particularly troubling and as Muslims we must stand against oppression and injustice when done by our own community, but we don’t need to lose all compassion for people. We should truly believe that we want to help our brother, whether he is oppressed or oppressing and do so in a spirit of trying to truly avoid such things in the future rather than just one of condemnation.

    There has been a rash of well publicized killings in Chicago this spring including at least one that is alleged to have been done by a Muslim. Now, the media has not reported him as being a Muslim so the story is not a “political” issue for the Muslims but the story is still a tremendous tragedy for the victim and the brother involved, whom I happen to know. He was a brother with a lot of positive characteristics and a brother who also has struggled with a lot of issues. I don’t know what happened and I don’t excuse wrong actions but I also know that our community for the most part lets down a lot of these brothers because we don’t have the ability or resources to really help them. We complain of our weakness and our own faults and shortcomings to Allaah (swt) and we beg for His help, guidance and assistance.

    Allaah knows best.

  12. Amad

    May 9, 2008 at 10:12 PM

    The brother (May Allaah have mercy on him) had a long criminal history, it is not a matter of someone who grew up completely law abiding and then Islam suddenly led him to think about crime.

    salam Br. Abu Noor. This is a completely wrong conclusion of my points. I never said Islam or even a cultish form of it LED the person to commit crimes. Rather, what I meant is that the proper tarbiyah and education was not given about Islam, such that it didn’t only become a matter of beards and pants above ankles, and knowing the three types of Tawheed. I know this from brothers who have been “in this crowd” and have also to some extent “been there, done that”. And the mentality about “its ok to do it the kuffar” definitely exists.

    I also have to say that spirituality and purification of soul is something that was/is missing in many of our dawah fronts, and there is something to be said about that in its prevention of crimes against Allah and other humans.

  13. h

    May 10, 2008 at 5:10 AM

    After reading your post I feel it would be much more constructive to hear praise for the Germantown Mosque and other mosques in the area that are trying to make a change in the society, instead of hearing of the problems of people that may or may not be upholding the values of those mosques.

    Yes there may be a criminal element in some communities, but this does not mean it is condoned by the Mosque administration or is something taught to people upon Islam. I am sure that much more than Basics of Tawhid and outward appearances are taught in the Mosques there in Philadelphia. What a person or a group of people choose to practice is entirely up to them.

    While you acknowledged the stance of the Imams in this post, your praise is not apparent.
    Instead of concentrating on the negative in presenting information, let’s applaud to good and then give practical and useful information to deal with the negative.

    Dwelling on other’s faults is not in any way from the Sunnah, the good character of a Muslim, or common decency that we owe other humans.
    Let’s try to be more positive and less vindictive.

  14. Derelict of Dialect

    May 10, 2008 at 7:23 AM

    When I was living in Falls Church around the year 2000 I remember seeing a sign posted described how a man decribed as Middle-Eastern held up a bank while wearing a jilbab and niqab. Fortunately there didn’t seem to have been any detrimental effect on the Muslim community and the issue was not politicized. While I agree that Philly can be rough, to try tie this incident in to a particular masjid and or group of individuals is inappropriate. This a problem I have seen in inter-city communities that were more on the Siraj Wahaj tip were a past prison sentence was viewed as a sort of indication of piety.

  15. Derelict of Dialect

    May 10, 2008 at 8:06 AM

    Also, I remember some time ago hearing Abu Muslimah mentioning the high rate of incarceration amongst members of his community to which he responding by laughing. Also, in the N.Y. times article about the out reach efforts of the Harlem masjid to an affluent immigrant masjid in Long Island it mentioned that the Harlem masjid had a problem with its members going to jail. My point is, the issue is larger than one community in one city. It seems rather clear after visiting one of these communities that there is a sort of implicit nod of approval towards incarceration as if it is some sort of rite of passage…

  16. Amad

    May 10, 2008 at 9:59 AM

    salam Br. H & Derelict. I think we can go in circles as to the point I was trying to make and what you may have concluded, but instead I will say that your points are duly noted inshallah. I will try to be more positive next time :)

  17. Amad

    May 10, 2008 at 10:43 AM

    excellent message from Mayor Nutter. He really excites me for the sake of Philadelphia. My economics Professor, David Crawford, is a close friend of Nutter. Now, Crawford is kind of an eccentric character. He used to wear funky T-shirts to class, a hard-core liberal progressive. And he couldn’t stop singing praises about Nutter in terms of Nutter’s character, his reliance on experts for policy, etc. And if you knew Crawford, he was not one for mincing words… he said it like it is. In other words, and I believe him.

  18. Umm Reem

    May 10, 2008 at 1:35 PM

    La hawla wala quwwatta illa billah…

    This is truly very very sad….while i got phone calls from concerned friends to be careful when i go out, although I life in DE, I really feel for those sisters who live in Philadelphia. MashAllah sisters in niqab are practically EVERYWHERE in Phili area…and i can only imagine how difficult it will be for them right now to go out…may Allah make it easy for them…

    I don’t know why they chose to dress like this to commit such an evil act…iyyadhobillah…

  19. Abu Eesa

    May 10, 2008 at 7:19 PM

    Subhanallah. That is sad news but with all due respect brother, I do feel it is a bit of a ‘super-salafi-bashing’. I may be naive to what is going on in Philly as I live in the UK but in a way you have done what the media does to all muslims generally and painted a bad picture of ‘BAMs’ (what a racist term brother may Allah forgive you and us all) and Super Salafis. I am neither of those but I think we should be united in condemning the act and also clarifying to non-Muslims that this goes against Islam without pointing a finger at a whole community of our brothers. Wallahu A’lam.

  20. Amad

    May 10, 2008 at 7:57 PM

    BAM is an acronym that the African American brothers actually prefer and has no racist implications. In fact, I have seen this used by the brothers themselves.

    Edited

  21. Abu Noor Al-Irlandee

    May 10, 2008 at 9:40 PM

    Salaam Amad,

    I apologize if I misrepresented your point. As I stated in my first comment, I disagree with the idea that a lack of integration into society is the cause of tragedies like this, but I most definitely agree with your general suggestions that focusing on superficial issues is bad and all of us need to work harder on true spiritual development and on providing mechanisms in our community for assisting new (and old) Muslims in that area.

    Allaah knows best.

  22. Musa Franco

    May 10, 2008 at 11:21 PM

    Salaam Alaykum

    My 2Cents:

    It should be noted than when I was down in Philly I remember seeing homosexuals with beards. It’s the style there to copy the muslims. We shouldn’t jump to conclusions and assume they are muslim. If they are then Allah is the one who deals with all affairs in a just manner for he is Al Aziz and Al Hakeem.

    Wa Salaam alaykum

  23. Nadia

    May 11, 2008 at 1:28 AM

    I’m a little confused. Mayor Nutter said in his letter that he doesn’t believe it was crime directed “from or against the Muslim community”. So was the perpetrator Muslim or no?

    It’s truly saddening to hear of an officer losing his life like this. I pray that Allah grants ease to his family through this tough time.

    I do agree with your point about the niqab. Indeed it is already seen with suspicion in some places and incidents like this one do nothing to bring more understanding of why some sisters choose to wear it.

    As far as communities like the one you’ve described in Philly, what do you suggest are some ways to start changing things.? Like you said it takes time and consderable effort of course, but I’m wondering what kind of initiatives need to happen for change to occur in places like Philly and amongst people to at least start turning the situation around.

  24. Traveller

    May 11, 2008 at 5:56 PM

    Asalaamu Alaykum wa rehmatullah,
    It is tragic to hear about this issue; may Allah forgive the brother. The niqaab is already been targeted, especially in the UK, so something like this, one would imagine would exacerbate the onslaught, and the political adverse ramifications have been alluded to earlier, but i wonder, what has been the general reaction, apart from the Masjids position? Has there been the drumming up of anti-niqaab sentiment post this unfortunate event?

    I would like to clarfiy one thing; I do not know the ‘salafi’ dawah operating in Philidelphia, but where i am from in the UK, Birmingham, alhamdulillah has a strong presence of ‘Salafi’ brothers and sisters, and i can certainly say that this double handedness is not ascribed to. I find that one of the points that is continually raised is that we have to abide by the laws of our land of residence, and cannot go against it with the excuse of it being run by the kuffaar, this includes the prohibition of robbing/cheating ‘the system’, given the premise that is based upon kufr.

    I understood by what the author meant the over emphasised pressure upon conforming to an external image, which some percieve is done in the absence of the drive to impress the importance of cultivating ‘inner image’. But in the same instance, one cannot assume that that ‘salafi’ masijd is not disseminating the importance of adab etc, as it is up to the individual to take it on board or not. I am aware, even from where i am, there are really two types of ‘Salafis’; one that have made almost a sect, and on some levels yes a cult, and there is the others that just say ‘we are following the way of the salaf us’saliheen’ and do not asribe to a sect. Although i am at odds with the former, i can personally say that the dawah that i have been exposed to from it has been quite balanced, and have addressed issues of tarbiyyah and akhlaq. Which is why i do not understand the mentality to which brothers (and sisters) are ascribing to when they allow the victimisation of non-Muslims who have done them no harm? Yes, they are following their predecessors, but surely not the righteous ones!

    The reason why this is happening is not because all they are given to study is a book of Tawheed, quite to the contrary. Rather it is due to the lack of understanding pertaining to Tawheed that one commits these crimes, including general sins that we commit day in day out. When one truly understands the Asma was-Sifaat, the beautiful names and attributes of Allah, then they benefit enormously. They would understand that Allah is Al-Aleem (the All Knowing), Ar Raqeeb, Al Baseer, and therefore this would prevent them from doing what they do. Tawheed needs to be continued to be taught, but it needs to be taught more holistically, otherwise we are only doing ourselves injustice.

    Wassalaam

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  26. Zawjatu Shaikh~N~Bake

    May 12, 2008 at 2:18 PM

    Assalaamu alaikum warahmatullahi wabarakatuh,

    As if it already wasn’t hard for us women to wear niqab.. now some brothers are giving Islam even more bad name.. subhanAllah. This goes to show how we have to watch even our individual actions as it can have a great negative impact on the muslim society as a whole. La howla wa la quwatta illah billah. May Allah guide them to the haqq, and may this not make it harder on us sisters who wear the niqab, ameen.

    Never thought it would happen in the west. It did happen in Jeddah when I lived there.. just never thought someone would do something so unwise without even thinking about the broader consequences. And the beard is even making brothers who really are practicing look bad because of this whole incident.. That being said, in summary it gives a bad image to anyone who wants to practice or is practicing.

    La ilaha ilAllah.

    Well, I don’t know why someone would do that.. but all I can say is that I am extremely hurt.. and would have been even if I was not a mutanaqiba right now.

  27. Zawjatu Shaikh~N~Bake

    May 12, 2008 at 2:20 PM

    Assalaamu alaikum,

    Brother Amad, no ALL women in Saudia do not wear Niqab. As a matter of fact mutanaqibaat do not even look like the majority there.
    Where did you “get” all in regards to them?

    I grew up there, subhanAllah.

  28. chitownsfinest1116

    May 17, 2008 at 1:22 PM

    Assalaamu alaikum,
    Subhannallah, I am amazed really at how low some individuals can stoop to.It really is making us muslims look bad.The author makes some really great points actually. He talks about this cult like mentality of some muslims in parts of the United States. This actually isnt the first time that I have heard of this. The other day I met a brother in chicago who said the exact same thing. He used to be in the same circle and he told me that appearance and tawhid are all that matters where he came from (one new england city). It wasnt till he started realizing and realizing about islam that he grew away from them and eventually moved out here. One thing the brother told me was that in most cases, these brothers, himself included where non-practicing and over night took a 180 degree turn and everything that they did when they became influenced by other brothers in the area. Another instance was actually from a shaykh who was a non muslim. He actually fled philly just for this exact reason, and looks at many of the brothers in the community with sadness and anger. The shaykh told me about every day occurances of brothers who would spend every day in the masjid praying and doing all the required ibada’ha, but those same brothers where the same individuals who where partying it up and where the biggest drug lords and gangsters in all of philly. What really was interesting is that he told me that it was common knowledge exactly who these brothers where that where participating in these acts.The problem was that it was almost impossible to approach them out of fear.Now I am not saying that the masajids are the one at fault but there is a serious problem in some of our communities that we need to recognize and deal with in a responsible manner.

  29. chitownsfinest1116

    May 17, 2008 at 1:26 PM

    by the way, the shaykh was an imam of a philly masjid..He converted to islam about 10 years ago.

  30. Abû Mûsâ Al-Ḥabashî

    May 17, 2008 at 2:10 PM

    Another brother told me of a story where a Muslim brother at an ATM had a gun pointed at his head from behind. When the robber-to-be took the wallet, he noticed that the guy he was robbing was a Muslim. “Assalamaalaikum brother, here’s your wallet back”. It was not ok to rob a Muslim, but it was perfectly ok to rob someone who wasn’t!

    I believe your conclusion doesn’t necessarily follow here. Just because the robber did not want to rob a Muslim, doesn’t mean that he thought it was “perfectly ok” to rob a non-muslim. It’s very possible that the robber knew he was being sinful either way, but he had enough eemaan that if he was going to rob someone, at LEAST it wouldn’t be his brother Muslim. I’m not defending the action, but it seems you’re using this to show that the brothers in Philadelphia are taught that it’s okay to rob non-muslims as part of their “cultish mentality”.

  31. Bint

    May 18, 2008 at 12:34 AM

    Assalamu Alaikum Wa Rahmatullahi Wa Barakatu

    I also wanted to express my disappointment with this articles, as others too have echoed.

    This terrible, terrible crime is a topic in its own right – that it’s been used as a premise to speak more broadly on the Muslims in a certain area is a sad one, and more specifically the generalizations and bad connotations that are – it seems – drawn to that group.

    This story (the initial one you speak about) truly made my heart sink, subhaanAllah, and saddened me greatly. One would think that the story itself would follow on to perhaps discuss the implications of our sisters in niqaab in that area and others, truly sympathizing with their plight – or at the very least the crime at hand. But primarily the first 2 paragraphs were dedicated to the crime and the plight of our sisters in niqaab, and much of the rest of this article is dedicated to – quite literally – picking apart a certain community.

    Moreover, what the succession of speaking of the crime and then speaking about the particular Muslims/masaajid in Philadelphia does – whether or not it is conscious association or not – is draw a link between the two. As if there is some association between the crime itself and that which is being propagated in these masaajid — which is a huge injustice, subhaanAllah. I realize this was not your intention, but when you mention a crime as such and then speak on the community, or to be more specific, consistently relaying the ills of that community – one may draw a link. To illustrate, a previous comment states:

    “I hadn’t heard about this until I read this post, it makes me sick to my stomach. This is what happens when Aqeedah is taught as an engineering science of, “this group is right, this group is wrong.””

    This is basically my previous point realized, and the injustice that will occur if you use a crime as a premise to speak about a community. The brother (above) speaks about the terrible nature of the crime — and then follows this by ‘this is what happens when..” going on to speak of the way he thinks they propagate Islam in that community! It is an injustice, in any scope, to draw such a link – or to attribute this crime to the brother’s understanding of Islam in any capacity. By no means, should anyone take from this article that this man is a product of his society, or rather, his Islamic society – and that his Islamic teachings had an influence on him such that he committed this act. We do not know the brother in any capacity, nor those in his company, nor his understanding of Islam – and are in no position to make such comments as ‘..this is what happens when …’ as if we are at all aware of the catalyst for this horrific crime. Surely, Allah ta’ala knows, and we do not know.

    Wallahu ‘alam, I feel it has become a trend of sorts to bash certain communities, and wonder if people will ever tire of this. A hallmark of such discussions, too, I’ve noticed is not much benefit, for it seems people will list ill after ill after ill, and the next will follow, and the next will follow. Positive discussion is remiss from such spheres, it would seem. Moreover, there seems to be broad generalizations of a group under one label – surely we would hope people would realize that the small group of people you may have encountered which follow that methodology and perhaps have things about them which doesn’t please you, that you would not then stroke your brush with the entire group that follows that methodology in the similar way. We know this I’m sure, but I feel it is a potent reminder, as I feel we may forget this.

    And lastly, truly by no means, are the basics of tawheed, a ‘superficial thing’, for tawheed is of the noblest of sciences and grasping its basics is upon us all.

    May Allah ta’ala protect us, keep us steadfast upon this deen, and allow us to engage in speech which benefits.

    Wa Salamu Alaikum Wa Rahmatullahi Wa Barakatu

  32. Noor

    May 18, 2008 at 7:32 PM

    What really bothers me is not just that they obiviously practice prayer, it’s that they chose to dress in Islamic women’s clothes. Women who chose to wear Niqab, whether right or wrong, believe they are doing it to please Allah(swt) and they already have a ‘tough row to hoe’. With these thugs robbing and killing cops, it is only a matter of time before some poor niqabi sister gets shot in the confusion and fear that will surely follow this incident. What happens the next time a niqabi sister walks into this same bank?

    I can see why the masjid refused to do Janazah prayer for this clown! But my question is… is this brother entitled to Janazah prayer and can the Masjid refused to do it? The following would suggest that the Masjid is correct in their refusal to participate.

    Bilal Philips states in Funeral Rites in Islam “The funeral prayer should be held even for those known to be involved in corruption…, However, it is preferable that the scholars and pious do not join in their funeral prayer as a punishment for them and deterrent for others like them. The Prophet’s practice was to refrain from praying for those who committed major sins, although he did allow others to do so.

    Abu Qatadah said
    “If the Messenger of Allah(pbuh) was invited to lead a funeral prayer, he would ask about the dead person. If good was said about the person, he would get up and lead the prayer. But if other that that were said, he would tell the family, “It is your affair to deal with.” and he would not take part in the funeral prayer for that person.” (Collected in Musnad Ahmad and al Mustadrak)(authentic?)

    This is a very sick and twisted individual…it is the line between righteousness and self-righteousness that allows a believer to turn his back on his fellow men. Subhannallah.. May Allah forgive us.

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