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Dr. Aafia Siddiqui’s Case: Hearts on our Sleeves or Heads in the Sand?

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With this article, please welcome Iesa Galloway to MM’s Staff as Public Relations Coordinator. Iesa is the Principle of Galloway Public Relations, LLC, and has been involved with CAIR-Houston, TDC, and F&J. A short bio has been added on his author’s page.

Dr. Aafia Siddiqui’s Case: Hearts on our Sleeves or Heads in the Sand?
A guide to charting the waters of community response by Iesa Galloway

Amad’s recent article: The Grey Lady of Bagram: Dr. Aafia Siddiqui and many of the posts it prompted clearly demonstrate how complex an issue Dr. Aafia Siddiqui’s case really is.

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Complexity often makes for murky waters and with all the factors surrounding this case, be assured that the path forward can be perilous.

This article is not a discussion of the case’s legal merits or its moral implications. Rather, the purpose is to explore constructive ways to respond to such issues, so that the American Muslim community is neither used for an agenda that it does not support nor relegated to an ineffective role that promotes feelings of resentment, disenfranchisement or detachment from society.

The steps are simple to understand, yet can be difficult to employ:

  1. Separate emotional responses from core and universal principles
  2. Tolerate different and opposing points of view
  3. Identify effective ways to promote justice
  4. Build lasting relationships that promote the greater good

In a case like this the feeling of clarity is often rooted in emotional and preconceived perspectives. This is because as members of the public, we do not have full access to the facts or the perspectives of the opposing parties. With the astounding accusations made by all invested in the case’s outcome, it is vitally important that as individuals we understand the basic ways that this and similar cases can be used.

For example, a xenophobe whose pre-trial commentary on Dr. Siddiqui implies or declares guilt will normally follow such a notion with broad-brush treatment of the Muslim community. They will paint American Muslims as a subversive group that silently supports the allegations. However, we do not have to look to the fringe political and social commentators to find similar propaganda. Those calling for American Muslims to disengage from social and political activism are not only the opposite-equivalent of the xenophobes; they are also helping them marginalize American Muslim voices. Both the automatic assumptions of guilt or government conspiracy reveal more about the world view and biases of the commentator than they do about the case itself.

The myriad of conflicting “facts” will continue to be used and many times, spun to support any number of agendas. For example, Al Qaeda would want the reports of abuse, along with the entire accusation of an “integrated American Muslim mother” turning operative, to be seen as validation and a recruiting tool. The U.S. Government needs to demonstrate that it is capable of safeguarding the population while at least complying with basic human rights standards. Advocacy organizations may see the case as a chance to fulfill their mission’s and thus increase their stature and ability to fund-raise. There are virtually endless combination of reasons that groups and organizations would want to get involved and more often than not they are a mix of both altruistic and opportunistic motivations.

We get motivated by this same mix of reasons as well. The stakes are high, even for us as individuals, as Americans and especially as American Muslims. We see a traveling mother and her family broken up. Her rights as a citizen suppressed. We hear different reports from our government and from the accused. As our reaction begins to formulate we normally choose either a path of complacency or discord. We should ask ourselves, are there other options? How should the American Muslim community respond?

This simple answer is that there will be no American Muslim community response. There will be responses from American Muslims and American Muslim groups. On the surface this fact can appear as disunity or a weakness, but in reality it can be a very sophisticated and appropriate strength. As the case and the surrounding factors are complex, our diversity mandates that our responses will be as well. However, a complex mix of responses and a coherent set of responses are two vastly different things.

Currently we have several categories of responses on record, none of which show a real grassroots position or a sound approach for the greater good:

  1. Muslim advocacy organizations that championed cases in the past have responded by remaining unengaged. Often the cases they previously supported have become classic examples of winning a battle, while delivering results that clearly lacked real forward progress.Take for example, the designation of being an “unindicted co-conspirator.” Few in the general public will consider the fact that this designation is strategic in a case against an indicted entity. They will likely overlook the fact that the label is nearly impossible to challenge and that the practice of publicly revealing entities named as unindicted co-conspirators is frowned on because an entity is considered innocent until proven guilty. Several well-established Muslim leaders and organizations have found that being publicly labeled an unindicted co-conspirator is difficult, if not impossible to completely recover from.
  2. Some Muslim leaders have commented on the case. There statements fall in one of three categories: a) assuming guilt of Dr. Siddiqui, b) assuming her innocence or c) a wait and see position, which implies trust in the system and should be intended to inspire trust from our fellow countrymen.

To affect positive outcomes for America, its position and role on the world stage, the American Muslim community and the case itself, we need to embrace a few strategies.

One is separating complex and emotional issues into their core components. In this case the major issues are: human rights, justice, legal prosecution of individuals suspected of engaging in or supporting terrorism, and community support for a mother and family going through a horrible ordeal.

As we all know, American Muslims are a small, but growing minority within America, with estimates ranging from 1% to 2.5% of the total population. This fact screams for the need of building alliances. If we, as a community, can mentally separate human rights principles from the legal case, we would then have a host of potential allies. We can identify and work with groups that oppose torture, stand up for due process, and stand against the deterioration of other constitutional rights. This allows us to build broad-based coalitions that are hard to attack. When a cross segment of Americans stand together, it affirms the validity of the cause. When a minority group stands alone it is seen as a special interest.

By isolating the human rights aspect of the case, and by working to improve America’s image on human rights, you are actually opposing terrorist recruitment efforts and therefore part of an effective solution; not part of the problem.

Separating the issue of Justice is only accomplished by acknowledging that this is a case that needs to be played out in court. That means supporting the process of the trial itself; even though the outcome may be different than what is desired. This is perhaps the most difficult issue for many people. However, the simple reality is that the trial will take place. However, a fair trial is the best case scenario for all Americas. To help assure this, groups have traditionally established and supported legal defense funds. This is among the strongest ways that American Muslims can demonstrate that we are both a concerned and engaged member of society. It proves that we can advocate for justice in a just way. These funds can allow for outcomes to be appealed and even for legal teams to sue for damages! This serves as another example to the world of how we are empowered by our government, with real avenues to challenge injustices.

The last and perhaps most emotionally needed strategy is direct support for the human factor. Charities can be set up for individuals and families. Letters of support can boost morale. Public support, like courtroom sit-ins and petitions all demonstrate solidarity and can have a tremendous effect. These actions can rally organizations and move public opinion. However, good intentions are not good enough. Individual and public action, if done in manner inconsistent from the legal defense’s strategy, can actually do harm to a case.

Today as the grassroots responses are forming, it is essential that we remember the need to create lasting relationships with others who share our universal values. As individuals and as a community we have to find opportunities to build relationships, relationships with non-Muslims that are truly win-win. Obviously, these relationships have to be maintained and reciprocated; otherwise what we really end up doing is to burn bridges.

While we each consider Dr. Aafia Siddiqui’s case, it should be stated very clearly that conspiratorial and anti-American rhetoric, withdrawal from society and other deconstructive responses, all serve to separate us from our potential allies. Those responses will empower both the anti-Islamic xenophobes along with their counterparts, the terrorists.

Remember that every God-fearing human being can agree on justice and humane treatment; let those ideals be the cornerstone of our responses

Link to Full Coverage of Dr. Aafia’s Ordeal

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The Prophet (SAW) has taught us the best of deeds are those that done consistently, even if they are small. Click here to support MuslimMatters with a monthly donation of $2 per month. Set it and collect blessings from Allah (swt) for the khayr you're supporting without thinking about it.

Paul "Iesa" Galloway is a native born Texan. He was recently called "the Yoda of interfaith affairs" by a colleague from his daytime gig. After hours Iesa serves as a consultant, messaging strategist and trainer on media, government and community relations. Iesa is a product of the "Military Brat" experience of the 1990's on US Army bases in Germany he has traveled extensively, for extended periods in Kenya, Hungary and Communist Poland on missionary trips, visited Communist East Germany with the Boy Scouts of America, as well as enjoyed time in France, Italy, Spain, Switzerland, Holland and Austria. Since embracing Islam, Iesa was asked to be the founding Executive Director of CAIR-Houston, where he served the community from 2002 to 2006, he has completed the Hajj pilgrimage, participated in an interfaith pilgrimage to the Holy Land with the Society for Biblical Studies and completed a study abroad program on the history of Islamic Spain, Morocco and Andalusian Philosophy with the University of Houston. Iesa's education is rooted in History and Public Relations and he has a interfaith and multiracial background.

74 Comments

74 Comments

  1. Amad

    Amad

    August 26, 2008 at 9:00 AM

    The sort of rational and mature approach that you suggest is a long time coming for Muslims in America. I hope inshallah that the article goes around to our community leaders and activists.
    jazakallahkhair

  2. Avatar

    Hassan

    August 26, 2008 at 9:33 AM

    Ok, I do not understand why so much obsession with Al Qaeda, even previous posts on her mentioned how she “can” be used by them. I think we need to focus on what is the issue “now” and solve it, when Al Qaeda says anything about her, and when you see common people following their opinion, you can refute. And if someone suggest that it is done in advance before its too late, kindly put more efforts that such cases do not happen to start with, that bogeyman can use it.

    I am assuming her complete innocence (like the way it should be) till she is proven guilty, And why is this case considered complex, if it is, then no case is simple. Why trust the system? Are the muslims the only one left to trust the system? Although we are targeted most from its abusiveness.

  3. Amad

    Amad

    August 26, 2008 at 9:45 AM

    I forgot the welcome:

    Welcome aboard Br. Iesa… may Allah make your participation a source of reward for you, and help all of us take from your specialized knowledge.

  4. Avatar

    SaqibSaab

    August 26, 2008 at 12:41 PM

    Welcome Br. Iesa. Ameen to Amad’s duas and looking forward to more of your writings!

  5. Avatar

    Abu

    August 26, 2008 at 12:53 PM

    Why are you guys so scared in defending a Muslim sister who has been imprisoned and tortured? There is a simple response to all this and that is to follow the way of the Prophet .

    Imam Malik (may Allah have mercy upon him) said; “It is obligatory upon the people to ransom the prisoners with all what they possess, and there is no difference in this (amongst the jurists), because the Prophet (SAWS) said “Secure the release of the captive!” [Al-Bukhari]

    And all you can think of is losing potential allies?!

    The Prophet (SAWS) said, ‘Whoever forsakes a Muslim in a situation while he has the ability to help him, Allah will forsake him at a time when he would want the help of Allah.’ And he said (SAWS), ‘Whoever removes a grief from a Muslim, Allah will remove a grief from him on the Day of Judgement.’

  6. Yaser Birjas

    Yaser Birjas

    August 26, 2008 at 1:38 PM

    Welcome br. Iesa, and jazaka’allahu khayran for the very interesting read. Looking forward for more.

  7. Avatar

    Iesa Galloway

    August 26, 2008 at 1:58 PM

    ASA – Hassan: We all should assume her innocence, the legal system was designed that way. This is the root of why this case is complex. We have such a long history of public cases that have inspired such different emotional responses that innocence or guilt become less of a issue than the impact of the case itself. Take for example the OJ Simpson or the Rodney King case. These are actually culturally significant events that cover a range of issues that affected nearly everyone in the country (If nothing else the constant Media coverage interrupted peoples normal lives). In both of these examples the “facts, truth and legal outcomes” of either case can been seen as a secondary catalysts and not as the important issue that are at the root of peoples response and attitudes toward the cases. Each case symbolizes something culturally significant: Rodney King became a icon for police brutality and racial profiling and OJ Simpson became a icon for racial tensions and manipulating justice.

    My aim is to encourage our community to think in terms of the “market place of ideas” and to see how Dr. Aafia is the latest example of how many societal forces use our community and our issues for their agendas. If we remain ignorant and unengaged in how we as a community are used it will lead to more and increasingly difficult challenges for Muslims in America and that keeps the door open for Americans to work at the expense of each other.

    This is the key to why the arguments about how terrorists can use the case are important. Among the big issues of our time is that fear of homegrown and implanted terrorists. It is a real fear and many agendas can be furthered by keeping people afraid.

    How many Americans actually read what Al Qaeda itself says. The reality is that people take the analysis of those that they already trust… be it FOX, CNN and their anchors or Ann Coulter, Michelle Malkin and the list goes on and on. If the charge is that Dr. Aafia was an Al Qaeda operative then it is important to demonstrate that this charge itself can be counterproductive to our national interests (especially if the charges are proven to be false). My point is that the trial’s outcome is the immediate micro issue, but there are macro issues that will affect us in the long term and they are very much a “now” issue as well.

    About refuting a trusted commentator. First, you must be able to establish credibility, not only with your base group but with the commentator’s audience. I can tell you right now as a community our lack of civic and societal engagement has left us as largely unknown and therefore easily not trusted.

    About trusting “the system,” my point is to be engaged in a empowering way to ensure a fair trial. Democracy at its core needs an engaged citizenry to be effective. The checks and balances that are built into the system need to be maintained. If we are under pressure, then let us be a part of the solution. In short as a community we ARE empowered if we can only get over our sense entitlement.

  8. Avatar

    AnonyMouse

    August 26, 2008 at 2:15 PM

    Welcome to MM! Ameen to the ad’iyah.
    JazakAllahu khairan for this excellent article – it’s nice to have an expert analytical eye take on the issue in a professional manner (no offence to our brother Amad )

  9. Avatar

    Iesa Galloway

    August 26, 2008 at 2:28 PM

    ASA – Abu:

    Imam Malik’s commentary on the hadith you quote does not seem directly applicable here. In the U.S. legal system you cannot pay a ransom to end a trial. Please re-read the end of my post and you will see several effective ways to help ensure a fair trial and to support Dr. Aafia as well as her family.

    Working in broad based coalitions mainstreams American Muslims. This can set the stage for minimizing distrust as well as other important items like more effective dawah efforts.

    It all comes down to having a world view that we as Muslims have something of benefit to offer, not only something to defend.

  10. Avatar

    Iesa Galloway

    August 26, 2008 at 2:53 PM

    ASA – All, I am excited to be on board with Muslim Matters and I look forward to learning from all of you!

    May Allah grant us all success, forgive us for our shortcomings and make our efforts beneficial in this Dunya and the Ahkirah.

  11. Avatar

    Yasir Qadhi

    August 26, 2008 at 3:23 PM

    Salaam Alaikum

    Br. Iesa, welcome aboard! Great article, I appreciate the fact that you highlighted the proper way to respond to such events. Many times we tend to simply react emotionally, and sometimes that causes more harm than good to the very cause that we are trying to support.

    Sr. Afia’s story is a very chilling one; and it really strikes us in Houston on a personal level as well. She was a student here at U of H for a few years (before transferring to MIT), and active with our own MSA – in fact she was still a student the very first semester that I started here as well. Many of our older MSA members know her personally.

    A very sad and pitiable case, may Allah restore honor to our Ummah and free her and her son swiftly!

    Yasir

  12. Avatar

    ummafnaan

    August 26, 2008 at 6:10 PM

    Please can Amad or Iesa answer the following question:

    What has Al Qa’eda got to do with America kidnapping a woman and her three children and raping and torturing her for over five years? Please answer the question.

  13. Avatar

    Sireen

    August 26, 2008 at 10:35 PM

    ^
    Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, whom the FBI referred to as “a September 11 mastermind”, upon his arrest he apparantely told the FBI that Dr. Aafia is “a major Al Qaeda operative”. I’m assuming this to be the reason for the references to Al Qaeda, but if there are other reasons, inshaAllah the authors will clarify.

    Wallahu A’lam

  14. Avatar

    Iesa Galloway

    August 26, 2008 at 10:59 PM

    ASA – Ummafnaan:

    How familiar are you with the case? The answer is that the allegations against Dr. Aafia are that she was an Al Qaeda operative…

    You can also read my response to Hassan above.

    BTW, blaming “America” as a whole for the actions of any single law enforcement agency, political party or individual agent is very much like when a bigot says “____ people” do this or that. Let’s keep the grays, gray and beat back those that try to simplify the world into black and white or who try to manufacture a clash of civilizations…

  15. Avatar

    Concerned Muslim

    August 26, 2008 at 11:29 PM

    Assalamu ‘alaikum

    Interesting. So is this the back-up article? If they convict her of the charges the threw on her, and she is labeled a terrorist…will you say “Hey! We didn’t support her! Take a look at this article “hearts sleeves heads sand whatever” and you’ll see that we were attempting to be ‘objective’ the entire time. Phew! Close one!
    Or perhaps this new author does not speak for the entire MuslimMatters crowd. I sincerely hope so.

    Grow a spine, seriously. This house slave mentality is sickening. The woman has been abducted, imprisoned, had her children taken from her, tortured, raped, shot at, framed with obviously bogus charges, denied medical treatment…what more do you want? They can do all this to a poor, defenseless woman, and you still have the nerve to write something like this. In the past, wars were fought for the honor of a Muslim woman. Apparently now her life and honor is a matter in which we must look at objectively – neither assuming her innocence or guilt – and look at how we as an american Muslim community can use this to get more parking space for our Masaajid [among other benefits].
    But it’s cases like this in which someone’s true colors are shown, clear as the mid-day sun. Allahul Musta’aan.

    ‘Innocent until proven guilty.’ It’s what we Muslims believe in. And don’t worry, the americans also supposedly believe in it too; you won’t get in trouble if you say it.

    I’m disappointed at the fact that two brothers whom I respect Yaser Birjas and Yasir Qadhi responded to this shameful article in such a positive way.

    “…who try to manufacture a clash of civilizations…”
    That’s funny. A clash of civilizations has to be manufactured now, eh? The homosexuals from the city of Prophet Lut (‘alayhi al-salaam) did not have a hard time understanding that there was a clash of civilizations.
    They said: [27:56] “Drive out the followers of Lut from your city: these are indeed men who want to be clean and pure!”

    Yet some of us today have a hard time grasping it. Allahul Musta’aan.

  16. Avatar

    Not so happy

    August 26, 2008 at 11:45 PM

    You made very good points. Thank you for taking the time to write. The fact is Muslims are a minority in the US and due to our own shortsightedness, bickering among ourselves we do not have the respect as a community. We like to assess everyone else but not ourselves, myself included. We have to stop being emotional, undoubtedly Aafia’s plight is heart breaking, I cannot stop thinking about what she and her family must be going through, it bothers me greatly as a human being that I had to witness something like this. We live in time of “great confusions” you have to be skeptical about everything. By no means I am trying to minimize her and her family’s tragic situation, but at the same time we have to set aside our emotions and work to not only help her but also take part in educating our officials and law enforcement organizations that they should stop having vengeful suspicions of Muslims. And when they do (which is frequent, unfortunately!) we should voice our concerns.

  17. Avatar

    ummafnaan

    August 27, 2008 at 12:30 AM

    Iesa said

    BTW, blaming “America” as a whole for the actions of any single law enforcement agency, political party or individual agent is very much like when a bigot says “____ people” do this or that. Let’s keep the grays, gray and beat back those that try to simplify the world into black and white or who try to manufacture a clash of civilizations…

    Iesa, you know very well when I said America, I didn’t somehow mean the whole American population somehow got together to kidnap and torture Dr. Aafia, so please…
    ‘The Jews and the Christians will NEVER be pleased with you until you turn to their Millat(way of life)…’. Can you take a wild guess who made this statement? I’ll tell you. Non other than Al Hakeem, Al Razaaq, Ar Rahmaan, Ar Raheem. The Creator of the heavens and the earth and all that is in between. Including the ‘great American civilisation’.

    So for you to even suggest that the clash of civilisations is just something manufactured out of thin air, is tantamount to going against the words of Allah azza wa jal. Like it or not. And there are only two sides in this clash of civilisations: The ‘awliya of Allah and the ‘awliya of shaytaan. There is no third group.
    What happened to giving our fellow muslims the benfit of the doubt? Yet nowadays we are always so quick to side with the kuffar against our fellow brothers and sisters. And at least answer my question before accusing me of being a bigot and concocting ‘clashes of civilisation’.
    Anyway, to each their own!

  18. Avatar

    Concerned Muslim

    August 27, 2008 at 12:48 AM

    Not so happy said:
    “We have to stop being emotional, undoubtedly Aafia’s plight is heart breaking, I cannot stop thinking about what she and her family must be going through, it bothers me greatly as a human being that I had to witness something like this.”

    Nonsense. If a human being can hear of the story of what happened to ‘Aafia Siddiqui and not get emotional, then check him for oil leaks because chances are he’s a robot.

  19. AnonyMouse

    AnonyMouse

    August 27, 2008 at 1:01 AM

    I think that what many people aren’t getting is that we at MuslimMatters aren’t trying to belittle the case of sister ‘Aafia, nor do we feel less strongly about it than any of you do.

    Yes, those crimes were committed against her, and YES, our blood boils and our hearts break to see the injustice and oppression inflicted not only on her, but on many of our brothers and sisters in Islam throughout the world. Wallahi, there are nights when I cannot sleep properly because of how angry I am at the state of the Ummah, and the state of the world. Verily, I too grieve for days past when the khalifatul mu’mineen would raise an army to protect the honour of one Muslim woman.

    However: Do we have an Islamic state today? Do we have a Khalifah today? No. The so-called Muslim governments of today are, as we all know, a bunch of useless corrupt evil despots who harm us more than they protect us.

    Who is left? We are, the rest of the Muslim Ummah, scattered throughout the world and in different socio-political situations and environments. And though we may wish for the glory days when we were stronger than any other empire on the face of the earth, we have to face reality and realize that we live in a different world. The majority of us on this blog, readers and writers alike, are living in non-Muslim countries and in a post 9/11 environment.
    Therefore, we have to react in a manner that is PRACTICAL and will do more benefit for the cause of the Muslims than harm – and indeed, if we were to rise up loud and angry and call to arms, do you think that would do any good for the Muslims? For sister ‘Aafia and all the others?

    Brother Iesa was advising us as to how to deal with this situation in a way that will be effective here in the West. He was not saying that we abandon any attempt at supporting our sister in Islam, at defending her, at demanding her release and justice for herself and others. Rather, he was showing how BEST we can support and defend them, how BEST we can facilitate justice.
    He is not telling us: don’t feel angry, don’t feel sad, don’t feel outraged, don’t hate those who are responsible for this evil. He is not telling us to not make du’a for our Muslim brethren, to not make du’a against the oppressors.
    He is telling us, make use of our resources and be practical and behave in a manner that will be beneficial for us in individual cases like that of sister ‘Aafia’s, and in the greater situation at large.

    I ask of you all, do not be quick to label us as “cowards” or “agents of the government.” If you take even a quick glance at our many political articles on this website, you will realize that we most certainly do not defend the actions of the American government, or any other government in its treatment of Muslims around the world. Yet this does not mean that we will call to arms or use angry rhetoric that, while not only useless, will simply make life difficult for us all and hinder rather than help the cause of the Muslim Ummah. Instead, we are making a point of looking at the real world situation and how to work within the legal framework, how to use practical and realistic means of achieving our goals.

    May Allah forgive us all for our weaknesses, unite us in our love for Him and His Deen which He has blessed us with, increase us all in emaan and taqwa, and strenghten us upon Islam that we may be an Ummah which our Messenger (sallallaahu ‘alaihi wa sallam) can be proud of. May Allah grant strength and patience to the oppressed and downtrodden, and grant us victory over the criminals. Ameen, thumma ameen.

  20. Avatar

    Iesa Galloway

    August 27, 2008 at 1:04 AM

    Walaikum Asalaam Wa Rahmatula Wa Barrakatu Concerned Muslim,

    OK, I was waiting for some of this to come up, so thank you!

    Let me explain the elements of the title (It may help clarify points I thought were clear):

    1) “Hearts on our sleeves” is intended to make us think and react, not just react. So I will ask that you consider this before just reacting… My point is to avoid the marginalization of Muslims, to deny those that want to keep our community vulnerable and weak by spreading fear the opportunity to do so. It is encouraging Muslims to advocate against torture, rape, abuse, lack of due process and the breaking up of family’s more effectively. How is this done? It is done by standing on the issues with other people who agree that these things are wrong.

    Please explain to me how this is spineless?

    2) “Heads in the sand,” this is actually rebuking those that do nothing out of fear, laziness or weakness. However, because I do not appreciate criticism without suggestions I go on to list how to be proactive in advocating for social justice effectively in the America. As a small and not particularly empowered minority it is not only logical but necessary that Muslims operate in large broad based coalitions. (The fact that even the most powerful groups try to use this tactic is testimony to its effectiveness)

    Agreed, the “house slave mentality” is sickening. Being unaware of one’s own weakness and remaining in that state is key to that mentality. And yes, today TOO MANY Muslims are suffering from colonized minds. We let others think for us, we repeat past mistakes without learning from them and we react in a manner that is akin to tripping over pennies on our way to make dollars.

    Trying to see the forest from the trees doesn’t necessitate that we run face first into an oak.

    The “us versus them” mentality is indeed a convenient world view if your aim is to do little and complain a lot. However, it is like a horse with blinders on, it is a limited view that ignores so much reality. Take for instance the fact that some of the leaders of the Japanese, Jewish and Christian communities rushed to the Muslim community’s aid immediately after Sept. 11, 2001. They spoke out against internment, stereotyping or out of the urge to do the right thing.

    The most hateful and deceitful Islamophobes are on the far fringes of western society. They are gaining ground and their progress is due to our lack of action. We can in-fight or reach out. It literally is a matter of whom can reach and win support from more spheres of influence than the other that will determine many of our issues.

    I say we choose to operate in the paradigm of dawah in our approach to non-Muslims. If Allah does not guide them, at least we begin to earn a seat at the leadership table by working on coalitions that are consistent with our values. This allows us to encourage goodness and discourage wickedness, with our actions, our voices and our resources and STILL work within legal and accepted frameworks.

    “A strong person is not the person who throws his adversaries to the ground. A strong person is the person who contains himself when he is angry.” [Al-Bukhari]

    Notice the hadith said to contain, it did not say do not feel.

  21. Avatar

    Abu Sabaya

    August 27, 2008 at 2:40 AM

    Iesa Galloway’s active suggestions (courtroom sit-ins, letters of support, working with concerned groups, etc.) are excellent and should be applied to the fullest.

    Having said that, there are some thoughts I have regarding the approach of some Muslims in general on this issue:

    * The Islam factor in much of what Muslims have said is weak, as what is being said consists mainly of political analysis that could have come from an Antiwar.com columnist as much as it could have come from a Muslim recovering from his sister being abducted, imprisoned, separated from her children, tortured, possibly raped, shot at, framed with bogus charges, and denied medical treatment.

    * While people are going over and above to avoid the undertones of a clash of civilizations, us vs. them, etc., what has happened/is happening to Aafia is nothing more than a manifestation of these very concepts! There is something in Islam called wala’ and bara’, and to quote brother Iesa’s title, some are trying to put their “heads in the sand” on this.

    * It is obvious to many that this tip-toe approach is being taken out of fear of being associated with terrorism. We need to get over this false fear and free ourselves from the psychological prison that Satan and the US government have collaboratively placed us in.

    * This compulsive fear of being associated with ‘the terrorists’ has even led to such extreme suggestions that simply by not having denied America’s accusations against Aafia, some Muslims by default “…have their own propaganda to put forth…to use [Aafia’s story] to brainwash and recruit more youth.” With attitudes like this, it is no wonder Aafia was handed over to the FBI by fellow Pakistanis.

    * All in all, we need to break out of our shell and rethink our identity as Muslims in America, boldly stand up for our own first and foremost, and leave “working to improve America’s image on human rights” and “opposing terrorist recruitment efforts” for when Aafia has been released from prison (smile).

  22. Avatar

    Iesa Galloway

    August 27, 2008 at 3:04 AM

    Let me try this again (ASA = Asalaam Alaikum)

    Asalaam Alaikum Ummafnaan:

    In telling me how I should have known your intention while using the word “America” you tell me that I am going against Surah Al Bakarah Ayat 120 and hint that I am a friend of Satan. (In English “America” as used does imply the entire country)

    THEN you ask what happened to giving a fellow Muslim the benefit of a doubt?

    You also assumed that I called you bigot. For that, I seek your forgiveness as my intention was to demonstrate that lumping large diverse groups into a monolith is unfair and inaccurate. We get really upset when all Muslims are treated as a monolith… that is why I called you out on your use of the word “America.”

    Not buying into the idea that we are in a all out clash of civilizations, does not mean that I do not acknowledge the people, groups and forces that want to incite and elevate the conflicts across the globe into one. Look to what I am advocating and it is clear I am trying to side line those people who are pushing that agenda.

    Lastly, (by your implication of using the word “we”) please show me how I “sided with the Kufar?”

  23. Avatar

    ummafnaan

    August 27, 2008 at 5:50 AM

    this again (ASA = AsalaLet me try am Alaikum)

    Thanks for the clarficaton.

    Asalaam Alaikum Ummafnaan:

    Wa alaikum us salam wa rahmatullahi wa barakatuhu Iesa,

    In telling me how I should have known your intention while using the word “America” you tell me that I am going against Surah Al Bakarah Ayat 120 and hint that I am a friend of Satan. (In English “America” as used does imply the entire country)

    When we say America is at war with Iraq, are we in any way implying that the millions of American citizens have in some way joined the American Army and headed out to Iraq to fight? No of course not. Because in English, it is also possible to use the name of a country to represent the Government of that country. Right or wrong?

    THEN you ask what happened to giving a fellow Muslim the benefit of a doubt?

    Yes I did ask that. In relation to your premarture conclusion that somehow Al Qa’eda is in some way t blame for Dr Aafia’s plight. Or do you not consider our Muslim brothers of Al Qa’eda a your brothers in the deen. The last I checked they were still muslims and hence have rights over you and me!

    You also assumed that I called you bigot. For that, I seek your forgiveness as my intention was to demonstrate that lumping large diverse groups into a monolith is unfair and inaccurate. We get really upset when all Muslims are treated as a monolith… that is why I called you out on your use of the word “America.”

    Yes I did. Since you implied my statements had a bigoted tone. And I pointed out that when I say America, I mean the Government.

    Not buying into the idea that we are in a all out clash of civilizations, does not mean that I do not acknowledge the people, groups and forces that want to incite and elevate the conflicts across the globe into one. Look to what I am advocating and it is clear I am trying to side line those people who are pushing that agenda.

    If the so called ‘war on terror’, which entails the detainment of an innocent woman and her three infants for five years in solitary confinement and then blatantly lying to the whole world that she was somehow involved in some ‘terror plot’, is not a sign of a clash of civilisations brother, then I don’t know what is.

    Lastly, (by your implication of using the word “we”) please show me how I “sided with the Kufar?”

    Well if you believe you are innocent of that allegation, then I was not referring to you. It was a general observation which is evident with the deafening silence within the Ummah today. Of the over a billion muslims in the world today, how many thousand have spoken up on behalf of Aafia? Where are the voices of the Muslim organisations that are always so quick to issue statements condemning Al Qa’eda and terrorism? Why have they suddenly gone mute when it comes to the biggest terrorist act of the 21st century: the kidnap of an innocent woman and three infants for years; Allah alone knows if the other two children are alive or dead. Would the Americans have dared to do this had Aafia and her children not been Muslim?

  24. Avatar

    the proud irhaabi

    August 27, 2008 at 8:54 AM

    i have a simple question

    are this muslimmatters.org “moderates” ? meaning do they follow demo-crazy and fake freedom? like the crusaders

    or are they muslims ? meaning do they follow kittaab Allah and the sunnah like al-Qeada

    barak Allahu feekum and sorry if my question is not so clear

  25. Avatar

    Abu Noor Al-Irlandee

    August 27, 2008 at 9:57 AM

    As salaamu ‘alaykum Brother Iesa,

    Welcome to Muslim Matters, Jazzak Allaahu Khayr for your well thought out post.

    I agree completely with Abu Sabaya. Concerned Muslim also makes some very good points.

    So it seems that we all agree on certain things….e.g. that we should have an active Muslim legal defense fund or funds, that we should have organized efforts to support the families of prisoners, that we should work together with others who are opposed to the government’s actions to make our concerns known. So, let’s inshAllaah get to work on those things.

    I do think our overall conception of what the situation is and the lens through which we approach it are significant issues. I tend to be a bit troubled but what seem to be the implications of the CAIR/Iesa Galloway approach but I realize that we are not at the level as a community where we will all agree completely and I see no reason why we can’t work together on what we agree on.

    So, why don’t we have a CagePrisoners here in the U.S.? Let’s start a similar organization. I know there have been attempts at Legal Defense organizations, maybe someone can share their info here. The established organizations have their role but they are not going to aggressively take up these causes. I hope they support the efforts as they develop, and I actually expect that they will to a large extent.

    I am sure there is a lot going on that I don’t know about. So let’s get that information out…the big picture discussions will undoubtedly continue (and I will inshAllaah be an active part of them) but they will be more productive if they take place in the context of all of us working together on what we agree on, which will build up our trust and brother/sisterhood.

    Tiocfaidh Ar La.

    Allaah knows best.

  26. Avatar

    Hassan

    August 27, 2008 at 10:05 AM

    the proud irhaabi said:

    i have a simple question

    are this muslimmatters.org “moderates” ? meaning do they follow demo-crazy and fake freedom? like the crusaders

    or are they muslims ? meaning do they follow kittaab Allah and the sunnah like al-Qeada

    barak Allahu feekum and sorry if my question is not so clear

    Although I have my disagreements with muslimmatters and this article itself, but you must have to be most stupidest person on the face of earth.

  27. Avatar

    shahgul

    August 27, 2008 at 11:49 AM

    Assalamu alaikum, all,

    I think, people out here have too much time and energy to waste bickering with each other.
    How about some action?

    Nice to hear from brother Galloway. If people here don’t know that, this person is not in the habit of engaging in rhetoric over the internet. He has, for the longest time I remember, been in the trenches, fighting for the rights of Muslims. This is the person I called, when the driver’s license office asked me to expose my hair for a picture. He was working for CAIR at that time. He initiated a lawsuit, which was settled in our favor.

    If anyone of you can ransom Dr. Aafiya, you are welcome to do so, otherwise, listen to those who have more knowledge than you. They are human beings too, and may not be perfect in what they say, but they are your best resources. If you are still not happy, go hire yourself a lawyer. But stop arguing!

  28. Amad

    Amad

    August 27, 2008 at 11:50 AM

    salam Br. Iesa,
    Your suggestions and advice in the article were excellent and clear to those who are involved in activism in the West. I wouldn’t worry about some of these comments (some, not all), because a few invariably are coming from keyboard jihadists . And it is also clear that some of this fuming is related to the beef that these keyboard-jihadists have with our characterization of Qaeda. It is amazing that while these people go at great lengths to remind us about how Qaeda are “our brothers”, they forget all this in their character assassination of MM authors. All you have to do is take a look at some of the comments on the awakening forums to realize their agenda. And the last comment by “proud irhabee” reminded me of Bush’s take on “either you are with us or against us”.

    So, concerning Al-Qaeda, let me say it out again: And what I say here has nothing to do with trying to appease anyone, despite the insinuations and character attacks. I truly believe this with all my heart. While the West is greatly responsible for injustice all around the Muslim world, they are also partly responsible for creating the monster called Al-Qaeda.

    And all those Muslims who join this organization of lunatics and cowards are also responsible for the situation that we find the world in. And this includes, by virtue of the clash they want to “bring on”, the injustices that are further reciprocated (such as what is happening to Dr. Aafia). It has all become a vicious cycle of injustices and crimes against humanity. Bottomline, if you want sympathy for the Al-Qaeda butchers, then you won’t find it here. Feel free to haunt the enclaves of the keyboard jihadists, who have contributed nothing to the case of Dr. Aafia or anyone else, except empty rhetoric and fodder for more backlash against her. I mean consider this question thoughtfully: how much sympathy will this case gain when people find her support next to an article praising terrorists? Rather, it plays into guilt by associations. Thus, if these people want to help Dr. Aafia, stay away from her case!

    Br. Abu Sabaya, as far as your comments (and none of my comments above apply to you brother), first of all, I appreciate how you worded it respectfully and politely. We all have something to learn from that.

    I would say that if you are referring to MM in your points, then the claims are not grounded on factual evidence. All one has to do is search the many articles on this website, and one will find much scathing criticism of the West in general, and our government in specific.

    In conclusion, we try to be fair to the best of our abilities, and if our criticism of the Al-Qaeda means that we are are “munafiq” (see the awakening site, of course not by Abu Sabaya), then that is more evidence of the kharijite mentality of those making this assertion, because one of the characteristics of the khawarij is their takfeer of other Muslims (and of course nifaq is worse than kuffar).

    P.S. Looks like the wacky revolution site has sent us some j-trolls, as evidenced by some of the comments.

  29. Amad

    Amad

    August 27, 2008 at 11:51 AM

    Br. Abu Noor brings up good points… I look forward to hearing a response from Iesa as well.

  30. Avatar

    shahgul

    August 27, 2008 at 12:09 PM

    Assalamu alaikum,

    Brothers Iesa and Amad,

    I have been unsuccessfully trying to get together a few people who would be interested in setting up a legal defense fund for Sister Aafiya.
    The best contribution I got was the suggestion to contact an existing legal defense fund to take up her case.
    The question is, does she already have such a fund? If not, is there another fund that will take up her cause?

  31. Avatar

    shahgul

    August 27, 2008 at 12:20 PM

    I personally think that Sr. Aafiya’s being brought to America is a blessing in disguise. I would never advocate her being extradited/repatriated to Pakistan. There is no law and no justice in Pakistan. If she is tried in a US court, there is still hope of due course and justice. Even if she is incarcerated, she will be treated better than in Pakistan.

    What is the guarantee, that she will not be re-sold in Mr. 10%’s Pakistan when he becomes Mr. 100%?

    Her children are US citizens, and I am surprised that CPS is not raiding the Baghram compound to recover them. They also need to be found and brought back to the US where they belong.

    I have no beef in saying that I love America more than Pakistan, where I was brought up. The goodness in Pakistan (or any other so-called Muslim country) was in the past. The goodness in America lies in the present and in the future.

    Tell me what benefit has all this Talibanization of Pakistan or Afghanistan brought to Musliims and the cause of Islam? None, zero, zilch. It has only succeeded in making what is available of God’s Earth to Muslims shrink. Today, the non-Muslim GI is more free to visit Afghanistan, the land of my forefathers, than I am. We have now lost the paradise of Swat too. I don’t know if Peshawar is safe to visit any more or not. Is this Islam?

  32. Avatar

    Iesa Galloway

    August 27, 2008 at 12:26 PM

    Al Humdulilah for the active discussions on this post!

    A few thoughts:

    RE: Clash of Civilizations – I am considering a future post on this topic possibly after Ramadan. For the time being, a brief summary of my understanding of this topic is that while Samuel Huntington mixes and misuses many actual conflicts and trends, the core of these conflicts are not based on what he labels “civilizations” as he defines it (civilizations = religious groupings). Look at the continued rise of liberal secularism and the continued weakening of organized religion in “the West” as well as the Un-Islamic regimes that govern the vast majority of Muslim countries, they all weaken Huntington’s central thesis.

    RE: America = All Americans – When OBL issued a statement before the reelection of President Bush, he clearly said that Americans would be held accountable for the government’s actions. When Al Qaeda released its Fatwa allowing the use of nuclear weapons it rationalized civilian casualties under a mix of eye for an eye and implicit guilt. Linguistics aside a declaration of war is clearly a government action, a individual case is not; in other words context matters.

    RE: CAIR/Iesa Galloway approach – I am proud of what good Allah allowed during my time at CAIR-Houston. I also do believe that the approach I currently advocate for is fairly unique, because it calls for specialization (I attempted to lay out a plan that allows for multileveled, multi-organizational and individual actions for this and other cases within the accepted, legal and affective frameworks of our country).

    “Work together on what we agree on” rather than maintaining internal discussions (read spinning our wheels) what a refreshing concept.

    At last someone finished a comment with Allahu Alam! It should have been me… Allah Musta’aan

  33. Avatar

    Not so happy

    August 27, 2008 at 2:05 PM

    Concerned Muslim said:

    Not so happy [*I*] said:
    “We have to stop being emotional, undoubtedly Aafia’s plight is heart breaking, I cannot stop thinking about what she and her family must be going through, it bothers me greatly as a human being that I had to witness something like this.”

    Nonsense. If a human being can hear of the story of what happened to ‘Aafia Siddiqui and not get emotional, then check him for oil leaks because chances are he’s a robot

    Dear Concerned Muslim,
    What I meant was that we should be more objective, its very easy to get emotional but to strive to make a change is not. And please do not take it personal, b/c it is not. I believe we are all soul searching, I know I am! Aafia’s story is a human tragedy, any person of basic human dignity would be shocked to see that a human being is capable of inflicting this kind of pain to a fellow human. And that’s exactly how it should be pursued to help her and her family. I wish someone could post here the ways to help her and her family. Because I am really not sure what one can do in an ongoing investigation, I read this all the time that “we cannot comment b/c the case is pending” it must mean something, right?

  34. Avatar

    Iesa Galloway

    August 27, 2008 at 2:56 PM

    ASA – Shahgal,

    I am not aware of any legal defense funds set up for Dr. Aafia. I know of a few people working on this front and I believe that they will achieve some sort of results soon Insha’Allah. As far as the existing Muslim legal defense funds go… what I have seen so far indicates that they will not be of any help.

    ASA – Not so happy:

    Lawyers say that due to legal or strategic restrictions… Individuals can help, namely through legal defense donations (I believe at the moment Dr. Aafia has court appointed attorneys & see above) public displays of support (court room sit ins & etc.) and moral support (letters to the accused and their families).

    Of course, ALL of this should be done as you stated based on the appeal of “basic human dignity.” To accomplish that we have to work with people and avoid what would divide Muslims from others that advocate for justice…

    We should learn from other trials and how they impacted and were impacted by the community.

    Lastly, we should also seek advice from brothers and sisters like, for example, Capt. Yousef Yee whose firsthand knowledge could prove invaluable.

  35. Avatar

    Muslim

    August 27, 2008 at 2:59 PM

    assalam alaikum wrwb,

    brother Amad said
    So, concerning Al-Qaeda, let me say it out again: And what I say here has nothing to do with trying to appease anyone, despite the insinuations and character attacks. I truly believe this with all my heart. While the West is greatly responsible for injustice all around the Muslim world, they are also partly responsible for creating the monster called Al-Qaeda.

    I am not in favour of Al-Qaeda or America.
    from the statement you made, i got few things in my mind
    1. America is responsible for injustice all around muslim world -as u said, alhamdulillah
    2. America is responsible for creating the monster called al-qaeda

    Who is bigger criminal now ?
    If america is responsible for injustices all around muslim world, as you said. What should we muslims do, as per shariah? Sit back and write comments or what?
    If america has become clear enemy of islam. Are we allowed to stay here as per shariah?

    everything good is from allah, everything bad is from me and shaitan

    Loving and hating for the sake of allah swt

    -Allahu alam

    jazak allah khair..

  36. Amad

    Amad

    August 27, 2008 at 3:18 PM

    America is not a “clear enemy of islam”.. I never said that. Some of America’s foreign policies under the Bush Administration were clearly misguided. Let’s not conflate everything.

    So, we must bring attention to the injustices, we must call out the administration, and we should continue to insist on change of policies, through the peaceful means provided to all citizens of this country. There is no czar who runs America. If we work with other people, many, many of them who don’t like where America is headed (remember almost a majority of Americans believe that America’s action in Iraq was wrong), and we work for political change, then we can have an impact. Another way of helping out is to change the image of Muslims and Islam in this country, by grassroot dawah, and by working with everyday Americans on social and community projects. When the majority of Americans start seeing Muslims as a force of positive change, they will start demanding a change in American foreign policy towards other Muslims, and the leaders will have no choice but to pay heed.

    I know that this is probably not the answer you were looking for, but surely the answer of terrorism and reciprocated injustice is not the right answer under any circumstances.

    wallahualam

  37. Avatar

    Muslim

    August 27, 2008 at 4:57 PM

    assalam alaikum warahmatullahi wabarakatuh,

    i agree with your answer, but how much time will it take to change the image of muslims here.
    We muslims are living only in major cities like ny, chicago, la , dallas, houston to name few. But the majority of america’s population live in suburbs.
    Till we change the image of islam in these people’s mind, i am doubtful will there be any muslim country left or not. [like what happened to spain]

    you didn’t answer my other two questions
    Who is bigger criminal now ?
    If america is responsible for injustices all around muslim world, as you said. What should we muslims do, as per shariah? Sit back and write comments or what?

    I would appreciate if brother Yasir qadhi could enlighten us on this as per shariah point of view.

    Allahu alam

    -Everything good is from allah, bad is from me and shaitan
    jazak allah khairan….

  38. Avatar

    Maryam Hassan

    August 27, 2008 at 5:56 PM

    Assalaamu ‘alaykum

    Please see our detailed action alert for Sr Aafia here:
    http://www.cageprisoners.com/campaigns.php?id=789

    It includes information on how to write to Aafia, send her books, money; writing to her family; writing to the US and Pakistani authorities (including letter templates); online petition and downloadable campaign materials.

    For those of you in the UK, we have organised a protest for sr Aafia on Friday 12th September 2008:

    For updates on the case see http://www.aafiasiddiqui.org

    CAGEPRISONERS
    JUSTICE FOR AAFIA SIDDIQUI PROTEST

    Friday 12th September 2008
    6-8pm

    Outside the US Embassy, Grovesnor Square, London

    Speakers include:

    Moazzam Begg (Ex-Guantanamo detainee, Cageprisoners)
    Lord Nazir Ahmed
    Yvonne Ridley (Press TV, Respect)
    Andy Worthington (Author, Reprieve)
    Asim Qureshi (Cageprisoners)
    Imran Khan (invited)

    Speeches will commence at 6:30pm. Iftar and Maghrib at 7:30pm.

    A petition for Aafia Siddiqui as well as leaflets and postcards will be available. Donations will be collected for Aafia’s fund.

    Please design and bring your own banners!

    SUPPORTED BY:
    Islamic Human Rights Commission (www.ihrc.org)
    CAMPACC (www.campacc.org.uk)

    For further information:
    07973 264197
    contact@cageprisoners.com

    http://www.cageprisoners.com
    http://www.aafiasiddiqui.org

  39. Avatar

    Maryam Hassan

    August 27, 2008 at 6:05 PM

    Shahgul – re Legal fund. We had enquired about this previously and understand that donations are needed for example to enable Aafia’s family from Pakistan to visit her in prison etc. However her lawyer asked us to put this on hold for now – insha’Allah as soon as we have the details we will publicise this.

    For now people could use their money to send Aafia funds in prison or purchase books for her.

    There is definately a need for organised activity in the US. If individuals would like to set something up affiliated with Cageprisoners then please contact me insha’Allah. We should avoid duplicating efforts, so there is not really a need for another blog or website, mirroring the same material, but there is a definately a need for actions and protests in the US related to cases there – and ultimately that is only going to happen if individuals in the US organise activities.

    There is also a need in the US IMHO for something similar to an organisation we have in the UK called Hhugs (www.hhugs.org.uk – Helping Households Under Great Stress) who provide practical, emotional and financial support to the families of prisoners. Even if it is not possible to set up a national organisation or registered charity there MUST be Muslims in each locality that has been affected by arrests supporting the innocent families, however informal the structure may be. That would include Chicago, New York, Lodi, Houston and Virginia. I know that some Muslims have done this in Virginia but I believe that many other families in the US feel completely abandoned by the community when their husbands or sons are in prison.

    Btw, if you would like to contact Yusuf Yee insha’Allah I can forward messages onto him.

    Wassalaamu ‘alaykum

  40. Avatar

    Suhail

    August 27, 2008 at 7:08 PM

    Brother Amad,

    Regarding the criticisms at Islamic Awakening site then you should grow thick skins because you cannot stop people targeting you whether justly or unjustly. It is part and parcel of the blog world. Also IslamicAwakening as a site is mashallah very good site as there are all kind of people there airing there views and people who are supporting unjust and terrorist attacks are refuted and condemned. The only thing is that everybody is allowed to post there views unless it is totally unwarranted.

    Sometimes the criticism that is done against the authors on this site is for there own good. It gives the idea about how the general muslim is feeling when they read your article. People will use different language when doing criticism harsh or mild. You cannot expect people to keep quite when they find something they do not like. It may be wrong or right but they will air there comments and you have to listen to them or just ban them if you prefer that.

    Anyways I am not sure why we have to bring Al-Qaeda into Dr Aafia’s case every time we talk about it. Neither Osama or Zawahiri has called Dr Aafia as there comrade so we should also stop repeating the same things over and over.It is doing no good for her.

    Jazakallah Khairun
    Suhail

  41. Avatar

    the proud irhaabi

    August 28, 2008 at 2:19 AM

    to Hassan

    as the hadith goes islam began as strange and it will be once again strange.

    i might be stupid but alhamdulillah i’m still a strange muslim and i dont go around and insult other fellow muslims
    like the kuffaar of quraish use to do with muslims at the time of truth and iman.

    so in this matter we can cleary see who is the muslim and who is the ignorant quraishi and in relation to MM i dont disagree with them but rather i reject them unless the return to hukm Allah wa sunnatu Rasoul Allah salah Allahu alaihi wa salam and try to defend our poor sister instead of their own interest.

  42. Avatar

    AbuZakariyya

    August 28, 2008 at 3:41 AM

    Barak Allahu Feeki Sr Maryam

    all the details are here now:

    http://www.cageprisoners.com/campaigns.php?id=789

    how to help financially, physically, in all ways. Kindly get into action and concentrate on this till sept 3rd (at least). We can discuss differences in approach between us BROTHERS/SISTERS after she is released inshaAllah! So for now, take the good and leave the bad — prioritize your efforts for helping her.

    wassalam

  43. Avatar

    AMA

    August 28, 2008 at 5:08 AM

    Assalaamu ‘Alaikum Wa Rahmatullaahi Wa Barakaatu,

    To Iesa Galloway and everyone who thinks his article, approach, and opinion is “rational and mature”, a “very interesting read”, or “how BEST we can facilitate justice”.

    There are several heartbreaking factors about this article and the commentary that ensued after it that I feel I ought to respond to, Insha’allaah, with the help of Allaah.

    First off, its safe to say I was floored by the general tone of this piece; it’s passiveness and eagerness to work within “the legal framework”. If this was all, perhaps I could stop right here, find another way to ease the anger I’ve built over reading this article, but no… More serious and catastrophic are the principles which the author is trying to advocate. My aim is to try and highlight why the very essence of this piece is not only distasteful but completely anti-thetical to Islam. Don’t expect a fatwa, takfeer, or even a heavy set of Dalaa’il. Just a few points and some advice, insha’allah. (I apologise if I sound sarcastic at points.)

    Looking towards the actual piece, indeed it is hard to find something incriminating between the authors smooth, soothing, and reassuring tones about pragmatism, “think before you act” mantras, and the “for the greater good” principles upon which the article is built. But nevertheless, something just didn’t feel right about the piece. Something smelt fishy and all keen muslims minds must have realised that behind the seemingly cool head of the author something was terribly wrong with the “principles upon which the article is built”.

    In response to the dissenting voices that followed the article, these catastrophes of opinions were more easily identified as the author (and his supporters) tried to excuse away the rightful objections of those dissenting voices. I’m having some trouble in formulating a list but insha’allaah what I am trying to point out will come across.

    Initially, of course, is this phobia towards “reacting” as evidenced from the authors treatment of a “reaction” as some sort of red button that might cause irreparable damage if pushed. In the case of our tormented sister, are we not s’pose to “react”? Of course, we ought to “think” and react; fine. Sounds fine on the surface, but the unfair side of me might just think it is an attempt to douse the fire that’s burning inside me for my sister…? Hey, you might get that idea? I’ll try and be fair. All I ask of the author is that he treats me, rather, the entire nation of Islam, with a little more respect than a finger sucking Tommy-boy that needs constant reminders to “think” before he acts.

    Okay, after we’ve managed to tie our shoes and tuck our beds nicely, what does the author indicate as the well-earned fruit of our thought? The eureka moment: “My point is to avoid the marginalization of Muslims”. Is this why a reaction is so dangerous? So in what way does the author fear the marginalization of Muslims could occur? Perhaps we will lose our lofty political standing in the Unites States, yes. Our influence might wither. We might begin to see things that we dislike. That must be it. We might even slip so much that OUR NATION will champion the invasion of muslim lands, the siege of the third holiest site of Islam, the indiscriminate bombing of Muwwahhideen, the rape of pure Muslimaat, the gutting of innocent children, the demolition of Masaajid, the rapid ascendence of Kufr domination over Muslim land, resources, and affairs, the spread of Fawaahisha in the Muslim lands (when the brave American soldiers aren’t raping women themselves), the desecration of Mushaf, the raising of the word of shirk, and the lowering of the Words of Allaah…all that for years and years and happening simultaneuosly in numerous muslim lands. With impunity? Never. Get outta of here. So long as we can avoid being “marginalized” as Muslims in America we can sleep soundly knowing none of these things will ever happen. I mean, surely, that would be the height of marginalization, right? If our dear American friends could ever do that to Islam and the Muslims could we possibly entertain the idea of being further marginalized? No, that would be foolish. If Islam can be trampled and Muslims disposed of without a second thought then we would finally know that we have been marginalized all the way off the cliff of that majestic mountain call “Margin”.

    I mean, what would you call that idiocy if you had to give it a name? Cowardly, foolish; you might even call that spineless.

    But in the unimaginable event that something like that occurs…

    What would we ever do? How could we save ourselves from such a calamity? Any ideas?

    “It is done by standing on the issues with other people who agree that these things are wrong.” Hey, great idea! That sounds so morally significant and socially empowering. Maybe if we lobby enough support from our American buddies we can save our tormented sister from the plight she is in! Yea! That oughta work! Hey, it works all the time! I mean it worked with:

    Ali Al Timimi

    Uzair Paracha

    Sarah Khonaizan

    Homaidan bin Ali al Turki

    Ashraf Al Jailani

    Tashnuba

    Syed Haris Ahmed

    Nadeem Hassan

    Hammad Riaz Samana

    Ghassan Elashi

    Ehsanul Islam Sadequee

    Bayan Elashi

    Basman Elashi

    Adama

    Umer Hayat

    Tarik Shah

    Sheikh Omar Abdur Rahman

    Sheikh Mohammed al-Moayad

    Seifullah Chapman

    Sameeh Hammoudeh

    Rafiq Abdus Sabir

    Rafil Dhafir

    Mohammed Yousry

    Mohammed Mohsen Yahya Zayed

    Masaud Khan

    Majid Al Massari

    Mahmoud Maawad

    Lynne Stewart

    Levar Haney Washington

    Kifah Wael Jayyousi

    Kevin James

    Jose Padilla

    John Walker Lindh

    Hammad Abdurraheem

    Hamid Hayat

    Dr Sami Al Arian

    Gregory Vernon Patterson

    Ali Saleh Kahlah Al Marri

    Ali Asad Chandia

    Ahmed Abu Ali

    Ahmad Al Uqaily

    Adhan Amin Hassoun

    Abad Elfgeeh

    Ismail Royer

    Sorry for being so meticulous, I was just so eager to show the amazing success rate of such a strategy. If our author is right, Aafia Siddiqui
    will be a shoe-in to join these fortunate souls. (May Allaah honour the Followers of Yusuf (AS) and humiliate the contemporary Pharoahs and their effeminate lustful hoars who seek harm for the Muslims, unless they repent like Zulaikha).

    Yea, as long as “Muslims operate in large broad based coalitions” (because after all, we are “a small and not particularly empowered minority”) we will be fine. The Jews, they totally love us. The Born-agains, they love us more than anything. The neo-cons, they are the nicest bunch. The left-leaning faggots, they are the purest folk. The wonderful NGO’s, they have our best interest in mind. Social-advocacy groups, they are so effective in the United States. One big happy family. Aafia Siddiqui is in good hands.

    “The “us versus them” mentality is indeed a convenient world view if your aim is to do little and complain a lot.” Yea, the tormentors of Aafia Siddiqui can’t be rebuked. There is no “us versus them”. By that line of reasoning, I’m sure the author regards himself part and parcel with the association that ravaged our sister. One big happy family, right.

    To top it all off, the following construction displays so much logic, as well. It’s incredible:

    “The most hateful and deceitful Islamophobes are on the far fringes of western society. They are gaining ground and their progress is due to our lack of action. We can in-fight or reach out. It literally is a matter of whom can reach and win support from more spheres of influence than the other that will determine many of our issues.”

    So apparently, those who openly display their displeasure with Islam are on “the far fringes”. Poor them, they don’t get to sit with the big happy family. So sad. But at the same time “They are gaining ground”? Interesting. Why? Is it because “their progress is due to our lack of action”? Ok then, so we ought to act, right? “We can in-fight or reach out”? Huh, that seems like a jump of logic? What happened to acting? Why are the only two options in-fighting and reaching out? Either the opposite of in-action is action or this author is preety skilled when it comes to employing logical fallacies. Hey author, I have a suggestion: we might not be so well-liked but if we ever hope to be “gaining ground” we might take a point or two from those “hateful and deceitful Islamophobes”.

    Any closing words of wisdom?

    “I say we choose to operate in the paradigm of dawah in our approach to non-Muslims. If Allah does not guide them, at least we begin to earn a seat at the leadership table by working on coalitions that are consistent with our values. This allows us to encourage goodness and discourage wickedness, with our actions, our voices and our resources and STILL work within legal and accepted frameworks.”

    Dear Author and His Supporters,

    Enough. Real talk. It is not my intention to speak vainly or sarcasticly or even put down your character. I just feel that many of the fundamental arguments that you present with regards to the case of our sister in need are fundamentally opposed to the Words of Allaah (SWT) and the Sunnah of His Prophet (SAW).

    In all sincerity:

    The Author .vs. The Qur’an:

    He says, “so that the American Muslim community is neither used for an agenda that it does not support nor relegated to an ineffective role that promotes feelings of resentment, disenfranchisement or detachment from society.”

    There is for you an excellent example (to follow) in Abraham and those with him, when they said to their people: “We are clear of you and of whatever ye worship besides Allah. we have rejected you, and there has arisen, between us and you, enmity and hatred for ever,- unless ye believe in Allah and Him alone”: But not when Abraham said to his father: “I will pray for forgiveness for thee, though I have no power (to get) aught on thy behalf from Allah.” (They prayed): “Our Lord! in Thee do we trust, and to Thee do we turn in repentance: to Thee is (our) Final Goal. (4. 60)

    To say that “feelings of resentment, disenfranchisement or detachment from society” put the Muslim community in “an ineffective role” is proved incorrect by the text of the Qur’aan because it describes that position as “an excellent example (to follow)”. In fact, we don’t need to be “relegated” towards exhibiting “feelings of resentment, disenfranchisement or detachment from society” because if we followed the example of Ibrahim (AS) we would do it voluntarily. Kufr and Iman have not vanished overnight. Al-Walaa’ wal-Baraa’ is nt out-dated. If what the Author is saying is correct than we must throw a great portion of the Qur’aan behind our backs, indeed, Tawhid itself. Wake up and smell the cofee, there is no society for you to belong to except the society of Islam.

    “When ye turn away from them and the things they worship other than Allah, betake yourselves to the Cave: Your Lord will shower His mercies on you and disposes of your affair towards comfort and ease.” (16. 18)

    Contrary to what might be assumed of utter failure as a Muslim American Community if the above is exercised, rather these developements would follow in the same fashion as they did in the Story of the Peeople of the Cave: “…betake yourselves to the Cave: Your Lord will shower His mercies on you and disposes of your affair towards comfort and ease.”

    “One is separating complex and emotional issues into their core components. In this case the major issues are: human rights, justice, legal prosecution of individuals suspected of engaging in or supporting terrorism, and community support for a mother and family going through a horrible ordeal.”

    Are these the core components? Is this what Islam would have us stand for in this issue? The slogans and catchphrases that mean nothing? This is about Kufr and Iman and the battle between the people of Kufr and the people of Iman:

    (Pharaoh) said: “If thou dost put forward any god other than me, I will certainly put thee in prison!” (29. 26)

    And they ill-treated them for no other reason than that they believed in Allah, Exalted in Power, Worthy of all Praise!- (8. 85)

    “As we all know, American Muslims are a small, but growing minority within America, with estimates ranging from 1% to 2.5% of the total population. This fact screams for the need of building alliances. If we, as a community, can mentally separate human rights principles from the legal case, we would then have a host of potential allies. We can identify and work with groups that oppose torture, stand up for due process, and stand against the deterioration of other constitutional rights. This allows us to build broad-based coalitions that are hard to attack. When a cross segment of Americans stand together, it affirms the validity of the cause. When a minority group stands alone it is seen as a special interest.”

    They but wish that ye should reject Faith, as they do, and thus be on the same footing (as they): But take not friends from their ranks until they flee in the way of Allah (From what is forbidden). But if they turn renegades, seize them and slay them wherever ye find them; and (in any case) take no friends or helpers from their ranks;- (89. 4)

    O ye who believe! Take not into your intimacy those outside your ranks: They will not fail to corrupt you. They only desire your ruin: Rank hatred has already appeared from their mouths: What their hearts conceal is far worse. We have made plain to you the Signs, if ye have wisdom. Ah! ye are those who love them, but they love you not,- though ye believe in the whole of the Book. When they meet you, they say, “We believe”: But when they are alone, they bite off the very tips of their fingers at you in their rage. Say: “Perish in you rage; Allah knoweth well all the secrets of the heart.” If aught that is good befalls you, it grieves them; but if some misfortune overtakes you, they rejoice at it. But if ye are constant and do right, not the least harm will their cunning do to you; for Allah Compasseth round about all that they do. (118-120. 3)

    Does that need any explanation?

    You see the problem is that the authors whole hypothesis is unequivocally against the Qur’an. What haven’t you read these verses before? Haven’t you Yasir Qadhi? Or you Yaser Birjas? You simply will not build “broad-based coalitions that are hard to attack” if you ally with kuffar. It’s that simple. Alliance with kuffaar=failure. Cram that down your “moderate” neck if you have to, but that’s the truth. Doesn’t Allah know better than you? You see the problem with this whole “strategy” of dealing with the issue of our oppressed sister that is being presented here is that the author has completely formulated it in accordance with the general “acceped norms”, within the “criteria” that the Kuffaar have squeezed him into, and his own desires. Therefore it has nothing to do with Islam. It’s pure Batil. The whole of it, even if the falsehood is presented as the truth. What, are you willing to wait for you or your mother or someone you ACTUALLY love to fall in the same situation as our sister? Suits you, but we’re not gonna let you drag the trojan horse into the fortress of Islam.

    “While we each consider Dr. Aafia Siddiqui’s case, it should be stated very clearly that conspiratorial and anti-American rhetoric, withdrawal from society and other deconstructive responses, all serve to separate us from our potential allies. Those responses will empower both the anti-Islamic xenophobes along with their counterparts, the terrorists.”

    Is this what you fear rather than standing up for your sister? The fear that guarding her honour might “separate us from our potential allies.”!!! That say’s it all. You have no credibility. And about “terrorists”…what “terrorists”? The ones fighting in the way of Allah? The Mujahideen? Last time I checked there was this thing call Jihad and these certain folks call Muijaahideen. And apparently they weren’t the worst bunch of a folks. Correct me if I’m wrong.

    Let those fight in the cause of Allah Who sell the life of this world for the hereafter. To him who fighteth in the cause of Allah,- whether he is slain or gets victory – Soon shall We give him a reward of great (value). And why should ye not fight in the cause of Allah and of those who, being weak, are ill-treated (and oppressed)?- Men, women, and children, whose cry is: “Our Lord! Rescue us from this town, whose people are oppressors; and raise for us from thee one who will protect; and raise for us from thee one who will help!” Those who believe fight in the cause of Allah, and those who reject Faith Fight in the cause of Evil: So fight ye against the friends of Satan: feeble indeed is the cunning of Satan. (74-76. 4)

    Bear in mind that your strategies and opinions will not save you from the punishment of Allaah. If you forsake the Mujaahideen and ally with the kuffaar then you are of them. Bear in mind that you are the terrorist who facilitated, through your undeniable alliance to “America”, the terrorism of the Cross-Worshippers on the sons and daughters of Islam. Bear in mind the countless souls that will enter Jahanamm because of YOU! Beause of what you concealed from the truth. Today is a dire day in history, don’t you know? All these circumstances of the dunya will pass away but Iman will lead its carrier to Jannah forever and kufr will lead its carrier to Hell forever. Are you actually a misguidance among the misguidances that will lead the millions into the hellfire? Today Kufr reigns and so many are on their way to the Hellfire, so what are you doing to turn that around. Repent; your path is dangerous.

    Those who conceal the clear (Signs) We have sent down, and the Guidance, after We have made it clear for the people in the Book,-on them shall be Allah.s curse, and the curse of those entitled to curse,- Except those who repent and make amends and openly declare (the Truth): To them I turn; for I am Oft-returning, Most Merciful. Those who reject Faith, and die rejecting,- on them is Allah.s curse, and the curse of angels, and of all mankind; They will abide therein: Their penalty will not be lightened, nor will respite be their (lot). And your Allah is One Allah. There is no god but He, Most Gracious, Most Merciful. (159-163. 2)

    All of you here on MuslimMatters think hard. Where are you from Islam. And how far is Islam from you.

    “Today as the grassroots responses are forming, it is essential that we remember the need to create lasting relationships with others who share our universal values. As individuals and as a community we have to find opportunities to build relationships, relationships with non-Muslims that are truly win-win. Obviously, these relationships have to be maintained and reciprocated; otherwise what we really end up doing is to burn bridges.”

    This is the cherry on the cake, really. This is not what Islam is about, not at all. If Islam accepted “the need to create lasting relationships with others who share our universal values” then Nuh (AS) would not have been mocked for hundreds of years, Ibrahim (AS) would not have been thrown in the fire, Musa (AS) would not have been chased across the Nile, Isa (AS) would not have been nearly crucified, and Muhammad (SAW) would not have suffered any hardship.

    And in truth we have been infromed about you in advance:

    They will present their excuses to you when ye return to them. Say thou: “Present no excuses: we shall not believe you: Allah hath already informed us of the true state of matters concerning you: It is your actions that Allah and His Messenger will observe: in the end will ye be brought back to Him Who knoweth what is hidden and what is open: then will He show you the truth of all that ye did.” (94. 9)

    Those who believe, then reject faith, then believe (again) and (again) reject faith, and go on increasing in unbelief,- Allah will not forgive them nor guide them nor guide them on the way. To the Hypocrites give the glad tidings that there is for them (but) a grievous penalty;- Yea, to those who take for friends unbelievers rather than believers: is it honour they seek among them? Nay,- all honour is with Allah. Already has He sent you Word in the Book, that when ye hear the signs of Allah held in defiance and ridicule, ye are not to sit with them unless they turn to a different theme: if ye did, ye would be like them. For Allah will collect the hypocrites and those who defy faith – all in Hell:- (These are) the ones who wait and watch about you: if ye do gain a victory from Allah, they say: “Were we not with you?”- but if the unbelievers gain a success, they say (to them): “Did we not gain an advantage over you, and did we not guard you from the believers?” but Allah will judge betwixt you on the Day of Judgment. And never will Allah grant to the unbelievers a way (to triumphs) over the believers. The Hypocrites – they think they are over-reaching Allah, but He will over- reach them: When they stand up to prayer, they stand without earnestness, to be seen of men, but little do they hold Allah in remembrance; (They are) distracted in mind even in the midst of it,- being (sincerely) for neither one group nor for another whom Allah leaves straying,- never wilt thou find for him the way. O ye who believe! Take not for friends unbelievers rather than believers: Do ye wish to offer Allah an open proof against yourselves? The Hypocrites will be in the lowest depths of the Fire: no helper wilt thou find for them;- Except for those who repent, mend (their lives) hold fast to Allah, and purify their religion as in Allah.s sight: if so they will be (numbered) with the believers. And soon will Allah grant to the believers a reward of immense value. (136-146. 4)

    So if you are really believers then listen to this verse:

    But no, by the Lord, they can have no (real) Faith, until they make thee judge in all disputes between them, and find in their souls no resistance against Thy decisions, but accept them with the fullest conviction. (65. 4)

    So, the choice is clear when it come to our sister:

    The Prophet (sallallahu ‘alayhi wassallam) said: “Feed the hungry, visit the sick, and free the prisoner!”

  44. Avatar

    Hassan

    August 28, 2008 at 8:53 AM

    the proud irhaabi said:

    to Hassan

    as the hadith goes islam began as strange and it will be once again strange.

    i might be stupid but alhamdulillah i’m still a strange muslim and i dont go around and insult other fellow muslims
    like the kuffaar of quraish use to do with muslims at the time of truth and iman.

    so in this matter we can cleary see who is the muslim and who is the ignorant quraishi and in relation to MM i dont disagree with them but rather i reject them unless the return to hukm Allah wa sunnatu Rasoul Allah salah Allahu alaihi wa salam and try to defend our poor sister instead of their own interest.

    Notice the word used in hadith is strange, not retard.

    Well you do not go around insulting other fellow muslims, but its quite easy for you to do takfeer apparently.

    We need to defend and protect our sister Dr. Afia, and articles after articles muslimmatters while doing good work in efforts to get her out, unnecessarily conflating the subjects at this point (this is my personal opinion). I would rather have them focused on getting her out, and supporting her and her family, and then later when matters are resolved, they can do some analysis. And if they have to do something like this article, they could have done in general terms without mentioning her case specifically as people are emotional right now (and they have every right to be).

  45. Avatar

    Umm Reem

    August 28, 2008 at 10:26 AM

    La hawla wala quwatta illa billah…

    what a portrayal of ikhlaaq and adaab…and right before Ramadan…may Allah guide us all.

    Some people have too much time!

    Anyways, as much as I didn’t want to be a part of this discussion, I must defend the honor of a Muslim while I can…if people are accusing Br. Iesa to have his “hand in the sand” then I am not sure how many of us actually will consider our heads “out” of the sand…ever since I heard of him I have only seen him struggling and working towards fighting for Muslims’ rights here…not only him but even his wife mashaAllah…

    You see the problem is that the authors whole hypothesis is unequivocally against the Qur’an. What haven’t you read these verses before? Haven’t you Yasir Qadhi? Or you Yaser Birjas? You simply will not build “broad-based coalitions that are hard to attack” if you ally with kuffar. It’s that simple. Alliance with kuffaar=failure.

    didn’t the Prophet of Allah, sallallahu alihi wasaalm, send Muslims to a “Christian” land to seek protection…

  46. Avatar

    Ahmad AlFarsi

    August 28, 2008 at 10:45 AM

    The Prophet (sallallahu ‘alayhi wassallam) said: “Feed the hungry, visit the sick, and free the prisoner!”

    sallAllaahu alayhi wa sallam.

    Dear bro/sis AMA, assalaamu alaykum,

    we can either be a part of the solution or a part of the problem. Do you care to inform us as to how we can free the prisoner? I believe our brother Iesa gave us many pragmatic solutions as to how we can realistically free our sister. If you are saying that we cannot implement his solutions to free our sister, since (as you say) it would be allying with the kuffar (I don’t see how that is so, by the way), then please, instead of criticizing, give us real solutions. In fact, anyone who wishes to criticize the solutions given in the post, should give realistic alternatives.

    If you have no real, implementable solutions to free our sister, then do tell us: Which approach is closer to following the Prophetic hadeeth you quoted for us?

    Wa Allahu a’lam.

  47. Avatar

    the proud irhaabi

    August 28, 2008 at 11:52 AM


    -Edited. Takfeeri comments are never allowed on MM. You have been warned.

  48. Avatar

    Hassan

    August 28, 2008 at 12:13 PM

    the proud irhaabi said:

    to hassan

    “Well you do not go around insulting other fellow muslims, but its quite easy for you to do takfeer apparently”

    yes as muslim i will distance my self from any so-called “muslim moderate” murtad like you that believe in democrazy and who betray fellow muslims such the mujahideen to please your “master crusader”

    “Notice the word used in hadith is strange, not retard”.

    obviously i would rather be a retarded within the fold of islam than housenegro for the crusader master

    When did I state I believe in democrazy? And when did I betray mujahideen to please “master crusader”? And btw dont you even think twice before doing takfir? I mean remember according to hadith of prophet Muhammad PBUH, if one calls another kafir, one of them is going to die as kaafir. So would not you be afraid of saying such thing, thinking God forbid you may be the one?

  49. Avatar

    AMA

    August 28, 2008 at 2:08 PM

    Umm Reem –

    You said:

    “what a portrayal of ikhlaaq and adaab…and right before Ramadan…may Allah guide us all.

    Some people have too much time!”

    I think it is really unfortunate you feel what I had to say was deliberately insulting or that it was something I said because I had nothing better to do. In fact, I do regret the sarcastic tone of that comment but I feel its a small price to pay for the presentation of the Haqq and I’m even more frustrated that you think I said it out of my whims. What I can’t grasp is how you can so cooly shrug off the important message of my piece and instead flare up your nose and turn your other cheek. I think that’s very arrogant of you. If I was suggesting that the authors article was clashing with some very fundamental principles of Islam then perhaps you could have defended the author and brought your evidences that would back up what the author had to say. But of course, you can’t do that because there is nothing to support your conclusions with because this issue is as clear as day. So you turn to mocking and making me appear below you in some way. I half-expected that, because when the truth becomes clear from the falsehood, the people of falsehood resort to puffing up their chests and acting haughty rather than submit to the truth. What good is their in you, and what good do you expect from Ramadan, if you are no better than the Mushrikeen of Nuh (AS)’s people?

    “And every time I have called to them, that Thou mightest forgive them, they have (only) thrust their fingers into their ears, covered themselves up with their garments, grown obstinate, and given themselves up to arrogance. (7. 71)

    Please be a fair person and lets make the Words of Allaah the thing that unites us.

    You said:

    “ever since I heard of him I have only seen him struggling and working towards fighting for Muslims’ rights here…not only him but even his wife mashaAllah…”

    I don’t deny that. In fact, how how could I, when I never even heard of this authors name until I read this article? And apparently you have known him for some time. Like I said, I was in no way trying to disparage the character of the author, I was only tring to highlight why the crux of his advice was something Muslims have to reject in favour of the methodology that the Qur’an presents. It is very simplistic of you to make an appeal at an individuals record as a good samaritan to refute clear-cut versus from the Book of Allaah. Please respond to the fundamental points, not secondary and superficial things.

    “didn’t the Prophet of Allah, sallallahu alihi wasaalm, send Muslims to a “Christian” land to seek protection…”

    Just to clear up this misconception: Yes, the Prophet (SAW) sent the Sahaba to Abbysinia since the King there was very just and would give the Muslims asylum. This has nothing to do with what I am critisizing though. Maybe this would make it more clear for you: The equivalent of what the author is advocating is to imagine that when the Prophet (SAW) and his followers (ra) began to be persecuted in Mecca that he began to build ties with the various Mushrikeen of the city. These ties would honour the “universal values” that the Prophet (SAW) shared with the Pagan Arabs: generosity, human rights (the Arabs were very tolerant as they had Pagans, Jews, Christians, and even Hunafaa living together quite peacefully), family/tribal values, veneration of the Ka’ba, Mecca’s economic prosperity enjoyed by it since it was the economic center of Arabia, the vast and rich cultural heritage of Arabian traditions based in the central position of Ibraheem (AS), real “Abrahamaic unity” with the Jews and Christians around the Prophet especially in Medina, and so on and so on. Not even that much; as we know the Prophet (SAW) was from the all-powerful Quraysh tribe so he could break the chains of Sumaya (ra), Bilal (r), and the rest of the sahaba who were in quite the same position as our sister Aafia today, with just a whisper of conceding to the Quraysh’s demands. Now anybody who knows seerah knows the great contrast between that scenario and what the Prophet (SAW) really did. I mean the Prophet (SAW) could have sat with the heads of Quraysh in their meeting councils and what not and resolved all their disputes in the same manner that the author tries to suggest we can coalesce with the myriad of those who “share our universal values”. That approach is simply anti-thetical to the Islam the Prophet (SAW) brang. Plain and simple. If anybody knows Seerah they know this without a shadow of a doubt. We all know what they offered the Prophet (SAW) of kingship, wealth, women, high position, etc. but what did the prophet (SAW) do with it all? He rejected it. Poor you, do you chase after what the Prophet (SAW) rejected and sell your deen for it? There is one thing that will shape Islamic/non-muslim relations here in America. It is making Tawheed, the Oneness of Allaah, the one thing that we don’t never forfeit or else we will be mushrikeen just like them. And Tawheed is not in the narrow definition you imagine it to be. If you think your Islam will be fine in America so long as nobody forces you to do sujood to a cross then you have another thing coming. Basing our allegiance upon Tawheed and its people and our avowal upon Shirk and its people IS TAWHEED! You can’t seperate it. The prophet (SAW) walked away from the Quraysh’s pleas and they were left complaining:

    “Has he made the gods (all) into one Allah. Truly this is a wonderful thing!” And the leaders among them go away (impatiently), (saying), “Walk ye away, and remain constant to your gods! For this is truly a thing designed (against you)! “We never heard (the like) of this among the people of these latter days: this is nothing but a made-up tale!” (5-7. 38)

    In this same fashion when the Americans call us to “stand with them” against “terrorism” and work in the “interest” of America, with these deceptive words, we should read that they are calling us to ally with them against the Muslims and if we did so we would be like them. In other words, kuffaar murtadeen.

    O ye who believe! take not the Jews and the Christians for your friends and protectors: They are but friends and protectors to each other. And he amongst you that turns to them (for friendship) is of them. Verily Allah guideth not a people unjust. (51. 5)

  50. Avatar

    AMA

    August 28, 2008 at 3:44 PM

    Ahmad AlFarsi –

    You said:

    “sallAllaahu alayhi wa sallam.

    Dear bro/sis AMA, assalaamu alaykum,

    we can either be a part of the solution or a part of the problem. Do you care to inform us as to how we can free the prisoner? I believe our brother Iesa gave us many pragmatic solutions as to how we can realistically free our sister. If you are saying that we cannot implement his solutions to free our sister, since (as you say) it would be allying with the kuffar (I don’t see how that is so, by the way), then please, instead of criticizing, give us real solutions. In fact, anyone who wishes to criticize the solutions given in the post, should give realistic alternatives.

    If you have no real, implementable solutions to free our sister, then do tell us: Which approach is closer to following the Prophetic hadeeth you quoted for us?

    Wa Allahu a’lam.”

    First off, I hope you could define this loose phrase for me “we can either be a part of the solution or a part of the problem”? It is so ambigious, I don’t know exactly what it means or what is they intention behind it.

    Simply put, this hadith should be read on its apparent meaning “free the prisoner” but, of course, along with that we know that there is a correct way to go about doing this and an incorrect way. In the tradition of Ahl us-Sunnah wal-Jama’ah, we should gather the texts so that they agree. So if it is suggested that setting aside our differences with the kuffaar and building “long-lasting” alliances with them in the hope that a broader, perhaps more influential, movement can work to free our sister from this injustice then that porposition has to be weighed on the scales of the Shari’ah. I don’t think there is any argument there. Now is that approach, as summarised above, “the Islamic” approach? No, as I have tried to explain previously. Alliying with the kuffaar, I mean trying to bolster up support from their ranks to fulfill an Islamiclly legislated ‘ibaada (if you haven’t understood what I meant by this), is something that Allaah in His wisdom has explicitly warned us away from. I quoted:

    O ye who believe! Take not into your intimacy those outside your ranks: They will not fail to corrupt you. They only desire your ruin: Rank hatred has already appeared from their mouths: What their hearts conceal is far worse. We have made plain to you the Signs, if ye have wisdom. Ah! ye are those who love them, but they love you not,- though ye believe in the whole of the Book. When they meet you, they say, “We believe”: But when they are alone, they bite off the very tips of their fingers at you in their rage. Say: “Perish in you rage; Allah knoweth well all the secrets of the heart.” If aught that is good befalls you, it grieves them; but if some misfortune overtakes you, they rejoice at it. But if ye are constant and do right, not the least harm will their cunning do to you; for Allah Compasseth round about all that they do. (118-120. 3)

    What I meant to illustrate is that even in the seemingly advantageuos concept that preaches “As a small and not particularly empowered minority it is not only logical but necessary that Muslims operate in large broad based coalitions. (The fact that even the most powerful groups try to use this tactic is testimony to its effectiveness)” is the direct prohibition contained in the ayyah. Islamic causes in the U.S, which overwhelmingly follow the approach advanced by the author, are so feeble presicely because of what Allaah described:

    They will not fail to corrupt you. They only desire your ruin (118. 3)

    That’s what we have to reject from this article. That’s what’s generally wrong with what the author is suggesting. When it comes to:

    “The last and perhaps most emotionally needed strategy is direct support for the human factor. Charities can be set up for individuals and families. Letters of support can boost morale. Public support, like courtroom sit-ins and petitions all demonstrate solidarity and can have a tremendous effect. These actions can rally organizations and move public opinion.”

    Then this is all good…but not the best. All these things ought to be done but if they are done in isolation of the guidance of the Porphet (SAW) and simply in compliance with some Batil legal framework then there will be no barakah in it. The author underscores his motion of action for our sister with a renewed insistence to unequivocally submit to the status quo that is dictated by he A’immat il-Kufr (Imaams of Kufr): push a little bit but don’t call us out for our crimes, under no circumstances legitimate the real resistance that is fighting our War against Islam (The mujaahideen), work within our constraints, put faith in “our system”, put your self-interest ahead of the name of Islam and the honour of muslims, and so on.

    But if the guidance of the Prophet (SAW) was followed then there would be a whole different set of circumstances: the utmost of our capability (according to the Book of Allaah, not some Bill of Law) would be employed, the people who imprison our sister would be viewed essentially as aggressors against Islam and the issue would be a default Islam-vs-kufr one (not a “terrorist” vs America one), the muslims in America would be cleanly divided between those who would sacrifice something (time, freedom, money, life, etc.) for this sister and those who wouldn’t, and so on.

    Change it with your hand, if you cant; with your mouth, if you can’t; with your heart. And that’s the weakest of Imaan.

  51. Avatar

    Ahmad AlFarsi

    August 28, 2008 at 4:23 PM

    ok, so how do you want to change it with your hand? Just give ONE pragmatic solution. That’s all I asked for, and you didn’t give even one.

  52. Avatar

    Umm Reem

    August 28, 2008 at 4:45 PM

    Brother/Sister AMA:

    i wasn’t referring to only you with regards of ikhlaaq and adaab, it was everyone, that’s why I made du’a for “all of us”! :)

    Not even that much; as we know the Prophet (SAW) was from the all-powerful Quraysh tribe so he could break the chains of Sumaya (ra), Bilal (r), and the rest of the sahaba who were in quite the same position as our sister Aafia today, with just a whisper of conceding to the Quraysh’s demands.

    I don’t think so…Prophet, sallallahu alihi wasalam, a) himself was depending on Abu Talib for tribal protection…that’s why as soon as he died, the plan of the leaders of Quraish to kill him was executed…B) He, sallallahu alihi wasalam, himself encouraged other sahabas to ransom fellow Muslims (if they could with their money etc.)

    I mean the Prophet (SAW) could have sat with the heads of Quraysh in their meeting councils and what not and resolved all their disputes in the same manner that the author tries to suggest we can coalesce with the myriad of those who “share our universal values”.

    I don’t think he, sallallahu alihi wasalam, was invited. Their meetings were quite ‘najwa’ if you recall from Qur’an!
    Besides, why would these leaders would have allowed him, sallallhu alihi wasalam, to voice his opinion when they wanted to kill him. These leaders were the ones who signed the boycott treaty!

    But we do know that the Prophet sallallhu alihi wasalm accepted help from other “mushrikeens, pagans, polytheists” during their boycott…
    Allah azzawajal made those non-believers a way to get the food to those Muslims starving for three years, remember?

    A few of these mushrikeen spoke against the boycott and made an effort to abrogate the treaty that was written against Muslims. Hisham bin ‘Amr, Mutim bin ‘Adi, al-Bukhtari and others…
    And we know from Seerah that the Prophet, sallallahu alihi wasalam, respected these “pagans” and would have granted them protection in battle of badr for their “support” to Muslims and taking an “action” in favor of Muslims in Mecca!

    As for signing treaties with those who share “universal values” for some good cause…why not. The Prophet, sallallhau alihi wasalam, took part in aqd-ul-fudool and said that IF he was invited (after his prophethood) he would have done it again!

    *(Aqd-ul-Fudool was basically a confederacy formed in Mecca to suppress violence and injustice, and to defend and vindicate the rights of weak)

    In any case, I said what I had to say. I don’t have time to carry on this discussion any further, if I do, it will be on the expense of my children’s studies time…
    So, I hope and pray to Allah azzawajal to guide us all to His Right Path and open our hearts to the truth and give us patience towards each other and may we all enter this Ramadan with clean hearts, amin.

  53. Avatar

    Iesa Galloway

    August 28, 2008 at 4:48 PM

    Walaikum Asalaam Wa Rahmatullaahi Wa Barakaatu – AMA,

    A couple of points before I address some of yours.

    I write in style of presenting logical arguments & principles on purpose. This fact will likely bother many of you, however there are many good reasons for it. Predominant among them is that I know my role as Public Relations specialist and have too much respect for our scholars and our deen to offer butchered, shoddy and incomplete attempts at scholarship/fatawah as are often seen on blogs and forums.

    Another reason for my writing style is that if and when we as a American Muslims are to work with others, we must realize that there are times for interfaith, times for theological debate and times for activism. Therefore as a community we need to be able to express ourselves to others in terms that will resonate with people outside our community and in an appropriate manner to the goals at hand. If the goal is help our sister in Islam, Dr. Aafia I have yet to see anyone offering different ways to help.

    What I have read on this post is frustration and anger for the situation of the Ummah, the plight of our sister in Islam and large amount of ignorance. I prefer to keep debates non-personal to that aim I remind myself first and us second of our great Scholar Abu Hanifah’s advising his son after he forbid him from debating. Please note, I am not declaring takfir on anyone and I do look for the good in posts to me, May Allah guide us all to what is best.

    My dear brother AMA. There are many holes and problems with your understanding of how to get things done Islamically.

    For example you bring up Pharaoh and Musa. Do you not recall how the Quran frames the entire story? See: Surah Taha, Ayat 44. (speak gently)

    Indeed the excellent example from the Quran should be followed by us in its proper context. So how about other Ayah of Al-Mumtahanah specifically 7 – 9? (only those fighting you)

    Also, your use of the term awliyaa is textbook over simplification of the English word “friend” and reminds me of the leading Islamophobes misguidance to prevent non-Muslims from considering Islam and trying to stop our dawah.

    Again, this sort of cherry picking of verses is not scholarship and is not proper. So I will not continue in this path, my intention is only to show what should be blatantly obvious, that we can twist verses and still be in need of guidance.

    Furthermore is it the proper manners of a believer to publicly disrespect real scholars who have been properly trained? The correct approach would be to ask the scholar directly for an explanation with respect. After that and if you are not satisfied, the ethics of disagreement would be that another scholar of equal or higher standing can approach the one you believe to be in error.

    As to the laundry list of past cases the real challenge would be for you to point to examples where the approach I advocate for was employed in any of those cases. While you may be content dealing in over simplifications (the only thing in common among all these cases are that the accused are Muslims) you must know each has its own unique set of accusations, circumstances and challenges.

    Muslims are not the first victims of fear, abuse and persecution in America and may not be the last. It is my hope that by strengthening Islam in America we may establish justice for many people and that by the example of Islamic character, justice and moral dealings people will flock to our deen as they have in the past.

    To those that love to quote Malcolm X’s statement about field and house Negros to slander their brothers, I say look to post Hajj, Malik El-Shabazz who was indeed a Martyr.

    Because I do not believe that future replies/posts on this subject will be constructive, my final points are these: the mainstreaming of authentic Islam and Muslims in America reflects a path that many minorities have used successfully to lessen injustices and fears in their communities. Are we less able then others?

    The core issue here is the idea that somehow standing on our beliefs (derived from the Shariah) in a coalition with non-Muslims equals excepting them as overlords or protectors? This again is a gross oversimplification and frankly is a smear on another Muslim’s intentions from the same person who is quoting a verse that states Allah knows the secretes of the heart.

    I already sense the response: but you call for working within the system so you must be allying with the Kufar against the Muslims… Please then, someone show me how to help Dr. Aafia’s case outside of the system? From reading your post AMA, it looks like you are calling for the weakest of Iman.

    Yes, I am challenging your world view. At another time we can debate the clash of civilizations theory that is at the root of your animosity towards me (at the moment we have sister Aafia’s case and Ramadan to focus on). For now, let us both work to help Muslims who are in real need and not to continue to stroke the desire to feel religiously superior to our brothers and sisters. For while I love you for the sake of Allah, I know that it is only in pleasing Allah that matters in the end.

    Allahu Alam

  54. Amad

    Amad

    August 28, 2008 at 5:21 PM

    Very well said mashallah br.Iesa. Let the focus be sister Aafia, not you, me, MM or other distractions.

    May Allah help release her.

  55. Avatar

    Abu Sabaya

    August 28, 2008 at 5:44 PM

    Please check out this small article I compiled: http://iskandrani.wordpress.com/2008/08/28/why-sufyan-would-urinate-blood/

  56. Avatar

    AbuZakariyya

    August 28, 2008 at 5:50 PM

    as salamu`alaykum

    Few points:

    * I Request to the shuyukh. If at all possible, kindly give this Friday’s Khutbah that in some way informs the Muslims about the plight of Sr Aafia. And record it so it can be put up on websites and we can bring awareness about the issue of Dr Aafia to the average Muslim. These khutbahs can be emailed to Cageprisoners, they’re desperately looking for this.
    * I was quite surprised recently when I spoke to 2-3 shuyukh here and they did not even hear about the case of Dr Aafia. I find that disappointing. If you look at our scholars (lets forget the past)…like sh bin baz and Sh Uthaymien, they would always be concerned about the plight of Muslims all over the world, not just in Saudi and would do their utmost best to help out.
    * Also, why is it that her case should only be limited to Shuyukh on this board or AlMaghrib. It would be good if our Shuyukh could establish some kind of a “pledge of mutual support” (just like other pledges were created), to support ANY Muslim that is detained. Why is it that even in supporting prisoners we are divided. For example, the case of Samy Al-Arian was picked up by MAS-FF and the ikhwaan. The case of Imam Jamil Amin was picked up by the African American community…and as expected, the case of Ali Timimi was picked up by…mm..nobody cuz we never really went beyond Yearly conferences and duroos. I think it’s time we contact other Muslim leaders around the country about her case and make this a MUSLIM issue and not limit it to only “one crowd”. [And this also is a point for all those who are advocating Al-Wala wal Bara’a and disassociation with the kuffar…. What systems and institutions have you established to address the plight of these prisoners? What support structure exists once these prisoners are released from prison (like in the case of Guantanamo)? ]
    * Also, remember the case of Sh Muhammad AlShareef’s father and how in a matter of days, just from a few posts on his forum, he was able to generate so much support (around 200 just from the almaghrib forums) to call Embassies and press conferences, just using the blessing and the Fadl Allah had bestowed on him. If you check his post, he committed to helping other Muslims after this incident:
    http://forums.almaghrib.org/showthread.php?t=724&highlight=detained
    http://forums.almaghrib.org/showthread.php?p=4189#post4189
    but now, nothing happens. So I urge our respected scholars, to not underestimate their influence and take advantage of it to give the leadership and guidance (again not talking about political but something like what Muhammad AlShareef did–show utmost concern about the situation) that American Muslims so desperately need. Just that in itself will generate widespread support for the plight of such cases.

    I apologize if this is offensive or disrespecting. It’s certainly not my intent. I just want to express what I’m feeling and inshaAllah you can correct me if I’m wrong in my judgment.

    Wallahu Musta’an
    wassalam

  57. Avatar

    Iesa Galloway

    August 28, 2008 at 6:08 PM

    Walaikum Asalaam AbuZakariyya!

    This is the direction that I have long been hoping that this post would take.

    JazakAllahu Khairan!

  58. Avatar

    AbuZakariyya

    August 28, 2008 at 6:10 PM

    also one more thing. I know a lot of people would say, well Aafia is not the first case, what about all the others before her and what about the thousands that are missing still…why treat her case different? Well my view is:

    * Just like the way Allah has given fadl to one Prophet over another, the same way he does with us normal people too. If Rosa Parks never took a stand about moving to the back of the bus, I don’t think the African-American movement would have been where it is. Just one woman, took a stand and decided to sit on a seat that was for whites only. I’m sure thousands and millions of blacks went through discrimination but her case took fire. And there are many other examples. I believe, Aafia’s case is similar. If we treat this like just any other, we will loose the momentum and will become desensitize. Who knows, it could be on of our families next?

    Seize the moment.

    wassalam

  59. Avatar

    AbuZakariyya

    August 28, 2008 at 6:47 PM

    wa iyyakum Br Iesa! May Allah relieve the grief of Aafia and her family and forgive her sins.

  60. Avatar

    Abu Majid

    August 28, 2008 at 7:11 PM

    I honestly believe people like AMA and those from IA forums who seem to be so against Iesa’s posts are living in a dream-world. For them, its all about black and white, their understanding of the Quran vs. ‘all those kuffar’ out there. I just thank Allah that we have ulama all over the world who understand these Quranic verses better than these overzealous children do (because, in the end of the day, that is what they are). They do not have a single, and I mean ONE SINGLE, practical piece of advice for American Muslims to help Sr. Aafiaa, other than their rhetoric against Br. Iesa and those whom they have termed ‘house-negroes’. How insulting and derogatory…

    wAllahi br. Iesa and those who are actually activists in this field are doing much more than you are in terms of practical benefit, no matter how ‘watered down’ it is for you, it is in fact light years ahead of anything your ilk can muster.

    All you guys can do is talk, talk and more talk… we see no action other than vainglorious reminders of (veiled) jihad against the kuffar and how we must hate all of them and how they are out to do this and do that… Get off your high horse and get down in the trenches… sometimes doing what Iesa and his crew does is a more practical and useful jihad than the type you call for. You people seem to have no clue of what to say, when to say it, or even how to say it… I think a closer reading of the life of the Prophet Muhammad will come in handy for you lot.

    And one thing that amuses me is IAs dissociation from the government salafis, despite the fact they employ their tactics hook, line and sinker against those whom they disagree with. Anyone who doesn’t toe their line is automatically a ‘house negro’ or ‘government sellout’ or ‘no understanding of wala wa bara’, along with sometimes clear-cut takfir and sometimes accusations of nifaq, and all the time accusations of selling out to the goverment. Has it ever occurred to you to have something called husn al-dhann against Br. Iesa and the students of knowledge who are doing *something* to help out, and that even if you believe they are mistaken, they are doing it for the sake of Allah and not because they are ‘selling-out’ or have a house-negro mentality.

    Stop with the name-calling and accusations; for a people who are so eager to quote verses against the kuffar, stop applying them to fellow Muslims…

    Have some self-respect for yourselves, because outside of your little clique on IA, most of the Muslims simply view you all as an embarrassment (but of course, that only adds to your self-righteous indignation and fuels your theory of how you, and only you, are the ‘Saved Sect’ and ‘Victorious Group’ and ‘Ghuraba’ and …)

    How pathetic. Grow up, get married, have kids, stop living on the internet and live in the ‘real world’ for a decade or so, and then let’s see what percentage of you are still on this stuff.

    Alhamduillah we have people of knowledge who talk some sense to us, instead of these buffoons filled with hot air.

    PS – Yes, I too fell into name-calling, astaghfirullah for that. My anger got the better of me, but at least I didn’t accuse any of you of kufr, nifaq or evil intentions, merely of lacking wisdom and intelligence (and even proper Islamic knowledge).

  61. Amad

    Amad

    August 28, 2008 at 8:13 PM

    jazakAllahkhair Br. Abu Majid… some people don’t realize how painful and hurtful comments can be coming from fellow Muslims, especially when you are taking the time to do something, even if that something is not consistent with their style. As for me, I have done very little for the Muslim Ummah, so fine. But subhanAllah, Br. Iesa has done so much for our Muslim community in Houston, and it is a shame that instead of absorbing from his specialized knowledge, some people have relegated him to lowly terms.

    Even if we are to agree, for argument’s sake, that we haven’t done all this the “perfect” way. So, isn’t it better for an imperfect dissemination of Dr. Aafia’s story than no dissemination at all? Why do we insist on “our way or the highway”? Why do we seek perfection in others, when we ourselves are not close to perfect? Why don’t we accept the 90% good and ignore the 10% bad?

    And subhanallah, IF we are house-negroes, despite all our criticism of the injustices of our government, then I shudder to think what some people believe of other Muslim blogs and websites who haven’t even touched the story, or those who are perhaps a little or a lot progressive in their beliefs? What are they?

    I promised to myself I would no longer comment, but Br. Abu Majid’s strong defense re-energized me. I had difficulty sleeping last night due to the vitriolic and hateful personal comments that I, MM, and Br. Iesa have received (some anonymous cowardly ones were so bad that they were removed immediately by other editors) over the last few days. And for what? Suggesting a “different” course of action than others might have liked? Suggesting that there are two sides to the story, and that we cannot excuse terrorism as being a cause? Ok so if you don’t agree with us on this one part, couldn’t you focus on the part that we do agree on? The part of working for Dr. Aafia’s release and her public relations campaign?

    I ask everyone’s forgiveness for any of my comments that may have been harsh or hurtful, and I hope we can move past this and focus on collective gains, instead of divisive losses. I hope we enter into Ramadan with cleaner hearts, may Allah help us all.

  62. Avatar

    Maryam Hassan

    August 28, 2008 at 8:45 PM

    Assalaamu ‘alaykum

    JazaakAllahu khaira AbuZakariyyah – I think your suggestions are excellent and much needed.

    It would be excellent if the du’aat who post on MM and others could give khutbahs this jumu’ah (or failing that next) on Aafia’s case and in particular encourage people to attend the court hearing/protest on the 3rd. Those in the UK could encourage people to attend our protest on the 12th insha’Allah.

    The pledge idea is brilliant – and you could perhaps include those “fundamental norms” that are agreed upon therein.

    I think more than rehabilitation (since there are no US nationals in Gtmo and the majority of Muslim convicts in the US have been given excessively long sentences – it will be quite some time before they are released) the first step and priority would be thinking about supporting the families and detainees whilst they are inside. Setting up a fund for all US detainees or their families would be a starting point.

    And if people are not aware of the cases perhaps they can subscribe to our mailing list so they get weekly updates and will be insha’Allah better informed.

    JazaakumAllahu khaira
    Wassalaamu ‘alaykum

  63. Avatar

    Hassan

    August 28, 2008 at 9:37 PM

    Amad bhai, in hindsight do you believe that leaving out politics/alqaeda would have been better? May be if we were focused on just supporting our sister, there would have not been much fight/disagreements.

  64. Avatar

    Abu Sulaiman

    August 29, 2008 at 12:19 AM

    as-Salamu ‘alaykum,

    This message is towards Abu Majid, may Allaah guide you to Jannah, you said:

    “Stop with the name-calling and accusations; for a people who are so eager to quote verses against the kuffar, stop applying them to fellow Muslims…”

    I haven’t seen brother AMA, curse or do anything of that sort, if you read his post completely, you’d notice that to. Rather he was attempting to correct a problem, which he saw. I find your post to be very harsh, and at points insulting. The mentioned phrase contradicts your overall tone.

    And I ask brother Amad to Fear Allah, I would have expected to advice the brother on his tone, and loose tongue.

    And I don’t post here to defend brother AMA specifically, but rather to defend our brotherhood. Fear Allah on choosing sides based on previous relationships and follow the truth even if you may hate it.

    Your brother,
    Abu Sulaiman

  65. Avatar

    Concerned Muslim

    August 29, 2008 at 12:39 AM

    Assalamu ‘alaykum

    Brothers and sisters,

    I apologize for my harsh comment a few days ago. I posted too hastily. Other brothers and sisters have said what I wanted to say but in a better manner. I understand that the situation is more complicated than we think it is, sometimes. Allahul Musta’aan.

    May Allah grant our sister Dr. Aafia sabr and may He strengthen her Iman.

    May Allah guide us to the Straight Path.

  66. Avatar

    Siraaj

    August 29, 2008 at 1:07 AM

    You know, I look at the large back and forth responses, and I wonder, what if the time, energy, and thought that was put into typing up these long responses was channeled into helping Dr. Aafia or others, what would happen? Allahu a’lam.

    In going through brother ‘Iesa’s posting and responses, I do believe he has many valid points, and I believe the IA people also have valid points of criticism as well. A balanced picture will take into account the good from both perspectives and leave out what is negative, and for sure there is good in both of them as nothing is wholly evil.

    May Allah subhaana wa ta’aala forgive us all our shortcomings and show us the correct course of action, whatever direction that may take us.

    Siraaj

  67. Avatar

    Abu Majid

    August 29, 2008 at 1:33 AM

    @ Abu Sulaiman

    Jazak Allah for your reminder, you are right. I ask Allah’s forgiveness for my harshness, I wrote it after getting riled up reading the comments of these brothers.

    Advice: never write anything in a state of anger!

  68. Pingback: Friday Links — August 29, 2008 « Muslimah Media Watch

  69. Avatar

    Maryam Hassan

    August 29, 2008 at 6:58 AM

    You know, I look at the large back and forth responses, and I wonder, what if the time, energy, and thought that was put into typing up these long responses was channeled into helping Dr. Aafia or others, what would happen? Allahu a’lam.

    Precisely – you could have signed the petition http://www.petitiononline.com/aafia/petition.html or written a message to Aafia’s family (email to contact at cageprisoners dot com) in that time.

  70. Avatar

    Abû Mûsâ Al-Ḥabashî

    August 29, 2008 at 9:49 AM

    May Allâh reward the MM staff and Iesa Galloway for the good they have done and forgive them their faults. Âmîn!

  71. Avatar

    Siraaj

    August 29, 2008 at 10:51 AM

    Salaam alaykum Sister Maryam,

    Jazakallaah khayr for your response. I value the habit of proactivity, of taking action, but I also value spending my time on actions that will bring about the most amount of benefit.

    I must admit that I am ignorant about the benefits of signing a petition, but this is often the first recourse in these types of cases – I’m interested in knowing what the benefit is in these petitions, and where, if anywhere, these petitions have translated into benefits, and specifically, online petitions.

    Siraaj

  72. Avatar

    confused

    September 1, 2008 at 6:44 PM

    I completelty understand what you are saying Siraaj. I am skeptical of signing online petition but I did sign it thinking if people like cageprisoners.com are dedicating their time it must mean something. Things cannot always be explained/understand through mass communication. As far as posting messages goes that definitely is a step one into taking action maybe at a later time. I am VERY skeptical of lot of these websites, but you have to use your analytical skill and take a chance, at some point one has to say that its time to contribute positively, standing up wit people who you think are doing the right thing even if you do not agree with them 100%. I am not trying to be bashful I am simply sharing what I think.

  73. Avatar

    AbuAbdAllah, the Houstonian

    September 11, 2008 at 4:44 AM

    innalhamdolillah. bismillah. as salamu alaykum wa Rahmat Allah wa Barakatuhu.

    i spent a few months away from Muslimmatters until just recently, but mashaAllah, it is good to see new contributors like Brother Iesa Galloway. like Amad, i am a Houstonian, and i attest that i know nothing but good about Iesa’s long, patient, and thoughtful work on behalf of Islam and Muslims in this city.

    no one has to agree with everything he wrote. but how many shuyukh have taught us explicitly that no one other than the Prophet sull Allaho alayhi wa sallam was perfect?

    so it made me sad to see so many people on this page post without any apparent fear that their posts may someday bear witness against them. one of the signs of the Muslim is that his brother (and sister) is free from evil that he may say about him. and one of the signs of the scholars was that when a genuine debate existed — like the one about which this article was written, how should Muslims respond to a tragedy like this case — was that they treated each other with respect hoping that the other side could prove them wrong because the objective was always to find truth and the path of righteousness, not just to be recognized for a clever turn of phrase.

    i myself have questions after reading his article. but i do not doubt for one moment that his experiences IN THE FIELD (all caps intended) and not just posting comments on blogs (self-deprecation unintended) — that his actual work on behalf of Muslims, make him qualified to put forward the article he has submitted.

    the sad treatment of my brother from Houston is something about which i felt empowered and compelled to write, but it has delayed something i wanted to write as soon as i read shaykh Yasir Qadhi’s post.

    jazak Allah khayr, shaykh Yasir for discussing Dr. Aafia’s years in Houston as a student. as Allah is my witness, I did not realize that this was the same sister until this morning at suhoor (which i realize now was about 22 hours ago). I had read one MM article about her case, and this morning I asked my parents about her because she is Pakistani, and they are expats who follow news there. “Have you heard anything about the case of this Pakistani doctor who’s being held by the Americans?”

    they said, “we know her.” i was late for fajr because it took me so long to cry my way through two rakats of sunnah.

    (it could just be that i have isolated myself in a cave — hopefully the Surah Kahf kind, but) i have not heard one person in Houston mention this sister in a khutbah, or make dua for her not even for her children in qunoot, and she did not just pass briefly through Houston as so many transient foreign students do. thousands mashaAllah over the years have come here from Muslim countries and studied at UH and Rice. among them she was a person who worked hard for islam when many of us who were born here were living comfortably in ignorance.

    and the tears that burned my eyes then and are coming back now were not just for her but for myself and for every person here in Houston who has not even known that someone we called sister has been treated like this. that someone upon whom we wished salam, and who wished us back the same has been suffering ghalabitir-rijaal for five years.

    and words from the article i had read — that Aafia and her brother (who also lived in Houston) could only look at each other and cry — burned me, too, because my eyes had been drier when i read them, and what kind of brother have i been?

    may Allah forgive me, and anyone who can claim the same shame.

    how many of us know this example from our history — the story of the one woman who cried out when she was taken captive, and the caliph hearing her plea sent forth an army of incredible size just to free her. how deaf we have been. how hard our hearts.

    and, in a point where i especially agree with Iesa, how weak we must not let ourselves be. we have a duty to calmly, rationally, and effectively determine the best way for our community to respond to calamities like this. we have no khalifah, and we have no army. neither did the Muslims in Abyssinia when they faced the possibility of being expelled. instead they came together, discussed plans of actions, chose a representative, and acted in a way that enlivened what they knew of islam.

    note, i am not saying we have to follow their example in trusting their local ruler — their local ruler was a man the Prophet sull Allaho alayhi wa sallam had already felt was trustworthy enough to send the elite among the believers.

    rather i am highlighting what the Muslims did in response to a threat.

    may Allah guide us to the Straight Path, the Path of those upon whom is His favour, not of those upon whom is His Wrath, nor of those who go astray. may He in Whose Hand is our forelocks, Whose Decree cannot be challenged, may He protect us from fear of others and from the tyranny of evil men. may He give us the ‘ilm, hiqmah, and hoda to make choices that will please Him, and may He give us the courage to act on them with right conduct.

  74. Avatar

    Bint

    February 23, 2009 at 8:47 PM

    the post above mine expressed my sentiments. A woman who was imprisoned or kidnapped for five years, had her children taken away or unknown whereabouts, walking around with a gunshot wound and on case for what?/ at this point it is for alleged shooting at someone. But whatever the case, she suffered already, if anyone has a heart muslim or non muslim please let her go home to Pakistan she is depressed and suffered mentally and physically and whatever she endured is punishment enough.

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#Current Affairs

Politics In Islam: Muslims Are Called To Pursue Justice

Imam Asad Zaman, Guest Contributor

Published

The pursuit of justice is a core Islamic value. One of the important roles Allah, the Exalted, assigned to His messengers is the task of establishing justice among the people. Allah, the Almighty, emphasized the importance of justice when He prohibited Himself from oppression and declared it forbidden among us humans. Allah is the Lord of all justice and fairness. In His fairness, He commands us to not allow our anger or hatred towards any group lead us to injustice against them. “Be just,” He commands, “it is closer to righteousness.”

Allah, the Most High, commands us to be witnesses for justice, even against ourselves. The concept of “even against ourselves,” is an open call to all people of faith to rise to the occasion, especially where we see systemic or structural oppression. In most such cases, the oppression is carried out in our name, usually by our elected government.

Allah’s emphasis on justice leads many Muslims to worry that if they vote for a president who transgresses against another country, the fault falls on everyone who voted for him. This fear paralyzes Muslim engagement in the American political system. Let us examine the circumstances of responsibility in such cases.

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To be clear, the present governments of almost all countries on Earth, including the so-called Muslim countries operate with corruption and oppression. Taking Egypt as an example, the government’s domestic policies have led to the unjust death and imprisonment of thousands of Egyptian citizens, and their foreign policy enables the perpetuation of Gaza’s destruction. This, however, does not require the average Egyptian Muslim citizen to reject all relationship to the nation of Egypt. The question then arises: how responsible is the Muslim for the actions of his government? Likewise, when the American government acts with injustice at home and abroad, how responsible is the American Muslim for the actions of his government? When the average citizen is not consulted before the execution of military operations, to what degree are we held responsible?

Allah’s Messenger provided for us a balanced approach to engaging with the injustice around us. Abu Saʿīd al-Khudri narrates that he heard the Prophet say,

“Whoever sees evil should change it with his hand; and if he is unable to do so, then he should change it with his tongue; and if he is unable to do so, then he should hate it with his heart—that is the least of faith.”

Let us take a practical example:

In 2001, President George W. Bush decided to invade Iraq. To justify his action, he invented a series of lies that Iraq possessed nuclear capabilities. It took him more than a year to align the power brokers in America and Europe to enable this evil action to occur. Neither the opinions nor the interests of the American population were taken into consideration.

Before the invasion, the public had two concerns: that the justification presented for the war was speculative and unfounded, and the war would result in countless unnecessary deaths. These worries quickly materialized into realities as time proved them to be true. However before the war, various politicians, pundits and opinion makers helped sell this unjust action to the people in order to gain their consent. They are undoubtedly guilty of murder and should be remembered as peddlers of death.

But what was the duty of an average American Muslim? The hadith mentioned above lists three levels of engagement:

Level One:

Someone who was part of the military or legislative authority had a duty in front of Allah to attempt to stop the invasion with action. If he was a congressman, he had a moral duty to vote against the war. If he was a member of the military, any intelligence agency, or government policy group, he had a moral duty to challenge the claims of the war’s proponent’s and provide information to the public so that they can know the truth. This duty applied to the person despite the likelihood that such a course of action would have probably jeopardized their career or their life.

Level Two:

Most Americans were not in the position described in level one. In their case, their duty was to speak out against this act of injustice. They could have written letters to their legislators, participated in protest rallies, held events in congress, and even spoken to their neighbors, classmates and colleagues about how wrong this action was. Any American Muslim who was not under threat of arrest for speaking out, but chose to remain silent still, failed to fulfill his duty to protest the evil.

Level Three:

There is little likelihood that the approach of silence would be justified for most American Muslims. There are countries (such as Saudi Arabia), where people can be arrested, tortured, even murdered if they speak out against the government. A Muslim living in one of these societies has a duty to at least engage with the injustices around them on an internal level, detesting the action from the core of their heart. As for the Muslim who does not detest that millions of innocent people are killed, they should check their heart; they would be missing what the Allah’s Messenger described as, “the least of faith.”

What faith is left in the heart of the Muslim who is not bothered by the death of more than a million Muslims?! Even if his mind is polluted with patriotism, tribalism, nationalism, or an inclination towards military culture, there is no excuse for the lack of humanity that is required for this level of apathy.

Considering the hadith above, our minimum duty is to stand and speak against the use of our tax dollars for such acts of injustice. There were indeed many Muslim and non-Muslim voices of dissent that protested the American invasion of Iraq. In addition to the spiritual duty of speaking out against injustice, it was clear to many what was later proven to be true: the invasion was not good for America. The financial and human loss incurred by this war has not made neither America, nor the world safer.

Many propose that Muslims should react to the injustices in their countries by leaving them. But this evasive approach fails to actually address the injustice. There is a greater, though more challenging, expectation of addressing the injustices from within, especially in a country like America where criticisms are tolerated and protest can lead to policy that is felt around the world. A large amount of the pain, and suffering that is happening to the Muslims today can be stopped from inside America. Our brothers and sisters in Pakistan, Bangladesh, Syria, Jordan, Somalia, Kenya, Yemen, Iraq, and Sudan are hoping that we will do something from our positions that will alleviate their suffering. They need our help.

Exonerating ourselves because our government acts without our consent may appease our consciences, but is of no benefit to our global Muslim community.

Such an approach is contradictory to the teaching of the Prophet as made clear by the hadith above. We have the opportunity and ability to speak out against evil, so passive dissent is not an option.

Allah tells us the story of Musa 'alayhi'l-salām (peace be upon him) and al-Khadir 'alayhi'l-salām (peace be upon him)  in Surah al-Kahf (peace be upon them both). When they boarded a ship of some men who agreed to give them a ride to their destination, Khadir pierced the boat’s basin, damaging their source of livelihood. Confused, Musa criticized this action, as it seemed like an injustice towards people who readily did a favor for them. What Musa didn’t know was that the men would encounter a tyrant king who had sent his men to seize all boats that were sound and intact. And as these men had helped Musa and al-Khadir, he wished to help them evade this king’s oppressive policy; the minor damage saved them from losing their boat!

The king was an oppressive tyrant. Musa and al-Khadir (peace be upon both of them) did not possess the power to remove the king or prevent the king from his evil action, and so they took action according to their ability. They knew that though they could not save everyone from the injustice, it was still their duty to act within their capacity to reduce the king’s injustice.

The Story of The Secret Believer

Allah also tells us the beautiful story of the secret believer in the Quran, who worked in the unjust government of the Pharaoh at the time of Musa 'alayhi'l-salām (peace be upon him). We know he had a fairly high status in the government because he was part of their most confidential meetings. This secret believer did not exit the government after he saw the many evil deeds of the Pharaoh’s government. During the discussion in the Pharaoh’s cabinet where they decided that Musa 'alayhi'l-salām (peace be upon him) was to be killed, this believer rose up and voiced his objections to the injustice, citing historical, logical, and emotional appeals. The meeting, however, concluded with the decision to execute Musa. Having been unable to stop this royal decree, he still made the effort to warn Musa so as to give him the chance to flee.

Allah tells us the beautiful story of the secret believer in the Quran, who worked in the unjust government of the Pharaoh at the time of Musa Click To Tweet

Instead of condemning him for participating in a government founded upon unbelief, Allah exalts his mention in His glorious book. He is our example of speaking truth to power, and the reason for Musa’s 'alayhi'l-salām (peace be upon him)safety from Pharaoh’s plot. This man used his position to obstruct oppression, not perpetuate it.

As Muslim Americans, we live in a non-Muslim country. The decisions and actions of our government impacts all of us living in this country. Disengagement will allow selfish people to make decisions that will result in harm to our communities.

Participation will allow us to follow the examples of proactive engagement so as to prevent harm and ultimately change corrupt systems from within. An all-or-nothing approach will almost always lead to nothing.

Allah, the Exalted, provides these examples so that we can understand the practical role of Muslim in an overwhelmingly hostile society. Even though our environments have not reached that degree, we can still relate to the feelings of being oppressed and ostracized for our faith. Allah’s lesson to us in these stories is that our faith shouldn’t prevent us from trying to change these circumstances.

And to Allah is the end of all matters.

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#Current Affairs

Oped: The Treachery Of Spreading Bosnia Genocide Denial In The Muslim Community

Ermin Sinanovic, Guest Contributor

Published

The expanding train of the Srebrenica genocide deniers includes the Nobel laureate Peter Handke, an academic Noam Chomsky, the Serbian Prime Minister Ana Brnabić, as well as almost all Serbian politicians in Serbia and Bosnia-Herzegovina. One name in this group weirdly stands out: “Sheikh” Imran Hosein. A traditionally trained Muslim cleric from Trinidad and Tobago, Hosein has carved his niche mostly with highly speculative interpretations of Islamic apocalyptic texts. He has a global following with more than 200 hundred thousand subscribers to his YouTube channel, and his videos are viewed by hundreds of thousands. He has written tens of books in English, some of which had been translated into major world languages. His denial of the Srebrenica genocide may seem outlandish, coming from a Muslim scholar, but a close inspection of his works reveals ideas that are as disturbing as they are misleading.

Much of Hosain’s output centers around interpreting the apocalyptic texts from the Qur’an and Sunnah on the “end of times” (akhir al-zaman). As in other major religious traditions, these texts are highly allegorical in nature and nobody can claim with certainty their true meaning – nobody, except Imran Hosein. He habitually dismisses those who disagree with his unwarranted conclusions by accusing them of not thinking properly. A Scottish Muslim scholar, Dr. Sohaib Saeed, also wrote about this tendency.

In his interpretations, the Dajjal (“anti-Christ”) is American-Zionist alliance (the West or the NATO), the Ottomans were oppressors of the Orthodox Christians who are, in turn, rightfully hating Islam and Muslims, Sultan Mehmed Fatih was acting on “satanic design” when he conquered Constantinople, the terrorist attacks of 9/11 were a false flag operation carried out by the Mossad and its allies, and – yes! – the genocide did not take place in Srebrenica. Such conspiratorial thinking is clearly wrong but is particularly dangerous when dressed in the garb of religious certainty. 

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Hosain frequently presents his opinions as the “Islamic” view of things. His methodology consists of mixing widely accepted Muslim beliefs with his own stretched interpretations. The wider audience may not be as well versed in Islamic logic of interpretation so they may not be able to distinguish between legitimate Muslim beliefs and Hosain’s own warped imagination. In one of his fantastic interpretations, which has much in common with the Christian apocalypticism, the Great War that is nuclear in nature is coming and the Muslims need to align with Russia against the American-Zionist alliance. He sees the struggle in Syria as part of a wider apocalyptic unfolding in which Assad and Putin are playing a positive role. He stretches the Qur’anic verses and Prophetic sayings to read into them fanciful and extravagant interpretations that are not supported by any established Islamic authority.

Hosain does not deny that a terrible massacre happened in Srebrenica. He, however, denies it was a genocide, contradicting thus numerous legal verdicts by international courts and tribunals. Established by the United Nations’ Security Council, the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia (ICTY) delivered a verdict of genocide in 2001 in the case of the Bosnian Serb General Radislav Krstić. The International Court of Justice (ICJ) in the Hague confirmed, in 2007, that genocide took place in Srebrenica. In 2010, two more Bosnian Serb officers were found guilty of committing genocide in Bosnia. The butcher of Srebrenica, Ratko Mladić, was found guilty of genocide in 2017.

In spite of this, and displaying his ignorance on nature and definition of genocide, Hosain stated in an interview with the Serbian media, “Srebrenica was not a genocide. That would mean the whole Serbian people wanted to destroy the whole Muslim people. That never happened.” In a meandering and offensive video “message to Bosnian Muslims” in which he frequently digressed to talking about the end of times, Hosain explained that Srebrenica was not a genocide and that Muslims of Bosnia needed to form an alliance with the Orthodox Serbs. He is oblivious to the fact that the problems in Bosnia and Herzegovina and in the former Yugoslavia stem not from the Bosniaks’ purported unwillingness to form an alliance with the Serbs, but from the aggressive Greater Serbia ideology which had caused misery and destruction in Bosnia, Slovenia, Croatia, and Kosovo. 

Hosein’s views are, of course, welcome in Serbia and in Republika Srpska (Serb-dominated entity within Bosnia), where almost all politicians habitually deny that genocide took place in Srebrenica. He had been interviewed multiple times on Serbian television, where he spewed his views of the Ottoman occupation and crimes against the Serbs, the need to form an alliance between Muslims and Russia, and that Srebrenica was not a genocide. His website contains only one entry on Srebrenica: a long “exposé” that claims no genocide took place in Srebrenica. Authored by two Serbs, Stefan Karganović and Aleksandar Pavić, the special report is a hodge-podge of conspiracy theories, anti-globalization and anti-West views. Karganović, who received more than a million dollars over a six year period from the government of the Bosnian Serb-led Republika Srpska for lobbying efforts in Washington, was recently convicted by the Basic Court in Banja Luka on tax evasion and defamation. The Court issued a warrant for Karganović’s arrest but he is still on the loose. 

True conspirators of the Srebrenica killings, according to Hosain, are not the Serbian political and military leaders, and soldiers who executed Srebrenica’s Muslims. The conspirators are unnamed but it does not take much to understand that he believes that the massacres were ultimately orchestrated by the West, CIA, and NATO. Hosain even stated on the Serbian TV that if people who knew the truth were to come forward they would be executed to hide what really happened. Such opinions are bound to add to an already unbearable pain that many survivors of the Srebrenica genocide are experiencing. It is even more painful when Bosniak victims – who were killed because they were Muslims – are being belittled by an “Islamic” scholar who seems to be more interested in giving comfort to those who actually perpetrated the heinous crime of genocide than in recognizing the victims’ pain. These views are, of course, welcome in Serbia, Russia, and Greece.

It is not difficult to see why Hosain’s views would be popular in today’s day and age where misinformation and fake news are propagated even by the world leaders who should know better. A conspiratorial mindset, mistrust of established facts, undermining of international institutions – these are all hallmarks of the post-truth age. In another time, Imran Hosain would be easily exposed for what he truly is: a charlatan who claims religious expertise. Today, however, his opinions are amplified by social media and by the people who already question science and established facts. For these reasons, he needs to be unmasked to safeguard the very religious foundations which he claims to uphold but ultimately undermines. 

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#Society

On British Muslims & Racism: Do Black Lives Matter?

Shaykh Abu Aaliyah Surkheel

Published

Q. As Muslims, what should our stance be on racism or racial discrimination, and should we be supporting social justice movements like Black Lives Matter (BLM)? And isn’t all of this support for BLM privileging justice for black people over others, especially when we Muslims realise the increasing Islamophobia and injustices being perpetrated against our fellow Muslim brothers and sisters around the globe?

A. At the outset, let me be clear about how I intend to engage these concerns. And that is by rooting them in mainstream teachings of Islam so as to address the issue of racism in a manner that might be meaningful in a British context, and recognised as being Islamic in a Muslim one. I have divided the response into five parts: [i] Islam & racism; [ii] modernity & racism; [iii] Britain & racism; [iv] Muslims & racism; and [v] BLM & racism.

I. Islam & Racism

Although the following verse is not speaking of the modern social construct of racism per se, it is speaking to the pre-modern concept of groupings of people related by significant comment descent; in terms of location, language, history and culture. Thus we read in the Holy Qur’an: O mankind! We have created you from a male and female, and then made you nations and tribes that you might know one another. Truly, the noblest of you in the sight of God is he who is the most pious. God is indeed Knowing, Aware. [Q.49:13]

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The Prophet ﷺ brought skin colour into the mix in these words: ‘O mankind! Indeed your Lord is one, and indeed your father is one. Truly, an Arab has no superiority over a non-Arab, nor a non-Arab over an Arab; nor white (ahmar, lit. ‘red’ or ‘reddish’) over black, nor black over white – except by piety. Have I not conveyed [the message]?’1

In fact, the Qur’an doesn’t only negatively condemn such discrimination, but it positively and actively celebrates diversity too: And of His signs is the creation of the heavens and the earth, and the differences of your languages and your colours. In this are signs for people of knowledge. [Q.30:22]

The above verses and prophetic statement, then, were a total restructuring of the moral or ethical landscape prevalent throughout Arabia at the time. True worth would no longer be determined by skin colour, lineage, or even by grandiose shows of courage or generosity. Rather, true worth would be measured by taqwa – ‘piety,’ ‘godliness’ and ‘mindfulness’ of God’s commands and prohibitions.

Once, when one of the Prophet’s wives hurled a racial slur (or ethnoreligious insult, as we might say today) at another co-wife in a state of annoyance, disparagingly called her ‘the daughter of a Jew’, the Prophet ﷺ said: ‘Indeed, your [fore]father [Moses] was a Prophet; your [great] uncle [Aaron] was a Prophet; and you are married to a Prophet. What can she boast to you about?’2 Again, when one companion insulted another person, by insulting his mother because she was a non-Arab, the Prophet ﷺ said to him: ‘You still have some pre-Islamic ignorance (jahiliyyah) in you.’3 Thus no Muslim has even the slightest right to resurrect the vile attitude of racism; xenophobia; tribal bigotry; or insulting people due to them being seen as the ‘Other’, when the Prophet ﷺ radically eliminated such attitudes from the believer’s worldview and relationships. Ibn Taymiyyah said: ‘There isn’t a single verse in God’s Book that praises someone or censures someone due to just their lineage. Instead, praise is due to faith and piety, while blame is because of disbelief, immorality or disobedience.’4

II. Modernity & Racism

In the 1830s, Samuel Morton, an American craniologist, amassed and studied hundreds of human skulls so as to measure differences in brain size between people from various ethnic backgrounds. Morton believed he had used science to prove that white people were intellectually superior to other ‘races’. In his Crania Americana, Morton declared that not only did white people have larger brains and thus were intellectually superior to all other races, but also that black people had the smallest brains sizes and were hence inferior to all others. Morton and others used this conclusion as a ‘scientific’ justification to continue slavery in the United States and negatively stereotype black people. Many hold Morton to be the founding father of scientific racism. It’s here that, based upon this pseudo-science and on certain superficial differences in physiological traits, the categorisation of people into distinct ‘races’ begins in earnest. And while the institutional racism, racial prejudice, and white supremacy that was to follow were directed at all races in Morton’s descending hierarchy, providing adequate grounds to treat other races differently, in terms of rights and privileges, it would be black people (at the supposed bottom of the heap) that would bear the greatest and most sustained brunt of it.

Of course, modern science has long since shown that brain size isn’t necessarily related to intelligence. Instead, brain size is tied to things like environment, climate and body size, while intelligence is more related to how many neurons, or how efficient the connections between neurons, are in the brain. Indeed, modern science has also largely debunked the biological basis of race, showing that there is as much genetic diversity within such racial groups as there is between them. Science now regards race as a conventional attribution; a social construct, but not a scientifically rooted or valid classification. And while today we tend to favour the term ethnicity over the arbitrary construct of ‘race’ based upon skin colour and physiognomy, race remains, for some, a focus of individual and group identity, particularly members of socially disadvantaged groups, like blacks, where it oftentimes is a source of pride and joy. All this has led many anthropologists to argue that since there is no scientific basis for race, we should just chuck the whole idea in the bin. Others say that if we’re going to continue to insist on the social fiction of racial differences, let it be based on ethical considerations that enhance justice, fairness and familiarity between peoples, not hatred, discrimination and xenophobia. In fact, this latter way of looking at ethnic or racial divides is probably more in keeping with what Islam wants for humanity. After all, God made of us nations and tribes lita‘arafu – ‘that you might know one another.’

The above, then, amidst the activities of European empires and colonialism is where such modern ideas of racial discrimination and racism were birthed; ideas and realities which still reverberate frustratingly down to these present times. Just how many ordinary white Britons internalised the racist pseudo-science over the past one hundred and fifty years or so, not because they were particularly bad or evil people, but because they believed the ‘science’, is anyone’s guess. Add to that the usual xenophobia that often exists against the outsider, the modern feats and achievements of white Western Europe which feed into the idea of white exceptionalism or supremacy, and the political utility of whipping up blame against immigrants in times of national difficulty and economic downturn, make for well-entrenched myths and discrimination against people of colour.

III. Britain &Racism

Although the history of the United States is drenched in racism; with the issue of race still being the most painful, divisive one for its citizens, it is racism in Britain – my home, and where I was born and raised – that I’d like to confine my remarks and anecdotes to. And in Britain, just as in America, while peoples of diverse ethnic minorities have undeniably been, and continue to be, victims of racism, it is discrimination against black people that is by far the more endemic and systemic.

The recent anti-racist protests that are taking place across the country aren’t just to show anger about the death of yet another black man, George Floyd, at the hands of yet another American police officer. They are also protests against the systemic racism here in Britain too. Long before racism against blacks, Asians, and Eastern Europeans, Jews as a people, and also the Irish, suffered racism in Britain. Jewish people still do.

Whilst structural or institutional racism is difficult to conclusively prove, the lived reality of people of colour, as well as statistics after statistics, or report after report, all point to similar conclusions: Britain has a race problem. It doesn’t just have a problem with casual racism (now called micro aggression; as experienced in schools, jobs or everyday life), or racism born from unconscious bias (snap decisions conditioned by cultural upbringing or personal experience); it has a problem of systemic racism too – racial discrimination and negative stereotyping within many of its key institutions: the police force and the criminal justice system deemed to be among the main culprits.

It is, of course, argued that although Britain does indeed have individual racists, and that acts of racism do tragically still occur here, but Britain itself; even if it may have been in the recent past, isn’t institutionally racist anymore. We have the Equalities Act of 2010, as one of the clearest proofs against any institutional racism.

Or the case has been put that, ever since the Macpherson Report of 1999, which came as a result of the murder of Stephen Lawrence, in 1993 – and the two words in it that stood out from the rest of the 350 page report, that London’s Metropolitan Police was ‘institutionally racist’ – Britain’s police forces have internalised the criticism and have come on leaps and bounds since then: individually and institutionally. So to describe Britain’s police forces as still being systemically racist is unjust and unfair; or so the argument goes.

Be that as it may; and while many positive changes of both mind and structure have been sincerely made, the stark, present-day statistics tell us another story. Modern Britain is a place where black people, in contrast to white ones are: 10 times more likely to be stopped and searched; 4 time more likely to be arrested; twice as likely to be temporarily excluded from school; and 3 times as likely to be permanently excluded from school; and twice as likely to die in police custody. From any unbiased standard, does this look anywhere like equality? And just as importantly, are we saying that institutional racism is totally absent from these numbers?5

For most of my life, I’ve lived on one council estate or another in East London. In my pre-teen years, I grew up on an estate in Chingford, where most of the people were white, with a few Afro-Caribbean families and a couple of Asian ones: my family being one of them. I, like many other non-whites of my generation, encountered my share of racist abuse; and for a short time, a little racist bullying too. On the whole, I got along with most kids on the estate and at its primary school, regardless of colour; and they got along with me.

For my entire teen years, I lived on another estate in Leytonstone, where this time most of the residents were black. It was the mid 1970s, and it was a time when many young black people were, I wouldn’t say suffering an identity crisis, but more that they were searching for an identity. For unlike their parents, they were neither Jamaican, Bajan [Barbadian], or Trinidadian, nor did they feel (or were made to feel) totally British. Instead, young black Britons were turning to their Blackness to make sense of their place in Britain, developing a sense of collective cultural identity in the process. I felt a greater affinity to that culture, than I did any other. Voices like Bob Marley, Burning Spear, the Wailing Souls and Black Uhuru spoke to our plight and our aspirations. But whilst their conscious lyrics of roots reggae was coming out of Jamaica, it was home-grown, British reggae artists that would tell our own specifically British story: artists like Steel Pulse, Black Roots, Mikey Dread or, particularly for me, Aswad (or early Aswad, from ’76-’82). Aswad sang of African Children (which I’d swap in my mind for ‘immigrant’ children) ‘living in a concrete situation;’ in ‘precast stone walls, concrete cubicles. Their rent increasing each and every other day; Structural repairs are assessed and yet not done; Lift out of action on the twenty-seventh floor; And when they work, they smell.’ All of us youths crammed into the estate’s small youth centre, smiled, nodded away approvingly, and perfectly identified with the message when we first heard such conscious lyrics booming out at us. Whilst Marley spoke of the daily ghetto struggles of growing up in the concrete jungle of Kingston 12; Trenchtown, for me, Aswad spoke of parallel struggles growing up in the concrete situation of Leytonstone E11. We all a feel it, yes we a feel it!

Back to racism. My one little anecdotal proof of black victimisation from the police comes from the time when I was living on Leytonstone’s Cathall Road Estate. Police raids were a fairly usual occurrence on our estate as well as in the youth centre; sometimes with actual justification. In the youth centre, the police (usually with their police dogs), would stomp in; turn off the music; stamp out any spliff that was lit up; and then we’d all be told to line up against the wall with our hands behind our heads. Every time this happened, without exception, when it came to searching me, they never did. They’d simply insist that I leave the centre, or go home, which I would. I’d then usually come back half an hour or an hour later, and resume playing pool, table-tennis or bar football; or just soak up the vibes (not the spliff). Once, after a raid had happened, I came back to the centre, only for one of my close Rasta friends to advise me that it would be best if I stay home for a few days. I asked why? He told me that some people who hang out at the centre, but who don’t really know me, nor live on the actual estate, are saying that it’s odd that I never get searched and that maybe I was a grass. It would be an understatement if I said that I was scared stiff. I took the advice, and stayed away from the centre for a week, till I got the nod that things were all okay. A month or so later, and yet another raid. But this time, for me it was a Godsend: they actually searched me! I felt relieved, vindicated, and took it as a badge of honour. My point being is that throughout the ’70s and ’80s, there were countless times when I saw specifically black people stigmatised and victimised by the police.

To be honest, by the mid 1980s, with the Anti-Nazi League and Rock Against Racism doing their thing against the far-right National Front; with Reggae and Two-Tone Ska bands and gigs more and more mixing blacks and whites; and with attitudes of the young positively changing, I thought (perhaps naively) that racism in Britain would liklely be a thing of the past by the mid ’90s. Optimism, of course, is entirely healthy, as long as it doesn’t become blind to realism.

IV. Muslims & Racism

Here I’d like to speak about something that some Muslims will find uncomfortable: which is that we [non-black]Muslims need to admit the anti-black racism that infects our own communities. Sadly, racism against black people – including fellow black Muslims – is all too common among British Asian Muslims of Indian, Pakistani and Bangladeshi descent. Whether it is being stared at by elderly Asians in the mosque and so made to feel self-conscious, to the way we of South Asian descent use the word kala, ‘black’, in a derogatory way; or whether it’s about marriage, or thinking all black Muslims must be converts and then dishing out patronising praise to them over basic acts like making wudhu – this un-Islamic nonsense; this jahiliyyah, simply has to stop.

We must speak to our elders about their anti-black racism. We need to respectfully discuss why so many of our mosques continue to make black Muslims feel unwelcome, or drive them away, and what can be done about it? Yet while our masjids are undeniably masjids; ‘Most mosques function as “race temples” created as enclosures for single ethnicities, and their mono-ethnic and introspective leadership are generally unfamiliar with any novelty occurring outside their silos.’6 Such ‘race temples’ are where Ethnic Islam rules the roost, even at the cost of shari‘ah race equality, sirah hospitality, or sunnah unity.

But racism isn’t just an issue with South Asian elders? It lurks in the hearts and minds of my generation too; and maybe that of my children’s? It’s less the stares or the ignorance about Black achievements, and more the negative stereotyping; post-colonial complexes; desperation to whiten-up; or outright racism when it comes to marriage. Here as an Asian Muslim parent, I’m happy for my daughter or son to marry – religiously speaking – some adamant fasiq or fasiqah – especially if they are of a lighter complexion: but I could never accept them marring a godly, well-mannered, responsible Black person! But we convince ourselves we are not racist: after all, I love the sahabi, Bilal. I weep when I read Bilal’s life story. My good friend, Bilal, is black. But the proof is in the pudding, and the truth is that we need to move beyond tokenism; beyond Bilal.

Those Muslims who make an issue of colour; whose racist or tribal mindsets lead them to look down upon a person of darker colour or treat them unequally, let them consider the son-in-law of the Prophet ﷺ, and fourth Caliph, sayyiduna ‘Ali b. Abi Talib. The classical biographers all state: kana ‘ali adam, shadid al-udmah – ‘Ali was black, jet black.7 Or take our master ‘Umar who is also described in the same terms.8 The colour, adam may refer to skin complexion which is dark brown, like a native American; or darker still, like in native Australian aborigines; or jet black, like many Africans. When the phrase, shadid al-udmah is added, ‘extremely dark’, then there’s no mistaking what is meant: a person who, for all intents and purposes, is black. Such a description seems quite usual for the Arabs among the sahabah. Black skin is also the colour of the lady with whom the whole Muhammadan saga begins: our lady Hagar (Hajarah); she was a black Egyptian. Or consider the Prophet Moses, peace be upon him. Our Prophet ﷺ once said: ‘As for Moses, he was tall and dark brown, as like the men of al-Zutt.’9 The Zutt were a well-known tribe of tall dark men from the Sudan.10 After knowing the above, if we are still going to look down at people merely due to their darker complexion, then what ghustakhi; what mockery and disrespect will we be possibly drowning in?

Islam is neither racist nor colour blind. It wants us to understand that skin colour has no intrinsic worth, only piety does. Yet at the same time, it allows us to celebrate differences in a way that does not offend Heaven, and in a way that causes us to offer joyful thanks to the One Who is the Maker of all Colours.

Islam is neither racist nor colour blind. It wants us to understand that skin colour has no intrinsic worth, only piety does. Yet at the same time, it allows us to celebrate differences in a way that does not offend Heaven, and in a way that causes us to offer joyful thanks to the One Who is the Maker of all Colours.Click To Tweet

So let’s have the conversations. Let’s have some serious introspection. Let’s listen to what Black Muslims have to say. Let’s desire to be healers, not dividers. Let’s educate ourselves about the reality of Black lives in general, and Black Muslim lives in particular. Olusoga’s Black & British and Akala’s Natives are good places to start. Sherman Jackson’s Islam and the Problem of Black Suffering is, with its theological insights, a must read. Above all, let’s work towards not just being non-racist, but anti-racist.

Change, thankfully, is in the air. For urban, millennial Muslims, and those of a generation younger still, these older ethnic divides are more and more of an irrelevance in their lives (though I’m not sure how much this applies to those raised in ethnic silos in Britain’s less urbanised cities). Such millennials have heard the stories of the intra-ethnic fighting; the anti-black racism; the token hospitality to black Muslims, but without ever giving them a voice; and the fruitless attempts to make the ‘race temples’ more inclusive, and how after decades, it’s a case of banging heads and brick walls. So owing to this, they are seeking to create more inclusive, culturally more meaningful spaces; away from all this toxic, ethnic Islam. Surely that’s where the rest of us should be heading too?

V. BLM & Racism

The Qur’an says: Help one another in righteousness and piety, help not one another in sin or transgression. [Q.5:2] Between this verse and the hilf al-fudul pact the Prophet ﷺ upheld and endorsed even after prophethood, we have a solid religious basis for supporting any individual or group working for issues of social justice: be it for Muslims or non-Muslims; be it led by Muslims or non-Muslims.

The Black Lives Matter movement has proven itself to be a powerful and effective vehicle over the past five years to demand reform in terms of anti-Black racism; with their current focus on justice for George Floyd and his family. Thus, how can Muslims not support it? Of course, we cannot give any organisation carte blanche support. Religiously, we Muslims cannot give unconditional support to anybody save to God and His Prophet ﷺ. Given that BLM has a few stated aims that are inconsistent with Islam’s theology (‘freeing ourselves from the tight grip of heteronormative thinking’ is one of them, for instance), our activism must be guided by sacred knowledge and illumined by revealed guidance. Our intention is not supporting BLM, as such. Instead, it’s a case of making a stand against injustice, in this case anti-Black racism: supporting those individuals or organisations that are likely to be the most effective in achieving this goal. (It should go without saying, that we can work for justice for more than one cause or more than one set of people at the same time). And this is what the above verse and the hilf al-fudul pact have in mind. And just like the BLM describes itself as ‘unapologetically Black’, perhaps some of us need to be a tad more unapologetically Muslim?

But let’s take our focus off such theological nuances for now, and tie a ribbon around the whole thing and say: Let us, at least in spirit and in principle, if not in body, fully support Black Lives Matter as a cause, more than as a movement, in seeking to resolve structural racism; get justice done for all the George Floyds and all the Stephen Lawrences; and to get people to reflect on their own attitudes to racism and the racial ‘Other’ – ensuring our knee isn’t on the necks of others. We should support the overall goals of any grassroots movement that is working for a fairer, more just and tolerant Britain for everyone: black or white. Of course, for that to happen, from a Black Muslim perspective, anti-Black racism as well as an ever-growing Islamophobia must be tackled. Currently in Britain, God forbid that you are ostensibly a Muslim and Black!

Racism affects all people of colour. But when it comes to Black people, they face a unique anti-black prejudice as the ultimate Other, propagated both by white majorities and even other ethnic minorities. As a marginalised community South Asians, no doubt, have their own prejudices thrown their way. But they are not the same lived experiences as that of Black people. And while it can be easy to lump everyone together and perceive ourselves as having a shared trauma, statistics show that this equivalence is not really true.

In closing, I’d like to thank my youngest daughter, Atiyyah, for inspiring me to revisit and renew my ideas on anti-black racism; and my friend, Dr Abdul Haqq Baker for prompting me to write this piece, offering invaluable suggestions, and then reviewing it for me.

Wa’Llahu wali al-tawfiq.

1. Ahmad, Musnad, no.22978. Ibn Taymiyyah declared its chain to be sahih in Iqtida’ al-Sirat al-Mustaqim (Riyadh: Dar Ishbiliyah, 1998), 1:412.

2. Al-Tirmidhi, no.3894, where he declared the hadith to be hasan sahih.

3. Al-Bukhari, nos.2545; 6050.

4. Majmu‘ Fatawa (Riyadh: Dar ‘Alam al-Kutub, 1991), 35:230.

5. GOV.UK: Black Caribbean Ethnicity Facts and Figures.

6. Abdal Hakim Murad, Travelling Home (Cambridge: The Quilliam Press, 2020), 49-50.

7. See: Ibn ‘Asakir, Tarikh Madinat al-Dimashq (Dar al-Fikr, 1996), 42:24.

8. As per Ibn ‘Abd al-Barr, al-Isti‘ab fi Ma‘rifat al-Ashab (Beirut: Dar al-Kutub al-‘Ilmiyyah, 1971), 3:236

9. Al-Bukhari, no.3438.

10. Ibn Hajr al-‘Asqalani, Fath al-Bari bi Sharh Sahih al-Bukhari (Cairo: Dar al-‘Alamiyyah, 2013), 8:61.

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