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Open Thread Sunday 08/16/09 | American Public Media Wants to Hear About the American Muslim Identity

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Last Sunday before Ramadan… wow… time flies.  How are you preparing for it?

Tariq is urging American Muslims to send in their thoughts about their identities to NPR. Since we constantly complain about the lack of Muslim perspectives in the media, well then this is our opportunity to express ourselves.

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posted by Abu AbdAllah Tariq Ahmed

Bismillahir-Rahmaanir-Raheem

Today I got an interesting invitation, “National Public Radio (NPR) is asking Muslims to share their perspectives for an upcoming project…”  The link sent me to a form hosted by the American Public Media radio program, “Speaking of Faith” with Krista Tippett.

You can visit the program’s web site here: http://speakingoffaith.publicradio.org or go directly to the form by clicking here.

The show explains this project pretty simply:

During the past year, we’ve created a space for listeners’ voices and stories to be told, and to be heard… online and on the air. We call it our First Person initiative. Last May we reached out to Catholics; now we are asking Muslims to share their perspectives for a project we’ll be working on during the coming months.

If you are Muslim, we’d like to understand more about the complexity and diversity of “the Muslim world,” as it is often called. What does “being Muslim” mean to you? What do you find beautiful about Islam, and how does it find expression in your daily life? What hopes, questions, and concerns are on your mind as you ponder the future of your tradition?

Please note, you do have to be at least 13 years old to offer your views.  Here’s what I sent in:

Islam is the path that Allah revealed so that man could reach his full potential and please his Lord and Creator.  When a person is far from Islam, like someone flying high over a road in the desert, it may seem like a narrow and difficult way.  But when you come close to Islam you find it is a broad path that is complete both in its scope and in providing flexibility for man’s diverse needs.

Does merely accepting Islam with your tongue, “la ilaha illAllah” (there is no deity worthy of worship other than Allah), erase all human foibles and weaknesses?  No.  But practicing Islam does bring out in a person those positive qualities that can be recognized by people everywhere.  Indeed the Prophet, Allah’s prayers and blessings be upon him, said it best when he said that he had been sent to improve the manners (akhlaque) of the people.

Part of what makes Islam beautiful to me is the barakat (blessing) that Allah puts in gatherings of Muslims who seek to learn and practice His religion.  I just came back from attending a two-week course of lectures on theology, religious law, and more — some 150 students took part.  They came from all over the world to become roommates and classmates; we were together when we prayed, ate meals, studied, played, and took exams.

And to testify to how blessed and uplifting those two weeks were, there were so many positive comments from the staff at the event-hotel, including a non-Muslim engineer who spoke to us as a group and said that he had never addressed a gathering at the hotel before but he was moved to do so by his interactions with us.

When one thinks of the challenges Muslims face today, discrimination and wrongful prosecution are high on the list.  The founding fathers of America rightly feared demagoguery but hate- and fear-mongers have risen to power here throughout the country’s history, persecuting whatever group was a convenient target at the time.  Yet the way to combat such villainy is through educating our countrymen about what Islam is and how we live as Muslims — and Allah asks precisely that of every Muslim.

Look at this as an opportunity for dawah to people who not only are asking for what it means to be a Muslim, but are willing to share that message for you to all their listeners.  Yes, whatever you submit may be edited.  But write sensibly, save a copy of whatever you send, and bi ‘idhnillah, Allah will put barakat in it for you.

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Deep thweets via Yasir Qadhi:

“Whoever does not find happiness in the dhikr of Allah, prayer, and reciting the Quran, will not find it anywhere else” -Hasan Basri.

Most people are convinced by the good manners and humility of a teacher; not his intellectual sophistry or debate skills.

“What is this world but a dream that a sleeper sees – he delights in it for a few moments, and then wakes up to face reality” Hasan Basri

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MM fully supports the effort to derail Glen Beck’s hate-mongering on FOX News (imagine how bad Beck is, if he is exclusively being picked on what is generally the 24-hr hate-channel).

Geico has pulled its ads from Fox News Channel’s “The Glenn Beck Program.” Lawyers.com, which is owned by LexisNexis, also has vowed not to advertise during the program, according to Color of Change, an African-American online political organization that has been urging advertisers to stop supporting the show.

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Muslim women uncovering myths on CNN, while France continue the war against hijab (even burquinis!)

What the Muslim high school senior wants you to understand is that she doesn’t wear the hijab, the head scarf worn by Muslim women, because she is submissive. [CNN]

Emerainville Mayor Alan Kelyor said he could not understand why the woman would want to swim in head-to-toe clothes. “We are going back in civilization,” he said by telephone. Women have fought for decades for equal rights with men, he said. “Now we are putting them back in burqas and veils.” [AP]

Keep supporting MuslimMatters for the sake of Allah

Alhamdulillah, we're at over 850 supporters. Help us get to 900 supporters this month. All it takes is a small gift from a reader like you to keep us going, for just $2 / month.

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.

10 Comments

10 Comments

  1. Imtiaz

    August 16, 2009 at 10:05 AM

    InshaAllah I will contribute to Speaking of Faith… i really do like their radio program…

    Trouble at the airport? Check this out –>http://in.news.yahoo.com/43/20090815/914/ten-shah-rukh-my-name-is-khan-detained-a.html

  2. Siraaj Muhammad

    August 16, 2009 at 8:55 PM

    While I’m against France’s sentiment against Muslims in general, I have mixed feelings on the burqini because, let’s face it, it’s not exactly a proper cover and defending it amounts to defending an inappropriate outfit and sending the message out that it’s “Islamic”.

    Without going into too much detail, the more effort that Muslims put into defending it, the more they (as with any group) will consider it some sort of sacred symbol not to be violated and to be fought for.

    Siraaj

    • Rashid

      August 17, 2009 at 9:27 AM

      You’re of course right Br. Siraaj; I myself asked this question several times without coming to any solid conclusion to date. However I was wondering whether we could draw any analogy from the fact that when groups like hizb at tahreer were being disbanded in the UK for instance, the people of knowledge across the board were saying that we should make a stand against the govts. hypocritical position, for the simple reason, that they weren’t being banned for having dodgy ‘aqeedah and questioning ‘adhaab al qabr for instance or being too political – they were being targetted for their Islam and belief in the Khilafah.

      Point in case, the muslim swim wear is being targetted for the fact that it is associated with Islam – in the minds of the french lawmakers.

      A similar example: the niqab being debated in the Uk, should it be encouraged or not? Again, the politicians were not saying no to niqab because they appreciate that wthere might be some khilaf o scholarly dissent on its obligation. Rather simply because they didn’t like it. If they wanted to – and thought that they could get away with it, they would do the same even for the hijab!

      If the situation was one of the costume being designed we coudl say no, and tell the designers we woun’t be defending it – but once it’s out, it just becomes seen as the same cause, no?

      Could it not be possible that we try and defend it, not islamically, but from a point of the standards which they the politicians should have agreed to – ie. freedom of choice, equality before the law, liberty etc. “If you guys really did bhuy into these doctrines, why then xyz” – because at the end of the day it is for a cause which they read as being the same…as long as we at the same time explain to the Muslims that this is still never an islamic attire.

      Allah knows best

      • Siraaj

        August 18, 2009 at 1:39 PM

        Yes, I thought about that, but realize that using these arguments is slippery slope – after you’re done defending yourself, you will then find yourself in the dubious position of Rep. Keith Ellison, on a panel demanding gay equality for the sake of “the greater good” because the argument used can be duplicated across interest groups.

        I think our time is better spent working on issues which are legitimately tied to Islam which we can bring under the banner of freedom of religion, such as defending the niqaab and hijaab. If the burqini was done right, I’d be for defending that as well, but the Muslims raising up to defend it will simply legitimize it’s place as “Islamic” (don’t you know scholars x, y, and z defended my right to wear the burqini – it must be halaal!).

        Knocking down the burqini, counterintuitive as it might seem, is a hidden blessing. Let it, and the culture it could potentially spawn go with it.

  3. TheAlexandrian

    August 17, 2009 at 8:03 AM

    Salam all,

    I’ve been listening to Speaking of Faith for some time and although some episodes touch on topics that a Muslim is naturally averse to, the content is generally insightful and fairly presented. I especially recommend the episode on globalization and the rise of religion.

    InshAllah I’ll post something to the site, although Abu AbdAllah has done a very thorough and admirable job with his entry, mashAllah :)

  4. abu abdAllah Tariq Ahmed

    August 20, 2009 at 2:25 AM

    Q: How many days of doubt before Ramadan?

    A: I’m not sure I like this question…
    B: 1, and I’m sure the other guys are wrong, too.
    C: There’s the day that may be the 30th of Shaabaan, and then there are all the other days, too, depending on what method or country you’re following…
    D: 1 or 0 depending on what was decided by everyone else with whom you pray.

  5. Hassan

    August 21, 2009 at 3:30 PM

    Obama using Ramadan to justify imperialism:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UncWt4VKZQo

  6. Need

    August 22, 2009 at 11:36 AM

    Assalamu Alaikum,

    Survey for public holliday for eid in USA. Pls vote

    http://www.kirotv.com/surveyresults/19959755/index.html?taf=sea

    • Khurshid Anwar

      September 4, 2009 at 10:01 PM

      public holiday in Eid-ul-Fitr and Eid-ul-Azha in USA, UK, European countries and all over the world
      should be declared MUST.

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