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Day of Silence is April 16th – Muslims Speak Up

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By Hena Zuberi

The Day of Silence, which is sponsored by the Gay, Lesbian and Straight Education Network (GLSEN), fast approaches. This year it will take place in most public schools on April 16, 2010. On this day, “hundreds of thousands” of students plan on participating (Day of Silence website) in thousands of public high schools and increasing numbers of middle schools, which will allow students to remain silent throughout an entire day even during instructional time to promote GLSEN’s socio-political goals and its controversial, unproven, and destructive theories on the nature and morality of homosexuality. (American Family Association) GLSEN’s stance is against bullying of gay students and the silence they suffer not an all encompassing ‘bullying’ that is inclusive of students who suffer because they are called terrorist, refugee scum, or wog.

Elementary schools are next. In East London, to celebrate Lesbian Gay Bisexual Transgender History Month, primary school students watched a special adaptation of Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet renamed Romeo and Julian. Stories covered in the lessons at George Tomlinson School included a fairytale about a prince who turns down three princesses before falling in love with one of their brothers and the tale of Roy and Silo – two male penguins who fall in love. (Guardian)

We as parents cannot remain passive about this. Even if you are not a parent and especially if you are a youth group leader, you need to make the parents in your life aware of this issue. Many parents are not aware of this movement or think that it will not affect their child. This lax attitude leads to us holding our heads when it is too late.

I’ll tell you how this attitude personally affected me. I attended an all-women liberal arts college in Wellesley, Massachusetts. During our first year orientation, we gathered in the common room where mats were laid out of us. A senior from the Gay and Lesbian Association (GALA) asked us to lie down on the mat and close our eyes. Scared to death, at 17 fresh off the plane from Lahore, Pakistan, I had no clue what they expected from us. It wasn’t anything promiscuous, God forbid. They just asked us to close our eyes and imagine a world where daddies were only married to daddies and mommies were married to mommies and if I was a little girl in that world, who liked the little boy across the street but I couldn’t because mommies could only marry mommies. Very innocent, the words.

Those words stuck with me and I still remember them after 17 years. “Once you have the vocabulary to talk with young children about homosexuality, it becomes very easy,” says Dr. Justin Richardson, a Harvard-educated psychiatrist and director of Columbia University’s Center for Lesbian, Gay and Bisexual Mental Health. Richardson says educators need to aid the pre-homosexual child with a supportive school environment, paving the way for his later coming out. He claims that a child’s sexual orientation is determined very early in life around four years of age, so why not prepare the pre-homosexual child for the inevitable? This quote by Dr. Richardson came from a talk he delivered ten years ago at a teachers’ conference. This agenda is at work in our public school system and the fitnah has created is real.

Also in my student orientation, I heard a young, black woman talk about her life as a poor, black, gay teenager. I met many intelligent women who were kind and gentle and gay. I remember being admonished by several housemates for thinking that homosexuality was a mental abnormality akin to physical abnormalities. I was figuratively ‘hypnotised’ into believing that it was natural for 10% of the human race to be homosexual believing that they could not control themselves. That December, when I went to visit my parents over winter break, my sister snapped me out of my brainwashed state. She said ‘Apa! Listen to yourself.’

In psychology, the study of brainwashing, often referred to as thought reform, falls into the sphere of “social influence.” According to Julia Layton, author of How Brainwashing Works, “social influence happens every minute of every day. It’s the collection of ways in which people can change other people’s attitudes, beliefs and behaviors. For instance, the compliance method aims to produce a change in a person’s behavior and is not concerned with his attitudes or beliefs. It’s the “Just do it” approach. Persuasion, on the other hand, aims for a change in attitude, or “Do it because it’ll make you feel accepted/good/happy/healthy/successful.”

The education method (which is called the “propaganda method” when you don’t believe in what’s being taught) goes for the social-influence goal, trying to affect a change in the person’s beliefs, along the
lines of “Do it because you know it’s the right thing to do.” Brainwashing is a severe form of social influence that combines all of these approaches to cause changes in an individual’s way of thinking without that person’s consent and often against his will.

I was 17; away from home but brimming with the confidence that children raised in a Muslim country exude. Now, imagine your middle schooler or your teen. Her politically correct classmates surround her; she doesn’t know what to say when her best honor society buddy starts exhibiting ‘homosexual’ traits. Imagine being a student whose religion teaches her that homosexuality is a sin being in that environment. Being judged by their peers because they did not remain silent in support. If you disagree with homosexuality you are called a bigot or a homophobe. Imagine your teachers and mentors who instruct you from 8 in the morning to 3 in the afternoon, framing their lessons around Day of Silence. The adolescent culture is liberal, and adolescents desire to fit in. The vast majority of conservative teens does not feel comfortable vocally opposing their culture and will not do so. We as adults, often don’t have the guts to speak up against homosexuality, let alone teenagers.

Alan Chambers, a gay man that has overcome unwanted homosexual desires, started a family, and is the author of Leaving Homosexuality says: “The Day of Silence leads to a slanted discussion about homosexuality…because students are being bombarded from every side on the issue of homosexuality…seemingly the only voices that are allowed or respected in the public school system are those from a pro-gay side. It’s important for everyone to have a voice on this issue and for every opinion to be expressed. If one side is going to be expressed, then the other should be as well.”

As a Muslim, I sympathize with others who suffer discrimination and denounce any violence in the name of ‘disapproval’ but agree with following stance:

“Day of Silence participants claim they seek to end discrimination. There is, however, a problem with the way “discrimination” is defined in public discourse today. Groups like GLSEN believe that statements of moral conviction with which they disagree constitute prejudice or discrimination. While relentlessly promoting this view, administrators are never asked to provide evidence for the dubious presuppositions on which such claims of discrimination are based. They are never asked to provide evidence for the arguable claim that homosexuality is equivalent to race; or that disapproval of homosexual conduct is equivalent to racism; or that homosexual impulses are biologically determined; or that the presence of biological influences in shaping desire renders a behavior automatically moral. Parents should demand justification for those claims. If we allow schools to define discrimination so expansively as to prohibit all statements of moral conviction, character development will be compromised and freedom of speech rights will be trampled. And if administrators continue to define discrimination in such a way as to preclude only some statements of moral conviction, they violate their pedagogical commitment to intellectual diversity and render the classroom a place of indoctrination.”

Think of your 15-year-old cousin, who can’t have girlfriend because it is against our deen that is teased at school, called a pansy and wonders whether he is. We need to talk about this and tell our children that Allah loves them and if they are having these feelings then they need spiritual help. Not shun them and turn them over to the wolves, force them out of the folds of Islam. I am not suggesting someone can ‘turn’ your kid gay or not. That is not my concern here.

Some parents worry that taking a stance will adversely affect their children’s grades. What kind of Muslims are we raising? “Cowardly conformists” or those who follow the footsteps of the Sahabah? We need
to teach them to stand up for their beliefs even if they have to sacrifice something. If the teacher does punish them in some way this is unethical and the parents should take it to the school administration. “O you who believe! Ward off from yourselves and your families a Fire (Hell) whose fuel is men and stones, over which are (appointed) angels stern (and) severe, who disobey not, (from executing) the commands they receive from Allah, but do that which they are commanded.” [Quran At-Tahrim 66:6]

Most of the following material is from a website sponsored by Pro-Family groups calling for national support for Day of Silence Walkout. (www.doswalkout.net) Unfortunately Muslim organizations, media
groups and masjids have shied away from supporting this cause. So spread the word on your masjid lists, Muslim websites, etc.

Parents must actively oppose this hijacking of the classroom for political purposes. You can help de-politicize the learning environment, which is paid for by our tax dollars, by calling your child out of school if your child’s school allows students to remain silent during instructional time on the Day of Silence. Brother Kevin Johnson asks, “Why would we want sexual orientation of any type to be taught to our young children? Isn’t that something that is personal and should be dealt with at home by the parents whenever they see fit? After all, the school system’s job is to educate children, not to raise them, that’s the job of the parent.”

If students will be permitted to remain silent, parents can express their opposition most effectively by removing their children from schools on the Day of Silence and sending letters of explanation to their administrators, their children’s teachers, and all school board members. One reason this is effective is that most school districts lose money for each student absence. School administrators err when they allow the classroom to be disrupted and politicized by granting students permission to remain silent throughout an entire day.

Day of Silence – What Should Parents Do?

1. Call your local schools and ask whether they permit students or teachers to remain silent in the classroom on the “Day of Silence.” IMPORTANT: Do not ask any administrator, school board member, or teacher if the school sponsors, endorses, or supports DOS. Schools do not technically sponsor the Day of Silence. Technically, it is students, often students in the gay-straight alliance, who sponsor it. Many administrators will tell you that they do not sponsor the DOS when, in fact, they do permit students and sometimes even teachers to remain silent during instructional time. Also ask administrators whether they permit teachers to create lesson plans to accommodate student silence.

2. Find out what date the event is planned for your school. (The national date in 2010 is April 16, but some schools observe DOS on a different date).

3. Inform the school of your intention to keep your children home on that date and explain why. Download the sample letter from lordsfavor.wordpress.com or from doswalkout.net

4. Explain to your children why you’re taking a stand:

a. What does Islam say about homosexuality.

b. No matter what factors may influence homosexual feelings, freely chosen homosexual behavior is immoral and should be resisted.

c. Homosexuality is not equivalent to race.

d. Disapproval of homosexuality is not equivalent to racism; nor is it hatred; nor is it bullying; nor does it constitute an incitement to violence. It is permissible and ethical to express disapproval of homosexuality. Just because someone may feel bad when hearing that someone disapproves of homosexuality does not mean that disapproval is cruel or wrong.

e. No school should support a view of homosexuality that is unproven and controversial, and that is physically, emotionally, and spiritually destructive to individuals and society.

f. No school should allow instructional time to be politicized.

g. Reiterate that the kids be civil or kind to anyone who exhibits homosexual behavior and make sincere dua for them. It is against the Muslim manners to participate in bullying or calling anyone names that hurt.

50 Comments

50 Comments

  1. Avatar

    Saadullah

    April 15, 2010 at 12:46 AM

    Interesting read, I would like to learn more about what Islam has to say about homosexuality.

  2. Avatar

    Dawud Israel

    April 15, 2010 at 12:46 AM

    Most priests give respect to Muslims for being up front and frank about homosexuality. Much respect sister. Keep at it! *fist bump*

    Islam emphasizes agency, homosexuality is not something they are purportedly powerless against. The case of biological determinism on homosexuality is FAR from solid. Conformity is NOT what these socially conscious campaigns should be directed towards. Shoving this stuff down our throats is awful They need to preserve the option to choose tradition over the endless experiments they have going on.

    In some Canadian universities, the funding for LGBTQ2 (no idea what those stand for) goes towards purchasing sex-toys…believe it or not.

  3. Avatar

    fatima

    April 15, 2010 at 1:54 AM

    kudos to you for saying something about this. thank you! I agree with the points you make on how we often overlook the need to voice our disapproval out of fear of being labeled as discriminatory, as haters and as bigots. I feel that this speaks volumes of how we’re being brainwashed into accepting this as a norm, that the sin that caused Allah to eradicate the people of Sodom from the earth is really not that big of a deal at all, and that anyone who thinks otherwise is an intolerant villain. It truly is a sign of the times, and in today’s society where messages that homosexuality is okay are pummeled into our faces, it is so important that we don’t lose sight of the truth and properly educate our children about Islam’s stance on this. Thank you again for writing this and for sharing your thoughts, JazakAllah Khayr!

  4. Avatar

    Umm Bilqis

    April 15, 2010 at 2:17 AM

    Parents should withdraw their children from these brain washing institutions and either support Private Islamic schools or homeschool which is inexpensive.
    Read John Taylor Gatto for a better understanding of public Schools:

    http://www.edflix.org/gatto.htm

    Step One:
    Hizb shaitan decries the imposition of morality.
    Step two:
    Hizb shaitan promotes the imposition of immorality.

    • Avatar

      Yaqeen needed

      April 15, 2010 at 10:11 AM

      Great way to put it

      Desensitization. Parents will be queried on the Day of Judgment as regards their children. Lets be prepared

      Period.

    • Avatar

      Ummezaynub

      April 16, 2010 at 3:17 PM

      I agree that would be the ideal situation Umm Bilquis, but the reality is that majority of Muslims kids attend public schools. 100% of my youth group kids attend public schools and this is what prompted me to write this. One of my students says
      “I know my school participates this day and wasn’t really sure how to show that I was “against” it”

      Look at how LGB are everywhere, in TV shows, in stores, very in your face. Its not ‘unacceptable’ anymore. The image of a gay woman has changed in the past few years from manly looking woman to gorgeous starlets. These kids idolize Lindsay Lohan and Angelina Jolie who proudly claim their homo/bi sexuality. They think- if its acceptable for them then there must be nothing wrong with it. We need to equip our youth with knowledge, with techniques to counter them. Parents need to get involved in the schools and make sure our voice is heard.

      • Avatar

        Umm Bilqis

        April 16, 2010 at 4:43 PM

        Umme Zaynab,
        Assalamu alikum,
        I agree with you, however the solution can be a 3 pronged approach,
        1)Equip the kids on how to handle these issues.
        2)Have the parents begin to join like minded parents (including those with faiths that do not want this issue foisted on their children) in order to voice their concerns and put a stop to this particular program.
        3) Have a somewhat longer term focus on educating the Muslim community about the homeschool option and about supporting/promoting affordable private schools.
        The final solution and the best in my opinion is hijrah( For those who are able to) because after studying these problems I came to the understanding that not only are these problems not going away but with time they will get worst unfortunately.
        Thanks to a concerted attack on principles and the promotion of situational ethics and a morality that is relative.
        I believe it is imperative for the community to mobilize and discuss these issues especially for those who have no option but to stay in the west.
        As “Yaqeen needed” highlighted this is only one of the issues confronting those who attend Public schools.
        By the way, John Taylor Gatto’s book is called the.” Underground History of American Education”, and it explains the history and reasons for the formation of the Public school system in the U.S . More importantly, the problems that confront those who wish to reform Public Schools.
        He concludes that reforming that system is close to impossible.
        John Taylor Gatto is a long term ex-teacher and winner of awards of excellence in teaching.
        If you ever get a chance, please read this book it is available at his website for free.

        http://www.johntaylorgatto.com/chapters/

        • Avatar

          Ummezaynub

          April 22, 2010 at 6:21 PM

          Thanks for posting that Umm Bilquis- I have read some of his work in ‘Educating your child in Modern Times’ with Hamza Yousuf & Dorothy Sayers.

          Homeschooling frightens people; they start thinking extremist, on the fringes of society, hippies, loony. I am just plain scared that I won’t be the best teacher for my children.
          Will I be organized enough? My husband is concerned that our kids won’t be able to compete with kids attending schools. Both of us attended top notched colleges, so he expects that from our children.

          InshaAllah, I plan to take a baby step, I’m going to start my eldest next year- I can’t swim until I step into the water. I spend 2-3 hours with her going over homework, tests, stuff she didn’t ‘get’ in a class filled with 32 kids. So I might as well make the commitment and get her out of the system.

          At least a million American home school their kids. Its not common knowledge that ‘accomplished’ people like Sally Ride & Sandra Day O’ Connor were home schooled. Not that these are my role models but it may sway some: Will Smith and John Travolta home school their kids.

          • Avatar

            Umm Bilqis

            April 27, 2010 at 12:16 AM

            Assalamu alikum Umme Zaynab, I am sorry I just saw this comment.
            Masha’Allah congratulations,
            Remember you can also use tutors if you are tired or not so confident in some subjects.
            P.S In addition, there are some really good homeschool materials available .

          • Avatar

            Umm Bilqis

            April 27, 2010 at 12:44 AM

            Assalamu aliakum, Sister Ummezaynub, I just saw your comment.
            Masha’Allah Congratulations.
            Homeschooling is a wonderful adventure, make sure you have some kind of support network.
            Check out if you have any Muslim homeschoolers in our area. For field trip purposes .
            Also check if any of your muslim neighbours or those who go to the masjid are able to teach one subject to your kids whilst you teach another to theirs. The kids will have their hands full, and will enjoy the companionship.
            If you are tired or not quite confident in a subject you can get a tutor.
            Some of the books that homeschoolers use are much better than the materials used in public schools.
            Also, check out if your Imaam can hold classes for homeschoolers 2 times a week during the day Seerah, Quran and Arabic.

  5. Avatar

    bint amin

    April 15, 2010 at 3:16 AM

    Salaam

    The brainwashing part is soo true. I went to a girls secondary school and I remember in my first year – the stance towards lesbians- they were bullied and hated. They were classified as wierd and in P.E the girls would be cautious whilst getting changed. However when it got to my final year (6 yrs later) in the same school, the position had changed- a lot more people admitted they were lesbians/bisexuals and in general people stopped speaking out against them and became more sympathetic.

    I still remember clearly a bisexual friend of mine said to me “I wish I wasn’t this way, but I was born like this!” She was one of the popular bisexuals and it was because of her popularity a lot of others “came out of the closet”

    Even now when contacting an old friend from school, she always updates me on all the girls who have become lesbians! And one of them was the girl who used to make fun of the other lesbians!

    So definitely attitude has changed, and the shocking thing is that its changing so fast. This is definitely going to be an issue for our future children and we shouldn’t turn a blind eye to it.

    • Avatar

      SA

      April 15, 2010 at 11:03 PM

      So true!!Growing up in the Middle East I didn’t even know gays and lesbians existed.But then I moved to North America and well it was an eye opener.The weirdest part was seeing some of my “very Muslim” friends who were brought up here saying a person is born gay/lesbian.

      I hope someone on MuslimMatters writes an article on how one should deal with a child who is gay/lesbian and how we as Muslims should communicate/acknowledge a gay/lesbian.

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  7. Avatar

    Sally

    April 15, 2010 at 6:52 AM

    Great article! I was surprised to find more individuals of this orientation in my incoming class than Muslims in the entire school. I treat everyone with respect and mind my own business. If anyone asked me though, i would be quick to explain Islam’s position on homosexuality. I have noticed the omnipresent emotional appeal of the LGBT through these campaigns and the “we have rights too.” May Allah protect us. Individually it is crucial to educate young muslims about sexuality and Islam’s stance on forbidding evil and promoting good.

    • Avatar

      Ummezaynub

      April 16, 2010 at 3:52 PM

      Talk to the teens you know- esp if you are daiee. Doesn’t have to be a formal teaching setting, anywhere, family gatherings, iftars, parties etc. Some times they get so turned off or become in awe of our hijabs and beards, they think we will judge them. But they need to connect you never know when you will affect them.
      We survived Prop 8 here in California- the kids couldn’t understand why we didn’t think its ok. An open dialogue dispelled so many misconceptions. So when your kids come home today and they did attend school- TALK to them about this, its an opportune time. Ask them why were people wearing duct tape, what they felt like when people were quiet in the hallway? Discuss Nuh (AS) struggle with them. May Allah help us.

      • Avatar

        ummezaynub

        April 16, 2010 at 8:37 PM

        ))sorry LUT (AS) typing while feeding a two year old ;)

  8. Avatar

    Yousuf

    April 15, 2010 at 9:44 AM

    Masha Allah, Nicely expressed. Amr bil maaruf and nahi an-il munkar. I used to think that if I would just do the good and not forbid against evil, I would be ok. But I realize that not forbidding the evil would slowly have an effect on me and make it acceptable to me.

    Jazak Allahu khair for this reminder.

  9. Avatar

    mama A to Z

    April 15, 2010 at 1:10 PM

    good stuff– masjids shy away from this because people don’t want to mention the word “gay” or “homosexual” (towba, towba, towba….) it’s easier to pretend like these issues don’t exist. I think more and more people are having wavering thoughts or confused ideas about this and hesitate to condemn homosexuality openly.

    FYI, there’s a blog specifically for Muslims addressing the issue of acknowledging homosexuality as wrong and yet acknowledging that there are people struggling with their feelings who need help: http://gaymuslims.org.

  10. Avatar

    Sayf

    April 15, 2010 at 1:11 PM

    “To you your religion, and to me mine (109:6)”

    Without having to go into an elaborate discussion on the science behind this stuff (because I do believe there’s a ton of stuff that has to do with it that we’re missing i.e. sexual desensitization) I think we just simply need to inform people that such things are strictly contrary to our Deen. That way, you make sure people realize it is actually a religious idea being pushed. Of course, we are tolerant of others having different beliefs, but if they’re going to preach those beliefs in public schools, well that’s different. If they have the right to preach gayness is moral on one side of the classroom that would give me the right to preach the story of Lot (alayhi salam) on the other side.

  11. Avatar

    Yaqeen needed

    April 15, 2010 at 7:19 PM

    Another perspective – what are pros and cons of getting our children educated in these and other parts of the education system way out of muslim control?

    Does the education system ultimately make our children more Aljannah motivated? Or less
    Do the education system ultimately make our children avoid being Hell bound?
    Do the education system ultimately make our children and ourselves to be correct aqidah-insulated? Or aqidah-annihilated with a slow time release mechanism?
    Are there no alternatives though this may demand more sacrifices individually and collectively?

    The homosexuality is cool indoctrination process should be seen as just one of the evils that are nicely packaged and designed . If we succeed in avoiding this one evil, how about the others

    Remember we should save ourselves and children from the Fire fuelled by stones and guarded by stern uncompromising angels. These angels don’t and cannot sell out

  12. Avatar

    Abu Ibrahim

    April 16, 2010 at 1:03 AM

    I’m so glad I don’t live in NYC anymore. As much as I miss where I grew up, I’m sure this crazy “day of silence” would have been supported wholeheartedly in that liberal cesspool.

    This is just all the more reason to continue keeping my kids out of public school. Looks like we’ll be homeschooling for a while, Inshallah.

  13. Avatar

    MD Bro

    April 16, 2010 at 2:01 PM

    I’ll talk double

  14. Avatar

    Wael - IslamicAnswers.com

    April 16, 2010 at 2:10 PM

    I tend to think of myself as Islamically aware and educated, but I admit I have had some slight confusion on this issue. In reading your piece, I realize that I have suffered from some degree of brainwashing as well. So this was a real reality check. Thank you.

  15. Avatar

    Torq

    April 16, 2010 at 5:55 PM

    I am reminded of what the Prophet Lut (AS) said to his people:
    “Is there not among you a single upright man?” 11:78

    It is dumbfounding the number of people who accept this. The only reason this sickness has become somewhat accepted, or tolerated, is it has spread. The power of the “status quo”. But it is what it is, a psychological illness.

    Incest today is where homsexuality was 50 years ago. A few sporadic cases that make it on the news where people argue “there is nothing wrong with it” – and they had an operation so no kids would result.

    But all in all, it makes perfect sense. When you remove God from the picture, your morals will shift slowly but surely as the sand dunes of the desert. And you can always ask “why is this wrong?”. It is simply a matter of enough people approving before the mighty status quo sets the new right and wrong

  16. Avatar

    Saadullah

    April 17, 2010 at 2:41 AM

    Every religion, including Islam has changed to meet the needs of society and stood the test of time. Those factions that held on and refused to question themselves gradually faded into nonexistence. Society, culture, technology all evolve, and so does religion.

    There is an obvious myopia or bias on this forum, and I acknowledge and respect your belief. But I ask you this: before imposing these values onto others and judging them, did you had a look in the mirror? Do you really want the world to be a reflection of you?

    The fact of the matter is that homosexuals are people. They can not be denigrated and dehumanized JUST on the basis of their sexual orientation. Egalitarianism is the true spirit of the Quran, let us not forget that what we worship has been passed onto us by people.

    Islam will need to adopt, and WILL adopt.

    • Avatar

      Umm Bilqis

      April 17, 2010 at 3:39 AM

      The Godless, Secular order attempts to usurp Allah taala’s power and legislations.
      They corrupt everything from the seeds we eat to the minds and bodies of entire societies.
      The process of unravelling the social order is marching on.
      There is splendor and harmony in gender relations as promoted and preserved by the Quraan and the Sunnah.
      The corruptors can continue in their efforts to overturn the Social order.
      Alhamdullilah Islam will always preserve and stop this anarchy and disintegration of societies.

      • Avatar

        Saadullah

        April 17, 2010 at 5:32 AM

        With all due respect, Allah’s legislations have come into effect after the rationalization and deliberation of men. These pious men and Ulama have been the guiding forces in tough times when the Ummah is challenged but what we face now is a lack of leadership. Instead what we are doing is cornering ourselves and resisting while we could embrace the world for what it is. Secularism may not be the solution but Pluralism is, its the only way we can sustain ourselves from further conflict and loss of human lives. Live and let live.

      • Avatar

        Wael - IslamicAnswers.com

        April 17, 2010 at 3:41 PM

        Beautiful comment, Umm Bilqis.

    • Avatar

      Farah

      April 17, 2010 at 11:55 PM

      see. here you are right. islam needs to adapt, not adopt. i’m a teen. i can’t stand the whole gay lesbian thing. it is messed up, wrong, and it is most deffinitely a mental illness. but we can’t just become radicals and keep kids from going to public school and such. we need to inform kids about this issue. also inform schools on how it is almost as if they are messing with religion. we all know religion is a forbidden topic for schools to discuss, i believe that this is a smarter approach. or make one universal day to be silent not for just gay people (ugh.) but for all those who are oppressed and discriminated.

      • Avatar

        Umm Bilqis

        April 18, 2010 at 12:54 AM

        Dear Farah, it is not radical to withdraw children from public school.
        However we do have a right not to have someone elses morality or rather immorality foisted on our children.
        Our values and principles come from our religion, and schooling and education should not attempt to undermine or usurp this role.
        To reiterate, the security of the hearts of our children is as essential as the security of their bodies,if not more so.

    • Avatar

      Ummezaynub

      April 22, 2010 at 7:12 PM

      Salaams,
      Au contraire, Brother Saadullah. All nations have perished who have left Islam. I apologize if in any way I conveyed that I want all people to be a reflection of my flawed self.

      We vilify the act not out of hatred towards them but because Allah in His Majesty hates the act. You are right, they are human, the best of creation made by Allah to live as He wants us to. Read the struggles of so many Muslim brothers who are fighting against their nafs to stay within the commands of Allah in the link Mama A to Z posted, gaymuslims.org. Only Allah knows how much He loves them.

      What I am asking for the freedom to call a sin a sin. They are sinning just as we sin by lying or cheating. We have to believe that Allah is Rahman and can forgive anything except shirk as long as we repent.

      Tolerance does not mean support and , leave it to the parents to talk about it. If I can not say God’s name in my kids’ school- believe me their teachers remind me every time I am in their class, then why talk about sexual preference which is such a private topic. It is not the job of the school to raise our children. They try to equate to race- as one of my African American students said- “Its a choice, and all to often this choice seems to change for the kids around me every week. I can’t get up one morning and decide ‘hey! I feel like being black today”

  17. Avatar

    Ify Okoye

    April 17, 2010 at 5:44 AM

    It seems rather disingenuous to claim that schools are politicizing an issue or indoctrinating students simply because an idea which one may disagree with is being promoted. All schools (public, private, home) have a mission and core values statements/beliefs and if one does not agree with that mission statement or core values then one should not attend such institutions because obviously the school will seek to push that message through its curriculum onto its faculty and students.

    I grew up in a conservative community which had more liberal school districts and we always witnessed some back-and-forth between the two forces. Conservative Christian groups were able to get most popular radio stations banned from school buses and were always pushing for the school mascot to be changed from the “blue devil” and for creationism to be taught alongside evolution amongst other issues. I haven’t forgotten the huge placards of aborted fetuses some conservative protesters held up along the sidewalks as the school buses passed with elementary through high school students, although it wasn’t particularly good dawah on their part and turned most people off even if they agreed with their message.

    • Avatar

      Ummezaynub

      April 22, 2010 at 7:39 PM

      Wasalaam Ify,
      Are you saying that they shouldn’t have pushed for those reforms or they should have done it a
      more constructive way?

      Interesting feedback from kids in our youth group; those that attended public school with very large, affluent Jewish & Asian concentration accounted that there was not much support nor was there a big hoopla. But those that attended school in more homogeneous, less privileged neighborhoods said in some cases up to 90% of class time was used up.

      From sample call out letter:

      “The administration errs when it allows the classroom to be disrupted and politicized by granting students permission to remain silent throughout an entire day. The protesters have a captive audience, many of whom disagree with and are made uncomfortable by the politicization of their classroom. How many political protests will the school allow, and who decides which political issue will be permitted to disrupt the educational process?

      Day of Silence participants have a First Amendment right to wear t-shirts, and if other extracurricular clubs put up posters and set up tables from which to distribute materials, “gay-straight alliances” have that right also. The Day of Silence participants go further, however, by exploiting the instructional time of every student in every class for an entire day in the service of their philosophical beliefs and partisan political purposes. Their silence, and in some cases, the silence of their teachers, transform the activities of the day.”

      • Avatar

        Ify Okoye

        April 26, 2010 at 2:05 PM

        I’m saying much of this protest including the sample letter you highlighted appears disingenuous. Schools and instruction time is always politicized or pushes an agenda. So when we choose to engage we should do so with wisdom.

  18. Avatar

    Mezba

    April 17, 2010 at 8:35 AM

    Have never heard of this day here in Canada.

    I remember all the anger some felt when the book “I have two mommies” (or something to that effect) was introduced in classes.

    Why? It’s just a book. Read it, write a report on it and be done with it.

    Muslims who can be easily brain washed or indoctrinated should really think why is it so.

  19. Avatar

    Umm Bilqis

    April 17, 2010 at 9:46 AM

    Mezba kids can get easily influenced.
    Saadullah the wonderous thing about Islam is it is the religion of the submitters.
    Islam= Submission
    Muslims are Submitters to the will of the Creator.
    As they say in my home,” we did not bring these laws from our back pockets.”
    This Means we are following the will of the Creator, we are following the Holy Quraan and the Sunnah of Our beloved Prophet Sallahu alaihi Wasallam.
    I encourage you to read the story of Prophet Lot..

  20. Avatar

    Abez

    April 17, 2010 at 5:17 PM

    Hooray for homeschooling? :)

    • Avatar

      Umm Bilqis

      April 18, 2010 at 12:34 AM

      Assalmu alaikum sister Abez,
      Homeschool or to provide/ support a Private Islamic school.
      Please note that security for the heart from fasad is just as important as physical security if not more so.
      Here is a link and excerpt for a lady called Charlotte Iserbyt who was an senior policy Advisor at the U.S department of education.
      This essay is called,” The Devil’s Seven Prong Fork”.

      “Prong Seven is UN control of education lifelong under the umbrella of the school district (community re-education). The late Professor Benjamin Bloom, an internationalist closely associated with UNESCO, and the father of The Taxonomy of Educational Objectives, in which all teachers have been trained, said in his book All Our Children Learning: “The purpose of education and the schools is to change the thoughts, feelings and actions of students.” The UN and the tax-exempt foundations have created a socialist America through Skinnerian/Pavlovian behavior modification programs (animal training which bypasses the brain) and the radical change from academics to the communist/fascist polytechnical (lifelong school- to- work job quota system) being implemented today under the controversial No Child Left Behind/ No American Left Alone Act.”

      http://www.deliberatedumbingdown.com/pages/articles/Devils_Seven_Prong_Fork.html

      • Avatar

        someone

        April 18, 2010 at 11:38 PM

        fear mongering much????

        • Avatar

          Umm Bilqis

          April 19, 2010 at 3:11 AM

          lol “Someone”.
          Direct order, “go back to sleep!”

  21. Avatar

    Jessica

    July 19, 2010 at 1:04 PM

    I don’t understand—Muslim girls should be allowed to express their beliefs by wearing hijabs in classrooms, even if it offends those who believe hijabs are degrading to women, but children are not allowed to express pro-equality beliefs by remaining silent for a day?

    • Hena Zuberi

      Hena Zuberi

      March 24, 2011 at 12:44 PM

      So wear a T shirt that proclaim your belief, why do whole classes have to be framed around this?
      You would probably not like it if I asked your daughter to wear hijab in school to support bullying against Muslims would you? and if she didn’t wear one because it is against her ‘feminist’ convictions and she refuses, would you like her to be called a bigot and Islamophobe?

  22. Avatar

    Ahmed

    October 29, 2010 at 10:30 AM

    It is often said that: “When one suffers from prejudice and discrimination, that is when one learns not to pre-judge and discriminate against others.”

    Muslims nowadays are facing a whole lot of unjust bigotry and discrimination from various quarters. But it amazes me to see that even then, muslims can continue to promote bigotry and discrimination against other minority groups – which in this instance, the homosexual community.

    It is not that difficult to understand the gay community. Just walk up to another gay person and ask he or she why he or she is gay. Another way is to ask yourself. Ask yourself: Why are you straight? When did you choose to be straight?

    The answer is obvious. Nobody chooses to be gay, just as nobody chooses to be straight.

    Why then is the muslim community continue to demonize and terrorize the gay community just “because the book says so”.

    There is so far not one shred of valid argument why one can say that homosexuality is wrong. On the other hand, there are plenty of scientific evidence documenting the occurrence of homosexuality in the animal kingdom, pointing out that homosexuality is but a part of the normal spectrum of human sexuality.

    Do you really think that gay sex is more fun than straight sex? Gosh, if you think so, then you might actually be gay. But the more important point is, why would anyone choose to suffer and have their life threatened, just in order to be gay? The answer is pretty simple. It is simply not a choice.

    It is also not a pathology because homosexuality most definitely does not ruin lives. How does lives get ruined by homosexuality? Lives get ruined, young people get killed because of homophobia. Homophobia is a pathology.

  23. Avatar

    Michael

    March 18, 2011 at 2:30 AM

    This from a group of people who follow the example of the Prophet Muhammad-edited . And you disapprove of a day in support of an end to childhood bullying based on perceived sexual orientation? Makes perfect sense.

    • Hena Zuberi

      Hena Zuberi

      March 24, 2011 at 12:36 PM

      If this day was for childhood bullying across the board it would be a different scenario. Aren’t kids bullied because of race, religion, ethnicity, language, body size, speech impairments, physical development. And the kids celebrating this day, bullying kids who do not want to celebrate this date, excommunicating them, harassing them, calling them names, refutes the very purpose that this day supposedly stands for.

  24. Avatar

    Leilani

    April 20, 2011 at 4:34 PM

    …This confuses me. Gay youth are committing suicide and winding up homeless left and right. it is an epidemic. I can understand not agreeing with homosexual behavior, but to be offended by a day devoted to recognizing that gay youth are suffering in silence, out of fear, is an overreaction. To say that a day of silence, to recognize the epidemic of homophobia in this country and commemorate the lost lives of bullied homosexual youth, is offensive to Muslims is going well overboard.

  25. Avatar

    Leilani

    April 25, 2011 at 2:17 PM

    After discussing this article with someone else, I think it should be removed from Muslim Matters. I’m not saying this in order to curb the free flow of discussion. I really don’t think this article has anything to do with Islam. It’s just not appropriate. That kind of article belongs in a personal blog, or a blog campaigning against Day of Silence. Or even just an anti-gay blog. I’m sure there are many more writers who could create more deserving articles about Islam and homosexuality to be on this site.

    I learned nothing about Islam from this article. All I learned was that the writer did not want her child to observe a day of silence, to raise awareness of the isolation LGBT youth face as a result of bullying, because she thought it was equivalent to brainwashing her kid to believe it is okay to be gay.

    This is not about agreeing or disagreeing with the content of the story. I just don’t think it fits into the theme of this site.

  26. Avatar

    Sam

    May 8, 2016 at 12:07 PM

    But the thing is, most public schools don’t force this day on students. It’s a matter of choice. Remember, its not only Islam that’s against this. Other groups also view this matter differently, so its not like everyone is silent on this day. In my experience, I had some friends who chose to participate while majority of the other students and I did not. Nobody was bullied or made fun of not partaking. Perhaps it matters what type of school you go to, but coming from a person who has attended almost 3 different public high schools(all very diverse and liberal environments), Day of Silence isn’t like a day of brainwashing students or forcing them with this viewpoint. It’s a matter of choice…not all public schools have some agenda to “brainwash” students.

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#Life

Jannah Wall Art | MuslimKidsMatter

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Assalam Alaykum wa Rahmatullah wa Barakatuh

Jannah Wall Art

We thought long and hard about what to focus on this Ramadan. We decided it would be motivation! The desire to do pray has to spring from motivation. Being obedient to parents has to spring from motivation. Racing to do any good deed has to spring from motivation. Children love rewards and what better reward and motivator to focus on, than Jannah itself, the best and ultimate reward.

Each day in Ramadan, the challenge is to read a description or two of Jannah, cut out a petal, and write the description in a few words on the petal. Children then need to stick the petals next to each other to make a flower. By the end of Ramadan, the children will have made a beautiful flower containing the descriptions of Jannah to hang up on their walls to remind them why they need to pray, be good to their parents, give charity and accumulate as many good deeds as possible.

Everything has been provided for you including the descriptions of Jannah, the petal template, a sample of what the flower should look like and step by step instructions. You just need to print and execute!

GET YOUR FREE RESOURCE NOW

https://ilmburst.lpages.co/ilm-burst-ramadan-treat

May Allah allow us all to witness Ramadan and make us from those who excel in worship throughout the blessed month.

Wassalam Alaykum
The Ilmburst Family

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#Society

MuslimARC Releases Guide for White Muslims By White Muslims

The author of the MuslimARC Guide writes an introduction

Bill Chambers

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“As people who are both white and Muslim, we straddle two identities -one privileged in society and the other, not. We experience Islamophobia to varying degrees, sometimes more overtly depending on how we physically present, and at the same time we have been socialized as white people in a society where white people hold more social power than People of Color (POC). The focus of the toolkit is to provide resources and information that will help guide us toward good practices and behaviours, and away from harmful ones, as we challenge racism within the Muslim community (ummah) and in society at large.” MuslimARC Guide 

As part of our mission to provide education and resources to advance racial justice within the Muslim community, the Muslim Anti-Racism Collaborative (MuslimARC) is producing a series of community-specific guides to be a resource for those who want to engage in anti-racism work within Muslim communities.

The first in this series, the Anti-Racism Guide for White Muslims, has been written specifically for white Muslims, by white Muslims under the guidance of the anti-racist principles of MuslimARC. While white Muslims know that Islamically we are required to stand for justice, growing up in a society that is so racially unequal has meant that unless we seek to actively educate ourselves, we typically have not been provided the tools to effectively talk about and address racism.

The Anti-Racism Guide for White Muslims is a tool and resource that speaks to specific needs of white Muslims who are navigating the process of deepening their understanding of racism and looking for concrete examples of how, from their specific social location, they can contribute to advancing anti-racism in Muslim communities. The Guide also addresses views and practices that inadvertently maintain the status quo of racial injustice or can actually reproduce harm, which we must tackle in ourselves and in our community in order to effectively contribute to uprooting racism.

The Guide was developed by two white Muslim members of MuslimARC, myself (Bill Chambers) and Lindsay Angelow. The experiences, approaches, recommendations, and resources are based upon our own experiences, those of other white Muslims we have encountered or spoken to, and research and analysis by others who have been cited in the Guide.

As white people, we are not always aware when we say or write something that reflects our often narrow analysis of racism and need to be open to feedback from Muslims of Color. My own personal process of helping to develop this Guide made me aware of the many times I was in discussions with Muslims of Color, especially women, when I had reflect better upon the privilege I experience as a white person and also the white male privilege that comes with it. It is difficult not to feel defensive when you realize you may have said too much and listened too little on a topic that is really not about you.

Talking about racism is a hard topic and we anticipate that for many white Muslims reading the Guide, there may be a feeling of defensiveness and having difficulty learning from the examples given because you feel that the examples don’t apply to you. You may feel the need to call to attention the various forms of injustice you feel you have experienced in your life, for example where you felt like an outsider as a convert in Muslim community. Our advice is to recognize that those reactions are related to living in a society where we are very much shielded from having to deeply understand racism and examining our role in it. In the spirit of knowledge seeking, critical thinking, and the call to justice communicated to us in the Qur’an as expectations that Allah has of Muslims, we must push past those reactions and approach the subject matter in the spirit of knowledge, skill-seeking, and growth.

“People, We have created you all from a single man and a single woman, and made you into races and tribes so that you should get to know one another (49:13).” One of our most important purposes is to really “get to know” one another, build just and loving communities together, all the time knowing we all come from the same source and will return together. If this Guide does anything, let it inspire a deeper understanding of our unique identity as white Muslims and how to use it to advance a more just society.

You can find the  #AntiRacismGuide for White Muslims at http://www.muslimarc.org/whitemuslimguide

Further reading:

White Activism Is Crucial In The Wake of Right-Wing Terrorism

Beyond Muslim Diversity to Racial Equity

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#Culture

Emotional Intelligence: A Tool for Change  

Imam Mikaeel Smith

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Why do we consider emotional intelligence to be half of the Prophetic intellect? The answer lies in the word “messenger.” Messengers of Allah are tasked with the divine responsibility of conveying to humanity the keys to their salvation. They are not only tasked with passing on the message but also with being a living example of that message.

When ʿĀʾishah, the wife of the Prophet ﷺ, was asked to explain the character of the blessed Prophet ﷺ, her reply was, “His character was the Qurʾān.[1]” We are giving emotional intelligence a place of primacy in the construct of Prophetic intelligence because it seems implausible that Allah would send a messenger without providing that messenger with the means necessary to exemplify and transmit the message to others. If the Prophets of Allah did not have the necessary knowledge and skills needed to successfully pass on the message to the next generation, the argument would be incomplete. People could easily excuse themselves of all accountability because the message was never conveyed.

We also see clear examples in the Qur’ān that this knowledge was being perpetually perfected in the character of the Prophet ﷺ. Slight slips in his Emotional Intelligence were rare, but when they did occur, Allah gently addressed the mistake by means of revelation. Allah says in the Qurʾān, “If you (O Muḥammad) were harsh and hardhearted, then the people would flee from you.” This verse clearly placed the burden of keeping an audience upon the shoulders of the Prophet ﷺ. What this means is that the Prophet ﷺ had to be aware of what would push people away; he had to know what would create cognitive and emotional barriers to receptivity. When we study the shamāʾil (books about his character), we find that he was beyond exceptional in his ability to make people receptive. He took great care in studying the people around him and deeply understanding them. Only after the Prophet ﷺ had exhausted all the means of removing barriers to receptivity would the responsibility to affirm the message be shifted to those called to it.

Another example of this Prophetic responsibility can be found in the story of Prophet Mūsa when he was commissioned to call Pharaoh and the children of Israel to Allah. When Allah informed him of the task he was chosen for, he immediately attempted to excuse himself because he had a slight speech impediment. He knew that his speech impediment could potentially affect the receptivity of people to the message. He felt that this disqualified him from being a Prophet. He also felt that the act of manslaughter he committed might come between the people and guidance. All of these examples show that Allah’s Prophets understood that many factors can affect a person’s receptivity to learning something new, especially when the implications of that new information call into question almost every aspect of a person’s identity. History tells us that initially, people did not accept the message of the Prophet Muhammad ﷺ; they completely rejected him and accused him of being a liar.

One particular incident shows very clearly that he ﷺ understood how necessary it was for him to remove any cognitive or emotional barriers that existed between him and his community. When the people of his hometown of Makkah had almost completely rejected him, he felt that it was time to turn his attention to a neighboring town. The city of Ṭā’if was a major city and the Prophet ﷺ was hopeful that perhaps they would be receptive to the message. Unfortunately, they completely rejected him and refused to even listen to what he had to say. They chased him out of town, throwing stones at him until his injuries left him completely covered in blood. Barely making it outside the city, the Prophet ﷺ collapsed. Too weak to move, he turned his attention to his Lord and made one of the most powerful supplications made by a Prophet of Allah.

اللهم إليك أشكو ضعف قوتي، وقلة حيلتي، وهواني على الناس، يا أرحم الراحمين، أنت أنت رب المستضعفين وأنت ربي، إلى من تكلني؟ إلى عدو يتجهمني؟ أو إلى قريب ملكته أمري؟ إن لم يكن بك علي غضب فلا أبالي، غير أن عافيتك أوسع لي، أعوذ بنور وجهك الذي أشرقت له الظلمات، وصلح عليه أمر الدنيا والآخرة، من أن ينزل بي غضبك، أو يحل علي سخطك، لك العتبى حتى ترضى، ولا حول ولا قوة إلا بك”

“Oh Allah, only to You do I complain about my lack of strength, my insufficient strategies, and lowliness in the sight of the people. You are my Lord. To whom do you turn me over? Someone distant from me who will forsake me? Or have you placed my affair in the hands of my enemy? [2]

The Prophet ﷺ felt that he was the reason why the people were not accepting the message. His concern that “my low status in the eyes of the people,” informs us that he understood that people naturally judge the seriousness of a message based on the stature of the message bearer. The people of Ṭā’if were extremely ignorant, so much that they adamantly refused to enter into any dialogue. In reality, this was not due to any shortcoming of the Prophet ﷺ; he demonstrated the best of character and displayed extreme patience in the face of such ignorance. But the beginning of the supplication teaches us what he was focused on: making sure that he was not the reason why someone did not accept the message.

Because his message was not geographically restricted like that of other Prophets, those who inherited the message would have the extra burden of transferring the message to a people with whom they were unfamiliar. The intelligence needed to pass the message of the Prophet Muḥammad ﷺ around the world included an understanding of the cultural differences that occur between people. Without this understanding effective communication and passing on of his message would be impossible.

A sharp Emotional Intelligence is built upon the development of both intra- and interpersonal intelligence. These intelligences are the backbone of EQ and they provide a person with emotional awareness and understanding of his or her own self, an empathic understanding of others, and the ability needed to communicate effectively and cause change. Emotional Intelligence by itself is not sufficient for individual reform or societal reform; instead, it is only one part of the puzzle. The ʿaql or intellect that is referenced repeatedly in the Qurʾān is a more comprehensive tool that not only recognizes how to understand the psychological and emotional aspects of people but recognizes morally upright and sound behavior. After that this intellect, if healthy and mature, forces a person to conform to that standard. Therefore, we understand the ʿaql to be a comprehensive collection of intelligences analogous to Howard Gardner’s Multiple Intelligences theory.

Taking into consideration the extreme diversity found within Western Muslim communities, we see how both Moral Intelligence and Emotional Intelligence are needed. Fostering and nurturing healthy communities requires that we understand how people receive our messages. This is the interpersonal intelligence aspect of EQ. Without grounding the moral component of our community, diversity can lead to what some contemporary moral theorists call moral plasticity, a phenomenon where concrete understandings of good and evil, right and wrong, are lost. Moral Education (Moral Education, which will be discussed throughout the book, is the process of building a Morally Intelligent heart) focuses on correcting the message that we are communicating to the world; in other words, Moral Intelligence helps us maintain our ideals and live by them, while Emotional Intelligence ensures that the message is effectively communicated to others.

My father would often tell me, “It’s not what you say, son; it’s what they hear.”

Interpersonal understanding is the core of emotional intelligence. My father would often tell me, “It’s not what you say, son; it’s what they hear.” From the perspective of Emotional Intelligence, this statement is very accurate. The way we interpret words, body language, verbal inflections, and facial expressions is based on many different factors. The subtle power of this book lies in the simple fact that your emotional intelligence is the primary agent of change and thus the most powerful force you have. You must understand how people perceive what you are communicating to them. What is missing from my father’s statement is the primacy of Moral Intelligence. Throughout this book, I attempt to show how the Prophet Muḥammad ﷺ demonstrated a level of perfection of both of these intelligences.

*With the Heart in Mind is available for pre-order at https://www.qalam.foundation/qalambooks/with-the-heart-in-mind

[1]Bayhaqī, Shuʿb al-ʾĪmān, vol. 3, p. 23.

[2] Ibn Kathir, al-Bidāyah wa al-Nihāyah, vol. 3, p. 136.

 

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