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Reclaiming The Perceptions Of Muslims, pt. 1 – Be A Citizen

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Reclaiming the Perceptions of Muslims: Part 1 | Part 2 | Part 3 | Part 4

A lot of talk in the Islamosphere centers around the perception of Muslims by non-Muslims and by the media. “The media portrays us all as terrorists, they only cover Islamic terrorist attacks. We’re all tainted by association, because public perception is twisted by media portrayal,” the argument goes.

But this sentiment only examines the symptoms. It’s my view that the behavior of the Muslim ummah itself is a significant contributor to the underlying cause. It’s long past time to acknowledge our own culpability, in both action and inaction, in how we are perceived and portrayed. Fortunately, by taking responsibility for our own role in how we are perceived, we also empower ourselves to take ownership of it, reclaim it, change it.

In the following series of posts, I’m going to explore this: our failure of engagement from the grassroots level to established Muslim organizations, how media works, how and why our media messages fail, and improving civic and media relations (the two go hand in hand).

But I’ll also look at remedies: writing more effective press releases, focusing and controlling one’s message, ways to leverage new media and social networking tools, developing a sensitivity and attention to the comments of non-Muslims who seek to genuinely engage with us, the importance of overcoming the Muslim reticence to cultivate long-term, healthy relationships with local and national media outlets, and grassroots tips.

I’ll start at the grassroots level and build upwards and outwards.

Underneath everything else, the root of Muslim culpability in how it is perceived and portrayed is the ummah’s powerful inclination towards isolation and separatism. This pervades everything in the chain from grassroots on up, and needs to be kept uppermost in mind as we explore solutions throughout the chain of communications and relationships with those outside the Muslim ummah. We have been separatist and isolationist for far too long, and now to our own detriment.

At a simple, grassroots, individual level, we must begin engaging with our community as citizens first, Muslims second. I know that seems uncomfortable on the surface, and understand I’m not advocating we deny our faith or go into hiding — in fact I’m proposing we need to be more visible — but more visible as citizens who just happen to be Muslim, as opposed to Muslims who are preoccupied mainly with our Muslimness to the exclusion of our civic duties and neighbors.

We need to stop being defensive Muslims and start becoming concerned civic participants.

We need to understand that the Muslim ummah is not the only ummah we are a part of.

How to do this?

A) Get involved locally: go to a town hall meeting, your school’s PTA or the school board, neighborhood association, etc. Find a civic cause and get involved. Invite your neighbors for dinner. Join a gym. Lend a lawn mower. Join any kind of recreational or social group, be it bird watchers, chess club, green causes, Democrats, Republicans, whatever.

In short: If you’re in America because of the opportunities it affords, then do your part and participate.

The key is to connect outside of our sphere, human to human, person to person, townsfolk to townsfolk.

(More than just civic engagement, it’s increasingly important to do and document good deeds and actions. Look for more on this in a future post outside this series).

B) If you’re a Muslim blogger and/or a follower of Muslim blogs: Congrats, you’ve worked very hard, shukriya for all you’ve done, mash’allah, you did great work!

In fact, your blogging was so awesome, you’ve won a vacation! Here’s your temporary exit visa from Blogistan!

Go visit some other part of the internet. Take a long hiatus from blogging about Muslim issues that — let’s be real here and call a spade a spade — are pretty much only read and discussed by other Muslim bloggers blogging about Muslim issues. I’m not saying that kind of exchange shouldn’t happen, of course it should. I love the Islamosphere and we need that internal discourse, but we need to shake any delusions about the Islamosphere’s true external reach and influence on non-Muslims. There are ways to improve that reach that I’ll address later in this series, but currently that reach is not much at all.

Start a section on your blog (or set up a new one) about what’s happening in your city. If you’re personally involved in some of the community steps mentioned above, then blog on those. Link with other community bloggers, comment on their blogs, comment on your city newspaper or TV station web sites (most of those now have reader commenting mechanisms). How much and when you want to point to your Muslim blogging interests at this stage is up to you, but the key is to build a local voice and presence that actively demonstrates civic interest and concern. For that kind of audience and targeting, building your civic cyberidentity is more important than showcasing your Muslim one, at least initially.

Here’s my throwdown: I challenge every Muslim blogger to blog on something else other than Muslim issues for their next three posts. Make it local to your community. Post a link to it on the comments below.

Can you, will you do it?

Both these activities — individual civic activism and playing a part in the local blogosphere — have an additional benefit of setting the stage for a better long-term relationship and presence with local (and ultimately national) media. How media outlets work, the Muslim reticence to develop media relationships and the Muslim failure to deliver effective lasting messages to the media — and how that can be turned around — will be addressed in the next post.

If Muslims are not willing to be known and be identified as fellow citizens — fully participating in and concerned about our civic community — then the only Muslims our neighbors will ever know about, are those Muslims that make the news when they commit senseless violent acts.

Our present isolationism has guaranteed that our civic communities know no other kind of Muslim.

But by undertaking some simple steps, we offer the civic ummah a wealth of positive experiences with Muslims — alternative experiences that can counteract the perception we’ve allowed to flourish by our separatist stance.

More to follow…

With nine years experience in mainstream news media -- first in radio, then web and social media for both print and television -- Mustafa Stefan Dill was an early advocate and practitioner for applying social media techniques to mainstream journalism. Dill has lectured on online journalism and social change at the Indian Institute of Journalism and New Media, Bangalore, India and has been featured in Online Journalism Review, The Media Center's Morph blog, J-New Voices, motherpie.typepad.com, and participated as a panelist in a national web seminar by the American Press Institute. In August 2010, Dill planned his escape from the newsroom environment launched a new consultancy offering PR, social media and new media strategies for a wide range of clients, with a specialty in serving Muslim and interfaith organizations and NGOs working in Muslim regions. Dill reverted to Islam in 2002.

22 Comments

22 Comments

  1. Avatar

    Arif Kabir

    October 19, 2010 at 9:34 PM

    Very nicely written, masha’Allah.

    I myself have noticed that our blogs “are pretty much only read and discussed by other Muslim bloggers blogging about Muslim issues”. When my father first started KabirCares.org (a civic blog addressing the city of College Park), I was pretty skeptical about it, but because of his blogging, the City of College Park held a “College Park Day” with him and another civic blogger running the show, he was able to hold several community cleanups, the Gazette (local newspaper) regularly publishes articles with his blogged quotes on it, so Alhamdulillah, it definitely paid its dividends.

  2. Avatar

    Mustafa Stefan Dill

    October 19, 2010 at 11:37 PM

    Thank s Arif!
    That’s awesome that your Dad did that, that’s exactly the kind of activity I’m advocating and that we need to see more of ! is it still active and can you share a link?

    We would love to have a collection of links to blogs by Muslims who are blogging on other issues — post those urls here!

  3. Avatar

    Holly Stevens

    October 20, 2010 at 1:20 PM

    Hello: Just a note to say I’m a non-Muslim who just came across this post — and I think you have a wonderful idea here, finding more opportunities to become engaged with the mainstream as citizens who just happen to be Muslim. People form impressions of the “other” from media and rumor, but it is not until they have opportunities to engage with, and come to know on a personal level, those unlike themselves in some particular way that they can come to see the “Other” with trust and respect. May you find fruit in your efforts, InshaAllah.

  4. Avatar

    ummZayn

    October 20, 2010 at 1:41 PM

    Very much needed for our Muslim communities living in the West. Regarding your point of becoming more visible, here’s a simple and wonderful way, with Eid coming up next month. Prepare a plate of goodies and share them with your coworkers, neighbours etc. Include a small note to explain that its Eid and that you want to share the happiness etc. Small things like this go a long way!

    • Avatar

      Yaqeen needed

      November 15, 2010 at 1:15 AM

      Well intended idea. Just want to know what one will do when Xmas comes and they offer youtheir food or invite u to participate. Or thanksgiving

  5. Avatar

    fester225

    October 20, 2010 at 2:17 PM

    I am an infidel who has taken an interest in Islam to America.

    You have many good ideas. From my perspective, the biggest problem Islam has in America is the near invisibility of its moderate membership. I very much look forward to the rest of this series.

    I have many friends who’s interests much more closely lie with keeping Islam out. I’d like to know why the vast majority of moderate Islam remains silent when the various atrocities occur around the world. You alluded to a cultural preference to stay out of the public light. I’d appreciate more from you on this subject.

  6. Avatar

    Mustafa Stefan Dill

    October 20, 2010 at 9:00 PM

    hi Fester,
    thanks for your interest, and welcome to MM! (and by the way, I never cared for the term ‘infidel,’ loaded as it is by certain baggages and connotations accrued over time. I’m sure there’s etymological/ linguistic reasons for that translation — Iesa G.? — , but in this day and age, its a lot more neutral to refer to non-Muslims as simply non-Muslims :) )

    Your question:

    I’d like to know why the vast majority of moderate Islam remains silent when the various atrocities occur around the world

    is one that’s heard a lot these days. It’s a fair question that must be answered, and Muslims need to own that: we owe our fellow citizens an answer. That lack of ownership was the major impetus behind this series, in fact.

    The conventional Muslim response is usually that Muslims have spoken up against terrorism and other atrocities.

    My contention is, however, they haven’t done it enough, but more importantly, they haven’t done it well at all. The media effectiveness of the Muslim institutional response — as I’ll show in part 3 — is tepid at best. I have to preface that installment with Part 2, which breaks down what media outlets need to make engaging coverage; part 3 will examine how we’ve failed to meet that media need.

    As to the reticence of the ummah, that’s a complex question that also needs good answers, but it’s a little outside the scope of this current series, which has a more media focus. There are others who are more qualified to take that on, from a cultural/anthropological/sociological perspective. I have found Dr. Ahmed’s recent book “Journey Into America” highly illuminating on this front, and as I mention in the link, I consider it essential reading for any American, Muslim or not, interested in the Muslim dialogue or not.

    Thanks again!
    MSD

    • Avatar

      fester225

      October 20, 2010 at 9:23 PM

      MSD:

      Thank you for your most kind response! With a few exceptions, I’m beginning to expect that from the Muslim community.

      The following article which I wrote for AltMuslim.org might give you a better idea of my background and motivations:

      http://www.altmuslim.com/a/a/a/3327/

      P.S. I shall endeavor to remember to be a ‘non-Muslim’ rather than an ‘Infidel’.

      • Avatar

        Iesa Galloway

        October 20, 2010 at 10:09 PM

        Mustafa and Fester,

        P.S. I shall endeavor to remember to be a ‘non-Muslim’ rather than an ‘Infidel’. :)

        Good!

        Since you asked I dug up something I wrote a LONG time ago on this topic:

        It is important to understand the origin of the term infidel, like the phrase pagan the word infidel was coined by the church for use by European Christians to describe Muslims and Jews at the time of the crusades. The term infidel was needed to dehumanize both the Jews and Muslims (who both are clearly not pagans) for the crusaders who set out to convert or slaughter them as the journeyed to take the holy land.

        Webster’s 1913 Dictionary:

        In”fi*del, a. [L. infidelis; pref. in- not + fidelis faithful, fr. fides faith: cf. F. infid[`e]le. See {Fidelity}.]

        Not holding the faith; — applied esp. to one who does not
        believe in the inspiration of the Scriptures, and the supernatural origin of Christianity.

        The infidel writer is a great enemy to society. –V. Knox.

        In”fi*del, n. One who does not believe in the prevailing religious faith; especially, one who does not believe in the divine origin and
        authority of Christianity; a Mohammedan; a heathen; a freethinker.

        Note: Infidel is used by English writers to translate the equivalent word used Mohammedans in speaking of Christians and other disbelievers in Mohammedanism.

        Syn: {Infidel}, {Unbeliever}, {Freethinker}, {Deist}, {Atheist}, {Skeptic}, {Agnostic}.

        The Arabic word kafir which is often inadequately translated to infidel or unbeliever has a deeper meaning, and includes many sublevels for non-Muslims. The word literally means one who covers or hides something. It traditionally referred to farmers, i.e. those who bury seeds in the earth and cover them. While the term kafir can be used to refer to non-Muslims in general, Islam made a point to differentiate between pagans, idolaters and others with the term “People of the Book” the honorary title given to Jews and Christians.

      • Avatar

        A

        November 16, 2010 at 3:18 PM

        Excluding all the complicated politics. I too am happy to read this. I have never ever heard an English-speaking fellow Muslim call a non-Muslim an infidel.

        As mentioned before, it seems to stem from mirror-image projection & ignorant history, in the same way some Christians think that Prophet Muhammad is the Muslim God of the Trinity.

        Muslims consider the fellow Abrahamic religions as Ahl-e-Kitab i.e. “People of the Book”, even if we are engaged in conflicts. Infidel is to Muslims something really sickening, way beyond dehumanization. At the end of the day, we are from the Abrahamic tradition & children of Adam.

  7. Avatar

    mayubelle

    October 21, 2010 at 6:45 AM

    Good stuff Mustafa!!,

    There need to be many more posts of this character. I too as a muslim am utterly sick of and even disgusted by the blame culture fostered by our community, and our mentality of perpetual victimhood. Wish there were far stronger and louder posts of this sort. Real or percieved media-bias is merely a projection of our very real failures as a community, and failure to engage with the broader community in a constructive and positive fashion. We also don’t seem to realise non-muslims who mistrust us, may not be merely motivated by sheer bigotry and hatred, but may be spurred by genuinely held if erronous beliefs. Media statements and disclaimers aside our actual manner of conducting ourselves with others, apart from getting extremely defensive, has done little to allieviate this mistrust. Even in our legitimate objections to american foreign policy, we grossly oversimplify the political and global dynamics at play and mould everything as part of the “war on Islam”.

    • Avatar

      fester225

      October 21, 2010 at 5:31 PM

      Mayubelle:

      This is very interesting commentary.

      I’m brand new to this site. Is side discussion allowed?

      • Avatar

        Mustafa Stefan Dill

        October 21, 2010 at 9:52 PM

        how side is side? :) feel free to continue on here — if it gets way off tangent, I’ll ask a senior admin to house it,.

        nice article on altmuslim, by the way — a great read! I think thats another component of the dialogue I overlooked in the article: otires fo non-Muslims who’ve had good experiences with the Muslim community.

        Thanks for doing that; its an added and needed voice.

  8. Pingback: A Tale Of Two Press Releases: MPAC And CAIR On NPR’s Williams | MuslimMatters.org

  9. Pingback: Reclaiming The Perceptions Of Muslims, pt. 4 – Analyse Your Press Release; Serving Non-Muslims | MuslimMatters.org

  10. Pingback: Reclaiming the Perceptions Of Muslims, pt. 3 — How Muslim Organizations Fail With Media | MuslimMatters.org

  11. Pingback: Reclaiming The Perceptions Of Muslims, pt. 2 — Understanding The Media | MuslimMatters.org

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#Islam

Swallowing Your Pride For A Moment Is Harder Than Praying All Night | Imam Omar Suleiman

Imam Omar Suleiman

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Iblees was no ordinary worshipper. He worshipped Allah for thousands of years with thousands of prayers. He ascended the ranks until he accompanied the angels with his noteworthy worship. Performing good deeds was no issue for him. He thanked Allah with his prayers, and Allah rewarded him with a lofty station in Paradise. But when Adam was created and given the station that he was, suddenly Iblees was overcome by pride. He couldn’t bear to see this new creation occupy the place that he did. And as he was commanded to prostrate to him, his pride would overcome him and doom him for eternity. Alas, swallowing his pride for one prostration of respect to Adam was more difficult to him than thousands of prostrations of worship to Allah.

In that is a cautionary lesson for us especially in moments of intense worship. When we exert ourselves in worship, we eventually start to enjoy it and seek peace in it. But sometimes we become deluded by that worship. We may define our religiosity exclusively in accordance with it, become self-righteous as a result of it, and abuse people we deem lesser in the name of it. The worst case scenario of this is what the Prophet (peace be upon him) said about one who comes on the day of judgment with all of their prayers, fasting, and charity only to have it all taken away because of an abusive tongue.

But what makes Iblees’s struggle so relevant to ours? The point of worship is to humble you to your Creator and set your affairs right with His creation in accordance with that humility. The Prophet (peace be upon him) said that whoever has an atom’s worth of pride in their heart would not enter paradise. The most obvious manifestation of that pride is rejecting the truth and belittling someone else. But other subtle manifestations of that pride include the refusal to leave off argumentation, abandon grudges, and humble yourself to the creation in pursuit of the pleasure of the Creator.

Yaqeen

Hence a person would rather spend several Ramadan’s observing the last 10 nights in intense prayer seeking forgiveness for their sins from Allah, rather then humble themselves for a moment to one of Allah’s servants by seeking forgiveness for their transgressions against him, even if they too have a claim.

Jumah is our weekly Eid, and Monday’s and Thursday’s are our weekly semblances of Ramadan as the Prophet (s) used to fast them since our deeds are presented to Allah on those days. He said about them, “The doors of Heaven are opened every Monday and Thursday, and Allah pardons in these days every individual servant who is not a polytheist, except those who have enmity between them; Allah Says: ‘Delay them until they reconcile with each other”

In Ramadan, the doors of Heaven are opened throughout the month and the deeds ascend to Allah. But imagine if every day as your fasting, Quran recitation, etc. is presented to Allah this month, He responds to the angels to delay your pardon until you reconcile with your brother. Ramadan is the best opportunity to write that email or text message to that lost family member or friend and say “it’s not worth it to lose Allah’s forgiveness over this” and “IM SORRY.”

Compare these two statements:

The Prophet ṣallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam (peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him) said: “He who boycotts his brother for more than three days and dies during this period will be from the people of hellfire.”

He also said:

“I guarantee a house in the suburbs of Paradise for one who leaves arguments even if he is right.”

Swallowing your pride is bitter, while prayer is sweet. Your ego is more precious to you than your sleep. But above all, Allah’s pleasure is more precious than it all.

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Dawah and Interfaith

Can I Give My Zakat To An Islamic Educational Cause?

Dr Usaama al-Azami

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As Ramadan nears its end, many Muslims are thinking about paying their zakat in the last ten nights. But what is a worthy cause to which we can give our zakat and, in particular, what do the scholars have to say on this issue?

A number of Islamic educational and media institutions in the West have in recent years been highlighting their ‘zakat-eligible’ status. The list of these institutions is quite long. In the US, they include this website, the al-Madina Institute, the Yaqeen Institute, Zaytuna College, and the Ta’leef Collective. In the UK, they include Cambridge Muslim College. Some of these institutions focus on covering the cost of tuition for students who would otherwise be unable to pay, but others are focused on running an institution whose raison d’etre is Islamic education.

But some might wonder how such institutions can receive zakat? A common belief is that zakat is meant only for the poor and destitute and that such institutions would, therefore, be ineligible. This is sometimes reinforced by the way that a minority of scholars, including learned ones, might deal with these issues.

Last year in the UK, a respected scholar stated emphatically that “none of the scholars” in Islamic history until modern times had ever said one can give zakat to causes like supporting institutions that promote Islamic education. He asserted that only modern scholars permitted the spending of zakat on such matters in the name of the fī sabīli-Llāh category (which I will explain below). The same British scholar reiterated a similar view in the past couple of weeks, but this time said that his view was the opinion of the “vast majority of scholars”.

The average Muslim may find such conflicting claims confusing. How is it that some scholars say zakat cannot be given to Islamic educational causes, while a large number of prominent Islamic educational institutions, presumably led by Islamic scholars, are directly soliciting zakat funds?

The main reason for this is the existence of difference of opinion (ikhtilāf) among scholars regarding who or what is deserving of zakat payment. The Qur’an (9:60) sets out eight categories of zakat-eligible recipients. While people today often think of zakat as being due to the poor and needy, they only explicitly form two of these categories.

The basis on which many of the aforementioned scholarly institutions claim zakat-eligible status is the category of fī sabīli-Llāh which translates to “in God’s path.” Historically, the more dominant interpretation of this zakat-eligible category was that it referred to jihād in God’s path, i.e. zakat was to be given to people engaged in military expeditions on behalf of the Islamic community.

However, some medieval scholars, and a remarkably large number of modern scholars, appealing to the fact that the Prophet highlighted that jihād was ultimately for the sake of making God’s word prevail (li-takun kalimat Allāh hiya al-‘ulyā), have argued for a far broader understanding of this zakat-eligible category.

Jihād, as a concept, is of course incredibly broad in Islam. For example, one finds in a sound hadith that the Prophet said: “Engage in jihād against the polytheists with your wealth, your lives, and your tongues.” Additionally, some of the verses in the Qur’an that enjoined jihād were revealed in Mecca where military jihād was not yet permitted.

Because of this, a minority of medieval scholars argued that the fī sabīli-Llāh category of zakat recipients could entail payments made to support any righteous acts, while others argued that the category was ultimately about upholding and strengthening Islam specifically through da‘wa initiatives that cause God’s word to prevail of which education is one of the most effective tools.

Indeed, giving seekers of sacred knowledge (ṭullāb al-‘ilm) was deemed a legitimate form of zakat payment according to all four schools of law. Clearly, the respected British scholar cited above was inaccurate in his claim that “none of the scholars,” or only a small minority of them, viewed the fī sabīli-Llāh category as referring to anything other than military engagements.

Among modern Arab ulama, the view that the fī sabīli-Llāh category of zakat recipients can apply to Islamic da‘wa and educational initiatives has perhaps become the dominant position on this issue over the last one hundred years. This is true of all major ideological orientations, whether Salafi, Neo-traditionalist, or Islamist.

Thus, for example, arguably the most important Salafi scholar of his generation, the first Grand Mufti of Saudi Arabia, Shaykh Muḥammad b. Ibrāhīm Āl al-Shaykh argued that the most deserving recipient of the fī sabīli-Llāh category of zakat was the cause of da‘wa, and responding to sources of doubt about Islam. Reportedly it is also the final opinion of his most important successor, Shaykh ‘Abd al-‘Azīz b. Bāz. Among living Salafis, this is the position of senior scholars outside the Saudi religious establishment as well, such as Shaykh Salmān al-‘Awda and Shaykh Ṣāliḥ al-Munajjid (may Allah liberate them from their unjust imprisonment).

It is also the position of senior scholars of the Azhar and Egypt’s Grand Muftis for many generations from the 20th and 21st centuries. In our own time, this includes Neo-traditionalist scholars like ‘Alī Jum‘a and Abdullāh b. Bayyah. While the latter prefers a more restrictive interpretation for the category, he permits the more expansive interpretation in his fatwas.

Among Islamist (Ikhwān) oriented scholars, one finds Shaykh Yūsuf al-Qaraḍāwī, author of what is perhaps the most comprehensive work to be written on the fiqh of zakat in Islamic history, promoting such an understanding as well. His two volume work, which addresses the major debates surrounding the fī sabīli-Llāh category in great detail, has also been translated into English. Among younger Islamist-leaning scholars, the encyclopaedic Mauritanian scholar and master of the Sharia sciences, Shaykh Muḥammad al-Ḥasan al-Dadaw argues that the fī sabīli-Llāh category may even be used in the establishing of educational endowments.

The above is only a selection of voices among those who are supportive of promoting Islamic educational causes on the basis of the fī sabīli-Llāh category of zakat. With due respect to scholars who would argue otherwise, it is clear that this is not only a legitimate legal opinion on this question but may well be the dominant view of many of the leading scholars of modern times.

Our communities are best served by an Islamic discourse that acknowledges the richness and diversity of our great religious tradition rather than restricts it to a narrow range of opinions. As the Prophet said to the Bedouin who prayed for God to exclusively show mercy to himself and the Prophet, “You have constricted what is vast!” (laqad ḥajjarta wāsi‘an).

Since there are a very large number of scholars who have recognised initiatives that promote the sound understanding of Islam to be eligible for receiving zakat, our community is best served by the accurate portrayal of the valid difference of opinion on such matters in which members of the community may legitimately seek to follow either opinion without claiming that the position adopted by others is illegitimate.

In an era in which the sound understanding of Islam is threatened by Islamophobic forces from without and extremist forces from within, we all recognise the importance of Islamic education as a central concern for contemporary Muslims to prioritise. May we all support this cause, whether through zakat or by some other means.

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#Current Affairs

#UnitedForOmar – Imam Omar Suleiman Smeared by Right-Wing News After Opening Prayer at US House of Representatives

Zeba Khan

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Sh. Omar Suleiman delivered the opening prayer in the US House of Representatives yesterday, May, 9th, 2019  at the invitation of Rep. Eddie Bernice Johnson (D) of Dallas.

Immediately since, right wing media platforms have begun spreading negative coverage of the Imam Omar Suleiman – calling him anti-semitic, a common tactic used to discredit both Muslim activists as well as criticism of Israel policies.

News outlets citing the criticism have pointed to a post from The Investigative Project on Terrorism or ITP, as the source. The  ITP was founded by and directed by noted Islamophobe Steven Emerson. Emerson’s history of hate speech has been documented for over two decades.

Since then, the story has been carried forward by multiple press outlets.

The immediate consequence of this has been the direction of online hate towards what has been Imam Omar Suleiman’s long history of preaching unity in the US socio-political sphere.

“Since my invocation I’ve been inundated with hate articles, threats, and other tactics of intimidation to silence me over a prayer for unity,” Imam Omar Suleiman says. “These attacks are in bad faith and meant to again send a message to the Muslim community that we are not welcome to assert ourselves in any meaningful space or way.”

MuslimMatters is proud to stand by Imam Omar Suleiman, and we invite our readers to share the evidence that counters the accusations against him of anti-semitism, bigotry, and hate. We would also encourage you to reach out, support, and amplify voices of support like Representative E.B.Johnson, and Representative Colin Allred.

You can help counter the false narrative, simply by sharing evidence of Imam Omar Suleiman’s work. It speaks for itself, and you can share it at the hashtag #UnitedForOmar

JazakAllahuKheiran


A Priest, a Rabbi, and an Imam Walk Into a Church in Dallas

At an interfaith panel discussion, three North Texas religious leaders promoted understanding and dialogue among Muslims, Jews, and Christians. Amid a vexed political and social climate, three religious leaders in North Texas—a priest, an imam, and a rabbi—proved it’s possible to come together in times of division. Source: DMagazine.com


Muslim congregation writes letters of support to Dallas Jewish Community

The congregation, led by Imam Omar Suleiman, penned more than 150 cards and letters. source: WFAA News


Historic action: Muslims and Jews for Dreamers

“We must recognize that the white supremacy that threatens the black and Latino communities, is the same white supremacy that spurs Islamophobia and antisemitism,” -Imam Omar Suleiman

Source: Bend The Arc


Through Dialogue, Interfaith Leaders Hope North Texans Will Better Understand Each Other

“When any community is targeted, they need to see a united faith voice — that all communities come together and express complete rejection of anything that would pit our society against one another more than it already is.” -Imam Omar Suleiman

Source: Kera News

 


Conversations at The Carter Center: Harmonizing Religion and Human Rights 

Source: The Carter Center


Imam: After devastating New Zealand attack, we will not be deterred

My wife and I decided to take our kids to a synagogue in Dallas the night after the massacre at Tree of Life in Pittsburgh to grieve and show solidarity with the Jewish community. My 5-year-old played with kids his age while we mourned inside, resisting hate even unknowingly with his innocence…” Source: CNN

 

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