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Charity Week: It Really is as Epic as The Lord of the Rings

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The Lord of the Rings (LOTR): long books, totally epic movies.  However, let’s put aside the huge productions that are the movies and the intricacies that make up the book for a moment, and think about what it is within the story itself that makes it so appealing? Gandalf’s “you shall not pass” moment? Talking trees? Sméagol’s split personality? Personally, I like to think that its appeal is more Charity Week-esque…

“Charity Week for Orphans and Needy Children”, an initiative that does what it says on the tin and would on the surface seem to have no parallels with LOTR. But actually, Charity Week, in my mind, is exactly what LOTR is about: unity. The journey of the ring from Rivendell into the fires of Mordor begins with the unification of an elf, a dwarf, two men, four hobbits and a really tall dude with a huge magic staff. The elf and the dwarf don’t get along, one of the men has a superiority complex and the tall dude shouts really loud; yet it is the quiet voice of one of the hobbits that brings them together, united for the one cause of saving Middle Earth. It’s that scene that makes all the fantasy loving geeks as well as those that love happy endings (who doesn’t?) smile and feel all warm and fuzzy inside, because it is a moment of ‘people’ coming together to overcome adversity no matter their differences, to better their situation at the present and for the future.

To draw this seemingly strange parallel, Charity Week’s aim is simple: to inspire hearts and mind to come together for one cause for just one week in a year, putting aside all those issues that conspire to divide the Muslim community, be it religiosity, aqeedah, culture, race, caste or even what football team you support. The word unity is used a lot in conjunction with Charity Week and seems like such an abstract concept and an outwardly impossible dream, but unity is actually a mindset. If everyone in the Muslim ummah was to think with unity first, our ummah would be a lot healthier than it is today. I like to see Charity Week as the hobbit-like small voice which shows that for one week a year; Muslim’s can come together and achieve something great. Can you imagine how beautiful it would be if it was every week of the year? Our ummah has an amazing history filled with inspirational stories of times where Muslims flourished, why should we not work to that goal again? It is within each person to build our ummah, to work as the collective. The reward for praying in congregation is greater than praying alone; the barakah comes from the jamm’ah, something we witness every single year in the results of Charity Week.

This initiative which began with students in university Islamic Societies across London in 2004 now has participation from universities, schools, colleges, masjids, youth groups and businesses across the UK. And to add an even awesome level of participation, Muslim Student Associations across Canada and Qatar also joined in the fun alhamdullilah! With the help of Allah, Muslim youth (no longer just students!) have managed to raise a whopping £732,571.47 ($1,141,053.32) this year. This money is a mind blowing display of what we can achieve when we work together, as opposed to against each other. Also, because this money is pooled together in one pot and spent on projects chosen by all those who take part in Charity Week by Islamic Relief, the reach that this money has is phenomenal subhan’Allah. We can fund multiple projects across the obvious areas of strife such as Gaza and Syria, but we can also afford to fund projects in the areas of the world where poverty, strife and suffering is prevalent, but unfortunately not so well publicized, places such as Sudan and Chechnya. None of us who take part can achieve this feat alone or even as lone standing groups, but together we can. We do. Alhamdullilah.

Charity Week is Muslim youth uniting to better the situation of Muslims from the ground up, much like Frodo and his fellowship, working to improve their situation in the present to have a positive future. It’s a project that allows for Muslims, whatever their background and degree of religiosity, to come together to affect change within themselves, within society, within the ummah and of course for those children whose lives change because of this unity.

Currently CW is being prepared for launch in multiple countries worldwide and for a little perspective, it only began eleven short years ago with one man and a shoe box for donations outside a prayer room door. Inspiring stuff…who wouldn’t want to be involved in what is now a global initiative in the business of bringing people together? It’s like we’re in a halal and better dressed version of the 60s! Planning for CW2015 is beginning now and I say (with no bias at all) that everyone should be involved because it is So Darn Awesome.

Get in touch to be a part of the unity on any level, whether it is locally, regionally, nationally or internationally: info@onecharityweek.com. Alternatively, you can visit our website to find out more about who we are and what we do: onecharityweek.com.

 

4 Comments

4 Comments

  1. Avatar

    KB

    December 19, 2014 at 2:51 AM

    Subahanallah. Wowwwwwww. LOTR has come to MuslimMatters. It was only last night that I was wearing my Thorin Oakenshield costume.
    Very valid points too mA :)

  2. Avatar

    AK

    December 22, 2014 at 4:41 PM

    Ahhh love this article! Charity Week definitely can last and feel like a saga can’t it :)

  3. Avatar

    Mariya

    March 21, 2016 at 10:37 PM

    I love this! What better connection to make than with LOTR and the journey of the ring :) #CharityWeekIsThePlaceToBe

  4. Avatar

    IA

    May 18, 2016 at 11:56 AM

    Love this! Well written masha’Allah. Charity Week is amazing!

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#Current Affairs

Faith Community Stands With Peace And Justice Leader Imam Omar Suleiman During Right Wing Attacks

Hena Zuberi

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In a follow up to the right-wing media platforms attack on Imam Omar Suleiman – calling him anti-semitic, a common tactic used to discredit both Muslim activists, as well as criticism of Israel policies, Faith Forward Dallas issued a statement.

Faith Forward Dallas at Thanksgiving Square – Faith Leaders United for Peace and Justice is a Texas-based interfaith organization that has worked on many initiatives with Imam Omar Suleiman.

The statement reads:

“Imam Omar Suleiman a spiritual and moral voice for peace with justice!!!!!

Time after time in our city, in the United States and around the world, Imam Omar Suleiman has been a spiritual and moral voice for peace with justice. When others seek to divide, he calls for unity. Faith Forward Dallas at Thanks-Giving Square works to unite faith leaders for justice and compassion. Imam Suleiman has been a trusted leader among us. In the wake of his beautiful prayer to open the House of Representatives on May 9, he has received threats of violence and words of vilification when instead he should have our praise and prayers. We call upon people of good will everywhere to tone down the rhetoric, to replace hate with love, and to build bridges toward the common good.

Faith Forward Dallas at Thanks-Giving Square”

Commenters on the Faith Forward Dallas statement have left comments of support.

The group has invited locals and other leaders to endorse and share the statement. “Endorsed! I love and fully you Imam Omar Suleiman!” wrote Karen Weldes Fry, Spiritual Director at Center of Spiritual Learning in Dallas (CSLDallas), commenting on the statement.

Some commentators do not understand the manufactured controversy.  Heather Mustain writes, “What people are writing is so vile. They obviously didn’t even listen to his prayer!” Imam  Omar Suleiman delivered the opening prayer in the US House of Representatives on May, 9th, 2019  at the invitation of Rep. Eddie Bernice Johnson (D) of Dallas, TX.

“I’m grateful for the faith leaders with whom I’ve built relationships with and served with for years that have shown full support throughout this process. Together we’ve stood with one another in solidarity in the face of bigotry, and in the support of others in any form of pain. We will not let these dark forces divide us,” said Imam Omar Suleiman in response to the outpouring of love from the people he has worked with on the ground, building on peace, love, and justice.

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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


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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


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“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

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“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

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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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#Current Affairs

Ben Shapiro Gets Wrecked on the BBC for Racism Against Palestinians and American Jews

Andrew Neil so thoroughly destroys Ben Shapiro that he has a snowflake meltdown and retreats in the middle of the interview to his own safe space, off-camera. 

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The video plays at the 10:00 minute mark where Neil begins to break down Shapiro on his statements about President Obama, Palestinians, and American Jews.

Let’s set the context – popular conservative commentator Ben Shapiro, known for his aggressive debate style in the public square, visited the BBC to promote his new book.  The interviewer, Andrew Neil, after giving Shapiro a chance to introduce himself to the BBC audience, questioned him about the anger both the left and the right feel towards one another, and Shapiro’s own role in stoking that anger and polar opposition within the Republican party over many years.

The reason for this line of questioning is because Shapiro claims this to be a problem in American discourse and fails to consider his own contribution to the problem, and it is this hypocrisy that Neil confronts him about.  Shapiro attempts to respond, but is promptly crushed by Neil’s responses with Shapiro’s own quotes.  For example, he brings up the following tweet written about Palestinians which Shapiro agrees was wrong but hasn’t taken down:

 

Shapiro futilely attempts to respond, but Neil continues to quote Shapiro until he is left with no choice except to throw ad hominems at his interviewer, which were deftly turned back on Shapiro, leaving him to look even more petty for his attempted condescending remarks.  The end result is the man claiming earlier to welcome a spirited debate quickly found himself running away to lick his wounds.

Perhaps the greatest irony in this debate – Shapiro accused Neil of being an opinion journalist of the left-leaning variety, while Neil is a conservative and chairman of The Spectator, whose editorial outlook is conservative.

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