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Time to Organize for Our American Family Says Ohio Muslim Leader

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Note: This piece was written for Columbus Dispatch, but they have refused to publish it, because “police have not yet found any evidence that the horrifying murders in North Carolina were the result of anti-Muslim bias or extremist ideology.” Muslimmatters is publishing it, because Muslim voices matter.
These are some very painful days for our American family. We lost four of our most promising children to violent extremism and hate last week. Kayla Mueller, 26; Deah Shaddy Barakat, 23; Yusor Mohammad Abu-Salha, 21; and Razan Mohammad Abu-Salha, 19.

As we mourn and celebrate their lives, it’s time for us to organize ourselves as one family to eradicate the violent extremism harbored and funded by evil forces within our country and abroad.

The humanitarian aid worker Kayla was captured by ISIS in Syria in 2013 and was confirmed dead on Friday, February 6th. Whereas, Deah, Yusor and Razan, three Muslim students, were shot to death in their home by a neighbor near the campus of UNC Chapel Hill, NC, on February 10th, 2015.

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These four individuals represent what is the best about America. They were outstanding, caring, vibrant, beloved, bright young Americans working at home and abroad selflessly to ease other people’s pain and to make this world a better place for everyone. They shared the same values, passion and even the mission of helping Syrian refugees.

Their death is a loss not just for their immediate families or communities, but it is a loss for our larger American family. It’s a loss for the entire world and the humanity.

Last week, we have been robbed not only by ISIS and Al-Qa’ida, but also by all of those who are spreading hate and violent extremism against any faith or group of people including Islam and Muslims. We’ve been reminded that the terrorists come from all kinds of backgrounds, ideological labels, and ethnicities. According to the Southern Poverty Law Center’s recent report on “Lone Wolf” and Leaderless homegrown terrorism, “more people have been killed in America by non-Islamic domestic terrorists than [jihadists].”

In this time of pain, we must unite and come up with a strategy that would protect our family from future losses like this one. We must remember that hate and violence have no faith, ethnicity or race, but we can defeat them with our faith and unity. We must rely on our interfaith strength, our diversity and our common will to uphold peace and justice. Our guiding principle must always be our constitution that guarantees life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness for all.

This week, the White House is hosting an international summit to address the possible rise in violent extremism within American Muslim community due to ISIS propaganda online and overseas. In the light of Chapel Hill shooting, we must call upon the president to broaden the scope of this summit. We must include people of all faith and ethnic backgrounds in this dialogue so we can create a comprehensive plan that will protect all Americans including Muslims like Deah, Yusor and Razan.

At local and regional levels also, we must call upon elected officials, community leaders, and all other stake holders to organize as one body to address the violent extremism of all kinds and forms.

Kayla, Deah, Yusor and Razan, have made us proud of themselves. Let’s make sure that we take the right steps to make them proud of us, their American family.

God bless America. Long live the inspiring legacies of Kayla, Deah, Yusor, and Razan.

Zerqa Abid

President, MY Project USA

Zerqa Abid is a mother, a social/political activist, a community organizer, a campaign consultant and a small-business owner.

In 2009, she helped founding Project Sakinah, a national initiative to address family violence within American Muslim community.

She is also a founding member and the President of Muslims for Ohio PAC, a political organization of Muslims in Ohio. She is a member of Hilliard Education Advisory Council. She is the PTO President of the Hilliard Weaver Middle School. She is a member of Hilliard Citizens Police Academy Alumni Association as well.

Abid is a Phi Beta Kappa graduate of North Carolina State University.

 

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

4 Comments

4 Comments

  1. Mahmoud El-Yousseph

    February 18, 2015 at 11:24 AM

    Masha Allah! This is very eloquently written letter by sister Zerqa Had she not signed the letter using her name, I would not have guess the letter was written by a Muslim. It is a shame that the Columbus Dispatch saw Zerqa’s letter as unfit to print.

    I thought it was only my letters and my name that is on the black list. But now it is obvious that the Columbus Dispatch is practicing censorship by refusing to publish many of the letters submitted by local Muslims

    and Arab Americans on many critical issues, under lousy and fake excuse. In the past, the Dispatch published letters from other readers accusing me of supporting suicide bombing without any shred of evidence. And speaking of freedom of speech, the

    Columbus Dispatch refused to accept two paid political ads by your truly. One was to lift the siege in Gaza

    that was written in English, Arabic and Hebrew. The other ad was Yassir Arafat Obituary which was published

    by the Delaware Gazette at that time. Below are links to some of the letters that was rejected, that I am aware of.

    Please contact Glenn Sheller of the Columbus Dispatch and tell him that Muslim voices matter and that he and the Dispatch are doing a great disservice, by leaving the Dispatch readers in the dark when he refuses to publish Muslim view points Thank you and JAK.

    http://www.delgazette.com/…/Jindal-opening-a-can-of-worms

    http://www.thenewsstar.com/story/opinion/readers/2015/01/25/checklist-muslims/22316787/

    http://muslimmatters.org/2015/02/17/time-to-organize-for-our-american-family-says-ohio-muslim-leader/

    Glenn Sheller

    Editorial Page Editor

    The Columbus Dispatch

    gsheller@dispatch.com

    614-461-5072

  2. zaigham majeed

    March 3, 2015 at 7:44 AM

    mashalah all the Muslims of the worlds need to united there self and stand with each other that how they can give postie sing to world that we are united we are not coward we can stand together like rest of the world . and please hold Quran and learn Quran and try to implement it in your life.

  3. zaigham majeed

    March 3, 2015 at 8:09 AM

    if any one want to learn the Quran from any where in the world our expert Tutors are always online Register Freely for free Trial classes at http://www.peaceQuran.com

  4. John Howard

    March 24, 2015 at 12:22 AM

    Will you say the same for the non muslim lady who was beheaded by a muslim earlier this year?

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