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Doggart- the Tennessee Terrorist

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By Khalil Meeks

Federal law enforcement agents caught a real terrorist. He was plotting to attack a small town in New York, burn its buildings and kill its residents. The terrorist was planning to bring like-minded militants and various weapons to help him kill as many people as he could.

“If it gets down to the machete, we will cut them to shreds.”

No informant provided the plot or tried to convince him to commit these crimes. This would-be massacre was the sole creation of this real-life terrorist.

Federal prosecutors secured a plea deal on April 24. The defendant in this case admitted to “threatening an armed attack and firebombing of a New York… community.” A victory for the F.B.I. Yet, the agency did not issue a press release or hold a press conference touting this latest win in their war on terror. No well-orchestrated media circus followed this plea deal.

IslambergNYMuslims600x450

In fact, federal prosecutors were only seeking charges related to violating “civil rights laws, specifically a violation of Title 18, United States Code, Section 247(a)(1), intentionally defacing, damaging, or destroying any religious real property, because of the religious character of that property, or attempting to do so” and threatening to kidnap or injure others.

This individual, who was planning to attack with a small army and kill innocent people, was not charged with any terrorism related crimes. None.

His name? Robert Doggart.

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His target? Approximately 200 Muslim residents in Islamberg, NY.

Doggart is an ordained Christian minister. He is a Navy veteran. He is an engineer with a Ph.D in engineering management from LaSalle University. He is white, Protestant and a Tennessee native. He ran for Congress in 2014 and received 9,200 votes. He referenced his faith as justification for his crimes.

I do not mention these facts to shed a negative light on Christianity, veterans, engineers, LaSalle graduates, whites, Tennesseans or congressional candidates. None of these characteristics are relevant to this individual’s crimes. I mention these facts to highlight the vast differences in how Muslims and non-Muslims are treated by federal law enforcement and the media.

If Doggart was a Muslim, does anyone doubt the news media would be whipped into a panic-filled frenzy over the F.B.I.’s latest terror arrest? Does anyone doubt that the F.B.I. would pursue terrorism-related criminal charges? Does anyone doubt that the F.B.I. would be calling this their latest victory in their war on terror?

When the F.B.I. accuses a Muslim of committing a crime, terrorism charges are often thrown in his or her face. In fact, federal law enforcement spokespersons often describe Muslim defendants as terrorists even when no terrorism charges are involved in the case. This was true for Aafia Siddiqui, Ibrahim Dremali, Rafil Dhafir and others.

Adding a terrorism label to a criminal cases also increases the prison terms. It’s called “terrorism enhancement sentencing guidelines” and can more than double the time a defendant spends in prison. These guidelines seem to have been written just for Muslims.

This comes as no surprise. The federal law enforcement agents received training from anti-Muslim extremists who teach them to view Muslims as violent and radical. Not just some Muslims… all Muslims.

The Doggart case just affirms what we’ve observed for more than a decade. Muslims are treated differently in the American justice system. The “terrorism” label is often thrown at Muslims in an apparent attempt to increase the chances for convictions – and it seems to be working. Terrorism is scary and no one wants to let a terrorist go free. But when these labels are reserved for a special classification of people (i.e., Muslims), then a separate and unequal system of justice is created.

And that’s a system of injustice.

Doggart is currently out of jail on a $30,000 bond as he waits for a judge to sign the plea deal. If signed, Doggart faces up to five years in prison for planning to massacre 200 Muslims… men, women and children.

Five years… not 65, 86 or life in prison. Just five years.

Hopefully, this case highlights the need to defend Muslims against injustice in the American court system. Hopefully, this case sheds additional light on the problems Muslims face when caught up in the controversial, biased and unfair targeting and discrimination against Muslims by law enforcement and the courts. Hopefully, this case serves as an example of how important it is for Muslims and all supporters of equality and freedom to “stand out firmly for justice” because this is not the only “if he were Muslim he would have been called a terrorist” case in America.

[youtube]https://www.youtube.com/watch?t=362&v=5Rxt_xQ4OGM[/youtube]

Khalil Meeks is the Executive Director of Muslim Legal Fund of America —a national charity that funds legal work and programs to defend Muslims against injustice in American courtrooms, prisons and communities. Established in 2001, MLFA has defended freedom of speech, association, and religion as well as the right to a fair trial and other constitutional rights.

10 Comments

10 Comments

  1. Avatar

    Peter Hall

    May 29, 2015 at 10:31 PM

    Hi

    Well what you say is right, in that the US Government should go harder on this American, caught planning to kill 200 Muslims.

    Yet the Islamic cleric, who inspired and planned the bali bombings that actually did kill over 202 people, how long did he spend in prison?

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Abu_Bakar_Bashir

    Less than 2.5 years in prison, and he had many priors, so before you are critical of the West, you should hold your own household to account, otherwise you are just being a hypocrite.

    Can you tell me how many Muslims massacres, by American extremists have taken place in the USA in the last 100 years?

    The answer is zero,

    How many Americans have been massacred by Muslim extremists in the last 100 years, in Muslim countries?

    They number in their tens of 1000s.

    So the danger here, is the utter failure of muslim Governments to stop the slaughter of non muslims. Not what you claim, which has no basis in fact. Actually you are a hypocrite, and trying to turn Muslims into perpetual victims.

    So your cries of the need to protect Americans Muslims is just deceitful, scare mongery and grand standing, you should be ashamed. Muslims are safer in the USA than in nearly every Muslim majority country in the world.

    • Avatar

      Ismail

      May 30, 2015 at 1:32 AM

      I like how you start all you comments with, “Well, what you say is right”, then go on a self-contradictory tirade. You right-wingers are all blind in one eye.

    • Avatar

      afzal aslam

      May 30, 2015 at 11:58 PM

      @peter hall your comments are irrelevant to the post we are Americans and talking about our justice system and freedom of religion given to us by constitution. we don’t care what other countries do or don’t we live in a free country where no matter who you are means any religion race or color should be treated the same, first of all take racism out of your mind and do some research your research seems to me is from the bias media and propaganda of anti islam forces, it will definitely help you think straight. And I am sorry didn’t wanted to be mean but I am tired of this racist and hateful uneducated negative comments, first of meet some Muslims see what they practice and the hardship they face, and learn about islam and then we see how right you are and how wrong we are .

      • Avatar

        Keith

        May 31, 2015 at 9:11 AM

        Why don’t you care what happens in other countries? Surely if you live a safe and happy life in the US the fact that people are being killed in the name of your religion in countries that are dominated by your religion and the leaders of those countries are not taking a hard line against the perpetrators should be of concern to you, as it would be to me.
        You rightfully, as a minority, expect to be treated with respect, tolerance and equality in the country you live in so why is it no concern of yours if other countries treat minorities in a manner that you would find repulsive if you were treated that way in the US?

    • Avatar

      Taqwa

      May 31, 2015 at 5:12 AM

      Ah so you’re one of those people who spread around to simpletons this gem of a fallacy: “Not all Muslims are terrorists but all terrorists are Muslim”…

      • Avatar

        AMK

        June 1, 2015 at 11:30 AM

        @Keith While I care about how Governments outside USA treat minorities – and it’s absolutely unacceptable for any human being regardless of religion to be treated with injustice and inequality – as US citizens our first concern is at home and making sure our justice system stays as the best in the world – we don’t want to ruin it by getting influenced on who is doing what outside USA – world history is full of nut cases from all faiths and religions. And Yes there are barbaric acts being committed in the name of the Muslim religion that does not mean I will start acting and behaving like one and nor should anyone else.

        We are where we are because we have equality, justice, peace for all and freedom of religion. As the balance of these items starts to waiver – it never ever results in happy healthy and prosperous nation, culture, society , country ….

    • Avatar

      Chey Impunity

      September 19, 2015 at 5:07 AM

      Okay let us start with the first question, as of to date there has been: three Muslim students killed over a “parking space”, a Muslim man beaten and stabbed while having anti-Islam banter screamed at him, a Muslim child has been arrested for bringing a clock to school, two boys planned the bombing of a mosque in Chicago, a mosque vandalized in st.paul Minnesota, in Kansas a Muslim teen murdered in hit and run attack, in Ohio a mosque was set on fire, not including the mosque burned to the ground in California, Oklahoma, and Missouri, a home attack in Florida, let me also leave out all the hate comments and messages (bullying. death threats) that not only wish death to the people of Islam but also promotes the violent crimes happening to us. Let me also mention the most recent anti-islam speech in presidential debates….
      The fact of the matter is this, due to people on the complete other side of world acting like idiots, Muslims in America, France, Syria, and else where that are trying to do something good and just be peaceful are being brutally attacked and killed.As Muslims it is our job to teach the truth of Islam it also our job to report on and voice concern about the crimes committed against our brothers and sisters. Before you leave a comment about Muslims playing victim, do some research.

  2. Avatar

    Kashif

    June 1, 2015 at 10:57 AM

    Like it or not, US is the dominant world super power. It dictates pretty much every single country in the world to be compliant. It is able to help the innocent people of Burma (Muslims) but it is allowing them to be massacred. It acts like it is unable to do anything but that wouldn’t be the case if it was one of their own kind. If I was US and they handed down 2.5 years sentence to a confirmed terrorist, I would turn Indonesia upside down until they max the sentence. The small sentence is either an innocent person framed as terrorist or a confirmed terrorist being used to make Islam look bad so crimes against Muslims can be justified elsewhere. The super power has the ability to enforce either option twisting things around. It’s easy. Being a super power and just; that’s hard and Islam demonstrated that to the world during Prophet Muhammad’s time and the three succeeding generations. Powers change hands by God’s will and US is doing a very very bad job; going down in history. If Muslims want power then they must prove to Allah that they are capable, just, and will give people the rights back and stop every kind of injustice regardless of race, color, or nationality as they once did in the past. Let us re-create the Age of Enlightenment of Muslim Spain without the mistakes made during that era. Amazing things will happen!

  3. Avatar

    Dyyf

    June 6, 2015 at 10:04 AM

    A terrorism law charge isn’t appropriate here. If you look through the list of attempted terrorism you see the longest sentences are for people who either carried out the act (Doggert didn’t even get to initial planning stages and resource acquirement) and they were either trained by Al Qeada, got support from Al Qaeda or provided support for Al Qaeda. A terrorist group which has EXPLICITLY STATED that it is at war with American.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_unsuccessful_terrorist_plots_in_the_United_States_post-9/11

    I do believe that Doggert should NOT have gotten released with bail. The judge should have locked into a mental health institution. He’s a nut and a lone wolf.

  4. Avatar

    Christy

    July 8, 2015 at 8:22 PM

    7/8/15 Update:
    A federal grand jury indicted a Tennessee man Tuesday on charges stemming from his alleged plot carry out a coordinated attack on Muslims in Islamberg, New York.

    Robert Rankin Doggart, 63, had already been jailed on a separate set of charges related to the alleged plot. He made national headlines earlier this week after he was released from jail and put into house arrest pending the disposition of that case. Doggart now faces up to 10 years in prison.

    So how many mosques did he burn down? How many Muslim people were injured or killed?

    I checked his ministry credentials. He bought them online from an online-only “church” called the National Christian Church. He is a bogus minister with bogus credentials bought online from a bogus ‘church’. Do muslims also know who Satan is and how he operates? This guy is an example of that.

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#Current Affairs

5 Quick Things Americans Can Do For Uyghurs Today

Abu Ryan Dardir

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Chinese , Muslims, Uyghur, genocide

“I may die, but let it be known that my nation will continue their struggle so long the world continues to exist.” Kazakh leader Uthman Batur. He said these words as Chinese authorities executed him for resisting the communist occupation. Currently, China has, one million Uyghurs (Uighurs), Kazakhs, and other Muslim minorities held in concentration camps in the Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region (XUAR) (East Turkistan) in northwestern China.

Their struggle surpasses the 10 or so years since we have become aware of it. Just like the Rohingya genocide, we waited till the last minute. We are always late and say, “Never Again.” It happens again and again.

In my lifetime, there have been horrendous genocides that could have been prevented to stopped. As a child, I remember Rwanda in the headlines, then a year later Bosnian genocide. Then we hear these demonic stories after the fact. I remember stories from survivors from Bosnia, and thinking to myself, “How are you here and functioning?”

Let us not be fooled to why this is happening now. It is related to economic advantages. The Chinese government’s present signature foreign policy initiative is the “Belt and Road Initiative” (BRI) that seeks to connect the PRC economically to the rest of the Eurasian continent through massive infrastructure projects that will stimulate international trade. The western and south-western components of the BRI require the XUAR to serve as a transportation and commercial hub to trade routes and pipelines that will join China with Central and South Asia, the Middle East, and the entirety of Europe. As a result, the XUAR has become an important strategic region for the Chinese, and the state views its indigenous populations as an obstacle to developing its vision for this future critical center of international commercial networks.1

The expansion of their trade route also ties in Iran hence the sanctions placed, but that’s a different report for a different time. China, of course, has defended their actions by claiming its an anti-terrorism plan. Getting reliable information is hard. China has made it a point to make things difficult for reporters. Yanan Wang, a China-based journalist from the Associated Press, has reported extensively on and from Xinjiang.

In a ceremony at Asia Society on Tuesday commemorating AP’s 2019 Osborn Elliott Award for Excellence in Journalism on Asia, Wang described the subtle ways government minders worked to thwart her reporting: “(Both of the times we went there we arrived at the airport, we had a welcoming committee from the local authorities. They’re always very polite and professional. They say that “you’ve arrived in Xinjiang and we’re here to assist you in your reporting. Tell us what you’re working on so we can help you.” They offer us drives in their car and plenty of hospitality.

Basically, from the moment we arrive, we’re followed by at least one car. There are a bunch of interesting scenarios that we came across. You can see that the local handlers are trying hard to be professional. They are members of the propaganda department, so they’re PR professionals. They don’t want to make it appear like it’s so stifling. At one point, we were taking photos, and someone suddenly appeared on the scene to say he was a “concerned citizen.” He said he’d seen us taking photos and that it was an infringement of his privacy rights. He had this long monologue about privacy rights and about how it wasn’t right for us to take photos of him without his knowledge. We asked him, “Well, where are you in these photos?” and he’d go through all of them. He said we had to delete all of them. He’d say, “This is my brother,” or “This is my place of work, you have to delete it.”

They had all of these interesting tactics to work around the idea that they were trying to obstruct our reporting and make it appear that someone who claims to be a concerned citizen.)”2

On top of that, locals that talk to journalist are punished, sometimes go missing.

I decided to do something this time around; I got in touch with an Uyghur community near my residence to see how an individual could help. It started at a Turkic restaurant, and from there, I have been involved in whatever capacity I am able. Through this effort, I got in touch with a Turkic professor in Turkey who has students stranded as they are cut off from contacting family back in Xinjiang. He helps them out financially; my family and friends help with what they can.

As Muslims in the West, there is no doubt we should act. Prophet Muhammad, peace and blessings be upon him, said “Whosoever of you sees an evil, let him change it with his hand; and if he is not able to do so, then [let him change it] with his tongue; and if he is not able to do so, then with his heart, and that is the weakest of faith” (Muslim).

How Can You Help Uyghurs

Here are a few things you can do to help:

1. Ask Congress to pass To pass S.178 & H.R.649 Uyghur Human Rights Policy Act of 2019. Urge your senator and representative to support this cause. It has been introduced. This bill can help the Uyghur community to be treated like Tibetans (another region oppressed by China).

2. Stay informed. The mainstream media is not the place to get accurate information on the situation. Be skeptical of where the data is coming from, stick to reliable sources that are verified. As mentioned above, journalists find it difficult to report.

3. Donate to Uyghur Human Rights Organizations to end concentration camps: UHRP, Uyghur American Association  Donate to Awareness Campaigns: Save Uigur Campaign 

4. Boycott or reduce buying Made in China products

5. Follow these links for updated information: facebook.com/Uyghur-Human-Rights-Project-227634297289994/ and facebook.com/ChinaMuslims

This crisis is an ethnic cleansing for profit. These are dark days as we value profit over people.

1.Statement by Concerned Scholars on mass detentions | MCLC …. https://u.osu.edu/mclc/2018/11/27/statement-by-concerned-scholars-on-mass-detention s/

2.Why It’s So Difficult for Journalists To Report From …. https://asiasociety.org/blog/asia/why-its-so-difficult-journalists-report-xinjiang

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#Current Affairs

Why Israel Should Be ‘Singled Out’ For Its Human Rights Record

Unlike other countries, ordinary citizens are complicit in the perpetual crimes committed against defenseless Palestinians.

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israel, occupied Palestine

Why is everyone so obsessed with Israel’s human rights abuses? From Saudi Arabia, to Syria, to North Korea to Iran. All these nations are involved in flagrant violations of human right, so why all the focus on Israel – ‘the only democracy in the Middle East’? Clearly, if you ignore these other violations and only focus on Israel, you must be anti-Semitic. What else could be your motivations for this double standard?

This is one of the most common contentions raised when Israel is criticized for its human rights record. I personally don’t believe in entertaining this question – it shouldn’t matter why an activist is choosing to focus on one conflict and not others. What matters are the facts being raised; putting into question the motives behind criticizing Israel is a common tactic to detract from the topic at hand. The conversation soon turns into some circular argument about anti-Semitism and the plight of the Palestinian people is lost. More importantly, this charge of having double standards is often disingenuous. For example, Representative Ihan Omar has been repeatedly accused of this recently and her motives have been called ‘suspicious’ – despite her vocal criticism of other countries, especially Saudi Arabia.

However, this point is so frequently brought up, I think that perhaps its time activists and critics simply own up to it. Yes – Israel should be singled out, for some very good reasons. These reasons relate to there being a number of unique privileges that the country enjoys; these allow it to get away with much of the abuses it commits. Human right activists thus must be extra vocal when comes to Israel as they have to overcome the unparalleled level of support for the country, particularly in the US and Canada. The following points summarize why Israel should in fact be singled out:

1) Ideological support from ordinary citizens

When Iran and North Korea commit human right abuses, we don’t have to worry about everyone from journalists to clerics to average students on campuses coming out and defending those countries. When most nations commit atrocities, our journalists and politicians call them out, sanctions are imposed, they are taking them to the International Court of Justice, etc. There are instruments in place to take care of other ‘rogue’ nations – without the need for intervention from the common man.

Israel, however, is unique in that it has traditionally enjoyed widespread ideological support, primarily from the Jewish community and Evangelical Christians, in the West. This support is a result of the historical circumstances and pseudo-religious ideology that drove the creation of the state in 1948. The successful spread of this nationalistic dogma for the last century means Israel can count on ordinary citizens from Western countries to comes to its defense. This support can come in the form of foreign enlistment to its military, students conducting campus activism, politicians shielding it from criticisms and journalists voluntarily writing in its support and spreading state propaganda.

This ideological and nationalistic attachment to the country is the prime reason why it is so incredibly difficult to have any kind of sane conversation about Israel in the public sphere – criticism is quickly seen as an attack on Jewish identity and interpreted as an ‘existential threat’ to the nation by its supporters. Any attempts to take Israel to account through standard means are thwarted because of the political backlash feared from the country’s supporters in the West.

2) Unconditional political support of a world superpower

The US is Israel’s most important and closest ally in the Middle-East. No matter what war crimes Israel commits, it can count on America to have its back. This support means the US will use its veto power to support Israel against actions of the UN Security Council, it will use its diplomatic influence to shield any punitive actions from other nations and it will use its military might to intervene if need be. The backing of the US is one of the main reasons why the Israeli occupation and expansion of the colonial settlement enterprise continues to this day without any repercussions.

While US support might be especially staunch for Israel, this factor is certainly not unique to the country. Any country which has this privilege, e.g. Saudi Arabia, should be under far great scrutiny for its human rights violations than others.

3)  Military aid and complicity of tax-payers

US tax-payers are directly paying for Israel to carry out its occupation of the Palestinian people.

Israel is the largest recipient of US-military aid – it receives an astonishing $3 billion dollars every year. This aid, according to a US congressional report, “has helped transform Israel’s armed forces into one of the most technologically sophisticated militaries in the world.”

Unlike other countries, ordinary citizens are complicit in the perpetual crimes committed against defenseless Palestinians. Activists and citizens thus have a greater responsibility to speak out against Israel as their government is paying the country to carry out its atrocities. Not only is this aid morally reprehensible, but it is also illegal under United States Leahy Laws.

4) The Israeli lobby

The Israeli lobby is one of the most powerful groups in Washington and is the primary force for ensuring continued US political support for the nation. It consists of an assortment of formal lobby groups (AIPAC, Christians United for Israel), think-thanks (Washington Institute for Near East Policy), political action committee or PACs, not-for-profit organizations (B’nai B’irth, American Jewish Congress, Stand for Israel) and media watchdogs (CAMERA, Honest Reporting). These organizations together exercise an incredible amount of political influence. They ensure that any criticism of Israel is either stifled or there are serious consequences for those who speak up. In 2018 alone, pro-Israel donors spent $22 million on lobbying for the country – far greater than any other nation. Pro-Israel lobbies similarly influence politics in other places such as the UK, Canada, and Europe.

5) One of the longest-running occupation in human history

This point really should be the first one on this list – and it is the only one that should matter. However, because of the unique privileges that Israel enjoys, it is hard to get to the crux of what it is actually doing. Israel, with U.S. support, has militarily occupied the Palestinian territories (West Bank, Gaza and East Jerusalem) since 1967. The belligerent occupation, over 50 years old, is one of the longest, bloodiest and brutal in human history.

Israel continues to steal land and build settler colonies the West Bank – in flagrant violation of international law. It has implemented a system of apartheid in these territories which is reminiscent of the racist regime of South Africa. The Gaza strip has been under an insufferable siege which has made the living conditions deplorable; it has been referred to the world’s largest ‘open-air prison’. In addition to this institutional oppression, crimes committed against Palestinians include: routinely killing civilian protesters, including teenagers and medics, torture of Palestinians and severe restrictions on the everyday movement of Palestinians.

The brutality, consistency and the duration for which Israel has oppressed Palestinians is alone enough reason for it being ‘singled out’. No other nation comes close to its record. However, for the reasons mentioned above, Israel’s propaganda machine has effectively painted itself as just another ‘liberal democracy’ in the eyes of the general public. Any attempt to bring to light these atrocities are met with ‘suspicion’ about the ‘real’ motives of the critics. Given the points mentioned here, it should be evident that the level of support for Israeli aggression is uniquely disproportionate – it is thus fitting that criticism of the country is equally vocal and unparalleled as well.

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#Society

Ya Qawmi: Strengthen Civic Roots In Society To Be A Force For Good

Dr. Muhammad Abdul Bari

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For believers the traditions and teachings of the Prophets (blessings on them), particularly Muhammad ṣallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam (peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him), are paramount. Each Prophet of God belonged to a community which is termed as their Qawm in the Qur’an. Prophet Lut (Lot) was born in Iraq, but settled in Trans-Jordan and then became part of the people, Qawm of Lut, in his new-found home. All the Prophets addressed those around them as ‘Ya Qawmi’ (O, my people) while inviting them to the religion of submission, Islam. Those who accepted the Prophets’ message became part of their Ummah. So, individuals from any ethnicity or community could become part of the Ummah – such as the Ummah of Prophet Muhammad.

Believers thus have dual obligations: a) towards their own Qawm (country), and b) towards their Ummah (religious companions). As God’s grateful servants, Muslims should strive to give their best to both their Qawm and Ummah with their ability, time and skillset. It is imperative for practising and active Muslims to carry out Islah (improvement of character, etc) of people in their Ummah and be a witness of Islam to non-Muslims in their Qawm and beyond. This in effect is their service to humanity and to please their Creator. With this basic understanding of the concept, every Muslim should prioritise his or her activities and try their utmost to serve human beings with honesty, integrity and competence. Finding excuses or adopting escapism can bring harm in this world and a penalty in the Hereafter.

Like many other parts of the world, Britain is going through a phase lacking in ethical and competent leadership. People are confused, frustrated and worried; some are angry. Nativist (White) nationalism in many western countries, with a dislike or even hatred of minority immigrant people (particularly Muslims and Jews), is on the rise. This is exacerbated through lowering religious literacy, widespread mistrust and an increase in hateful rhetoric being spread on social media. As people’s patience and tolerance levels continue to erode, this can bring unknown adverse consequences.

The positive side is that civil society groups with a sense of justice are still robust in most developed countries. While there seem to be many Muslims who love to remain in the comfort zone of their bubbles, a growing number of Muslims, particularly the youth, are also effectively contributing towards the common good of all.

As social divisions are widening, a battle for common sense and sanity continues. The choice of Muslims (particularly those that are socially active), as to whether they would proactively engage in grass-roots civic works or social justice issues along with others, has never been more acute. Genuine steps should be taken to understand the dynamics of mainstream society and improve their social engagement skills.

From history, we learn that during better times, Muslims proactively endeavoured to be a force for good wherever they went. Their urge for interaction with their neighbours and exemplary personal characters sowed the seeds of bridge building between people of all backgrounds. No material barrier could divert their urge for service to their Qawm and their Ummah. This must be replicated and amplified.

Although Muslims are some way away from these ideals, focusing on two key areas can and should strengthen their activities in the towns and cities they have chosen as their home. This is vital to promote a tolerant society and establish civic roots. Indifference and frustration are not a solution.

Muslim individuals and families

  1. Muslims must develop a reading and thinking habit in order to prioritise their tasks in life, including the focus of their activism. They should, according to their ability and available opportunities, endeavour to contribute to the Qawm and Ummah. This should start in their neighbourhoods and workplaces. There are many sayings of the Prophet Muhammad on one’s obligations to their neighbour; one that stands out – Gabriel kept advising me to be good to my neighbour so much that I thought he would ask that he (neighbour) should inherit me) – Sahih Al-Bukhari.
  2. They must invest in their new generation and build a future leadership based on ethics and professionalism to confidently interact and engage with the mainstream society, whilst holding firm to Islamic roots and core practices.
  3. Their Islah and dawah should be professionalised, effective and amplified; their outreach should be beyond their tribal/ethnic/sectarian boundaries.
  4. They should jettison any doubts, avoid escapism and focus where and how they can contribute. If they think they can best serve the Ummah’s cause abroad, they should do this by all means. But if they focus on contributing to Britain:
    • They must develop their mindset and learn how to work with the mainstream society to normalise the Muslim presence in an often hostile environment.
    • They should work with indigenous/European Muslims or those who have already gained valuable experience here.
    • They should be better equipped with knowledge and skills, especially in political and media literacy, to address the mainstream media where needed.

Muslim bodies and institutions

  • Muslim bodies and institutions such as mosques have unique responsibilities to bring communities together, provide a positive environment for young Muslims to flourish and help the community to link, liaise and interact with the wider society.
  • By trying to replicate the Prophet’s mosque in Madinah, they should try to make mosques real hubs of social and spiritual life and not just beautiful buildings. They should invest more in young people, particularly those with professional backgrounds. They should not forget what happened to many places where the Muslim presence was thought to be deep-rooted such as Spain.
  • It is appreciated that the first generation Muslims had to establish organisations with people of their own ethnic/geographical backgrounds. While there may still be a need for this for some sections of the community, in a post-7/7 Britain Muslim institutions must open up for others qualitatively and their workers should be able to work with all. History tells that living in your own comfort zone will lead to isolation.
  • Muslim bodies, in their current situation, must have a practical 5-10 year plan, This will bring new blood and change organisational dynamics. Younger, talented, dedicated and confident leadership with deep-rooted Islamic ideals is now desperately needed.
  • Muslim bodies must also have a 5-10 year plan to encourage young Muslims within their spheres to choose careers that can take the community to the next level. Our community needs nationally recognised leaders from practising Muslims in areas such as university academia, policy making, politics, print and electronic journalism, etc.

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