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Friday Khutbah: In Response to Anti-Islam Rally in Phoenix

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This Khutbah was given on the same day the Anti-Islam rally was supposed to take place in Phoenix, Arizona.

Among other things, the Khutbah touched on the following:

1. The fact that everything in the universe is based on the Wisdom of Allah.  We have to trust that an unfortunate event, like armed haters intimidating worshipers in front of a mosque, will turn into something good at the end

2. The “myth” of drawing the Prophet Muhammad peace be upon him, and the “wise” way to respond

3. The two different approaches that the Quran recommends when it comes to people who are open-minded and people who are blinded by hateimage012

Sure enough, part of this came true the very next Monday when people of all faiths showed up at the very mosque that was under protest.  It was a breathtaking scene to witness over 800 people who all came in support of their Muslim neighbors.  Speeches were given, hugs were exchanged, and unity was affirmed.  Evidently, this show outnumbered the hate show of merely 200 people.  I will leave you with some pictures of this unprecedented event that took place at the North Phoenix mosque in the heart of Arizona:

 

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Born and raised in Lebanon, Hlayhel began attending study circles at his local mosque when he was ten. He came to the United States at 17 and studied electrical engineering at the University of Houston. At its MSA, he met Sh Yasir Qadhi and worked together to raise Islamic awareness on campus. Hlayhel studied traditional sciences of Aqeedah (Islamic creed), Fiqh (Islamic law) and Nahw (Arabic grammar) under Sh Waleed Basyouni and Sh Waleed Idriss Meneese among others. After settling in Phoenix AZ, he worked tirelessly, in the capacity of a board member then a chairman, to revive the then dead AZ chapter of CAIR in order to face the growing Islamophobia in that state and to address the resulting civil right violations. Today, he's considered the second founder of a strong CAIR-AZ. In addition, Hlayhel is a part-time imam at the Islamic Center of the Northeast Valley in Phoenix, husband and father of four. His current topics of interest include positive Islam, youth coaching, and countering Islamophobia.

33 Comments

33 Comments

  1. Avatar

    ConfusedGuy

    June 11, 2015 at 12:08 PM

    All of you Muslims are being so darn HYPOCRITICAL!

    It is really, truly, and totally mind boggling!

    It’s like a never ending episode of Twilight Zone! (I know that you’ve maybe never watched it as it was made by white devils, but hopefully you’ve at least heard of it?)

    If you look up Double Standards and Hypocrisy in the dictionary, you guys will be there front and center!

    I have said this on other threads, and no surprise (duhhhh!), no one could address or counter my points…. And NOTE: I’m NOT a Zionist, an Israeli apologist, or a Christian… Heck I used to be pro-Palestinian (and probably still am… by default anyone who’s not a rabid, fanatical Zionist probably falls into this category, at least according to the Israel apologists)

    You guys are ALWAYS saying how you want non-Muslims/white people to respect your religion, correct????

    HOWEVER, and this is the kicker… You say that all white people are EVIL, and that all white people are DEVILS!!!!!!!!

    You say that all white people are DEVILS!!!!!!!!!!

    You say that all white people are DEVILS!!!!!!!!!!

    And I personally, and no offense, do not agree with the religion of Christianity and the confusing “Trinity” doctrine (although I totally, 100% respect people of this faith…) HOWEVER, at least they are NOT calling white people (or black people, or Asian people, or Latino people, etc.) DEVILS!!!

    At least they don’t condemn a whole race of people ONLY because of the COLOR of their skin!!!

    • Avatar

      ibn bello

      June 11, 2015 at 4:10 PM

      Hello ,
      Please Dont be offended by them
      Rather look at what the religion teaches instead;

      In the Qur’an, it clearly states:

      “Oh Mankind, We (God) created you from a single pair of a male and a female (Adam and Eve), and made you into tribes and nations so that you may know one another (not so that you despise each other). Verily, the most honoured of you in the sight of Allah (God) is he who is most righteous of you.”
      The Qur’an, Chapter 49, Verse 13

      The Prophet (pbuh) also reiterated this point in his last sermon to the people, as can be seen from the following excerpt:

      “O people, Remember that your Lord is One. An Arab has no superiority over a non-Arab nor a non-Arab has any superiority over an Arab; also a black has no superiority over white, nor a white has any superiority over black, except by piety and good action (Taqwa). Indeed the best among you is the one with the best character (Taqwa).
      The Prophet’s Last Sermon as reported in Baihaqi.
      So please bro “Islam” and “muslims” are different.

      • Avatar

        ConfusedGuy (now less confused!)

        June 13, 2015 at 11:12 PM

        Dear ibn bello,

        Please forgive me and the way I acted. I’m sorry from the bottom of my heart. What you posted is nothing but the Truth. People of all races need to reflect on these words.

        Indeed, we all must look at the teachings and texts as far as this religion (and others), and NOT look at individuals, or what people may or may not say, or do and not do. It’s 100% clear that according to the teachings of Islam (including the Quran and the Sunnah) there is no room for racism, bigotry, or prejudice (this is basically true for the other Abrahamic religions as well).

        Again, please forgive me. And thank-you for writing me back, and for posting the beautiful text that you have posted.

        ConfusedGuy (now less confused!)

    • Avatar

      queenrafat

      June 12, 2015 at 2:05 AM

      who ever calls all white people devils is ignorant i don’t mean to be offensive so for you to think that majority of Muslims think white people are bad is unfair. there are so many white people who are Muslims and even those who are non Muslims there are a lot of them who are good. islam those not judge amyone base on skin color.

    • Avatar

      AbuYusuf

      June 15, 2015 at 11:20 PM

      Okay, now ConfusedGuy has got ME confused!

      Great post by the way. I do hope that Muslims throughout the country will remember this response from people of other faiths, and stand in support in others as well. Ultimately, anyone practicing any religion is simply trying to get closer to God. It’s not up to us to judge.

    • Avatar

      Faisal Abbasi

      July 8, 2015 at 7:34 AM

      You couldn’t be further from the truth. Islam is a religion that preaches equality for all people, and was the first religion to banish slavery over 1400 years ago. You are referring to The Nation of Islam which is a political movement in the US lead by Louis Farrakhan. The Nation of Islam was created in the days of the black Civil Rights Movement in America, which was fighting against slavery, and segregation of the African Americans. The founder of the Nation of Islam, Elijah Muhammad, who had studied world religions was greatly impressed with the Islamic injunctions regarding the fair treatment of all races of people and the famous last sermon of the Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) where he stated that a white person was not superior to a black person and a black person was not superior to a white person. Elijah Muhammad was so impressed with these words that he decided to name himself Muhammad and his political organisation, The Nation of Islam. Furthermore, history had shown that many black people that were shackled and shipped over to America from Africa by the white slave traders, were Muslims. But they were stripped of their original names and identities and were given Christian names like Thomas, Luke and Matthew. Because of the cruel history of slavery in America, African Americans took it upon themselves to form various movements, some more militant than others, to fight against the inhumane and unjust treatment of their people across America. This is why the Nation of Islam refers to whites as ‘the devil,’ as you have stated, and has adopted a fairly militant approach to dealing with the race issue in America, especially with its rhetoric. So you should not confuse the world religion Islam, which has over 1.7 billion followers across the globe with the Nation of Islam. They really have nothing in common with each other apart from their similar names and the fact that the members of the Nation of Islam refer to themselves as Muslims and quote from the Qur’an, often out of context. Just because you call yourself a Muslim, it doesn’t make you a Muslim. I hope you are clearer about the points you have raised. Please feel free to ask me any questions you may have.

  2. Avatar

    ConfusedGuy

    June 11, 2015 at 4:53 PM

    What?????

    Your prophet was not a “white” man, or what you all refer to as “devils” meaning European!!!!! So spare me the BS, sorry to be blunt. You say don’t worry about what your people say??????? They see me as an evil devil, that was only on the earth to do evil, despicable, heinous satanic things… You believe that we are all evil, dirty and filthy, and you want us gone?

    You think all whites are evil devils!!!!

    And you people are always talking about killing whites and evil crackers, including BABIES!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    These are YOU MUSLIMS are saying this over and over and over and over and over and well you get the point…

    There are thousands of videos of this, as you know what you are saying…

    • Avatar

      Aly Balagamwala

      June 12, 2015 at 7:40 AM

      Dear Confused Guy

      Please take some time out to learn Islam, not through random Youtube videos, but by going to the local mosque and talking to real muslims and asking the Imam of the mosque about Islam.

      Best Regards
      Aly

      *Comment above is posted in a personal capacity and may not reflect the official views of MuslimMatters or its staff*

      • Avatar

        ConfusedGuy (now less confused!)

        June 13, 2015 at 11:03 PM

        Aly Balagamwala,

        Please forgive me and the way I acted. I’m sorry from the bottom of my heart.

        Thanks for your advice. I know I can’t learn about Islam from random videos, or shaykh google. I think things can be enhanced to a certain extent, but at the end of the day, it’s nothing at all like going to a mosque/masjid and talking to someone in person, and learning from and asking questions directly to these people. Correct me if I’m wrong, but even of people have been Muslim for 50 years (regardless if they are converts or not), it’s always best to go to a person of knowledge to ask them in person, any questions that they may have.

        I again apologize to you, the MM crew and moderators, and everyone else, and I again want to thank the MM moderators for letting me post again, and letting me apologize to some of the posters here. Again thanks again for your comment.

        ConfusedGuy (now less confused!)

  3. Avatar

    ConfusedGuy

    June 11, 2015 at 5:00 PM

    “Kill em all” – Khallid Abdullah Muhammad

    https://youtube.com/watch?v=biadSUyWr0A

    • Avatar

      queenrafat

      June 12, 2015 at 2:09 AM

      i just watched the video you shared for crying out loud if you watched the video you would know the man wasn’t talking about Islam he was talking from his own personal grief. islam has never supported racism .

      • Avatar

        ConfusedGuy (now less confused!)

        June 13, 2015 at 11:04 PM

        Dear queenrafat,

        Please forgive me and the way I acted. I’m sorry from the bottom of my heart. What you said was indeed very logical and basically “common sense.” I think that people act like this (as far as the guy in the first video) and have these kinds of beliefs because they have really been traumatized in so many ways (not that this necessarily excuses it though). I’m not a psychologist though, and I’m the one that maybe needs help, lol. But hatred and racism didn’t start 100 years ago. This is something we all as people of bani Adam have suffered from in various degrees, although we must do all that we can to try to not have it in our hearts (as hard as this may be).

        Again, please forgive me, and thanks again for your words.

        ConfusedGuy (now less confused!)

    • Avatar

      erap

      June 12, 2015 at 2:11 AM

      So now Khallid Abdullah Muhammad is your prophet ?

      There are others who said otherwise and yet you choose Khallid Abdullah Muhammad ?

      Now, that’s hypocitical and double-standard.

      Looks like to you ALL Muslims are hypocrites. That’s seems to be the thinking of a narrow-minded person.

  4. Avatar

    ConfusedGuy

    June 12, 2015 at 7:40 AM

    Well, he’s your Muslim brother!!!!!!!! Ohhhhhh, it’s okay because he was only talking about his personal grief!!!!!!!!!!!! Ahhhhhhhh, poor guy, as guess we all should feel sorry for him…..

    Your MUSLIM BROTHER is only talking about KILLING all white people (who you all hate), including BABIES!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
    And that white (DEVIL) woman are factories (when getting pregnant) for future evil WHITE DEVILS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    He even talks about digging up white DEVILS and killing them AGAIN!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    He is YOUR MUSLIM BROTHER!!!!!!!!!

    What kind of god do you worship that says you can slaughter ALL white people???????!!!!!! (i.e. DEVILS if course)

    You people are the must RACIST, HATEFUL people I have ever heard!!!!!!!!!! You want to kill ALL white DEVILS!!!!! Ohhhh, nothing “personal” right!!!!!!!

    Your Allah and you Muslims says to kill WHITE BABIES!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    There are a lot if videos just like this of Muslim preachers!!!

    But, uhhh, nothing personal right??????!!!

    • Avatar

      t

      June 12, 2015 at 3:11 PM

      Hey confused guy, I am white European and muslim. And not a self hating one at that!

      • Avatar

        Jerome Boulter

        June 12, 2015 at 5:08 PM

        I am a white Muslim, too.

        I am also a white Muslim

        Narrated by Hazrat Uns(RZ)
        “Prophet Muhammad(pbuh)’s complexion was glowing white”
        (sahi Muslim, kitab ul Fazail. no 2330)

        Narrated by Hazrat Ali(AS)
        “Prophet Muhammad(pbuh)’s complexion was a beautiful mixture of white and red color”
        (Masnad Imam Humbal, no 944)

      • Avatar

        ConfusedGuy (now less confused!)

        June 13, 2015 at 11:13 PM

        t,

        Please forgive me and the way I acted. I’m sorry from the bottom of my heart. Of course there are European and white Muslims and Muslims of all different ethnicities and colors.

        I think that in general many non-Muslims are not generally aware of this (I could be very wrong of course, and maybe it’s only a small number?). And I know obviously it’s not that the people that aren’t aware of this are bad or have negative intentions, it’s just that in many countries (especially in the West) the majority of the adherents, including converts, to Islam are people of color (although all people have colors, lol) or non-European derived people, so one can understand why many people may think this.

        I think that there are even less people that are actually aware of the fact that there are majority Muslim countries in Europe, made up of indigenous Muslims, including Albania, Kosovo (I guess now considered to be a country), Bosnia and Herzegovina (although maybe the Muslims are less than 50%), and Chechnya (which was never historically part of Russia or Tzarist Russia until being occupied in the mid/late 1800s (?), and they tried again to get their independence after the fall of the Soviet Union; of course most people in the world – including many Muslims – I believe are not aware of the mass expulsions and ethnic cleansing that they repeatedly suffered from at the hands of Stalin and others).

        Thanks again for writing back to me, and please again forgive me.

        ConfusedGuy (now less confused!)

  5. Avatar

    mir

    June 12, 2015 at 7:44 AM

    verily those who do not understand the truth are misguided….

    • Avatar

      ConfusedGuy (now less confused!)

      June 13, 2015 at 11:11 PM

      Jerome Boulter,

      Please forgive me and the way I acted. I’m sorry from the bottom of my heart…

      Thanks for writing to me, and of course I know that anyone regardless of race or ethnicity can be Muslim, and I know that the Prophet (pbuh) was sent to the whole of mankind, and I believe also the jinns (what other religions would maybe call “spirits”), so it doesn’t matter how The Lord created us on the outside, all of that is so superficial, and unimportant, etc. He cares who we are on the inside, and how we feel, and what we believe in our hearts.

      And again, thank-you for writing to me.

      ConfusedGuy (now less confused!)

  6. Avatar

    Terry Heaton

    June 12, 2015 at 2:20 PM

    I don’t think Confused is as confused as he’d have us believe. Anonymous trolls are like that. He spews hatred, because we react, and that gives him/her the juice to carry on. The reality on the matter is that the American public wouldn’t broadbrush groups like the KKK, Westboro Baptist, the Oklahoma City bombers, and many, many others as “Christian,” because we know better. The same rules, however, don’t apply to Muslims, and this is the propaganda victory of Zionists and other profiteers who live off the confusion. Just because a visible leader calls himself Muslim doesn’t mean that he is, for only God/Allah looks upon the heart. It is sloppy thinking to postulate that all are guilty for the sins of the few. And don’t even get me started on the role our own government (CIA) has played in keeping the pot stirred.

    • Avatar

      ConfusedGuy (now less confused!)

      June 13, 2015 at 11:05 PM

      Terry Heaton,

      I don’t blame you for thinking some of these things, because of my immature behavior, and my writing style, and I hope you and others can accept my sincerest apologies (and the same again to the MM crew who I am very thankful have allowed me to post again).

      I may not make sense but I guess I’ll try to kinda explain how I have basically proceeded on my small journey, although maybe it will after all make at least some sense. But that said, to explain all of my ups and downs and the various things I have learned would basically require essays, and as I am writing this I’ve seen other people, beautiful and lovely people indeed, also post, so I intend to follow up with them also… Btw, I’m not able to see the time stamps, although I can see the dates, at least from an iOS device, but I know that you were one of the earliest posts to write to me, so you will be one of the first people, although maybe not the first, I write back to…

      When you (or anyone) are doing research, there are many conflicting things as far as the basic subject(s) of my previous posts. Of course I’ve read about the specific subject matter, and Islam in general and some comparative religion here and there, and I kinda thought that if I did some more web searches (shaykh google right? I know it’s not the best way to learn though), that I would see a lot of very strong stances and refutations pretty quickly (and as far as general web searches, you do see them later on, but not near the top, and I’m talking about specific key words). That said, when doing a general web search, it depends on the search words of course, and I can tell you (or others) exactly the words I initially used. But as far as certain key words, I didn’t get to the first Muslim (orthodox) site until like the 3rd page or so of the Google search. But if you search with specific Arabic/Islamic words you can get more results, and again I can get more specific (something a lot of regular joes might not know necessarily, and there are some words that one “group” basically never uses… So for others including of course Muslims, it’s good to know, if they don’t already know, and I guarantee that if I told most Muslims, that they’d be like, “of course,” but I guarantee that 90% of non-Muslims probably don’t know these various Arabic/Islamic key words). And I did gradually get more results, but a lot of it is really confusing, and hard to decipher. But on a side note, it’s pretty messed up, at least IMO, that when you’re searching (including on google or youtube) that wow, there are A LOT of NOI and other similar (i.e. 5%ers), and “out there” stuff (including, the black Hebrew Israelites, and even debates between the NOI types and this one group…). And if you are confused or “somewhat” confused, seeing all of the info, well, makes you even more confused or at least unsure in so many ways.

      And no offense to anyone, but a lot of this is the fault IMO of Muslim preachers/dawah guys (I’m sure that they would very much agree though), and I’m sure it’s because they are maybe not totally aware of the NOI beliefs or similar beliefs that many “Islamic” groups seem to carry, or at least the percentage of the websites that actually are out there on the web that adhere to these beliefs (or even in the real world). And it’s also because I’m sorry to say, but, IMO many imams and shaykhs do not want to offend or whatever.

      And I know that obviously there are racist, KKK types of “Christian” groups out there also, such as the CI (Christian Identity) movement and others, but this is the most prominent white supremacist type “Christian” group. Of course I wasn’t specifically making searches for the white racist groups or using the keywords that would bring them up, such as whites are the real chosen, or True Christians are white, or true Jews are white, etc., as I was at this point only trying to research Islam or True Islam (of course I’ve heard of them in the past). And ironically they (the CI types) have VERY SIMILAR ideas that the NOI types and also the black Hebrew Israelites have (and I know there are black and/or African American Jews that are not at all racist but I’m referring to the one ‘notorious’ group/groups). I mean it’s really weird how all of these groups have almost the same exact beliefs down to a T! They (the CI, black Hebrew Israelites, and the NOI types) all seem to believe that they are the “real Jews” or the Chosen and/or children of God, have a lot of “hate,” and at least for the most part, do totally believe in the NT word for word and Jesus (the fact that mainstream Jews – minus “messianic Jews” – don’t believe in Jesus or the NT, but only the OT or the Torah notwithstanding). I mean, they really HATE other races (to varying degrees), and while you may know that the NOI really hate whites, they surprisingly really don’t like Arabs (at least the so-called lighter or “white” Arabs) too much, at least to a certain extant, although they may not call them “devils,” and strangely the black Hebrew Israelites for whatever reason seem to not like Asians or people from the Indian Subcontinent (if you have the stomach for it, watch one of their videos from one of the streets of downtown NYC… if nothing else it’s interesting, although it will disturb you), although they seem to give Latinos and Native Americans an important role as far as also being part of “the chosen,” even though many natives of the Americas are believed to have roots from Asia… and some of these “Latino” guys could definitely be mistaken for white/European guys, whether Southern Mediterranean or whatever, but these guys are supposed to be mostly indigenous blooded, and this group also calls whites/Europeans “devils”).

      But I think that most non-Christians, including Muslims (people can correct me if I’m wrong) would not confuse the CI loons with actual Christianity, and Muslims would also not confuse this black Hebrew Israelite group with the Judaism practiced by mainstream Jews (although there are obviously also hateful Israelis/Jews, and a lot of this is somewhat in the mainstream or known, but it’s not the same as these black Hebrew Israelites). And look, there are things that I may understand more (?) that maybe many Muslims (heck many or most Christians!) would not understand about Zionist Christians (or Protestant “Dispensationalist” Evangelical, Scofield Bible, Christians to be more precise) compared to mainstream Protestant and Catholic Christians. I didn’t come from this background myself, but if you’ve for instance, studied the Palestinian issue, and in general the right-wing, neocon (whom are not primarily Christian or even religious), and the Evangelical Christian movement (especially in the US
      of the past 25-30 years or so), and what the origins of the Zionist Christian movement (starting from the late 19th century) you will really see a lot of the different factors and reasons why it seems that no matter what, the US govt. and politicians will support Israel (or mostly support them), and of course there are other factors, and one could argue more significant factors even, like the various lobbies. And no, the fact that the US/UK may eventually go to war against Iran, is not because of “Oil,” as IMO many people seem to believe. Sorry to digress so much…

      Also, I took a brief look at your blog, and I noticed that one of of the main things you write about seems to be social justice, but also advertising and marketing (?). I would be curious if you have ever touched on the subject of so-called “conspiracy theories” (and I don’t look at it in a derogatory way, although most Americans and basically all of the MSM seem to) and/or false flags. Anyway, sorry to go on and on, but I hope that at least you can put yourself in my shoes, or at least maybe understand where I’m coming from, and I will answer any questions you or others would like to ask me, but really right now I do need to focus on one thing!

      ConfusedGuy (now less confused!)

      Peace

  7. Avatar

    T.S

    June 12, 2015 at 4:00 PM

    I’m sorry but Guys his name says it all…

  8. Avatar

    ConfusedGuy

    June 12, 2015 at 5:42 PM

    Yes I am confused, and I guess of course my name is really accurate, really, really accurate right? (A little too accurate, I guess)

    If the moderators will please allow me to ask a few questions, as I have been trying to ask these for the last several hours, but I’ve been blocked, and it’s really my fault I know. I profusely apologize to the MM moderators and readers.

    I’m very sorry, because in the past several days (before posting here) I got emotional after just seeing a lot of the all whites are devils, ALL whites literally are “the devil,” whites can’t even be Muslims (if others see them as devils that would be hard) type stuff, and many other things related to that, as I had already mentioned earlier, so again please forgive me. I promise to be calm, collected and cool.

    You know what guys? I won’t bore you with a long story, but I have really thought a lot about being a Muslim… I grew up in a (secular) Christian household and as I alluded to before, for several years I knew in my heart that it makes no sense that god had a son… I mean it’s very ambiguous as Jesus never once said “I am God” or “Worship me.” The New Testament “Our Father” prayer says just that (meaning the “figurative” father to all of us, not the literal father; I’ve never heard Muslims mention this as a selling point, or Jews for that matter, although maybe Muslims/Jews have?), although it’s really a beautiful prayer, IMO: “Our Father who art in Heaven (…)” The bible is replete with son and father being used in figurative ways in many, many places, etc. Even in the OT, God is quoted in a verse as saying that Only God can be a Savior and no man can, I’m paraphrasing of course…

    So long story short, I’ve been I’m looking into Islam. But how can I accept that there are many(?) (or most, or a very small number?), that see me as a devil. One of the posters was nice (more than one), but how can I just not pay attention to it, or just brush it off as just his “personal grief,” (other that that, he’s a great guy! Lol) or something along the lines, and not worry about it? Can you please put yourself in my position, can you please try to emphasize with how I’m feeling???? I say this, ALL OF THIS as a potential Muslim. And when the last message was posted about God not guiding me, I really, really felt sad, and very, very depressed. The guy that wrote that (well intended or not), what if you were in my shoes, and the religion you wanted to maybe enter, made you not sure, because some called your race, only because of the color of you skin, literally the Devil? Please just try to related where I’m coming from…

    Here are my questions again:

    Is the guy in the video Muslim?

    Are the Nation of Islam (sometimes called black Muslims) Muslim yes or no?

    Are the Christians and the Jews of today believers? (I’m pretty sure they’re not, and that’s fine, nothing controversial at all; Christians world say the same about Muslims or Jews, and Jews about Christians, but it helps with my next question…)

    And to follow up, are the Nation of Islam believers? (if you want me to post their specific beliefs about God and His Prophets, etc., please let me know; and know again that they call one race literal devils)

    Thank-you and peace

    The Confused Guy ;)

    • Avatar

      THoltz

      June 12, 2015 at 7:29 PM

      Hi Confused Guy,

      I’m not Muslim but to answer your question about the Nation of Islam being Muslim or not, the answer is pretty much no. It is a black-nationalists religious movement founded in the mid 1900’s that is loosely based on Islam. One of it’s main difference with Islam is the teachings of race: In Islam all races are equal; in the Nation of Islam the white race is a devil race and colored races superior. Many African-Americans have left the Nation of Islam and joined mainstream (usually Sunni) Islam due to the racists philosophy of the Nation of Islam. Malcolm X is probably the most famous.

      The Nation of Islam does continue to evolve, though, at times dipping into Scientology and at others appearing to go more mainstream Islam.

      Hope that helps to clear up the confusion a little.
      http://www.beliefnet.com/Freeform/Faiths/2002/10/Chart-Nation-Of-Islam-And-Traditional-Islam.aspx

      Have a good day all. :)

    • Avatar

      Michael

      June 12, 2015 at 7:51 PM

      As a Muslim I am not permitted to say if the man posting the video is Muslim or not. I do not know what is in his heart, or what he does at his home at night alone. He may have asked God for forgiveness for his hateful speech. What I can say that if he is calling for people to kill white people, and that white people are Devils he is not acting in an Islamic manner. Race, economic status, gender, or any other classifications make one person superior to another. In the eyes of God the only thing that makes one man superior to another is their level of faith.
      When one of the posters mentioned that no one can guide a person who is misguided and no one can misguide someone who is guided, I believe they were referring to the fact that God is the only one who can bring a person to Islam. We can tell people about the faith through words and actions, but God is the one who puts the love of Islam in someone’s heart. Hope this helps.
      I converted 3 years ago and feel so blessed to have been guided to Islam. The path was not easy and was not without growing pains, but through patience, support of the Muslim community (both converts and born Muslims), and the will of God I am still practicing today.
      May Allah forgive me for any mistakes or misinformation I may have inadvertently put into my reply. I pray that the one true God guides you to the path of Islam.

      • Avatar

        ConfusedGuy (now less confused!)

        June 13, 2015 at 11:07 PM

        Michael,

        Please forgive me and the way I acted. I’m sorry from the bottom of my heart.

        Thank-you so much for taking the time to write to me. I really appreciate this. Thanks for sharing the the fact that you are also a convert.

        Can you, if you don’t mind, if you feel comfortable, tell me one of the hardest things that you have faced since becoming Muslim.

        And yes, I completely understand the issue of declaring that one is not a Muslim, and the serious ramifications of this. And of course I understand that no one can know what was in one’s heart before they departed the earth (and the guy in the video has since passed away).

        I have just learned that Muslims also will judge from the apparent, or what is outwardly visible and clear, etc., but of course this also means not looking into someone’s heart (only God can do this of course), or assuming so and so has such and such beliefs, etc., but if so and so is out in the open and says they have such and such beliefs then this is maybe a different issue basically.

        Again, thanks so much. I really want to thank-you for taking time to write to me, and I really believe what you have said has really helped me.

        Also thank-you so much for you prayers for me.

        ConfusedGuy (now less confused!)

  9. Avatar

    ConfusedGuy

    June 12, 2015 at 6:51 PM

    Hello,

    The first guy in the video, I don’t even know his name. But I can tell you that I really, really love him. He is a beautiful Muslim brother. It’s as if he in his khutbah (Friday Khutbah, just like the subject of this article) spoke to my heart, like The Lord is guiding me. I love this guy! Please pray for him and pray for me…

    The one below it, is Khalid Yassin, and it’s also good, and saw this prior to the first one I mentioned.

    I really love this brother (still don’t recall his name, but I will try to get in touch with him). You are beautiful and I’ll pray for you, as I thank The Lord, as through him The Lord is guiding me, and I hope this beautiful person will also guide other people and also help other people who may have doubts…

    I again apologize to everyone. I hope the MM mods can post this. Please can you delete my other emotional posts, and leave this and the last one? If not that’s okay.

    Peace

    Nation of Islam (NOI) Vs The Muslims
    https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=72TmeZvc8dM

    Nation of islam are kuffar (disbelievers) not muslims – khalid yasin

    https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=yHhM7QAi9xU

  10. Avatar

    THoltz

    June 12, 2015 at 7:42 PM

    Hi again,

    This looks like an older article but it discusses Farrakhan and his possible movement toward orthodox Islam as he ages. All people mellow out as they age, especially if they continue to seek and incorporate a spiritual practice into their daily lives. (I’m sure even Khallid Abdullah Muhammed isn’t the same guy now.)

  11. Avatar

    THoltz

    June 12, 2015 at 9:12 PM

    Dear ConfusedGuy,

    I have to apologize for not reading through your posts more thoroughly earlier. I know see more of where you are coming from.

    For starters, you may not be aware that in Islam, questioning the faith of other Muslims is generally frowned upon (see Michael’s post above) so even if a Muslim feels in their heart that a certain individual is in fact not a Muslim, they will generally not directly come out and say so. Such matters are between God and the individual. Different perspectives are tolerated.

    As I am not a Muslim (but more academically oriented in my studies of religion), I can say that the Nation of Islam is not orthodox Islam, but rather a black-nationalist movement that clothed itself in Islamic clothing. The Nation of Islam has only been around for a little less than a hundred years and it’s teachings on race are contrary to Islamic teachings on race.

    I think you might get a lot out of mainstream Muslim figures such as Hamza Yusuf, Yasir Qadhi, and Nouman Ali Khan.

    Here is a beautiful video titled “Islam Kills Racism” about Malcolm X and his journey to orthodox Islam. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3MqeSPF48tg

    (Try not to cry when watching it. I can’t!)

    Blessings to you, ConfusedGuy, and to your journey to the truth.

    • Avatar

      ConfusedGuy (now less confused!)

      June 13, 2015 at 11:07 PM

      THoltz,

      Please forgive me and the way I acted. I’m sorry from the bottom of my heart.

      Thank-you so much for writing to me and taking the time to do this. I really do appreciate this. I think the fact that you are also non-Muslim really shows that people of different faiths (or no faith as it were) and backgrounds can and of course always have worked together for the betterment and progress of the human family. I’m sure everyone here regardless of what they may believe in, really appreciates what you have said, and the links you’ve provided.

      Yes, I have read before that the NOI are basically black nationalists, and that they throw in the garb of Islamic teaching, to go along with this, or to be more specific, have incorporated various quasi Islamic doctrines that put race at the forefront of their actual creed or beliefs. And of course one can say that one of their main beliefs that makes them believers (in their eyes) is their actual race, and of course with this comes things that don’t jibe with the religion of Islam, nor the majority of other religions in the world.

      And thanks so much for the links. I have read the first paragraph or so, in one link, but I intend to sit down, and read the rest of it and also watch the video (and other links that other people may have included). I don’t think Farakhan has changed his views, at as far as what he has said in various videos (from late 2014 and 2015) but maybe he has, and he has a right to believe whatever he wants, of course.

      And yes, as I had mentioned a while ago, I completely do understand the issue of declaring that one is not a Muslim, and the serious ramifications of doing this. And again, of course I understand that no one can know what was in someone’s heart especially before they died (only God knows for sure).

      And thanks you so much for the links. I definitely plan to read this and the other articles and links that people have posted.

      Again, thanks so much. Thanks again for taking the time out to write me.

      ConfusedGuy (now less confused!)

  12. Avatar

    Indah Yusuf

    June 14, 2015 at 5:25 PM

    Qur’an 41:34
    “And not equal are the good deed and the bad. Repel [evil] by that [deed] which is better; and thereupon the one whom between you and him is enmity [will become] as though he was a devoted friend.”
    41:35) “But none is granted it except those who are patient, and none is granted it except one having a great portion [of good].”

  13. Avatar

    ymr

    October 11, 2015 at 1:17 PM

    Reminder that criticizing Islam is not being bigoted towards it followers. If Christianity can be criticized by muslims then they have the right to do so as well.

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#Current Affairs

Kashmir: Gateway in Turmoil

Abu Ryan Dardir

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A dark day looms over Indian-Administered Kashmir, a Muslim majority region at the heart of a dispute between Pakistan and India. The two countries are at odds over its governance, with direct impact to the welfare and security of the Kashmiri people. On Tuesday 8-6-19, the Indian Parliament passed a bill that strips Kashmir of statehood and places them under indefinite lockdown.

“Kashmiri leaders are appealing to the world to stop the imminent genocide of Kashmiris. Genocide Watch in Washington, DC has already issued a Genocide Alert for India, the so-called “largest democracy in the world” because it has cancelled citizenship of four million Indian citizens, mostly Muslims. This reflects the early stages of a genocide in process.” –Soundvision.com

Kashmir is home to massive energy resources, such as oil and natural gas, non-ferrous metals, uranium, gold, and is abundant in hydropower resources. These too are factors considered in the political movements of India and China. Kashmir’s geopolitical advantages are no secret, and adding China to the political struggle makes three countries trying to benefit from Kashmir’s geographical position.

Kashmir neighbors the Xinjiang Uyghur borders, and China has played a role in both areas. China’s stronghold on Xinjiang revolves around access to Europe and Central Asia. China needs Kashmir to access the Arabian Sea and the Indian Ocean. Kashmir is landlocked between China, Pakistan, and India. Pakistan hopes to use infrastructure built under the CPEC initiative to connect by land directly to both China and Central Asia. With that said, Pakistan wants to take advantage of its geographic positioning by serving as a gateway to Afghanistan, then Central Asia, using the CPEC corridor (the China-Pakistan-Economic-Corridor), which has parts of that corridor that go through Pakistan-controlled Kashmir.

This is upsetting India. India’s ambassador to China, Gautam Bambawale, made a comment in an interview about CPEC saying it “violates our territorial integrity. India believes the CPEC project undermines Indian sovereignty because it passes through a Pakistan-administered part of Kashmir that is still claimed by India.” India also fears the chances of a People’s Liberation Army presence or even a Chinese naval base in Pakistan’s Gwadar seaport, as part of the CPEC corridor.

India has been working on its own project, International North-South Transport Corridor (INSTC), it is intended to link trade routes between India and Central Asia, Russia, and Europe. Unlike its competition (Pakistan and China), India is unable to directly trade through the land to those regions using INSTC. To make this corridor successful, India will need to collaborate with Iran and use their ports.

India needs Kashmir, and Modi is using hateful nationalism to get the people to support his actions. The part of Kashmir that is needed is not under India’s control, and must be occupied in order for India to have direct access to Central Asia, Russia, and Europe. 

Birds of a feather flock together.

Israel’s Minister for Construction and Housing Yifat Shasha-Biton, while addressing a conference of Indian realtors’ body Confederation of Real Estate Developers Association of India (CREDAI), called India an “economic power” with whom Israel shares common values.  India using colonization tactics has made allies with the Israeli government, a master on occupation and oppression. 

“Kashmir is under siege…do not let the enforced silence drown our voices.”:

Please keep the people of Kashmir in your prayers. We cannot sit idly while this occupation continues. SoundVision has shared 5 things anyone in America and Canada can do. 

A message from a Kashmiri

“Around 10 pm, a message flashed across our phones announcing that, as per the request of the central government, all domestic networks were to be shut down indefinitely. All mosques, any place equipped with a loudspeaker, began announcing total curfew from 5 am tomorrow……..

You have stripped us of our rights and incited unrest yet again into a peaceful and beautiful place. This time, I pray, you will not escape the international consequences your actions deserve. Rest assured Kashmiris will not break and Kashmir is not gone. Our stories, our language, our heart and our people are stronger than any country can dream. Even under these circumstances, I am sure inshaAllah one day we will be free. One day, Kashmir will be free.” Sanna Wani via Twitter

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#Islam

Muslims for Migrants | A Joint Letter By Imam Zaid Shakir & Imam Omar Suleiman

Imam Zaid Shakir

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Abu Huraira (May Allah be pleased with him) reported: The Messenger of Allah (peace and blessings of Allah upon him) said, “He who gives respite to someone who is in straitened circumstances, or grants him remission, Allah will shelter him in the shade of His Throne, on the Day of Resurrection, when there will be no shade except its shade.” (Tirmidhi, 1306)

He also said, “There is no leader who closes the door to someone in need, one suffering in poverty, except that Allah closes the gates of the heavens for him when he is suffering in poverty.” (Tirmidhi, 1332)

The message is clear, the way we treat the most vulnerable of Allah’s creation has consequences to us both individually and collectively, and both in this life and the next.

As the humanitarian crisis at the southern border deepens, there is a deafening silence from most corners of the American Muslim community. One might ask, “Why should that silence be concerning?” Shouldn’t the nation of the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah upon him) who was himself an orphan and a migrant sent as a mercy to the worlds be the first to be moved with the images of children in cages? Migration and asylum are God-given rights that individuals and nations would do well to respect. These rights are affirmed in the Qur’an and the Sunnah of our Prophet Muhammad (peace and blessings of Allah upon him).

Concerning migration, the Qur’an states unequivocally: 

As for those whose souls the angels take while they are oppressing themselves, the angels will say to them, “What was your former state?” They will respond, “We were oppressed in the land.” The angels will counter, “Was not Allah’s earth spacious enough for you to migrate therein.” (4:97)

 The oppression referred to in this verse specifically focuses on persecution because of faith, but the general meaning of the wording can accommodate any form of oppression which involves the denial of a person’s Divinely conferred rights.

Migration lies at the very heart of the prophetic tradition in the Abrahamic religions. Abraham himself was a migrant. His son Ismail was a migrant. The Children of Israel along with Moses were migrants, as was Jesus. Not only was our Prophet Muhammad (peace and blessings of Allah upon him) a migrant, he twice sent many of his Companions (May Allah be pleased with them) to Ethiopia to seek the protection of the Negus. The fact that the Muslim calendar is dated from the migration of the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah upon him) from Makkah to Madinah indicates the lofty place migration has in the life of the Muslim community and in the consciousness of its members. 

Additionally, history records the massive migrations of those Muslims who fled from oppressive, tyrannical, violent rulers or invaders. One of the most famous examples we can relate in this regard is the massive westward migration of those escaping the advancing Mongol hordes. Among those refugees was the great poet, Rumi, who along with thousands of others fled his home in Balkh, located in present-day Afghanistan, eventually settling in Konya, in the heart of Anatolia. Others migrated for economic reasons. The historian, Richard Bulliet, theorizes that the economic collapse of Khurasan, a once-thriving Sunni intellectual hub in eastern Iran, led to the migration of large swaths of its population to Syrian and Egypt. In his view, the many scholars among those refugees led to an intellectual revival in the lands they settled in.

As for asylum, it can be granted by both the state and an individual Muslim to individuals or groups. The foundations of this principle in prophetic practice was established during events which occurred during the conquest of Makkah. The Prophet ṣallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam (peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him), as the de facto head of state, issued an oath of protection to the people of Mecca when he declared, “Whosever enters the house of Abu Sufyan is safe. Whosoever casts down his weapons is safe. Whosoever closes his door [and remains inside] is safe.” (Sahih Muslim, 1780) Ibn Ishaq’s version adds, “Whosoever enters the [Sacred] Mosque is safe.” (Narrated in Sirah Ibn Hisham, 4:35)

Those enjoying these protections from the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah upon him) had not committed a crime and although they had not traveled to another land seeking refuge, the description of their land had changed from one under the authority of the Quraysh to one under the authority of the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah upon him). In this “new” land they were being guaranteed safety and subsequently freedom even though they had not yet embraced Islam.

 A related event is Imam Ali’s sister, Umm Hani, granting asylum to al-Harith bin Hisham and Zuhayr bin Ummayya that same day. When faced with the prospect of their execution by her brother, Imam Ali, she locked them in her house and went to the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah upon him) to inform him that she had granted them asylum. The Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah upon him) responded, “We grant asylum to those Umm Hani has granted asylum to and we protect those Umm Hani has extended protection to.” (Sirah ibn Hisham, 4:42) In other words, the entire Muslim community, globally, is bound to respect the oath of protection or asylum granted by even an individual Muslim.

This idea of the entire Muslim community respecting a grant of asylum extended by even a single Muslim is strengthened by the Hadith:

 The protection of the Muslims is one and the least of them can grant it. Whosoever violates the asylum extended by a Muslim upon him falls the curse of Allah, His angels and all of humanity. Never will an obligatory or voluntary act be accepted from him. (Bukhari, 3172)

Allah subḥānahu wa ta'āla (glorified and exalted be He) praised the Ansar of Madinah for how they loved those that migrated to them and preferred them even over themselves. (Quran: 59:9) They bore no resentment to those that migrated to them and sought reward only from Allah for sustaining them. They knew that supporting those in need was only a means of goodness in their lives rather than a burden. These powerful Islamic teachings have been codified by our scholars into a sophisticated system of amnesty, asylum, and respect for the status of refugees.

Hence, when we view the sickening conditions those migrating to our southern borders are exposed to, we should be touched and moved to action knowing that our religion grants those fleeing persecution, oppression, or ecological devastation, the right to migrate and to be duly considered for asylum. Our actions, however, must be based on principle and knowledge. We should further vigorously defend the dignity our Lord has afforded to all human beings, and our obligation to assist those who are suffering from recognized forms of oppression.

We must also understand that the rights to migration and asylum have been codified in the most widely accepted Muslim statement on human rights: The Cairo Declaration of Human Rights in Islam, Article 12; the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR), Article 14; the American Declaration of the Rights and Duties of Man (ADRDM), Article 27; and the American Convention on Human Rights (ACHR), Article 22. The United States is a signatory party to the UDHR, and by way of membership in the Organization of American States (OAS), reluctantly accepts the authority of the ADRDM and the ACHR, although she has never ratified the latter two.

Our view on this issue should also be informed by the knowledge of our own country’s history as a nation of immigrants in the Native’s land. It should further be shaped by understanding the way nativist and white supremacist tendencies have fueled xenophobic and exclusivist policies and how in many instances our sometimes misguided policies have created many of our most vexing human rights challenges. It must also be informed by our obligation as American citizens.

For example, we need to understand that the overwhelming majority of families, children and individual adults arriving at our southern border from the “Northern Triangle” of El Salvador, Guatemala and Honduras are fleeing intolerable levels of violence. That violence is not just that of ruthless street gangs, such as MS-13, it also emanates from government-sponsored death squads, many of which were organized and trained by the CIA or the US military at the former School of the Americas based at Fort Benning, Georgia. The infamous Battalion 316 of Honduras was an American-trained death squad responsible for hundreds of extrajudicial killings in that country during the 1980s and into the 1990s as well as the kidnapping and torture of thousands of Honduran citizens during the same period. These death squads are beginning to reappear in the wake of a wave of right-wing regimes assuming power throughout Latin America.

The combination of American political and economic pressure through the mechanisms of neocolonialism used to control and systematically under-develop former and present “banana republics,” the International Monetary Fund (IMF), plutocratic regimes increasingly beholden to Washington DC, integrating the violence of both death squads and drug cartels into their crushing of both popular dissent as well as any attempts at economic diversification and stratification help to create the conditions producing the waves of migrants moving towards our southern border. Long before they sought to cross our borders, our borders crossed them.

Long before they sought to cross our borders, our borders crossed them.

Despite the history, the way that the Trump administration has chosen to deal with the current crisis, largely for cheap race-baited political gain, has challenged the God-given rights to migration and asylum, exacerbated the humanitarian crisis at the border, and diminished the standing of the United States internationally. It is critical to understand, however, that just as the policies producing the floods of migrants from parts of Latin America are not uniquely a product of the Trump administration, Trump is not the first racist to occupy the White House. We could mention Richard Nixon, who famously embraced Kevin Philip’s “southern strategy,” to wrest the south from the control of the Democrats; we could mention the KKK-loving, segregationist, Woodrow Wilson; we could mention the slave-driving, genocidal ethnic cleanser Andrew Jackson, as well as others.

What makes Trump unique, as Greg Grandin emphasizes in his latest book, The End of the Myth, is that Trump is a racist who has appeared at a time America is no longer, via conquest or economic domination, expanding her frontiers. With the ensuing erasure of the myth of American exceptionalism, the “American people” can no longer point to our global economic or political domination as the difference between “them” and “us.” 

Unable to deflect our nagging national problems, one of the most vexing being the race issue, by looking outward, large numbers of white Americans are turning inward with xenophobic frenzy. That inward turn creates a focus on outsiders who threaten “our” rapidly disappearing “purity.” Hence, the border, symbolized by the wall, becomes not just an indicator of national sovereignty, it becomes a symbol of white identity. A symbol Trump invokes with seldom matched mastery. Vested with the passion emanating from the defense of an embattled race, innocent brown children taken from their mothers and imprisoned in overcrowded, feces-stained gulags become easily dismissed collateral damage.

Generally speaking, the same playbook that has been employed against the Muslim and other immigrant communities, specifically refugees from the Middle East, has been employed against the immigrant community as a whole. In far too many instances, America’s destructive foreign policy leaves helpless populations running to our shores, increasingly to be dehumanized and disregarded again in order to pander to the worst of our domestic propensities.

Launchgood.com/migrants, migrants, Muslims

So we call upon the Muslim community to not only assist in efforts to support our migrant brothers and sisters but lead the way. Get involved in advocacy work, support immigrant justice organizations, join the sanctuary efforts and lend yourself and your wealth in whatever way you can to be at their aid. By the Grace of Allah, we have launched a campaign to reunite as many families as we can. The Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah upon him) said, “Whoever separates a mother from her child, Allah will separate him from his loved ones on the Day of Resurrection.” (Tirmidhi, 1566) We hope that in reuniting families, Allah will reunite us with our beloved ones on the Day of Resurrection, and specifically with the beloved Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah upon him) in the highest gardens of Paradise.

Imam Zaid Shakir, Imam, Lighthouse Mosque

Imam Omar Suleiman, Founder & President, Yaqeen Institute for Islamic Research

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#Current Affairs

Were Muslim Groups Duped Into Supporting an LGBTQ Rights Petition at the US Supreme Court?

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Muslim organizations, Muslim groups

Recently several Muslim groups sent an amicus brief to the US Supreme Court to support LGBTQ rights in employment.  These groups argued“sex” as used in the Civil Rights Act should be defined broadly to include more types of discrimination than Congress wrote into the statue.

A little background. Clayton County, Georgia fired Gerald Lynn Bostock. The County alleged Bostock embezzled money, so he was fired. Bostock argues the real reason is that he is gay. Clayton County denied they would fire someone for that reason. Clayton County successfully had the case dismissed saying that even if Bostock is right about everything, the law Bostock filed the lawsuit under does not vindicate his claim. The case is now at the Supreme Court with other similar cases.

The “Muslim” brief argued the word “sex” should mean lots of things, and under the law (Title VII of the Civil Rights Act), LGBTQ discrimination is already illegal.  American law has developed to provide some support for this argument, but there have been divisions in the appellate courts. So this is the exact sort of thing the US Supreme Court exists to decide.

The Involvement Of Muslim Groups

In Supreme Court litigation, parties on both sides marshal amicus briefs (written arguments) and coordinate their efforts to improve the effectiveness of their advocacy, there are over 40 such briefs in the Bostock case. Groups represent constituencies with no direct stake in the immediate dispute but care about the precedent the case would set.

The Muslim groups came in purportedly because they know what it’s like to be victims of discrimination (more on that below). The brief answered an objection to the consequences that could come with an expansive definition of the term “sex” to include gay, lesbian, and transgender persons (in lieu of its conventional use as synonymous with gender, i.e., male/female). In particular, the brief responded to the concern that “sex” being defined as any subjective experience may open up more litigation than was intended by making the argument that religion is a personal experience that courts have no trouble sorting out and that, like faith, courts can define “sex” the same way.

While this may be interesting to some, boring to others, it begs the question:  why are Muslim groups involved with this stuff? Muslims are a faith community. If we speak *as Muslims* is it not pertinent to consult with the traditions of the faith tradition known as Islam, like Quran, Hadith and the deep well of scholarly tradition?  Is our mere presence in a pluralistic society enough reason to ignore all this and focus on building allies in our mutual desire to create a world free of discrimination?

Spreading Ignorance

In July of 2017, the main party to the “Muslim” brief, Muslims for Progressive Values (MPV), was expelled from the Islamic Society of North America (ISNA) Convention bazaar.  I was on the Executive Council of the organization at the time but had no role in the decision. The reason: MPV was dedicated to promoting ignorance of Islam among Muslims at the event. The booth had literature claiming haram was good and virtuous. Propaganda distributed at the table either implied haram was not haram or alternately celebrated haram.

For any Muslim organization dedicated to Islam, it is not a difficult decision to expel an organization explicitly dedicated to spreading haram. No Muslim organization, composed of Muslims who fear Allah and dedicate their time to Islam can give space to organizations opposed the faith community’s values and advocates against them in their conferences and events.  Allah, in the Quran, tells us:

immorality

Indeed, those who like that immorality should be spread [or publicized] among those who have believed will have a painful punishment in this world and the Hereafter. And Allah knows, and you do not know.

It would be charitable to the point of fraud to characterize MPV as a Muslim organization. That MPV has dedicated itself to promoting ignorance of the religion within the Muslim community is not in serious dispute.  The organization’s leader has been all over the anti-Sharia movement.

Discrimination against Muslims is bad, except when it’s good 

The brief framed the various organizations’ participation by claiming as Muslims, we know what it is like to be on the receiving end of discrimination. This implies the parties that signed on to the Amicus petition believe discrimination against Muslims is a bad thing. For at least two of the organizations, this is not entirely true.

MPV is an ally of another co-signer of the Amicus petition, the Muslim Public Affairs Council (MPAC).  Both have records that show an eagerness to discriminate against Muslims in the national security space. They both applied for CVE grants. Both have supported the claim that Muslims are a national security threat they are somehow equipped to deal with. I have written more extensively about MPAC in the past; mainly, it’s work in Countering Violent Extremism and questionable Zakat practices.

MPAC’s CVE  program, called “Safe Spaces,” singled out Muslims as terrorist threats. It purported to address this Muslim threat. In June of 2019, MPAC’s academic partner released an evaluation Safe Spaces and judged it as “not successful” citing the singling out of Muslims, as well as a lack of trust within the Muslim community because of a lack of transparency as reasons why the program was a failure. Despite its legacy of embarrassment and failure, MPAC continues to promote Safe Spaces on its website.

MPV was a vigorous defender of MPAC’s CVE program, Safe Spaces.  MPV’s leader has claimed the problem of “radicalism” is because of CAIR, ISNA, and ICNA’s “brand of Islam.”

Law Enforcement Approved Islam

In 2011, former LAPD head of Counter-Terrorism, Michael P. Downing testified during a congressional hearing on “Islamist Radicalization” Downing testified in favor of MPV, stating:

I would just offer that, on the other side of the coin, we should create opportunities for the pure, good part of this, to be in the religion, such as the NGOs. There is an NGO by the name of Ani Zonneveld who does the Muslims for Progressive Values. This is what they say, “Values are guided by 10 principles of Islam, rooted in Islam, including social equality, separation of religion and state, freedom of speech, women’s rights, gay rights, and critical analysis and interpretation.” She and her organization have been trying to get into the prison system to give this literature as written by Islamic academic scholars. So I think there can be more efforts on this front as well.

Downing was central to the LAPD’s “Muslim Mapping” program, defending the “undertaking as a way to help Muslim communities avoid the influence of those who would radicalize Islamic residents and advocate ‘violent, ideologically-based extremism.” MPAC was a supporter of the mapping program, which was later rejected by the city because it was an explicit ethnic profiling program mainstream Muslim and secular civil rights groups opposed.  MPAC later claimed it did not support the program, though somehow saw fit to give Downing an award. Downing, since retired, currently serves on MPAC’s Advisory Council.

Ani Zonnevold, the President and Founder of MPV, currently sits on the International Board of Directors for the Raif Badawi Foundation alongside Maajid Nawaz and Zuhdi Jasser.

MPV has also been open about both working for CVE and funding from a non-Muslim source, the Human Rights Campaign, and other groups with agendas to reform the religion of Islam. It’s hard not to see it as an astroturf organization.

Muslim Groups Were Taken for a Ride

Unfortunately, Muslim nonprofit organizations are often unsophisticated when it comes to signing documents other groups write. Some are not even capable of piecing together the fact that an astroturf organization opposed to Islam, the religious tradition, was recruiting them to sign something.

There are many Muslims sympathetic to the LGBTQ community while understanding the limits of halal and haram. Not everyone who signed the brief came to this with the same bad faith as an MPV, which is hostile to the religion of Islam itself. Muslims generally don’t organize out of hostility to Islam. This only appears to be happening because of astroturfing in the Muslim community. Unfortunately, it was way too easy to bamboozle well-meaning Muslim groups.

Muslims are a faith community. MPV told the groups Islam did not matter in their argument when the precise reason they were recruited to weigh in on the case was that they are Muslim. Sadly, it was a successful con. Issues like the definition of sex are not divorced from Islamic concerns. We have Islamic inheritance and rules for family relations where definitions of words are relevant. Indeed, our religious freedoms in ample part rest on our ability to define the meaning of words, like Muslim, fahisha, zakat, daughter, and Sharia. Separate, open-ended definitions with the force of law may have implications for religious freedom for Muslims and others because it goes to defining a word across different statutes, bey0nd the civil rights act. There would be fewer concerns if LGBT rights were simply added as a distinct category under the Civil Rights Act while respecting religious freedom under the constitution.

Do Your Homework

Muslim organizations should do an analysis of religious freedom implications for Muslims and people of other faiths before signing on to statements and briefs. A board member of MPV drafted the “Muslim” Brief, and his law firm recruited Muslim nonprofit organizations to sign on. CAIR Oklahoma, which signed up for this brief, made a mistake (hey, it happens). CAIR Oklahoma’s inclusion is notable. This chapter successfully challenged the anti-Sharia “Save our State” law that would have banned Muslims from drafting Islamic Wills. Ironically, CAIR Oklahoma’s unwitting advocacy at the Supreme Court could work against that critical result. For an anti-Sharia group like MPV, this is fine. It is not fine for a group like CAIR.

CAIR Oklahoma is beefing up their process for signing on to Amicus Briefs in the future. No other CAIR chapter signed on to the brief, which was prudent. CAIR chapters are mostly independent organizations seemingly free to do whatever they want. CAIR, as a national organization needs to make sure all its affiliates are sailing in the same direction. They have been unsuccessful with this in the past several years. CAIR should make sure their local chapters know about astroturf outfits and charlatans trying to get them to sign things. They should protect their “America’s largest Islamic Civil Liberties Group” brand.

Muslim Leaders Should Stand Strong 

American Muslims all have friends, business associates and coworkers, and family members who do things that violate Islamic norms all the time. We live in an inclusive society where we respect each other’s differences. Everyone is entitled to dignity and fair treatment. No national Muslim groups are calling for employment discrimination against anyone, nor should they.

However, part of being Muslim is understanding limits that Allah placed on us. That means we cannot promote haram or help anyone do something haram. Muslim groups do not need to support causes that may be detrimental to our interests.  Our spaces do not need to be areas where we have our religion mocked and derided. Other people have the freedom to do this in their own spaces in their own time.

Some Muslim leaders are afraid of being called names unless they recite certain words or invite particular speakers.  You will never please people who hate Islam unless you believe as they do.  Muslims only matter if Islam matters.

If you are a leader of Muslims, you must know the limits Allah has placed on you. Understand the trust people have placed in you. Don’t allow anyone to bully or con you into violating those limits.

Note: Special thanks to Mobeen Vaid.

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