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Working Ourselves Out of a Job

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MuslimVoicesMatter

Muslim Voices Matter

My name is Ruth Nasrullah. I am a convert to Islam, a journalist, a blogger, a New Jersey native living in Houston, Texas. I have a masters degree in journalism and a master of fine arts in creative nonfiction. I was one of the first seven bloggers on MuslimMatters back when it was an itty-bitty blog and it is my honor to return to what is now an international, award-winning web magazine.

From 2013 to 2015 I served as the Communications Coordinator for the Houston office of the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR). While with CAIR I heard from colleagues that our goal should be to “work ourselves out of a job” – in other words, to create a world so just that no one need fight for basic civil and human rights.

Is that possible?

America is a paradox, a nation that has historically allowed injustices yet has also succeeded in correcting them. Ours is a country founded in slavery that now has a black president. Ours is a country where legal segregation was transformed by the Civil Rights Act.

America is also a nation built on a bedrock principle of fairness. When the majority of Americans see issues clearly they make fair judgments and decisions. The key to sustained freedom is to bring a message of truth to the public, loosening them from the grip of bigoted ideologies. It is only through a vapid rhetoric that a presidential contender can be hailed as a leader even after proudly declaring that he has bought influence with a prominent member of the opposing party. But I’m getting ahead of myself by talking about Donald Trump.

As we face increasing anti-Islam sentiment it is our obligation and privilege to share the message that will make a difference, as we are compelled as Muslims to do. Hence Muslim Voices Matter.

This column will insha Allah be a platform to explore issues around politics and government, civil rights and social justice, xenophobia and security.

It will not be a complaint column, nor will you hear my own opinion every other week. I hope to prompt an informed conversation about the state of American justice, especially in spheres where Muslims are impacted. I want to hear the voices of MuslimMatters readers of all religious, national and political backgrounds.

What kind of stories will you read here?

I wrote recently about an incident that’s typical of recent protests against planned Islamic centers. The outcry against a Muslim cemetery in a north Texas town demonstrates hallmarks of Islamophobia in action: blind bigotry; propaganda spread by community leaders; repetitive and uninformed anti-Islam rhetoric; and, importantly, the muting of citizens who support Muslims, whose voices are often not as loud as the detractors’.

The phenomenon of businesses – primarily gun shops and ranges – declaring themselves “Muslim-free” is spreading across the country, from Arkansas to New Hampshire. Make no mistake: refusing service based on religion is a violation of the Civil Rights Act. In a time when some of the Act’s provisions face erosion, the public must be reminded that “Muslim-free” is illegal and is as unacceptable as the “whites-only” and “no Irish need apply” policies of the past.

There is good news too, which we can celebrate and learn from. For instance, so-called “anti-shariah” bills (now known in many states as “anti-foreign-law bills”) have been successfully protested in several states, including Texas, where I was proud to personally see the grassroots efforts to fight these bills, two of which died in this year’s Legislature.

Here are some of the topics I plan to examine going forward:

  • Propaganda: what is it and how is it used against Muslims?
  • Use of planning and zoning regulations to prevent development of Islamic centers and cemeteries
  • What contemporary Muslims can learn from the historical civil rights struggle
  • Election coverage
  • Ways in which Muslims can successfully engage in politics
  • Positive and negative media engagement by Muslims

I look forward to having some robust conversations. Muslim voices do matter. Let’s hear them.

20 Comments

20 Comments

  1. Avatar

    Isahah Janette Grant

    August 28, 2015 at 9:22 AM

    Mashaa’Allah! Looking forward to reading future pieces, sister! Jazak’Allahu khair!

  2. Avatar

    Kariman

    August 29, 2015 at 11:18 AM

    Great, may Allah reward you

  3. Avatar

    Faisal Abbasi

    September 9, 2015 at 12:18 PM

    Salaam sister,
    I’m afraid that some of the statements that I’m about to make will be rather robust. Firstly, as a Muslim I find it quite offensive and intellectually insulting when American Muslims, born or otherwise hark on about how great America is. The fact that your country has a black president doesn’t mean that black Americans aren’t still suffering from blatant racism in many parts of the country. So please stop going om about that.

    Another aspect of constant praise is what a wonderful democracy America is. Rubbish! If America was such a great and fair democracy why is the power and wealth concentrated in the hands of 1% of the population and why are so many Americans on the poverty line? Why have so many American city become .ghettoised’ (a personal expression) where there is social depravation, crime and lawlessness. Why has the health system failed the millions of Americans who aren’t able to get health insurance, and so many have died due to serious diseases and accidents as a result?

    The fact is, America has a lot to answer for for the woes of its people and the rest of the world, especially the Muslim world. Ok you live there and were taught to wave the American flag at school, I get it. But the truth is that the American flag is drenched in blood and signifies pain and misery for millions!

    So please, in future when you want to talk about your country, have some perspective, especially as a Muslim. And please have some thought about the sensitivities of the people across the globe; the millions who are suffering because of Americas past and present misdeeds. The world is much bigger than North America!

    Finally, I’ll leave it to other people to comment about the growing xenophobia against Islam and Muslims in America. But this is nothing new. Americans have always had someone to revile and pour scorn over since its creation. This is not a legacy to be proud of sister.

    Faisal Abbasi

    • Avatar

      Faisal Abbasi

      September 9, 2015 at 12:23 PM

      Apologies about some of the spelling errors. Sometimes I type too fast for my own good.

    • Avatar

      Peter

      September 22, 2015 at 2:07 AM

      Hi Faisal,

      I was amused by your post greatly. I am not an American, however I have lived there. I am an Australian.

      However, I find your criticism somewhat shallow and self serving?

      If the USA is so bad, why do so many people want to live there?

      Can you name a country, or place with no blood on its hands? Compared to the vast majority of the Planet, the USA recognizes the rights of individuals, and grants greater freedoms to its citizens, than most of the world.

      Where do you live? How does where you live compare to the USA in religious freedom, racism and equality of the sexes? How does where you live compare to the USA on corruption, how free is its press?

      So in isolation, your comments has merit, but nothing existing in a vacuum, and the measure of how racism or fair a society is comparative.

      Do you want to compare the USA to Saudi Arabia, which was forced to make slavery illegal only in 1963!

      Do you think the USA should look to Malaysia when it comes to institutionalized racism? Or how Lebanon treats the Palestinians? Or maybe Iran, for what freedom of the press should look like? Maybe Afghanistan is your model for equality of the sexes?

      So tell us, what nation are you bench marking the USA against? Otherwise you are just a hater, with no factual basis to your hate, only hate.

      • Avatar

        Faisal

        September 24, 2015 at 1:50 AM

        Peter, I’m sorry but your reply shows a lot of ignorance and lack of understanding about recent history. And you have no right to put labels on people. I certainly am not a ‘hater.’ I have many friends that are American, who, incidentally have the same or even stronger views than mine about their country. It’s interesting that you have only cited Muslim countries in your reply. None of those countries have invaded other countries and killed millions of civilians. None of those countries have dropped a nuclear bomb on a civilian population. It looks to me like you are the only one with hate around here.

  4. Avatar

    Ruth Nasrullah

    September 9, 2015 at 2:10 PM

    Walaikum salaam. Thank you for your comment, which contains a lot of truth.

    First, I reiterate that my focus in this column is on domestic issues, and while we of course can’t strictly separate foreign policy from domestic, my commentary is on politics and civil justice here in the U.S. The final paragraph of your comment indicates that I didn’t make that point clearly enough. (By the way, I am well aware that there is a world outside North America.)

    My question to you is this: what country should I be proud to be a citizen of? All nations have blood on their hands and I don’t deny that. I didn’t intend this article to be a rah-rah promotion of America, but your comment seems to imply that I should hang my head in shame because I am an American.

    Is there a country on earth that suffers no violence, poverty, evil or injustice, and where Muslims and people of other faiths live peacefully together? Please name it.

    My point is that the American *people* have a fundamental belief in fairness, and I stand by that no matter what our foreign policy is. What the American people need is to step out of the echo chamber and hear some truth instead of rhetoric.

    American citizens who believe in justice have won in the past – not all of them, and not all victories have lasted. In my article, I mentioned the victory against anti-shariah laws in Texas as an example of a small victory. However, such laws have passed in multiple other states, so the battle continues. But the important thing is that we have the right to that battle.

    This country suffers from racism, poverty, economic injustice and a host of other ills and it always will. Name a country that doesn’t.

    To use the same example I did in this column, America is a country founded on the blood of slaves who after emancipation continued to suffer hardships, torture and murder. But with the advent of the civil rights movement, those evils became illegal. Blacks are still being lynched but at the same time Confederate flags are being pulled down from state capitol buildings. Jim Crow laws were made illegal but we now see proposals for different means of disenfranchisement. The battle continues. But because I am an American, I have hope for justice, imperfect as it may be.

    There are countries where speaking against a leader or a religion warrants execution. America is not one of those.

    I don’t know where you live, but I am insulted that you mock me for waving the American flag. I do feel proud to live in a country where our foundational document allows me to burn or spit on that flag. I am saddened by entrenched police brutality but proud to live in a country where people of all races carry the banner of #BlackLivesMatter.

    I will keep writing about American political, civil rights and social justice issues because I am free to and because it’s the only way to continue the battle for freedom and equality.

    • Avatar

      Faisal

      September 11, 2015 at 12:03 AM

      Salaam again sister and thank you for your response.

      I sense from your reply that I may have upset you a little by my first response to your article. Please forgive me as that wasn’t my intention.

      Sister, one thing that I forgot to say previously is that nationalism is something that goes against Islamic principles and is not something that Muslims should expound or celebrate. This whole world was created by Allah SWT, and all borders and national boundaries have been drawn up by mankind. Nationalism is devisive and breeds racism and scorn for other peoples. In Islam, Muslims are part of one Ummah, standing together in one faith, and that is how Muslims should identify themselves. It’s the flag of the Ummah and Islam that Muslims should be waving, not those of countries or political parties. Alas, if that had been the case, the Muslim world wouldn’t be in such chaos and disarray.

      So regarding myself, it really is unimportant which country I am from. The important thing is that I am a Muslim and your brother in Islam.

      Finally sister, you are blessed that Allah SWT has shown you the way to Islam. Now that you are a Muslim, I would suggest that you concentrate your efforts on spreading the message of our beautiful religion. This is a fundamental obligation for all Muslims. I think though, that under today’s climate of misrepresentation and propaganda against Islam and Muslims, sincere revert Muslims who are media savvy, like yourself, are well placed to counteract and mitigate the impact of this phenomenon on non-Muslim people around the world.

      Allah SWT will ask each and every Muslim about how he or she fulfilled the obligation of spreading the message of Islam. How well will we be able to answer that question? That’s what all Muslims must keep asking themselves everyday .

      So sister, in conclusion, I would love to read articles from you about your dawah efforts, in addition to the work that you are already doing. And please keep reading and studying the Qur’an and the life of our beloved prophet Muhammad (peace and blessings upon him), and also his distinguished companions (may Allah be pleased with them all), to gain more understanding of how we should conduct ourselves and live our lives as Muslims. What is important and what isn’t important? What will elevate our status as Allah’s vicegerents on this earth? These are important questions that we must keep asking ourselves as well.

      May Allah SWT keep you guided and protected sister, and may HE have mercy on the Muslims around the world that are facing cruelty and oppression, aameen.

      Please remember this humble brother in your prayers. W’salaam.

      • Avatar

        Ruth Nasrullah

        September 11, 2015 at 11:22 AM

        Point taken, and thank you for the advice and clarification.

        There is a difference between nationalism and citizenship. It’s impossible for a Muslim to ignore the impact of the laws and culture of his or her country of residence and it would be disingenuous to say that being a Muslim living in America is no different than being a Muslim living in Egypt or Australia or Bosnia or France or India.

        This column is about American issues and how they impact Muslims – so it’s impossible to be honest about modern America without acknowledging both the good and the ill in our messy system of laws and cultures and the messy history it derives from. I’m not here to go on mindlessly about how great America is; I’m here to tell you how much better it could be, where our law and culture have strengths and where they are flawed.

        You asked me to “stop going on about” the fact that our president is black, but I won’t because it matters. It also matters that we have a former secretary of state and potential presidential nominee whose mother was born the year American women were given the right to vote. Racism and sexism exist nevertheless. Title II of the Civil Rights Act made “whites-only” business practices illegal, but now we see a trend of “Muslim-free” businesses. How those business policies are addressed requires the input of Muslim voices – so you see, Muslim voices do matter. I don’t intend to raise my voice as a cheerleader for America per se, but as a cheerleader for justice in a country where it is possible. I don’t see how that makes me less of a Muslim.

        • Avatar

          Faisal

          September 11, 2015 at 4:56 PM

          Salaam sister,
          I don’t advocate that Muslims should be passive members of society and stay away from issues that have an jnfluence on their lives. It is important that Muslims are proactive members of society and that they can be involved in positive change, especially minority Muslims living in Western countries.

          I have met Muslims that prefer to view themselves as activists.. They become so emeshed and focused on the task that they sometimes forget their priorities as Muslims.

          Allah SWT did not put us on this earth so that we spend all our time engaged in activism. As I explained, in my earlier response, our fundamental obligation as a Muslim is to spread the message of Islam. Unfortunately, I don’t see much motivation or commitment from you pertaining to this fundamental duty. Citizenship is not a more important consideration for a Muslim. Though the most important aspect for a Muslim with regards to citizenship is being the best possible example of a citizen. This can always be achieved by conducting ourselves in society as our religion teaches us, via the Qur’an and Sunnah.

          I am not saying that the work you are doing regarding the issues that Muslims are facing in America is unimportant. I just wanted to highlight that you can do this without singing praises a country that has caused so much death and destruction. At the societal level, most countries in the world are doing some good. The fact that this also the case in America really isn’t that significant.

          I still maintain that America isn’t a country that Muslims should be proud of. In fact there is much more to be ashamed of.

        • Avatar

          Faisal

          September 11, 2015 at 5:10 PM

          Sister please pray for all the injured Muslims in Haram, that fell prey to the huge falling crane. Many are critically injured in hospital.

    • Avatar

      MuFu

      September 14, 2015 at 12:48 PM

      Hello Ruth,
      I want to pinpoint some of your arguments and question them with mine.
      Quote:
      ”Make no mistake: refusing service based on religion is a violation of the Civil Rights Act.”

      Totally true! But! Let me turn it around, since when the ”sharia law”, that you stand up for, is not by terms a violation of the Civil Rights Act? In Egypt 79% of the asked muslims spoke for the ”sharia law” even to put it upon non-believers ”infidels”, however you want to call them. If you use the Civil Rights Act as your source of violation of your rights then you should do so too when it comes for the law’s you stand up for, else that is pretty much a double standard.

      ”In a time when some of the Act’s provisions face erosion, the public must be reminded that “Muslim-free” is illegal and is as unacceptable as the “whites-only” and “no Irish need apply” policies of the past.”

      Irish is a nationality, white is a skincolor and muslim is a person who believes in the Islam and you know what they all have in common? They are all humans, hence no restrictions shall be made, because we are all the same.

      • Avatar

        Ruth Nasrullah

        September 14, 2015 at 2:10 PM

        You make some good points, “MuFu.”

        Your last paragraph is spot on and gets right to the heart of the issue. The Civil Rights Act and legislation that supports it are intended to insure that all humans are treated equally under the law.

        I discussed so-called “anti-shariah” bills, but to clarify my use of the term, that is the name used by people proposing the bills. “Anti-foreign-law” is the name more commonly used now. I would never use either.

        The idea that anyone is attempting to create an Islamic governmental system is a red herring intended to distract from the real intent of the proposed legislation, which is to violate Muslims’ rights and integrity in society.

        So I’m not standing up for “shariah” (whatever that means in common parlance) but standing against what Islamophobes are calling “anti-shariah.”

        Kim Davis is arguably attempting to impose Christian “shariah” on state and federal law (today she called on the government to “accommodate” her deeply-held religious convictions) – but that’s the topic of my next column, to be published today or tomorrow God willing.

  5. Avatar

    Peter

    September 22, 2015 at 2:24 AM

    Hi Ruth,

    I agree with so much of what you have said.

    The more it is pointed out the injustices of this world, the more those injustices are eroded. I feel that if everybody on this planet learns that with rights come obligations.

    I strongly believe the very basis of a free society, is that every citizen has the right to do whatever they want, as long as that in exercising those rights do not diminish the rights of others. If every action we take within our societies was judged according to these principles, the world would be a better place. Not a place of rights or wrong, but of mutual respect.

    Muslim prohibited businesses premises or the objection of construction of Muslim places of worship are examples of how Muslims have their rights diminished by the actions of others.

    However to demand rights, one has to judge ones own actions by the same yardstick too.

    The USA is far from perfect, so is every other country. If you are a citizen of a country that provides you shelter, and provides you freedom, you have an obligation to make that country a better place. If you do not want to do that, then you should leave it.

    So wanting to make the USA a better place, a fairer place is something to be proud of, and I feel your article is an example of someone who wants to make the country where you live a better place by holding it accountable.

    Well done.

    • Avatar

      Ruth Nasrullah

      September 22, 2015 at 8:54 AM

      Thank you, and please keep reading. :)

      • Avatar

        MuFu

        September 23, 2015 at 7:31 AM

        I got you, thank you for clarifying this missunderstanding :)
        My english is not the best, obviously ^^

        • Avatar

          Ruth Nasrullah

          September 23, 2015 at 9:24 AM

          No, I meant please keep visiting MuslimMatters :)

          • Avatar

            Faisal

            September 24, 2015 at 2:15 AM

            Salaam sister,
            I would be interested to know your views about the arrest of Ahmed, the school boy arrested in Texas for bringing a homemade clock to school.

            Eid ul Adha mubarak to you.

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#Current Affairs

Malaysians Ask China To Free Uyghurs, Close The Camps

Hena Zuberi

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Free Uyghur Malaysia

By Gulnaz Uighur

Muslims are standing up for Uyghurs, protests held in Malaysia.

5th of July could be just like another day for people but for Uyghurs, it brings back dark memories of a bloody past. This day, in 2009, thousands of Uyghur students were massacred by Chinese police in Urumqi. These young students were demanding an investigation into the rising number of homicides in a toy factory. These people only wanted justice. They were also upset by the ongoing discrimination in the employment sector. Graduates were denied jobs because of their Uyghur ethnicity. After the protests, China started abducting the Uyghur youth and no one knows where the missing went. Its been 10 years since that horrifying incident and the condition of Muslims have devolved in a genocidal nightmare.

Communist Government in China Has over 2 Million Uyghurs in Concentration Camps

Beijing has now locked over 2 million Uyghurs in concentration camps. People in these places are forced to denounce Islam, forget the teachings of Quran, prohibited from praying, asked to learn Xi Jinping’s speech and tortured for not obeying these orders. Sadly, Islam is being treated as a disease in China and most of the Islamic nations are turning a blind eye to it.

So Malaysia came as a breath of fresh air when Muslim NGOs organized an anti-China protest against Uyghur persecution.

On 5th July 2019, a coalition of 34 Malaysian NGOs gathered outside the Chinese Embassy in Kuala Lumpur to protest the persecution of Uyghurs. The organizations prepared a memo of protest to be submitted to Chinese officials. In the memo, they demanded Beijing to ‘Respect the human rights of the Uyghur people, in particular, their right to life and freedom of religion and belief.’ , ‘immediately stop the persecution and extreme repression of the Uyghur people.’ and close the camps. They also called upon the International community to increase the voices of protest and disfavour upon the Chinese government and to work together to improve the situation for the Uyghur people through concrete actions.

The protesters shouted slogans like ‘Me Too Uyghur’ and ‘Save Uyghur’. In a media interview, president of the Muslim Youth Movement of Malaysia (Abim), Mohamad Raimi Abdul Rahim asked immediate freedom for all those who have been detained in concentration camps.

Malaysians Stand With Uyghurs

Abim secretary Muhammad Faisal Abdul Aziz accused the Chinese government of concealing the plight of the Uyghurs by offering NGOs and government agencies free trips and painting a rosy picture of the camps. Mohd Azmi Abdul Hamid, chairman of the Malaysian Consultative Council Of Islamic Organizations (Mapim), said the atrocities committed against the Uyghurs could not be denied or disguised. The Group of NGOs also included Ikram Association and the Malaysian Youth Council among others.

Though no Chinese official came out to accept the memo, the message was clear that now people won’t keep quiet about the Uyghur persecution. There is a dire need for Muslim countries to break their silence on this issue. There is enough evidence to prove that something unholy and inhumane is happening with Uyghurs. If these countries consider China their friend then ask it to stop being a Shaitan. The leaders must realize that their first duty is towards the Ummah and not towards China.

Now is the time to stand for Uyghurs before nothing is left to be saved.

This protest in  Malaysia has proved that people in Muslim countries do support Uyghurs even if their governments are silent and are upset with Beijing’s policies. This event proved that governments may fail to fight but people won’t.

Continue Reading

#Current Affairs

The Environmental Cost Of War With Iran

Abu Ryan Dardir

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war with Iran

Report after report shows how planet Earth may reach a point of no return. An analysis written by Ian Dunlop claims the planet cannot be saved by the mid-century if we continue on this path. And yet here we are marching towards a war with Iran.

When we think of climate change, we rarely think of war. On June 12th, 2019, Brown University released a report declaring the Department of Defence to be “the world’s largest institution to use petroleum and correspondingly, the single largest producer of greenhouse gases (GHG) in the world.” Burning jet fuel for transportation of troops and weapons make up 70 percent of the Pentagon’s emissions.  Ironically, earlier this year the Pentagon released a 22-page report to Congress stating the ⅔ of their mission-essential installation in the US are vulnerable to flooding, and ½ are susceptible to wildfires. To no surprise, Trump rejected those findings at the time. The Pentagon is now concerned with the impact climate change has on their “foreign missions.”

war, iran, America, Climate change, pentagonWith tensions high with Iran, and several thousand troops are expected to be deployed, if war with Iran is to happen, it may lead us to a more damaged planet that may not recover. This makes the Pentagon guilty of killing people and the earth. The Department of Defense has consistently used between 77-80% of the entire US energy consumption. We see spikes during times of massive war (since America is in a constant state of war), like in 1991, 2001, and so on.

Here is a list of the seven significant sources of greenhouse emissions done by the Department of Defense:

  1. Overall military emissions for installations and non-war operations.
  2. War-related emissions by the US military in overseas contingency operations.
  3. Emissions caused by US military industry   — for instance, for production of weapons and ammunition.
  4. Emissions caused by the direct targeting of petroleum,   namely the deliberate burning of oil wells and refineries by all parties.
  5. Sources of emissions by other belligerents.
  6. Energy consumed by reconstruction of damaged and destroyed infrastructure.
  7. Emissions from other sources, such as fire suppression and extinguishing chemicals, including   Halon, a greenhouse gas, and from explosions and fires due to the destruction of non-petroleum targets in warzones.

This impact on the climate is just the portion from America, in the Iraq war, 37 countries fought alongside America, and 60 are allied against ISIS. There is a way to calculate those emissions as well.

The Rules of War

Before engaging in battle, the Prophet Muhammad ṣallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam (peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him) instructed his soldiers:

  1. Do not kill any child, any woman, or any elder or sick person. (Sunan Abu Dawud)
  2. Do not practice treachery or mutilation. (Al-Muwatta)
  3. Do not uproot or burn palms or cut down fruitful trees. (Al-Muwatta)
  4. Do not slaughter a sheep or a cow or a camel, except for food. (Al-Muwatta)
  5. If one fights his brother, [he must] avoid striking the face, for God created him in the image of Adam. (Sahih Bukhari, Sahih Muslim)
  6. Do not kill the monks in monasteries, and do not kill those sitting in places of worship. (Musnad Ahmad Ibn Hanbal)
  7. Do not destroy the villages and towns, do not spoil the cultivated fields and gardens, and do not slaughter the cattle. (Sahih Bukhari; Sunan Abu Dawud)
  8. Do not wish for an encounter with the enemy; pray to God to grant you security; but when you [are forced to] encounter them, exercise patience. (Sahih Muslim)
  9. No one may punish with fire except the Lord of Fire. (Sunan Abu Dawud).
  10. Accustom yourselves to do good if people do good, and not to do wrong even if they commit evil. (Al-Tirmidhi)

A verse in the Holy Qur’an

4:75 (Y. Ali) And why should ye not fight in the cause of Allah and of those who, being weak, are ill-treated (and oppressed)?- Men, women, and children, whose cry is: “Our Lord! Rescue us from this town, whose people are oppressors; and raise for us from thee one who will protect; and raise for us from thee one who will help!”

How does this potential war against Iran play into all this?

Our first call to action is to organize an anti-war rally. This type of work is weak in America, and virtually non-existent within the Muslim community.

فَقَالَ أَبُو سَعِيدٍ أَمَّا هَذَا فَقَدْ قَضَى مَا عَلَيْهِ سَمِعْتُ رَسُولَ اللَّهِ صلى الله عليه وسلم يَقُولُ ‏ “‏ مَنْ رَأَى مُنْكَرًا فَلْيُنْكِرْهُ بِيَدِهِ وَمَنْ لَمْ يَسْتَطِعْ فَبِلِسَانِهِ وَمَنْ لَمْ يَسْتَطِعْ فَبِقَلْبِهِ وَذَلِكَ أَضْعَفُ الإِيمَانِ ‏”‏ ‏.‏ قَالَ أَبُو عِيسَى هَذَا حَدِيثٌ حَسَنٌ صَحِيحٌ ‏.‏

Abu Sa’eed said: ‘As for this, he has fulfilled what is upon him. I heard the Messenger of Allah ṣallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam (peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him) saying: ‘Whoever among you sees an evil, then let him stop it with his hand. Whoever is not able, then with his tongue, and whoever is not able, then with his heart. That is the weakest of faith.”‘

War with Iran will be a Greater Mistake than War with Iraq

Historically, anti-war sentiment in America has grown over the years. When the Iraq war first started only 23% thought it was a mistake, today it is close to 60% that believe the war is a mistake. Yes, this is in hindsight, but that it is also growth. The reason the anti-war movement is feeble in America is that there is no platform for the campaign to grow. Both parties are guilty of starting wars or taking over the wars from the past administration. Whether we do it alone as an individual or as a group, we should do everything we can as privileged members of this planet to save and protect those that can’t defend themselves.

There is a famous quote of the famed boxer Muhammad Ali when explaining why he wasn’t fighting in the war. He said, “…I am not going ten thousand miles from home to help murder and burn another poor nation simply to continue the domination of white slave masters of the darker people the world over. This is the day when such evils must come to an end. I have been warned that to take such a stand would put my prestige in jeopardy and could cause me to lose millions of dollars which should accrue to me as the champion.”

Fighting Earth

With that said, there is a significant interest in the region for more than just fuel and resources. It is truly a problem, our operations in the Gulf is to address our dependency on Persian oil, and the fuel that is used to address our dependence is to protect those resources and access to them. One estimate is that America spends $81 billion annually defending the global oil supply. They do this because the DOD feels its dependency will make it vulnerable on a larger scale.

In 1975 America decided to take away the fear of losing the resources and developed the “Strategic Petroleum Reserve,” and in 1978, they created the Rapid Deployment Force (RDF). Their only purpose was to defend US interest in the Middle East. This, in turn, leads to extractivism of resources and supplies. (Which will be explained in a future article).

This war can be the end of all wars as it can accelerate us to the point of no return in regards to climate change.

A war with Iran is a war with Earth and all who live on it.

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5 Quick Things Americans Can Do For Uyghurs Today

Abu Ryan Dardir

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“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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