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Sacred and Civic Trust: Imam Calls Out Suspected Sexual Abuse In Friday Sermon

Hena Zuberi

Published

What would you do if you thought a child in your community was being molested in the masjid? If you were Imam Nick Pelletier, Director of Outreach at the Islamic Center of Irving, you would talk about it from the mimbar. The Islamic Center of Irving has since issued an update to the situation here.

What if you were a masjid board member, and someone reported sexual abuse happening on the premises?

What if a child in your Scout Troop confided in you about being molested?

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No matter your position or circumstance, what to do remains the same: call child protective services or law enforcement. Report it to them. Not only is it your Islamic duty, often times it is the law, especially if you live in the United States. In most states, any adult professional who works with children is a mandated reporter. This means that you are legally responsible for reporting suspected or disclosed abuse. In some states, all adults are considered mandated reporters.

One in 10 children will be the victim of sexual abuse before their 18th birthday. Despite this startling statistic, abuse remains a silent epidemic that people are afraid to talk about. Child sexual abuse is not limited to any specific socio-economic status, culture, race, religion, or gender. Unfortunately, it impacts EVERY community and EVERY person across the globe, including the Muslim community. 

So, what do you do?

If you are in a position where you suspect or are informed or child abuse,  you may think you need evidence, but that’s not the case. Your responsibility is to report, not investigate or confirm. According to the law, mandatory reporters are required to report “the facts and circumstances that led them to suspect that a child has been abused or neglected.” You don’t need four witnesses, or any witnesses to report a sexual offense. The requirement of four witnesses in Islam is for the establishment of voluntary fornication or adultery, not crime – and rape, sexual assault and molestation are a crime.

Reporters are often the only link between a child and safety from abuse, say experts. It is vitally important that mandated reporters understand how to recognize child abuse and how to make reports that are timely, complete and accurate.

According to Darkness To Light, a leading child abuse prevention advocacy group, when a child discloses abuse, “it is very important to listen without expressing anger or suspicion. First, children need to know that the abuse is not their fault”. They urge adults to listen carefully and then ask only open-ended questions, such as “and then what happened?”  Focus on determining what happened, where, when and by whom. This is sometimes called a “good faith” report. They suggest that mandated reporters not ask leading questions nor try to conclude information, even if they are sure they know the answers. This can re-traumatize the child and contaminate the investigation.

They further recommend that you do not attempt to investigate further or probe for details – do not look for physical signs. “Promptly report to law enforcement agencies, child protection services, or both. Do not make false promises to the child such as maintaining the confidentiality of your report. Trained professionals need to collect facts and details, and this could include talking with the child.”

Mandatory Reporting is the Law

Many imams, Sunday school teachers, maktab assistants, camp counselors, masjid youth organizers, volunteers, even board of directors, don’t realize that they may be mandated reporters in their state.

 If you are a professional in any of the following fields, you are a mandatory reporter: 

  • Social workers
  • Teachers, principals, and other school personnel
  • Physicians, nurses, and other health-care workers
  • Counselors, therapists, and other mental health professionals
  • Child care providers
  • Medical examiners or coroners
  • Law enforcement officers
  • Clergyman, imam, priest, rabbi, minister, Christian Science practitioner, religious healer or spiritual leader of any regularly established church or other religious organization in most states
  • An individual paid or unpaid who, on the basis of the individual’s role as an integral part of a regularly scheduled program, activity or service, accepts responsibility for a child
  • Directors, employees, and volunteers at entities that provide organized activities for children, such as camps, day camps, youth centers, and recreation centers, are required to report in 13 States.

There are strict penalties against employers who try to hinder the reporting by employees.

Any person, mandatory reporter or otherwise,  does not have the burden of providing proof that abuse or neglect has occurred. “Permissive reporters (adults who can file reports but are not mandated to) follow the same standards when electing to make a report. It is the job of Child Protective Services and other state institutions to conduct the investigation.” For more detailed information on mandatory reporting, please refer to this report.

Aside from it being the law, all of us have a sacred responsibility to make sure that the vulnerable in our communities are protected, especially if we hold a position of responsibility. The Prophet ṣallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam (peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him) warned us that, ‘Every one of you is a Protector and Guardian for those who are placed under your care’ [Bukhari and Muslim]. The heavy mantle of the sacred trust (Amanah) is further emphasized with the command of not betraying the trust in the Quran. Allah subḥānahu wa ta'āla (glorified and exalted be He) says, ‘Betray not knowingly your Amanah (things entrusted to you). [8:27].”

In connection to the heavy mantle of leadership and trusts, scholars relay the hadith narrated by Abu Hurayrah raḍyAllāhu 'anhu (may Allāh be pleased with him): The Messenger of Allah ṣallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam (peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him) said: “When trusts are neglected, then await the Hour.”

He said: How would they be neglected, O Messenger of Allah? He said: “When positions of authority are given to people who are not qualified for them, then await the Hour.”

Do the right thing.

And Allah Knows Best.

Source: Child Welfare Information Gateway. (2016). Mandatory reporters of child abuse and neglect. Washington, DC: U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Children’s Bureau.

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Hena Zuberi is the Editor in Chief of Muslimmatters.org. She leads the DC office of the human rights organization, Justice For All, focusing on stopping the genocide of the Rohingya under Burma Task Force, advocacy for the Uighur people with the Save Uighur Campaign and Free Kashmir Action. She was a Staff Reporter at the Muslim Link newspaper which serves the DC Metro. Hena has worked as a television news reporter and producer for CNBC Asia and World Television News. Active in her SoCal community, Hena served as the Youth Director for the Unity Center. Using her experience with Youth, she conducts Growing Up With God workshops. hena.z@muslimmatters.org Follow her on Twitter @henazuberi.

19 Comments

19 Comments

  1. Avatar

    Rebecca

    October 30, 2018 at 2:31 AM

    May Allah SWT be pleased with this brother for standing up for justice. Shame on the community members involved in the coverup. It’s not their place to play judge and jury and decide on the punishment and aid the perpetrator in fleeing abroad. For shame. What about the other children impacted by this? It wasn’t your right to protect the perpetrator like this.

  2. Avatar

    Yusuf Smith

    October 30, 2018 at 4:07 AM

    So it’s recorded that they gave him the opportunity to flee the country so he can do the same in his home country rather than face justice. A huge dereliction of duty.

  3. Avatar

    Aisha

    October 30, 2018 at 9:18 AM

    All the people who advised the perpetrator to leave the country must be prosecuted because the sick act may continue and a lot of innocent children will be the victims in a place where there is no awareness of this crime and there is no help and rescue for the innocent this individual should get mental help instead he was asked to leave the country what a shame.

  4. Avatar

    Charles

    October 30, 2018 at 1:12 PM

    This link shows the condensed version of the video. Truly saddening what is happening at that center. May Allah help us.

    https://m.facebook.com/story.php?story_fbid=1325530040915588&id=218620054939931

  5. Avatar

    Shahid Azzam

    October 30, 2018 at 1:17 PM

    Suspending this Imam for saying the truth is immoral and very unislamic! This is not corporate America where you could run over people and nothing is done about it

    The suspect in this felony must be questioned and if proven to be true, must be prosecuted to the fullest extend and be banned from all Masjids and must register as a Sex offender.

    Board members who turned a blind eye and suspended the Imam for speaking the truth shouldn’t have the honor of being board members, must be removed from Masjid and not allowed to serve again.

    • Avatar

      Junaid

      October 30, 2018 at 5:20 PM

      Has it been confirmed that Imam Nick was suspended??

      • Avatar

        Nisaa

        October 31, 2018 at 3:27 AM

        Yes it has. It was confirmed the next day. It was in their website.

  6. Avatar

    Imran

    October 30, 2018 at 3:54 PM

    If what Hannah posted is authentic, then it proves the ICI board members are filthy lying scoundrels. The statement ICI released on the website describes the violation as a mere kiss.

  7. Avatar

    Muslimah

    October 30, 2018 at 7:38 PM

    Nobody cares about the victims, we are living in a society where reputations are more important than the damaged souls for life. And anyone who is saying that this is wrong to bring it out in the public, I ask you all, do you not want to be able to free of answering Allah SWT on the day of judgement for not speaking up and standing up for wrong? for Justice? What is wrong with this Muslim community? Where are we seriously headed? Shame on all of you who want to keep it all hush. I simply hate the fact that Muslim leaders and people of authority in Islam are using Islamic rules and regulations to suffice their agenda instead. Everyone makes mistakes, but if someone who is elderly couldn’t get his acts together even in the masjid clearly have a bigger problem that needs to be addressed. You cannot control yourself in the MASJID? IN THE HOUSE OF ALLAH? If I were part of the jury, I would definitely do what the Imam did. I am sick of these cultural norms. Nobody cares if a certain culture has such filthy practices. If they are cultural, keep them in your country period! Nobody cares about your culture that goes against Islamic practices.
    May Allah SWT protect each and every child, male of female and protect each and every Muslim brother and sister from such people, ameen.

  8. Avatar

    Bint Abdul-Hamid

    October 30, 2018 at 10:42 PM

    The community leaders at the ICI should acknowledge their huge mistakes, apologize to the entire community, humbly step down and resign, and bring back Imam Nick.
    Making the elderly man leave the country and then putting Imam Nick on an administrative leave, clearly shows that they are oblivious of the law and order of the city they reside in and the country they’ve immigrated to.

    Many Imams in a few masaajid across the United States, have had bad raps in the past. Imam Nick’s khutbah gave me hope that we still have some community leaders who continue to uphold the truth no matter what.
    May justice and truth continue to reign supreme in our places of worship, and not bogus cultural practices, prejudice, or sugar-coated sermons where the soul is not stirred to think about the after-life. Ameen.

  9. Avatar

    Nouman

    October 31, 2018 at 3:20 PM

    Hannah, your post says evening prayer at 10 PM….isn’t “evening prayer” at 8:30 PM? Please clarify and post source of your post.

  10. Avatar

    nabeela

    November 1, 2018 at 10:12 AM

    [8:03 AM, 11/1/2018] +1 (469) 371-1693: يَا أَيُّهَا الَّذِينَ آمَنُوا إِن جَاءَكُمْ فَاسِقٌ بِنَبَإٍ فَتَبَيَّنُوا أَن تُصِيبُوا قَوْمًا بِجَهَالَةٍ فَتُصْبِحُوا عَلَىٰ مَا فَعَلْتُمْ نَادِمِينَ

    O you who believe! If a rebellious evil person comes to you with a news, verify it, lest you harm people in ignorance, and afterwards you become regretful to what you have done.

    Before my Quraan quote comment becomes a political punchbag, know that my intentions were pure. Such issue should (NOT) have been discussed in such way on a Friday where 65% of the congregation is does not live in the Irving area. The way this Friday sermon was posted, in my opinion, is to draw attention to an issue that could have been done in a different manner using wisdom and compose.

    The way it was portrayed “publicly”, though it was necessary, is wrong. It has nothing to do with Imam Nick, whom is my friend, but it has everything to do with the dramatization of his speech.

    It’s one thing to be passionate about an important subject and use the situation to educate the masses; it’s another when emotions are involved to use a public pulpit to (vent and rant), to an uncontrollable level as to say, “I don’t care if I get fired”, and shame the administration, his employer, in such manner.

    “Imam” Nick, hence the title, thus the behavior and delivery style should match the speech in a way to educate the masses not induce fear in the hearts of parents and school children’s parents.

    Keep in mind, this incident was not a pandemic. It was a-one-time issue. The word “Molesting a child” was used. The ramifications of the word Molesting carries a heavier meaning than to just be used (loosely), in a way that put fear in the congregation’s hearts?

    Again, the way the speech was delivered, portrayed a systematic problem with the Masjid, which is not true. Accusations, were lobbed publicly without proof nor full facts.

    The reason I put the verse, is to advise all of us, to please watch what we say. It’s not an accusation of anyone or person, it’s purely for the public to watch out for would be saboteurs of our Muslim community. The last thing we want is to be compared to the heinous crimes committed at the hands of the Catholic church clergyman.. this was not such case and I was offended that our community was compared accordingly.

    Not all intentions are pure and Allah Always brings out the truth at due time. This was not the way to do it!
    [8:03 AM, 11/1/2018] +1 (469) 371-1693: Ridwan Saleh ☝
    [8:12 AM, 11/1/2018] +1 (214) 518-1177: My today’s reading passage happened to be Sura Ash-Shura (42:36-43). It’s so beautiful and relevant that I thought to share with y’all hoping and praying to الله سبحنه وتعلى that He showers His Mercy on all of us in these apparently difficult times. Aameen
    ***
    36What you have been given is only the fleeting enjoyment of this world. Far better and more lasting is what God will give to those who believe and trust in their Lord; 37who shun great sins and gross indecencies; who forgive when they are angry; 38respond to their Lord; keep up the prayer; conduct their affairs by mutual consultation; give to others out of what We have provided for them; 39and defend themselves when they are oppressed. 40Let harm be requited by an equal harm, though anyone who forgives and puts things right will have his reward from God Himself– He does not like those who do wrong. 41There is no cause to act against anyone who defends himself after being wronged, 42but there is cause to act against those who oppress people and transgress in the land against all justice– they will have an agonizing torment– 43though if a person is patient and forgives, this is one of the greatest things.

  11. Avatar

    Naheed

    November 1, 2018 at 10:43 AM

    I moved to Irving community in 2008. My daughter started attending ISI from Prek3. My son regularly attends ICI,pray and play with friends. we have had any issue all these years and ICI was one of the safest environments for my family No one in the current or past leadership would have thought clearly this would become an opportunity for throwing stones at them, everyone’s best interest would have been how to find a solution for the mentioned issue. Yes, the final decision may not be the best compare to , after all, people could put opinion, it could have been like this , like that etc. However, it may be ICI leadership, collectively took a decision that cannot be considered self seeking, on the contrary, Imam Nick’s action could be correlated to self-seeking. So in my view ICI needs to go through the protocol and take decision that is warranting to the situation, it should not be based on public interest, it should be based on principles. Imam Nick should not have done what he has done. He should have provided his POV to board and seek action. What he has done is completely supporting the people who wants to grab the opportunity to blame ICI. Now see some of the folks are asking shutdown and convert to Library. Did he made his position clear what he wants, also look at his speech – he said he will break bones, for whatever situation, is not that violent enough ?. I was not comfortable with his style of Khutbhas as I felt always he was showing aggressiveness that may not have warranted in those context, and I shared my view with few as well. This fundraising itself is the best evidence for self-seeking. Please check the definition of “administrative leave” Lastly, this is entirely my personal opinion. Thought of sharing when i saw the video circulating in social media.
    ICI community, Alhamdulillah is very large, there are about hundreds of kids studying in school. ICI has protocols and policies in place to govern and protect all worshiping, visting and studying at ICI. ICI has a group of people elected by members as Shura. It has a process to govern and address issues. ICI has employees and they have roles and responsibilities. ICI provides opportunity to scholars and leaders to conduct Khutbhah and enlighten worshippers spiritually and peacefully. Imam Nick is ICI employee with the role of Dhawah Outreach. It is not logical to believe that all ICI elected members are immoral and culprit and wanted to protect criminals. That is the way now social media is painting things just becuase an employee went to his Khutbha stand and created a fear in about more 2000 worshippers with some information he had without consulting any of the leaders in the Masjid. It seems well organized plan with the result and people comments in social media and it definitely created a negative image and inadvertantly pulling other people into wrong interpretation. He had the oppotunity constructively address the issue and even guide governing body to the right way before he going wild. He created something like Isalmaphbia, I call it Molestophobia.

    • Avatar

      Ahmed

      November 1, 2018 at 2:42 PM

      The collective decision seems to have been an illegal decision, and seems to have broken the law.

      If you had a molestor (what the elderly man is said to have done would be considered molestation) in the masjid, how would you know if there were additional victims without making the matter public?

      If the khateeb is an employee, then he has more right to be protected from retaliation. In companies, if an employee exposes criminal wrongdoing, they have protections against employer retaliation.

  12. Avatar

    Fuizam

    November 1, 2018 at 11:23 AM

    Please get the facts. Spreading information without verifying is leading to chaos and dividing the communities.
    This is not seeking justice and it’s not about justice as portrayed.
    Please do the needful and take this out.

  13. Avatar

    Usman M

    November 4, 2018 at 12:11 PM

    I was just banned from a mosque/hutbah on Friday for speaking out on a much milder way about victims of abuse , especially women, in our community.

    I’m a Khatib/Hafiz in Calgary, Canada and gave this pretty straightforward khutbah on Friday about the victimisation and marginalisation of Muslim women in our communities and general alienation from Muslim men. It’s not super awesome or anything, but it seems talking about the underserved and even oppressed in our community is something or misogyny can’t handle.

    This morning at Fajr, the Imam of the relevant mosque, the Islamic Association of NW Calgary in Calgary (Canada) told me 3 Arab men had complained about my topic. As a result, I am (1) banned from talking on any of my own topics, and (2) now restricted to speaking once a month on a prepared topic given to me.

    This is the same Imam who has swept aside the concerns of past victims of abuse as children in the community, so I’m really just done with being diplomatic with the misogyny and victim-blaming mindset of Muslim men as Imams or on mosque boards.

    After the incident with Imam Nick being booted from Irving mosque in TX because he exposed the cover-up of abuse of kids there, I just want to throw my hat in the ring. For awareness, nothing else. So, please share.

    Here’s the khutbah, and excuse the ridiculous shaky-cam.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=R9E1z7z5JSo

    Wassalam, Usman M, Calgary, Canada

  14. Avatar

    Sam

    November 4, 2018 at 8:17 PM

    Salam.

    I would caution against getting emotional and charged at the accusations against ICI and it’s board.

    I want you to critically think about the situation presented to you. Did you hear the other side’s point of view? Did you spend time to look into what happened? Or did you take a single lens, a single bias, a single voice and use that to construct your opinion?

    As Muslims it is our DUTY to be just in our thoughts and opinions. Make SURE you look at both perspectives and sides before casting judgment.

    At first I was in full support of Imam Nick’s bravery and voice. But after looking deeper into the situation I think what he did was rash, exaggerated, and was an irreversible blow to the trust of the Muslim community.

    WaAllahua3lam.

    • Avatar

      Sam

      November 4, 2018 at 8:24 PM

      For those who don’t know, from a third party source:

      Imam Nick went to the police. They asked for what the accusation of molestation was. It turned out to be a kiss on the cheek from an old uncle. The police dismissed it as at most a misdemeanor, and ended up not pursuing the case.

      Was this really worth the outbreak? Was this really worth fracturing the community? Couldn’t this have been handled without the public outcry of molestation? When he shouted MOLESTED in the khutbah, our minds all went to the worst.

      Shame on you Imam Nick. Your decision was not wise.

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Join Khaled Nurhssien and award winning poet and author Tariq Touré as they discuss Tariq’s new children’s book David’s Dollar. In this Interview they touch on art, Islam’s approach to community and Tariq’s creative process.

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#Society

Beyond 2020: Grounding Our Politics in Community

Kyle Ismail, Guest Contributor

Published

As tense and agonizing as these unending election days have been, it pales in comparison to the last four years.  I plainly remember how it all began on the night of November 07, 2016. I watched as the political map of the US became increasingly red late into the night. All the social media banter, conspiracy theories and left-wing critiques of candidate Hillary Clinton, formed an amorphous blob of white noise as I heard Trump announced as the next president. Now that Trump has run for re-election, half the country was hoping for a repudiation but will have to settle for the fact that despite a small margin, Donald J. Trump will not have a second chance to erode our democratic institutions and divide us. But we can’t move forward until each of us acknowledges our own pathological role in what we’ve become as a deeply divided country. 

We need to grapple with how we can gradually improve the circus-like reality that has become our ordinary, daily politics. We’ll relive more and perhaps improved “Trumps” if we don’t accept our own responsibility in creating a divided America. This starts with being better members of local communities. Here are a few of Trump-induced realizations that I’ve come to accept:

  1. Caring about our immediate neighbors and listening to their challenges and concerns is the part of political engagement that we all have to embrace above and beyond actually voting if we hope to be more than a 50/50 nation.
  2. Social media and its profit-driven algorithms are actually eroding how we see each other but could also be altered to help better educate us about our local social/political landscape.
  3. Local Politics has direct impact on our lives and is also at the heart our religious obligations to our neighbors. It also sets the tone for where the federal level derives policies that prove to be best practices (some examples are included below).
  4. Agitation and protest are not the same as being politically organized on a local level. Protest is sometimes needed, but it will never replace consistent and patient work. We learned this lesson with the Arab Spring as that movement failed to transform into a movement that was able to govern effectively. And the same appears to be true about the Black Lives Matter movement.

The voting is over for now. But voting is really the smallest part of being committed to bettering our communities. It was Prophet Muhammad ṣallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam (peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him) who gave the most specific definition of community/neighbor and encouraged his followers to guard the rights of the neighbor:

“Your neighbor is 40 houses ahead of you and 40 houses at your back, 40 houses to your left and 40 houses to your right” Prophet Muhammad ṣallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam (peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him)

Support MuslimMatters for Just $2 a Month

MuslimMatters has been a free service to the community since 2007. All it takes is a small gift from a reader like you to keep us going, for just $2 / month.

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

Why does this relate to being politically organized?? The need for political organizing comes when any group of people want to create change in accordance with their values. We’ve all watched protest after protest that change little to nothing at the neighborhood level. This will continue to happen without organization, which span school boards, block clubs, nonprofits, and religious community outreach.  How can Muslims enjoin right and discourage wrong in any meaningful way? It comes through having authentic relationships with neighbors and turning that into organized and engaged communities.

Rosa Parks

Nothing illuminates the value of such relationships better than the story of Rosa Parks in her role in the Montgomery Bus Boycott. People often think that she was the first brave soul to defy the custom of allowing whites to sit before African-Americans could be seated on her city’s buses. Nothing could be further from the truth. The difference was that her sets of relationships were so interwoven into her local community that it forced a massive response. Park’s connections spanned socioeconomic circles as she had close friendships from professors to field hands. She held memberships in a dozen local organizations including her church and the local NAACP. She was a volunteer seamstress in poor communities and provided the same for profit in wealthy white circles. When someone with her relational positioning was able to leverage the political organizing ability of MLK and Dr. Ralph Abernathy, the Montgomery Bus Boycott was sparked.

When something happens to Muslims, who can we mobilize to respond? Who becomes angry? Who do we work with in our communities to create policies that reflect our values And what are our internal barriers to such cooperation?

“Whosoever of you sees an evil action, let him change it with his hand; and if he is not able to do so, then with his tongue; and if he is not able to do so, then with his heart—and that is the weakest of faith.” Prophet Muhammad ṣallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam (peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him)

Our Predecessors Organized Locally

At some point in time voting became the sum total of political engagement in the minds of many and is now deemed by some as worthless. We quickly forget that the organizations that battled for voting rights were first locally organized to improve communities. SNCC, SNCC, CORE, NAACP, and the Urban League all formed to create change in various ways and the fight for voting rights was a component of these local agendas. So when we’re tempted to believe that voting doesn’t matter, it’s likely due to our lack of engagement in local issues that form the contours of our community life. If you’ve ever heard of Ella Baker or Fannie Lou Hamer (worth researching!), you probably never bought into this type of logic.

One of the many lessons we can pull from this rich history is that we cannot pursue policies, seek alliances, or negotiate a position with political parties (see Ice Cube’s debacle in negotiating with Trump) without first being organized from within. No set of friendships or outside philanthropic support can supplant the need for internal organization. This lack of organized political engagement has weakened Muslims in general but has fatally weakened African-American Muslims as voices within the larger Black community – a voice that gave Islam its first fully accepted and influential place in American society.

Immigrant-based Muslim communities could also benefit from a local approach because despite being several generations in America, their American bonafides are still not set in stone. Concerns about Islamophobia will not change outside of developing authentic relationships with non-Muslims.

This also pushes back against a culture shaped disproportionately by social media algorithms that promote isolation and division for the sake of profit. Our attention to the national news cycle also takes our attention away from local communities where our power is formed. In this type of political malaise, re-engagement in local politics and community relationships can bring us back to important principles that resonate with the values of Islam.

Local politics help shape federal policy

The final word on any law or policy rests with the federal government, but much of what becomes orthodoxy begins with a few concerned citizens in local communities. As with community policing, criminal justice reform, climate sustainability, or any issues that has not caught on, the federal government will often step back to see how a new law plays out at state and local levels. Illinois didn’t wait for Obamacare but has a well-established program to ensure that anyone 18 and younger in Illinois has health insurance through a program called All Kids . Colorado has, in the midst of protests against police brutality, altered their law of Qualified Immunity to make police more accountable. And California has advanced the conversation on reparations  by sanctioning a study to understand how the state could benefit by redressing the descendants of American slavery.

By advancing issues and electing representatives who support the causes we believe in, we insert ourselves into a narrative that would’ve otherwise been forged without us. There’s no shortcut in this process short of rolling up our sleeves to understand our local systems and existing organizations. Moneyed interests are prepare to control the narrative regardless of who the president is and we have to remake this system from the ground up. Our history provides us with a roadmap to do this and it goes far beyond being citizens who only argue over national issues while standing on the sidelines. Remembering our 40 neighbors as advised by the Prophet ṣallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam (peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him) is the best place to start.

Some helpful links:

Local Elections

State Legislatures

School Boards

County Prosecutors

Mayors

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Podcast: Imam Connect | Muddasar Ahmed and Omar Usman

Omar Usman

Published

In this episode, we interview Muddasar Ahmed from Imam Connect about their innovative approach to providing Islamic services for the community. This episode goes into what the Imam Connect platform does, as well as working through some of the challenges involved in launching a new solution like this.

Support Our Dawah for Just $2 a Month

MuslimMatters has been a free service to the community since 2007. All it takes is a small gift from a reader like you to keep us going, for just $2 / month.

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

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