Two quick teachings from prophet Mohamed that I’d like to share with you this morning in light of events from the past 72 hours since the New Zealand shootings
“One who is not thankful to people is not thankful to Allah “
“لا يشكر الله من لا يشكر الناس”
Sincere thanks to everyone who has showed up or reached out since the news broke out. From local police department sending police cars to patrol our mosques, to local religious leaders sending “we are here for you” emails, to “I’m thinking of you” texts from friends and to everyone who showed up last night at the interfaith vigil to show solidarity. Thank you. Your love and support helped ease the pain of our local Muslim community and reassured us all of the reason we call Fort Wayne home.
Messenger of Allah (ﷺ) said, "Whoever amongst you sees an evil, he must change it with his hand; if he is unable to do so, then with his tongue; and if he is unable to do so, then with his heart; and that is the weakest form of Faith".
عن أبي سعيد الخدري رضي الله عنه قال: سمعت رسول الله صلى الله عليه وسلم يقول: "من رأى منكم منكرًا فليغيره بيده ، فإن لم يستطع فبلسانه، فإن لم يستطع فبقلبه وذلك أضعف الإيمان" ((رواه مسلم))
Thoughts, prayers, signs of solidarity send the message that we all are thinking of each other and that we care. But we can’t stop there as that is the weakest form of faith and knowing my Fort Wayne community, our collective faith is much stronger. So we must speak, write and act to change the tides of bigotry and hate. This is not a Muslim specific issue. This is an all of us issue.
I look forward to seeing how we will make the world a better place for our children.
In peace and love.
This article was originally published at The Joirnal Gazette http://www.journalgazette.net/opinion/columns/20190313/impartial-broker
“There is no such a thing as Palestinian,” interrupted a gentleman in the audience at the Allen County Public Library during a presentation by Miko Peled titled “Beyond Zionism” in 2013.
Peled, a former Israeli soldier turned peace activist, was invited by the Indiana Center for Middle East Peace to offer his honest and powerful perspective on the atrocities of Israel's occupation of Palestine. His story is especially poignant when one considers how deep his roots run in Israel.
His moving story of transformation and account of Israel's crimes against Palestinians was met with jeers from some people and the aforementioned declaration from the gentleman in the audience that I, and more than 12 million other Palestinians, are just a figment of the world's imagination.
The experience from about six years ago is not the first nor the last ugly reminder of what it means to be Palestinian, especially in America. I filed that incident in my mind as just that – ugly – because you get accustomed to this sad reality when your life is deemed less than, your own existence is denied, and your truth is challenged every day.
Hyperbole? I beg to differ.
Take, for example, Israel's former deputy defense minister, Eli Ben-Dahan who, according to Times of Israel, referred to Palestinians as animals in 2013: “To me, they are like animals, they aren't human.”
In March 2015, then-Israeli foreign minister Avigdor Lieberman said, in reference to Arab citizens who are not loyal to the state of Israel, “Those who are against us deserve to have their heads chopped off with an axe.” Lieberman went on to become Israel's defense minister in 2016, only to resign in late 2018 in protest of a truce in Gaza, calling it a “capitulation to terrorism.”
And Benjamin Netanyahu, Israel's current prime minister, in an interview on March 10 said Israel is “not a state of all its citizens.” His government has been responsible for the worst violence in Gaza, which has claimed the lives of more than 2000 and injured more than 10,000 Palestinians since 2014. The life of a Palestinian is reduced to the price of the indiscriminate bullet that is fired callously toward him.
All of this happens under the watchful eyes and protection of our U.S. government, almost regardless of who is in power. Not only do we annually give $3.8 billion in foreign military financing to Israel, but also, according to the Jewish Virtual Library, the U.S. has used its veto power 44 times against draft U.N. Security Council resolutions pertaining to Israel since 1972.
Every time Israel is to be held accountable for its crimes against humanity or violations of international law, our government stands up and gives the rest of the world the middle finger by virtue of its veto power. How exactly are we an honest broker of peace?
Exaltation of Israel as “the only democratic state in the Mideast” and its protection from any and all forms of condemnation or discipline is the most bipartisan issue of all time. In response to peaceful calls for boycott, divestment and sanctions of Israel by Palestinians, a move inspired by South Africans' response to apartheid, 27 states to date (including Indiana) have passed legislation making it illegal for any state-affiliated organization to do so.
And it does not look like that will stop at the governmental level as there is legislation being taken up that would consider any criticism of Israel anti-Semitic, further conflating a Zionist, militaristic, expansionist state with a beautiful religion. We have seen this with the recent backlash Rep. Ilhan Omar, D-Minnesota, received for merely questioning the influence of the American Israel Public Affairs Committee, a pro-Israel lobbying group, on our politics.
So I ask: If I, as a Palestinian, am not allowed to speak of Israel's occupation and subsequent ethnic cleansing of my land in June 1948; and if I, as a Palestinian-American, am to watch my U.S. government unabashedly support my occupier militarily, politically and financially; and if I, as a Palestinian-American, am not to have the right to condemn, criticize or boycott my occupier; then what am I to do?
If every single part of who I am is under attack, fought, discredited, delegitimized and dehumanized, then what am I to do? How do I prove to you that I exist?
Palestinian, Muslim, American, Husband, Father, Academic, Pharmacist, Coffee Addict, Nutella phene, Pseudo writer, Soccer player, former Canadian, Community servant, Pinch hitter imam, interfaith ninja, Intellectual vigilante, and the undisputed KING of snark