Friday, April 23, 2010

Muslim Outrage keeps coming (and being ignored)

Thanks once again to Aziz Poonawalla for spreading the word about Muslims who are protesting Islamoid Extremism. Abu Laith Luqman Ahmad is the imam and director of the Masjid Ibrahim Islamic Center in Sacramento, CA. He issued a scathing critique of Anwar Al Awlaki's call to violence recently. I did searches on both his name and his center.s name on the New York Time Website, and found nothing. There were 231 references to Anwar al Awlaki during that same period.

You can find Ahmad's entire statement here. Some excerpts are below.

You asked; “To the Muslims in America, I have this to say: How can your conscience allow you to live in peaceful coexistence with a nation that is responsible for the tyranny and crimes committed against your own brothers and sisters?”

Well, now that you’ve posed the question, I’ll tell you why, and may Allah grant us His mercy. First of all, peaceful coexistence is not a crime; it is a mercy from the Almighty God be He Exalted and Glorified. As American Muslims, we peacefully coexist with our country because we are not under attack because of our faith and we are not driven from our homes; “Allah forbids you not, with regard to those who fight you not for (your) Faith nor drive you out of your homes, from dealing kindly and justly with them: for Allah loveth those who are just.” 60:8 Quran. We live here because some of us were born and raised here, and it is the only home that we know. My forefathers came here as slaves, and have helped build this country with their bare hands. Millions of other Muslims have sought and received refuge and safe passage through this vast land of ours, and have made it their home. As American Muslims, we are of different origins; nevertheless we are here now, and it is the result of God’s divine Providence, and we are connected to this soil.

We live here because we are free men, women and children. We have the right to live here and this is our country. We live here because Millions of American Muslims attend this nations masaajid every week without being accosted, bombed while in prayer, or hindered in any way from worshipping our Lord. Many Muslim Imams and scholars have branded our country as evil, even calling her the ‘Great Satan’. I say that the Lord that we worship favors not the east or the west; He favors the righteous wherever they dwell. “Say: To Allah belong both East and West: He guideth whom He will to a Way that is straight.” Quran, 2:142. So to answer your question about our conscience as we peacefully coexist in The United States of America, my conscience, and the conscience of many Muslim Americans who live in this great land, is clear. As for those Muslims whose conscience and belief compels them to leave this country for another land, then the door is open for them to leave.

As for your call for American Muslims to wage jihad against our country and homeland; the land that you are urging us to wage war against, is the land of our homes that we are obligated to protect. In a prophetic narration by Abdullah ibn Amr ibn al-’As, he said: When we were around the Apostle of Allah (SAWS), he mentioned the period of commotion (fitnah) saying: “When you see the people that their covenants have been impaired, (the fulfilling of) the guarantees becomes rare, and they become thus (interwining his fingers). I then got up and said: What should I do at that time, may Allah make me ransom for you? He replied: “Keep to your house, control your tongue, accept what you approve, and abandon what you disapprove, attend to your own affairs, and leave alone the affairs of the generality.”[1] Therefore as Muslim Americans we are obligated by faith to protect our homes, and our homeland upon which they stand, as our homes are our refuge.

The people whom you claim we are obligated to take up arms against are our neighbors whom we live next to and share neighborhoods with, and our Prophet (SAWS) informs us to honor our neighbors by his words in the hadith reported by Abu Shuraih; “By Allah, he does not believe! By Allah, he does not believe! By Allah, he does not believe!” It was said, “Who is that, O Allah’s Apostle?” He said, “That person whose neighbor does not feel safe from his evil.“[2] Furthermore, in the hadith of Aisha, she mentioned that the Prophet (SAWS) said “Gabriel continued to recommend me about treating the neighbors kindly and politely so much so that I thought he would order me to make them as my heirs.”[3] They are our co-workers whom we work alongside them, our students who we teach, and our teachers who we learn from. The people whom you incite us to violence against are our firefighters who defend our homes and our property from ruin, our law enforcement officers who patrol our streets at night, and municipal workers who restore power after the storms, and remove injurious objects from the road. The individuals whom you suggest we wage jihad against are our physicians, nurses and medical professionals who care for our sick and mend the broken bones of our children. They are university professors that you yourself have benefitted from and under whose instruction you obtained your engineering degree. So in summary, my dear Imam and may Allah guide us, we must categorically reject your petition that we wage jihad against the United States of America as in doing so we would be in disobedience to Allah subhaanahu wa ta’ala and His Prophet (SAWS).

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Muslim Non-Outrage

Below is the complete text of Statement made by Karamah an organization of Women Muslim Lawyers, which is pretty much self-explanatory. It counteracts the stereotype of irrational insult-sensitive Muslims quite well, I think. They are also doing some really extraordinary and important other work, as you can see by looking at other pages of their website.

KARAMAH was contacted by a number of Muslim organizations, which were concerned about reports of a sculptured representation of the Prophet Muhammad in the historical frieze on the north wall of the Supreme Courtroom. KARAMAH was also asked by these organizations to contact the Supreme Court administrators and discuss the matter.

A KARAMAH delegation visited the Supreme Court and looked at the frieze, one of several honoring a broad spectrum of leading figures in the law, including the Prophet Moses, Napoleon, and the fourth Chief Justice of the United States John Marshall. Contrary to early information, the frieze does not contain an inscription referring to the Prophet Muhammad as "the founder of Islam." That statement appears in a caption prepared by the museum in connection with a miniature replica of the frieze on display there. The statement is repeated in brochures distributed to visitors.

KARAMAH explained to the administrators that for Muslims, the Prophet is not the "founder" of Islam. As an Abrahamic religion, Islam is considered by Muslims as a later revelation of the same message revealed to Moses and Jesus. Supreme Court administrators showed great sensitivity and understanding of the matter. It was readily agreed that the caption would be revised to describe Prophet Muhammad as the "Prophet" of Islam. It will also be revised to refer briefly to the concerns discussed below.

Furthermore, the sculptured figure purportedly of the Prophet, carries what appears to be a Qur’an in one hand and a sword in the other. Some Muslims expressed their concern to us that the sword would reinforce the current stereotype about Muslims as violent. In fact, KARAMAH discovered that throughout the friezes in the Supreme Courtroom and at the entrance of the Supreme Court itself (statue on the Authority of the Law, lamppost on west entrance, base of Plaza flag poles), swords are repeatedly used as a symbol for the protection of law and justice. Based on these facts, KARAMAH has concluded that there is no reason to assume a contrary intention in the case of the Prophet Muhammad.

A more complex issue remained; namely that of the sculptured representation of the Prophet in the frieze. Muslims have generally refrained from such representation as a strong expression of their commitment to monotheism. Islam was revealed initially to a population of idol worshippers. Fearing a return to these old practices, jurists discouraged any sculptured or even pictorial representation of the Prophet early on. That tradition has generally continued throughout Muslim history, although some Muslim cultures, such as the Turkish and Persian ones, did produce throughout history art, which represented the Prophet pictorially.

While KARAMAH fully identifies with the Islamic aversion to such representation of the Prophet, we are very pleased that Islamic contributions to law are recognized in the highest court of our land. We see that attempt in a tolerant light similar to that in which earlier Muslims saw Turkish and Persian art. It is well intentioned. While it is not what we would have chosen to represent Islam, we do appreciate this early attempt at recognizing Islamic contributions to American jurisprudence and we do not believe it is necessary to destroy it. In reaching this position, we have consulted with many Muslim leaders and relied upon the reasoned opinion of Dr. Taha Jabir al-Alwani, President of the Fiqh (Islamic jurisprudence) Council of North America.