How do we fix it ..


Very little can be seen of where one is going, less still of where one has been. The thick dark blanket of fog seems to have robbed our very confidence and the ability to think objectively. The broken white line that snakes in the darkness may help us find our way. This is a simple two step process. Firstly, a "retrospective look" at our reactions during last year to what is now popularly known as nine eleven. Secondly, a "moment's pause" before reacting to the anniversary commemorations. Before taking stock of past and present, let us make yet another record of sincere condolence and sympathies for the tragedy.

When the nine eleven tragedy took place, invariably all Muslim institutions and their leaders (rightfully) recorded sadness, shock and such sentiments. Many mosques, schools, businesses, web sites, not to mention some homes and cars displayed their camaraderie by hoisting American flags, banners, bumper stickers and everything else that mass-merchants churned out their factories. Not one but many Friday sermons were dedicated to this tragic event. Our entire ethnic media reworked its content. Public and familial dinner discourse began and ended with the talk of nine eleven. And all of this is but a tip of the emotional fervor with no precedence.

Some of the self proclaimed modern shuyookh consistently preaching all along that ... "America is essentially evil" had a sudden change of heart. Their new mantra is "we must redress the way we have spoken about others." This maturity of thought is welcomed but immaturity of character cannot be ignored.  Discourse in regional conferences and national conventions of Muslims continue to revolve around nine eleven. Mainstream media are conveniently promoting "surfer turned moderate Muslim cleric," thus fanning the divide of so-called moderates and radicals. An excerpt from a west coast Muslim community calendar demonstrates the passions filtered down from the national psyche of Muslims in America.

  • A Day of Unity and Prayer to Remember the Victims of 9/11
  • From Tragedy to Transformation: Moving forward after 9/11
  • Call to 9/11 Unity Fund
  • Muslims to hold 9/11 Vigil

The tragedy of nine eleven cannot be undermined. But a compelling and bothering question remains un-addressed and thus un-answered. No one has ever heard of an anniversary of any other tragedy, let alone tragedies far bigger in size by virtue of sheer loss of life, not to mention other miseries that come along with tragedies.

  • Genocide of Bosnia (over 300,000 Muslims massacred, including 14,000 children. 3 Million Muslims subjected to "ethnic cleansing", and became refugees, having lost all that they had, including, in many cases, their dignity and honor. (Impact International, Sep-Oct 1992).
  • Massacre in Sabra & Shatilla (Red Cross records 2,750 killed during Sep 16-18, 1982 - although the real figure is thought to be much higher and may never be known). 
  • Ongoing genocide in Kashmir (82,826 dead; 101,426 children orphaned; 8,552 women raped; 20,586 women widowed; 103,333 houses/shops burnt (Crescent International, Aug 16-31, 2002).
  • Starving & dying children in Iraq (500,000 children under five years of age are already dead. A child is dying every five minutes).
  • Human rights groups put the toll from the riots in Gujrat, India at more than 2,000 (Times of India, Aug 22, 2002).
  • Approximately 800,000 people were killed during the 1994 genocide in Rwanda.

One may not even remember who was Jamal Durrah, or when did a bomb destroyed the pharmaceutical plant in Sudan, or how many Muslims were shot and killed while praying, by Baruch Goldstein?  Over-victimization of one tragedy and under or none of another is an ethical disparity which is hard to reconcile. The persistence of memory stratification is unacceptable by any standard. Selective memory behavior is largely unnoticed, unremarked and unconsciously accommodated. Selective memory is a crime that does not deserve a trial but should head straight to the gallows.

Everyone is conditioned to behave and are made to shed tears without due knowledge of the crime perpetrated by whom and why. No conclusive evidence is presented to anyone but we are made to remember a drop of sorrowful tragedy in the ocean of forgotten tragedies. More had been done to others, more had been taken from others than one could consciously reckon.

Airwaves, press, school systems, colleges and universities are all overwhelmingly preoccupied and reminding everyone to remember and commemorate. It sounds nothing less than obnoxious when the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) reports that "the post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) among Americans is 3 times higher than the national average." This analysis is based on a (web) survey of a mere 2,273 citizens out of 288 million living souls in America. JAMA insults even more by adding that "these post-traumatic stressed out victims also include those who witnessed the event on television and were not anywhere close to the ground zero."

From the full basket of many mean yesterdays one wonders about the post-traumatic stress of the wife's, mother's, daughter's and sister's of the 8,000 men who were massacred in cold blood during another ugly day in the city of Srebrenica, Bosnia. Let us not strip our memories naked ... let us remember to remember the many mean yesterdays, not just nine eleven.



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  9 Comments   Comment

  1. goolam from South Africa

    Its sad that western non-muslims are tooled with the qualities Islam has recognised as a muslim's responsiblity to maintain. Yes its all true, but no we arent lost. It is only really a short period that European extended civilizations have maintained the institutions that keep them in somewhat good stead and I think we never really have been behind if at all probably confused and deluded.

    Still, to say that there is nothing un-islamic about the western world is to say that there is nothing un-islamic about the ulema who stand fixated on memorising instead of evaluating Islam.

    I as a young muslim still appreciate however new literature being offered, because it is new opportunites to learn and Insha'Allah, one day an opportunity to contribute.

  2. Ahmed Hasan from USA

    Beatiful opinion and argument!!! Indeed, the biggest problem in the "Muslim World" is us, the muslims, ourselves. We are intolerant of other people's views, even of people within our own muslim communities. Even if we dont agree with someone, we must always respect someone for what they have to say. Only by tolerance and keeping our minds open, will we inshallah regain our dignity and be as glorious as we once where. 🙂

  3. maher kadmiry from origin morocco,from sherman oaks (los angeles)

    we should simply return to our islamic values not

    less not more.we do not change islam,remember

    the koran is intact unchangable and furm ,it is

    the word of god without any question.democracy is

    islam itself.you also have to remember that there

    is no true democracy in amrica and only a full can

    believe it.stand furm on the face of the enneies of islam and teach them the word of god.after all

    they are just ignorant.

  4. salman from Muslim

    Salaam aleikum,

    The author may mean well here but makes a number of glaring errors and omissions.

    1. As the neo-orientalist Bernard Lewis himself documents, under which state and who's laws did the jews of Europe find refuge during their persecution in Europe? Moreover, under the guise of what law -- Islamic or kufr-- were all of the discoveries, hallmarks, and achievements of Islam ever made?

    2. Just as 2 kings cannot co-habit one throne, is it really possible that the U.S. would ever allow any genuine form of Islam to rise (either internally or externally). One only has to look at the assassinations of Malcolm X, the current persecution of Jameel al Ameen and other African Americans to see part of the answer. The other side can be seen by the subsidization of Israel, the sanctions on Iraq, the arms and financial links to the dictatorships in the Gulf, and the construction of gigantic U.S. military bases in *every* Muslim country.

    3. The ludicrous idea that somehow Muslims voting en masse either in America or elsewhere in the West will be a panacea for all the problems in the Muslim world is a rather serious delusion.

    It was former U.S. Secretary of State Kissinger who said: "America does not have permanent friends nor enemies only permanent interests". Hence, the "war on terrorism" or actual war on political islam will not end anytime soon.

    Moreover, Muslims/Arabs already voted en masse for George W. Bush (despite his terrible record in Texas) and look at where that got you? Has there ever been any accountability/admission of failure on the part of self-elected "leaders" of Muslims in America?

    Lastly, nearly every recommendation the author makes was followed by Muslims in both India and Bosnia, i.e. wholesale assimilation, yet as the recent riots in Gujrat demonstrated, they were still exterminated (despite a "muslim MP", heavy commercial activity, vibrant communities, and a long history, etc..)

    salaam aleikum,

    skh

  5. Khalid J from USA

    I don't think the questions "What have Muslims done to Islam?" is asking anything new. It's basically the same question we were asking before,namely "What went wrong?" We get the same answer to both the questions. I can't understand how this new question brings any new insight to the problem.

  6. Rasheed Malik from United States

    As muslims we need to realize the truth and accept the ugliness of some in the muslim world without finding weak excuses for them. That would go against the virtues of Islam and our religion; standing for truth and justice. The only way Islam will begin to be seen as the best solution to the problems of the world will be after muslims begin to be the best example and the best community of God in practice with humanity on this earth. Then, and only then, will these stereotypes and ignorance will be broken and Islam will be the obvious solution and clear choice for those seeking God and the best.

    As-salaam-alikum

  7. Victor from England

    There are lots of reasons, but the MAIN is the fact that muslims stopped waging war and expanding the empire.

    They basically got lazy in their trappings, and THAT was the cause of the demise.

    Whether it was the Moghuls, the Ottomans or any other group.

    As much as people get brainwashed into believing war is bad, no one has ever acheived 'success' in terms of an empire and extending the reach of their laws (which is what the Islamic expansions were meant to be about) without war.

    The reason why women acheived more promenance in past periods of Islam, IS precisely because the men folk would wage war, and as happened during the world wars in the last century in europe this gave the women the opportunity to take up roles and positions in society. (That along with diminished numbers of men, martyred).

    ALL of the successful empires have followed this route, and through booty and slaves have built up their infrastructures. From the Original Romans, to the Modern Romans.

    Its also interesting that nearly every 'empire' that has expanded through acquisition, always labelled their wars as 'defensive' wars.

    Again this was true for the Original Romans, they gained control of the whole of the Mediteranian basin in 'defensive' wars, and guess what the New Romans are doing exactly the same. All their wars are waged in defence of perceived threats, whether they be 'Communists' or 'Islamists'.

    Once people get rich and comfortable in their trappings, and dont want to loose them, they dont want to wage war.

    Muslims were given a reason to fight wars and spread the law of God, once they stopped their decline set in.