Middle Name Phobia!

Category: Americas, Life & Society, Nature & Science Views: 8755
8755

Each day in America over 100,000 Muslim physicians, surgeons, and therapists devotedly report to their clinics and hospitals providing the best health care they can to their patients. Each day in America, several thousand Muslim engineers are part of the nations engineering staff, managing and running infrastructure facilities to ensure that water, electricity and critical services are supplied in an efficient manner. Several thousand software engineers use their skills on a daily basis ensuring that the businesses that provide the lifelines of this country are managed smoothly. Even in securing the security of our country and US embassies abroad, about 5000 Muslim military personal provide valuable services to the nation.

Over 2 million Muslims work hard to contribute more than $30 billion annually to various taxes and revenue agencies.

The Muslim dependence on welfare is minimal. The number of alcoholics, child abusers, drug users and pushers and criminals involved in big or small crimes is unnoticeable. 

Yet, when a political candidate's middle name is announced as "Hussein", all kinds of doubt are raised about his links with Muslims and Islam. People are urged to reject him because his presence might contaminate the sanctity of the seat of power in Washington.

Lets not beat around the bush! The issue is not about a middle name, the issue is about Islam and Muslims. Those who are questioning Obama's middle name are using the phobia that has been created against Islam and Muslims and using that for their political whims. They might as well start creating fear against everyone named Adam (From Prophet Aadam, the first man created by God) and Susan (Derived from Soozan which connotates pure like a Lily flower) which are also common names used by Arabs and Muslims.

Obama has clearly stated that he is a Christian belonging to Trinity United Church of Christ in Chicago and his loyalties are to his country. Yet the tirade and fear tactics from the right-wingers against him does not stop.

Despite a history in America as old as the history of first European settlers, Islam is still viewed with fear and suspicion in America and more so after the tragedy of 9/11. The rejection and hatred shown in Europe by earlier Christian leaders towards Islam still lingers. Forgotten in this frenzy are the facts that Muslim slaves were an essential part of the construction of the roadways, railroads and development of agriculture and industries in their resent forms in this country.

Europe has never been objective in its relations and understanding of Islam. Its religious institutions viewed Islam as anti-Christ and its ideas pertaining to individual autonomy in relation to the divine as dangerous for its religious hierarchy. These biases were formed even before Europe took the path of enlightenment and renaissance. Islam was always seen as a faith of sword-holding nomadic people bent on destroying the kingdom of the Lord that was yet to be experienced on earth.

Even with enlightenment and renaissance that gradually rendered the religious institutions irrelevant in Europe's growth, Islam was seen as an anti-rational and anti-science faith. This was a pattern that came to America's with the arrival of European settlers. Even though the founding fathers of our nation were enlightened leaders, but the centuries of bias are even reflected in Thomas Jefferson's letter to Dr. Stiles in 1815 where he wrote, "It is really a pity so charming a country (Turkey) should remain in the hands of a people whose religion forbids the admission of science and the arts among them." (Aslam Munjee's book, "Crusades: Then and Now")

The religious and secular elites of Europe and America have somehow concluded on the basis of their own prejudice and contaminated reading that Islam cannot be trusted in any aspect of life as it is based on false ideas. Despite the presence of large Muslim communities in Europe and America, this view has not changed as there is very limited and serious dialogue and interaction among various sections of modern religious and secular European and American elites and Muslims. 

Muslims by and large, have not made any serious efforts to address the concerns and issues raised by the power elites in a language that can be understood. And the power elites are so comfortable with their position that they do not want to make any serious efforts to comprehend Islam.

Those who have extensively written about Islam and Muslims from either a religious or secular perspective in Europe and America have tried to interpret events and the faith of Islam from their selective and highly biased sources often used to reinforce their viewpoint. Amongst Muslims, the shadow of colonialism has always been present in their writings.

How can this challenge of developing a better understanding of these two view points about Islam be met in our times? Perhaps the best response would come from Muslims if they engage with people at levels of society and make their presence felt through service and improving the conditions of life wherever they are. The fact is that Muslims have remained confined to their mosques and secluded shells despite their presence in America and Europe for centuries. In art, science, technology, social services, welfare activities, they have abdicated their responsibilities. They somehow, believe that by confining them to their mosques, Europe and America will one day discover the beauty and rationality of their religion. Things do not happen that way. Even the Prophet had to roam in the streets of Makkah and Taif identifying people in the situation they lived and engaging them in efforts that had direct consequences for their lives.

In order to do that a new agenda has to emerge and a new style of leadership has to take roots within the Muslim community. A leadership that understands its responsibilities towards people in general regardless of their religious or ethnic background. To do this, Muslims have to have a paradigm shift in their thinking. They have to rise above their sectarian identities and issues. They have to look at the future rather than dwell on the past to redirect their energies. 

Without Muslims preparing them for this new role, things will not easily be changed. Violence and anger have never solved any problem. They only complicate things. Those who believe that through terrorizing people, Muslims and non-Muslims alike, they would be able to force change in the thinking of people about Islam, must realize that history is not on their side and above all the creator is not on their side.

Change in the attitude and behavior of people comes when they see a clear contradiction in the their biases and the actions of those they were biased against. Once their own paradoxes become clear to them, they begin to realize the myopic vision they had held and begin to appreciate the viewpoint of others. So far, Muslims in America and Europe and elsewhere have not acted in a manner that reconciles them with the spirit of their faith. A spirit that views all of humanity as a big family and a view that feels the pain of others as ones own.

Dr. Aslam Abdullah is director of the Islamic Society of Nevada, editor in chief of weekly Muslim Observer and in charge research and publication of Interalnation Iqbal Leadership Institute, Lahore.


  Category: Americas, Life & Society, Nature & Science
Views: 8755
 
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Older Comments:
ADEBULE ABDULKABIR FROM NIGERIA said:
This is sure a well thought out and well written masterpiece. The only area I beg to differ a little is where you wrote that, "Those who believe that through terrorizing people, Muslims and non-Muslims alike, they would be able to force change in the thinking of people about Islam, must realize that history is not on their side and above all the creator is not on their side." I feel is getting the intention of those who terrorise wrong. Some of them do this things for other reasons apart from Islamic sentiments, some may not even be muslims while some actions may just be unduly publicised in other ridicule Islam. I feel what you have written is a good piece and a good awakening for the muslims. We should not forget one fact though, that whatever you do or say or think, the enemies of Islam will never like you until you have followed their path.so the question of being nice and good to all so that these people will see some good in us will not change anything as this things were ordinarily commanded by Allah. We dont have to do them to prove a point to them as they are not our judges but Allah, and Him alone is our goal.Let us do what we have to do in other to be able to take our rightful position in the world i.e. Allah's vicegerent on earth. Thank you for the opportunity.
2008-03-11

FATIMAH MUHAMMAD FROM CANADA said:
Salam Alaikum to all,
I would like to make a comment to tawaab about WD. Brother, there are so many others who too are trying to make a change for the better of all people. I think that it is important for us not to focus on one individual person. There are plenty of Imams and Organizations working hard for the cause. Thank you Islamicity for all your hard work. Dr. Hakim Quick, Saraj Wahaj who has worked so hard to clean up the streets of New York City. And CAIR as well. But, the best teacher that we should be following, our best visionary for all of mankind was Prophet Muhammad (pbuh). One man, who isn't as learneth as others, cannot do it all by himslef. Peace to all my brothers and sister who are striving to stay on the mustakeen.

Sister Fatimah
2008-03-09

ZUHAIR FROM OMAN said:
The only challenge to Christianity is the advent of Islam. Judaisim is too insignificant in numbers to be a source of dis-comfort. Moreover, they believe all Jews will finally convert to Christianty. We Muslims live fools paradise if we think that by projecting ourselves differently we will be accepted. Wrong. It is the Enormity of Islam which is source of pain
2008-03-08

LISA COLOGNE FROM USA said:
Well, I would like to tell you what I think of Muslims and the religion of Islam but the rules will not allow it.

How can I nicely say, "Go home, please."


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2008-03-07

SAADIYAH FROM USA said:
I see bias every day in my profession. Really if society wants to hold a grudge against Muslims after 9-11 then that is very sad. How about if Blacks in America hold a grudge against ALL WHITES because of Slavery and Lynching that was still happening in the 40's all the way thru the 60's and longer if I'm not mistaken. Now that terrorism!
2008-03-06

RAJA FROM NORWAY said:
I feel happy that there are more people who have the same sens of reaction as mine. I reacted immediately when the opponent campainers showed that Obama having that middle name is something they can use against him. I have believed that the USA is the most democratical nation where all religions and cultures are allowed under the citizenship's right. Should a muslim never get right to be a president of the USA? -
2008-03-06

MHHSII FROM SINGAPORE said:
To be fair I think that it is very easy for someone in the west, who isn't muslim(and who, for obvious reasons, may not have much of a chance to mix around with muslims)to draw his conclusions from whatever is reported in the media. Let's see - bombings, terrorists, filmmakers being murdered... do you really find it difficult to see why islamophobia persists? It is foolish to say that the only problem is with american muslims who refuse to mix around and engage their non-muslim counterparts in conversation.

2008-03-06

M.K. FROM USA said:
Response to Zainon.
What country do you live in? To call US Satan is an oxymoron. Satan resides in the hearts of people. US corportations employ Muslims, US governments allow for Islamically based schools and there are charter Islamic schools that get thier funding from local governments. Yes the US has its race problems and issues but it at least is willing to recognize it's faults. What so called Muslim country do you know that recognizes its faults? What muslim country do you know that offers freedom to people of other faiths to the extent US does? I am curious to hear your response.
2008-03-05

RAJI SALAAM FROM USA said:
Obama has handled this very poorly.Watch Senator Mc Cain pick up the ball, ie "no religious test,what message is being sent to the muslim world".White America is testing Obama to find his" Clarence Thomas moment." Obama does not seem to understand the risk of allowing himself to be separated from his father.Senator Obama has done very so far,but he is going to have to acknowledge his father,and his contact with Islam.He is being a little too cute.
2008-03-05

SUSAN FROM USA said:
While the author has a significant view that is more than not True of American society I have two objections . First having ties to a Correctional facility I do know that a large portion of recidivist inmates are affiliated with Islam (at least they claim to be while in jail) Second, the admonition to Muslim in Western countries to affect a "Change in attitude and behavior"in order to reconcile themselves with the "Spirit of their faith" is a bunch of hogwash.Individuals who have integrated into America are by far the benificent compared to their counterparts. They have proven the ability to live in harmony amid diversity even amid the possibility of strife. They truly symbolize the spirit of living as one family. May Allah bless them and theirs. Susan
2008-03-05

EJAZ FROM SAUDI ARABIA said:
Writer is very right, I think we in our individual capacity need to act positively to counter with this ongoing negative propaganda against Islam and Muslims. One of the important things that we need to do is to improve on our deeds and actions as ordered by Allah that will help a lot to improve bad impressions about us. I am a great believer that righteous behavior and dialogue with believers of other religions can change others impressions about us. We need to become good practicing Muslim, so that our deeds and acts attract other towards us and our religion.
2008-03-05

ZAINON FROM USA said:
To H.A. - what's pathetic is how you labeled the United States as the Great Satan. That's part of the brainwashing you see, only satan itself would give it the title of Great, to give itself glory on earth. No, the United States is plain satan. There's nothing great about satan.

ALLAHU AKBAR!
2008-03-05

TAWWAB MUBARAK FROM USA said:
Salaam Alakium that is Peace be unto you, there is a man here in usa leading this message of understanding through Interfaith Dialogue, that man is the esteem Imam Wariteeth Deen Mohommed, leader of the largest group of muslms here in usa, if you read his message you will see his mission,vision, and tolerance towards other religions and abilty to work with others, to make our society a better place
2008-03-05

FEEDTHEANT FROM UK said:
In response to Brother Imran and Mr. Romesh Chander,

Yes, the Americans are defeated big time in Afghanistan and Iraq but ever wonder why they are defeated?... Because they (the Mujahideen) stopped being "Cry-Babies".

Other than driven by their faith and bravery, they are also smart!! So yes we can thank Mr. Romesh Chander in a way for urging the Muslims to rise up and be steadfast (not being cry-babies)though inadvertently, and his incitement is uncalled for. Viva la Insurgenc?a!!!
2008-03-05

NASSER FROM USA said:
My request to all brothers and sisters around the world!

Please use the word 'MASJID' instead of 'Mosques'.
It would be nice to introduce the word Masjid to the people who are not aware of the place of worship of muslims do have their own word.

Use the word MASJID extensively in your daily conversation, lectures, articles.

nasser
2008-03-05

H.A. FROM YATHRIB said:
People, especially the LOST AMERICANS should REGULARLY visit www.democracynow.org and also watch the Channel/Satellite for real news and for the TRUTH, NOT FOX NEWS.

THEN they will slowly try to understand WHY THE UNITED STATES IS CALLED THE GREAT SATAN, and the UK the #2 SATAN and Israel the #3 Satan.

Here is an example of the bias, hypocrisy and satanism of the US....HAVE ANYONE HEARD of any condemnation of the ziionist state by the U.S. for killing innocent civilians just a few days ago???

Of course NOT b/c SATAN DISSOVLES WITHIN ANOTHER SATAN. NO SURPRISE THERE!!! And according to them, even 3 months old babies are terrorists! No wonder these people are labeled as INFIDELS, yet they do not like the term INFIDELs. How funny!!!

Anyways, drunken Americans should stop drinking for just one weekend a month and should tune to DEMOCRACYNOW TV Channel and the related website for the truth since they do not like ARAB TV channels and SIMPLY FOR THEIR SURVIVAL. They are playing with RUSSIAN RULET and their future is in danger, if they do not wake up soon.

And of course they should regualarly visit this site for their rehabilitation and recooperation from BOOZE, ""The HAAPY FLUID, THE GOOD TIME FLUID AND THE CIVILIZE FLUID.""

Very sad group of people living on Earth. How pathetic!

2008-03-04

ASLAM ABDULLAH FROM USA said:
Salam Alaikum,
A few points of clarification.
1. There is ample data to prove that the number of Muslims involved in anti-social activities is insignificant as compared with other religious communities.
2. Positive stories about Islam and Muslims have been appearing in Muslim newspapers and magazines regularly.
3. The article is not about Obama or his candidacy or his bid for presidentship. The article didnot touch that subject at all. It pointed out to a deeper issue that deals with the image of Islam in this country. The article outlined the historical background of these prejudices against Islam and Muslims and suggested that only Muslims have to work hard to remove them. The article didnot ask for self pity.
I wish if people had commented on the nature of Islamophobia that is evidently manifest in our country.
2008-03-03

MOHAMED MANIK FROM MALDIVES said:
Let by-gones be by-gones and let our thinking starts afresh. May Allah grant us a peaceful World.
2008-03-03

IMRAN FROM USA said:
We can thank Mr. Romesh Chander for telling us that America is losing in Iraq and Afghanistan.

When I last checked they were winning outright in Iraq and in Afghanistan had reduced the Taliban to a mess.

No doubt Mr. Chander gets his news from sources we are not privileged to know about.

Coming back to middle names, first names, or last names - no matter how you slice it whether Obama's middle name is Hussien or Hossanah - he would still be a target for those who don't want a black President. The Muslim middle name is just a convenient way of smearing his name.

Recently in the south they had someone openly say they were concerned about Obama and Israel's security should he become President. And the news media has already mentioned multiple times how Obama is bowing down to Jewish interests.
So much for his middle name being suspect!

It is typical Americna politics - filthy and nasty like in days gone by. With special interests thrown into the mix.

We should stay out of such politics till things improve, but that is like talking to a brick wall.

The writer would be well advised to provide positive stories about Muslims who have succeeded in this country and shame the devil.

By his own admission we Muslims have achieved much so where are the stories that educate us about who these people are and what they have achieved.


2008-03-02

WDMLL FROM USA said:
Yes there is a phobia in the West when it comes to Islam. You can cite verses from the Qur'an or the Sunna, of the love and compassion of Allah. But there are many other passages that are on the dark side. History and the present speak for themselves, as to the dark side of Islam. Where as Christianity has given up the sword of religious conquest, Islam is even more determined in its goal. Islam is a dogma of consumption, of eradicating anything and everything that is not Islamic. We can go "tit for tat" about the West versus Islam for the last fourteen centuries. But the bottom line is, Islam is creeping into the West and so is Sharia law. As the Muslim populations increase in the West, so do the dangers of Islamic domination. Knowing its overriding quest is world domination, the West can't for a moment, relax its guard. This doesn't mean unilateral restrictions or sanctions and loss of First Amendment Rights for Muslims, but constant vigilance of the Rights and Freedoms of the West.

The following passages are part of one of my writings:

Sharia Law or Sharia; it is said that the circle and its center point are the beginning of all Islamic patterns. All that is within the circle is inclusive. Any beginning has an end point or final goal. Nothing is enacted without a desired conclusion. Like a computer algorithm, the programmer knows what code to write to insure the outcome. If one looks carefully at the pattern of Sharia and the mosaic makeup of Islam, one knows the projected outcome. The result is a mosaic representing the Muslim world, the true portrait of what it stands for, a convoluted display of reality. The true meaning is hidden from the viewer. Like looking at a rose and not seeing the thorns. The above symbolism and reality are one and the same. The end points are the aspirations of the Islamic world. Each onto its self is equal and indivisible from the other. One cannot have one without the other.

With Sharia comes the dark side of Islam.
2008-03-02

SYLVIA HORTON FROM CANADA said:
Salam Alaikum to all Believers,
I think this article was o.k. Although, I disagree with some of these things. First of all, the American politician know who the bad people are all over the world. This middle name stuff is just something to throw the American people off on the real issues that face us today. If the middle name of Barack frightens the American people, then half of Americans will be condemned. Do you know how many people have Arabic middle names in this country? My family members and friends have mainly African, and Arabic names.
As far as the person who stated that America will never elect a Black President, is redicilous. Why is it so impossible for a black man to be elected President of the U.S.? Honestly, this is the real issue behind the smears. Because it is highly possible that Barack will be elected president, now they are giving him heck.
There is something that the author states in this article that I agree with. That is Muslims need to come together as one and stop looking at other Muslims based on their race as well. Truely, there is racism among the Muslims too.
Also, I think that because of people smearing Barack, I think that it is only going to backfire. In the end, I think Americans will vote for Barack based on his character and what he can do for the country, and not for his middle name.
Peace,
Fatimah Muhammad
2008-03-02

BUTOOL ABDULLAH FROM USA said:
Well said, yes, I think it is possible for an African American to become president after so long, but now its our turn to undergo the suffering of ignorant people. It will be long before a Muslim can become president or have some credible say in this country, but we do have to put that effort in to come out and talk to people. We can't let other people define who we are.
2008-03-01

ROMESH CHANDER FROM USA said:
The author writes "Despite a history in America as old as the history of first European settlers, Islam is still an unwelcome faith in America.".

Guess why and when. Let us get into history. It all started with World Trade Center bombing in 1993. Before that nobody paid any attention to Islam and muslims, and hence there was little or no problem. In 1993, it all changed. That is when people (and the authorities) realized that Jihad had reached US. Then 9/11 made Islam (and hence muslims) to become completely suspect. And muslims, with their Jihadi rhetoric, have not made situation any better. With the avail;ability of Internet and YouTube, increasingly people are listening to Jihadi sermons from Palestinian TV / Saudi TV/ Qatar TV and other places. With those kinds of sermons, nobody is going to trust bland statements of muslim leaders like the author. In one sense, you muslims are your own worst enemies. So, stop crying. Use your brain rather than brawn and mouth.

As expected, US is going to be defeated in Afghanistan and Iraq; and that is going to lead to even more backlash making Islam (and muslims) even more suspect in US. Life is not all wine and roses.
2008-03-01

MUSLIM.INUSA FROM US said:
So now it's the "H" word replacing the "N" word? I am not being sarcastic, but this article looks at this issue from a narrow angle, instead of looking at the big picture! In my experience, americans could care less what Obama's middle name is.
2008-03-01

RAKIKI FROM SPAIN said:
Thank you for a simple and clear though. Courage is intelligent endurance.
2008-03-01

ZAINON FROM USA said:
There's something to point out to readers of this article - its paragraphs are generic as in the word Muslim can easily be replaced by another group of people depending upon current affairs. In the not too distant past, it was for African Americans to "ponder and correct their faults." In the future, it could be for the Chinese or the Hispanics, etc. Could even be replaced with the word "Americans" in global context.
2008-03-01

ZAINON FROM USA said:
You are naive, Dr Aslam. The "White House" will never allow a Black Man be president, Muslim or not. It's all just for show. Bilderberg has chosen. But whatever, articles that psychoanalyze Muslims to become "moderate" Muslims are getting kinda stale, don't you think? And by the way, your numbers contradict state and federal records.
2008-03-01