Middle Name Phobia!
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.
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.
How can I nicely say, "Go home, please."
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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.
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!!!
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.
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!
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.