Speaking Truth to Power

By Fedwa Wazwaz, Engage Minnesota

God! There is no deity but He! To Him belong the most Beautiful Names. Has the story of Moses reached thee? (Qur’an 20:8-9)

fedwa
As a former YourVoices blogger for the Star Tribune, I began a series of essays on power and oppression, extracting lessons from the Life of Moses, upon him peace.  I stopped at Lesson 4, when my term as a blogger ended.

Before I continue with the series, I want to clarify that the blogs on power and oppression are reflection pieces.  I began the series with some wisdom from the Nigerian novelist Chimamanda Adichie, which she expressed in a TED Talk about the danger of a single story.  In the talk, she explains that if we only hear a single story about another person or group, and make it the definitive story, we risk a critical misunderstanding.

Likewise, I do not expect these pieces of wisdom to be taken as the scholarly or definite analysis on power and oppression.  They are meant to foster a relationship with the Qur’an and help us connect with the Prophets, upon them peace and blessings.

In Lesson 4, I stopped where Moses, upon him peace, was told to go to the Pharaoh.

Some responded to me that President Bush claimed that God told him to go to war. How do we know the difference between a false commandment and a real one?

Prophet Muhammad, upon him peace and blessings, preached against seeking to meet the enemy (in warfare) but rather to pray – “O God I place you before them and I seek refuge from their evil.”

As I described in Lesson 4, Moses, upon him peace, was not looking forward to speaking with the Pharaoh. God did not tell him what he wanted to hear. In the case of Bush or others who falsely claim God spoke to them, God seems to tell them what they want to hear. Bush said about the war: “Bring it on!”

Many want to speak truth to power, but what does that mean?  And how can one challenge themselves to discover whether they really are speaking truth to power or just promoting themselves as brave and fearless?

Lesson 5 will explore these questions.  In preparation, I’d like to clarify a few of my observations about truth.

Sometimes, people question God’s justice and His power over tyrants.

They accuse Him of being impotent.

They accuse Him of not having an intelligent response to falsehood.

They wonder why He won’t bring down punishment.

These questions come from a failure to understand what falsehood is, how it emerged, and how truth responds and emerges.

I heard from a scholar that during the time of the early salaf (righteous people), those who closely followed the companions wondered if the time of the dajjal (Anti-Christ) was around the corner. The scholar responded that if the dajjal was to show up now the children in the city would play with him like a football.

Their connection to God was so strong that they had the spiritual insight to see through his deception.

I heard from another scholar once that God allows falsehood to prevail and become prevalent before allowing truth to emerge. It must prevail by revealing itself by itself. This revelation must happen at all levels: mentally, emotionally, and socially.

We see many stories in the Qur’an which point at this.

Why does God allow this to happen?

Read more »

A Successful Interfaith Gathering at Brooklyn Park

By Engage Minnesota

unnamed

On January 28th, Brooklyn Park Mayor Lunde and community faith leaders came together at the Community Engagement Gathering.

More than 100 community members and staff attended this first time event. There was a panel of speakers representing all three mosques in the Brooklyns as well as a Christian church and a Christian counseling center. Next, youth from Ja’afari Islamic Center presented on “Islam 101”. Finally, attendees participated in conversations at their table around the question, “What can we do as a community to make sure all community members feel safe and welcome?”

The overarching theme was the following: We have more similarities than differences; by acknowledging the uniqueness of our individual faiths and cultural communities, being open to learn from one another, engaging in honest dialogue, building positive relationships in our neighborhoods, and celebrating our rich diversity, we create a welcoming and safe environment for people of all faiths.

The efforts will continue at the individual, family, organizational and community-wide levels.  This month’s Community Engagement Gathering will include a presentation by Oromo community members on their unique culture. Thursday, February 25, 5:45 – 7:30 p.m.

Please RSVP to Josie Shardlow, Community Engagement Coordinator, 763-493-8388

WANT TO ADD YOUR VOICE?

If you like this piece, share it on social media.  We invite you to join us in this project on our social media sites.  We welcome your voice to the Comment section below — or consider writing a commentary, podcast or photo story. (For more information, email engageminnesota@gmail.com.)

‘Reassurance’ from a Muslim Marine

By Mohammad Zafar, Engage Minnesota

 

mohammed_zafar

My name is Mohammad Zafar and I served honorably as a United States Marine. I am a Muslim.

When I read the January 28 commentary, “America’s Muslims need to reassure us,” in the Chanhassen Villager, I was confused and disappointed. The writer makes several false accusations and inaccurate statements about my religion, Islam, and those who practice the faith, Muslims.

My religion dictates that I follow the law of the land that I live in. It teaches me to not only tolerate free speech, but to embrace differences among us.

My holy book, the Quran, states: “We have created you all out of a male and a female, and have made you into nations and tribes, so that you might come to know one another (not that ye may despise each other). Verily, the noblest of you in the sight of God is the one who is most deeply conscious of Him. Behold, God is all-knowing, all-aware.” [49:13]

In Prophet Muhammad’s last sermon, he said: “All mankind is from Adam and Eve, an Arab has no superiority over a non-Arab nor a non-Arab has any superiority over an Arab; also a white has no superiority over black nor a black has any superiority over white except by piety and good action.”

Read more »

‘We know what the problem is’: Forum offers perspectives on racial disparities in Minnesota

By Ibrahim Hirsi, MinnPost

IbrahimHirsiIllo400

If there was one message that Angela Glover Blackwell and several local leaders wanted to stress Wednesday at a forum on race and equity in the Twin Cities, it was this: The need “to get the equity agenda right.”

Speaking to more than 1,000 people at the Hilton Hotel in downtown Minneapolis, Blackwell, a renowned social justice advocate, chronicled the era of legalized segregation in the United States, current challenges facing minority communities and barriers that prevent them from the traditional paths to economic prosperity.

“We’re at a different moment in this nation,” said Blackwell, founder and CEO ofPolicyLink. “The challenge has never been greater.”

The challenges she highlighted include the recent episodes of police violence as well as widening economic and education disparities — calling for state leaders and influential individuals to act quickly.

Blackwell noted that as the population of communities of color continue to increase at a much higher rate than that of their white counterparts, America will soon depend on minorities to sustain its economic security and world dominance.

Continue reading at MinnPost

Ibrahim Hirsi reports on immigrant communities, social issues, marginalized groups and people who work on making a difference in the lives of others. A graduate from the University of Minnesota, he interned for Newsday and has written for multiple publications in Minnesota.

Ibrahim Hirsi can be reached at ihirsi@minnpost.com.  Follow Ibrahim Hirsi on Twitter: @IHirsi.

WANT TO ADD YOUR VOICE?

If you like this piece, share it on social media.  We invite you to join us in this project on our social media sites.  We welcome your voice to the Comment section below — or consider writing a commentary, podcast or photo story. (For more information, email engageminnesota@gmail.com.)

Governor Dayton discusses Syrian Refugees in MN

By Noor Qureishy, The Rubicon
me

A flood of faces, a symphony of voices, weary but desperate to flee the insanity of their former lives, to run from the terrorism that has overrun their country. CNN reports that the United States has responded to the refugee crisis by allowing the admittance of 1,500 refugees (out of over four million that have fled Syria) since the civil war started in 2011, and has now committed to bringing in 10,000 more in 2016.

Although 31 governors have publicly announced their stance against the admittance of any more refugees into their respective states, Minnesota governor Mark Dayton will welcome refugees here. “To single out one group of people from one country who are fleeing terrorism themselves is just I think an extreme overreaction,” Governor Mark Dayton said. “To say that we’re going to prevent people from coming here, families and others who’ve been vetted carefully to me is really ill-advised. It’s not going to make Minnesota safer.”

Dayton believes that every necessary precaution should be taken when resettling refugees, and that the U.S. Department of Homeland Security is doing just that with their vetting procedures.

The security process for refugees has been known to be extremely selective and rigorous; refugees are subjected to the highest possible level of security checks of any traveler in the U.S. They are also reviewed by the National Counterterrorism Center, the FBI’s Terrorist Screening Center, the Department of Homeland Security, the Department of State, and the Department of Defense according to Dayton.

Dayton believes that the statements made by governors in an attempt to keep refugees out of their states are at best, showmanship. “As a practical matter, unless you stop every car that’s driving across the interstate, you’re not going to be preventing people from moving from one place to another. It’s really just a lot of showmanship and pandering to the worst fears of people,” he said.

Continue reading at The Rubicon

Noor Qureishy is a third-year writer and 2015-16 In Depth editor for The Rubicon, the St. Paul Academy school newspaper.

WANT TO ADD YOUR VOICE?

If you like this piece, share it on social media.  We invite you to join us in this project on our social media sites.  We welcome your voice to the Comment section below — or consider writing a commentary, podcast or photo story. (For more information, email engageminnesota@gmail.com.)

Egypt’s Tahrir Square and the birth of a nation

By Ahmed Tharwat, Star Tribune

tharwatJan. 25 will mark the fifth anniversary of the Egyptian revolution that was sparked in Tunisia a few days earlier. This was the first time in history that millions of Egyptians marched into the street to claim their country back. No public place symbolized this revolution for dignity like Tahrir Square.

Tahrir Square (Liberation Square) is a major public focal point in downtown Cairo. It combines all of the contrasts of Egypt — from the Egyptian Museum to the Hilton Hotel — and is surrounded by elegant buildings that were styled as the Paris of the Nile. It also has the biggest public bus station, where thousands of Egyptians congregate every day on their way to work or returning home.

The square gained its prominence in the 19th century when another Mubarak — Ali Pasha — was commissioned by Egypt’s ruler at the time, Ismail Pasha, and charged with remodeling Cairo. And so it was named Ismailia Square. The square’s name was changed to Midan Tahrir (or Liberation Square) after the first Egyptian Revolution of 1952.

Continue reading at Star Tribune

Ahmed Tharwat is host of the Arab-American TV show “Belahdan,” which airs Mondays at 10:30 p.m. on Twin Cities Public Television. He blogs at Notes From America, on http://www.ahmediatv.com. Follow him on Twitter @AhmediaTV.

WANT TO ADD YOUR VOICE?

If you like this piece, share it on social media.  We invite you to join us in this project on our social media sites.  We welcome your voice to the Comment section below — or consider writing a commentary, podcast or photo story. (For more information, email engageminnesota@gmail.com.)

Paris: An American Muslim Speaks Out

By Hanadi ChehabHuffington Post

2fa6e8272adb40f5a760010a1dfaca38-32cfbac964244421809fa3c83df2dde5-24I was struck by the words of one of the Paris-attack survivors. As she was on the ground, under the body of another victim, covered with blood, she thought to herself “just play dead.” How easy it is to say these words and how horrific it is to live through those moments.

How alive she must have been to consciously play dead and how dead were the hearts that, with all consciousness, intended to kill that day as many civilians as possible.

“Allahu Akbar” cried the attackers before reloading their machine guns and sending another set of souls home. “Allahu Akbar,” an expression so dear to a Muslim, vandalized by a group of inhumane beings that have mistaken their own desires for a divine plan.

“Allahu Akbar” indeed, God is greater as justice shall be served and heinous acts like these will never go unpunished. God is greater indeed as these killers got what they deserved. God is greater indeed as the world is uniting against evil. God is greater indeed as Muslims will have to rise from dormancy to speak about their religion. God is greater indeed because the countries that helped create ISIS are suffering from it. God is greater because He is, irrespective of whether we admit it or not.

Continue reading at Huffington Post

Hanadi Chehab is a writer and blogger currently living in Minnesota, with her family of three children. Previously published on MinnPost and http://www.asamuslima.com. 
Before coming to the US Hanadi was a communication specialist working across different media platforms. She was a creative editor, previous TV presenter and program manager, jury member for various award shows in the Middle East, and reporter of the Cannes Advertising Festival. At the beginning of her career as a copywriter, Hanadi was awarded the Gold award for Cannes Young Lions on behalf of United Arab Emirates.

WANT TO ADD YOUR VOICE?

If you like this piece, share it on social media.  We invite you to join us in this project on our social media sites.  We welcome your voice to the Comment section below — or consider writing a commentary, podcast or photo story. (For more information, email engageminnesota@gmail.com.)

Minnesota advocate looks forward to serving on federal human trafficking council

By Ibrahim Hirsi, MinnPost

IbrahimHirsiIllo400

Bukola Oriola, a longtime advocate for victims of trafficking and domestic abuse in Minnesota, is looking forward to serving on the newly formed U.S. Advisory Council on Human Trafficking.

“It’s unbelievable that I could get such a platform,” she said. “I see it as the highest platform I could have to really lend my voice to help victims and survivors of human trafficking.”

Oriola was among 11 council members that President Obama picked last month from states across the country to identify issues and make recommendations to the federal government on policies addressing human trafficking in the United States.

“I am honored that these talented individuals have decided to serve our country,” President Obama said in a statement. “They bring their years of experience to this administration, and I look forward to working with them.”

Continue reading at MinnPost

Ibrahim Hirsi reports on immigrant communities, social issues, marginalized groups and people who work on making a difference in the lives of others. A graduate from the University of Minnesota, he interned for Newsday and has written for multiple publications in Minnesota.

Ibrahim Hirsi can be reached at ihirsi@minnpost.com.  Follow Ibrahim Hirsi on Twitter: @IHirsi.

WANT TO ADD YOUR VOICE?

If you like this piece, share it on social media.  We invite you to join us in this project on our social media sites.  We welcome your voice to the Comment section below — or consider writing a commentary, podcast or photo story. (For more information, email engageminnesota@gmail.com.)

Somali-Americans react to Obama’s final State of the Union address

By Ibrahim Hirsi, MinnPost

IbrahimHirsiIllo400

On a typical weeknight, the four flat-screen TVs inside the Capitol Café in Minneapolis buzz with European soccer matches, basketball games and reality shows.

But that wasn’t the case on Tuesday night. The coffee shop was packed with scores of Somali-Americans who braved the bone-chilling cold to watch President Barack Obama’s final State of the Union address.

Those at the gathering included local political figures, educators and activists who came to learn about the president’s legislative agenda and national priorities — especially immigration and Muslim issues, which have recently dominated the headlines.

During his speech, the president painted a hopeful picture of the country’s future as he highlighted the passage of the Affordable Care Act, the recovering economy and his strategies to dismantle al-Qaeda leaders.

Continue reading at MinnPost

Ibrahim Hirsi reports on immigrant communities, social issues, marginalized groups and people who work on making a difference in the lives of others. A graduate from the University of Minnesota, he interned for Newsday and has written for multiple publications in Minnesota.

Follow Ibrahim Hirsi on Twitter: @IHirsi.

WANT TO ADD YOUR VOICE?

If you like this piece, share it on social media.  We invite you to join us in this project on our social media sites.  We welcome your voice to the Comment section below — or consider writing a commentary, podcast or photo story. (For more information, email engageminnesota@gmail.com.)

Vermillion, SD Police Officer Shares Story of Compassion

By Mohammad Zafar, Engage Minnesota

image

On the day before Christmas Eve, officer Jon Cole of the Vermillion, SD Police Department received a call about a Somali man stranded at a McDonald’s restaurant after his charter bus left without him on its way to Minneapolis. He shared his positive encounter with the stranded man with Engage Minnesota: Read more »

Al Shabab recruitment video with Trump

By Engage Minnesota

A new video was released by the extremist group Al Shabab.  The video uses excerpts from Donald Trump’s political rhetoric against Muslims as well as cases of discrimination against blacks.

It attempts to incite and lure young Somalis by playing on their pain and feelings of being discriminated against.

Hatem Bazian, a lecturer at the University of California responded to the recruitment video in the following interview.

Donald Trump does not speak for all Americans, nor represent the American people.  Many Americans have spoken up against his anti-Muslim rhetoric.

US Council of Muslim Organizations (USCMO), a coalition of leading national and local Muslim organizations, are implementing major initiatives to address growing Islamophobia in America and to enhance national security.

‪#‎BlackLivesMatter‬ and Muslim ARC are dealing with racism against blacks within the US including within the Muslim community.

Somali or Muslim Youth should participate in these organizations and movements and get involved in fighting discrimination. Stay away from extremists.

Don’t be manipulated.

 

WANT TO ADD YOUR VOICE?

If you like this piece, share it on social media. We invite you to join us in this project on our social media sites. We welcome your voice to the Comment section below — or consider writing a commentary, podcast or photo story. (For more information, email engageminnesota@gmail.com.)

Pushing Back Vicious Political Attacks

By Jamal Abdulahi, Minnesota Civic

 

Abdulahi_Jamal_colCircleWhile the political views expressed in Scott Johnson’s essay “Islam and Minnesota: Can we hear some straight talk for a change?” are wrong and extreme in nature, the ability of Somalis to pushback forcefully and effecively is hindered by the author’s unstated premise.

The author’s premise is that Somalis are disloyal to America and politically more loyal to Somalia. This view has support in mainstream Minnesota and Somalis re-enforce it with more passion for Somalia politics.

Trying to explain attacks in the essay as part of the broader hostilities towards American Muslims is insufficient. Nor is it sufficient to cast them as general stereotypes held about immigrants.

Minnesota’s Somali political situation is unique and must be treated as such. There are set of nuances which sets a part.

Continue reading at Minnesota Civic…

Jamal Abdulahi is long time community organizer and an independent analyst based in the Twin Cities. He can be reached by via email Abdu0037@umn.edu or on Twitter @fuguni.

WANT TO ADD YOUR VOICE?

If you like this piece, share it on social media. We invite you to join us in this project on our social media sites. We welcome your voice to the Comment section below — or consider writing a commentary, podcast or photo story. (For more information, email engageminnesota@gmail.com.)

Acts of Kindness in the Midst of Hate and Bigotry

By Lori Saroya, Engage Minnesota

Saroya_Lori_circleMug

Fifteen years ago, I attended my first presidential rally. I arrived early as a student volunteer and was happy with the spot I had secured for myself- right in front of the stage. As the venue filled up, I felt myself, and my maroon hijab, stand out in the crowd. It was the reality of being Muslim in a small town in Iowa.

As I waited for the rally to start, I noticed a young man wearing a headset pointing and motioning to me. He clearly wanted to talk. Afraid to lose my perfect spot in front of the stage, but curious to find out what he wanted, I approached him. “Will you join us on stage?” he asked. He whisked me away and directed me to my new seat before I could answer. Who would say no?

I sat directly behind a row of local elected officials, next to some community members. The stage was far more diverse than the crowd, and I knew that was the reason I was invited to sit there. I was asked to sit on stage with a presidential candidate because I’m visibly Muslim.

Fast forward to the current presidential election.

The GOP is imploding with bigotry. Presidential candidate Ben Carson said weeks ago that he would not support the United States having a Muslim president. Donald Trump’s Islamophobia and hate rhetoric is unprecedented. Trump is running the “most anti-Muslim presidential campaign in American history.” His proposals are reminiscent of horrific events led by fear and bigotry: Japanese internment camps, genocide of the Jewish people by the Nazis, McCarthyism, Jim Crow and institutionalized racism against African-Americans.

As president, Trump said he would shut down mosques, create special IDs and a database for Muslims, and bar all Muslims from entering the United States. His bigotry comes with real consequences. With backlash from Paris and San Bernardino, Trump’s call for a ban on Muslims in America escalated an already hostile environment.

In the past few weeks, the American Muslim community has experienced mosque arsons, vandalism of Muslim homes, pig heads being thrown at places of worship, Muslim women shot at, Muslim store owner assaulted, harassment and verbal abuse in public places, school bullying, and other acts of hate and discrimination. Many American Muslims are feeling nervous and have legitimate concerns for their safety.

SEE: Threats and Violent Attacks Against Muslims in the U.S., Just From This Week

A Fridley, Minnesota resident shared the following: “My brother was leaving Lifetime Fitness in Fridley Saturday evening. He entered his car and was waiting for his car to get warm when a white man approached his …vehicle and tapped on his window asking my brother to lower it, presumably to speak with him. My brother complied, and the man proceeded to lift his shirt to reveal a gun and with a look of what my brother calls pure hatred, asked my brother if he was Muslim. My brother was terrified and replied that he was. Trying to diffuse the tension, my brother replied that he was just trying to go home without any problems. The man eventually walked away.”

A New York Times article, The Rise of Hate Search, featured Minnesota resident Asma Mohammed Nizami, a 23-year-old Muslim woman who wears the hijab. “Last Saturday, driving home from an event, [Nizami] stopped at a traffic light, where she saw a man in the next car over glaring at her. He rolled down his window and called her a ‘Muslim bitch.’ When Ms. Nizami started to drive away, he trailed her and then tried to run her off the road with his red Chevy Impala.”

While Trump brings out the worst in some people, we also see the best in others:

Read more »

Zaman, Eilberg, Duke: A call to condemn Donald Trump’s proposals on Muslims

By Asad Zaman, Amy Eilberg and Tom Duke, Pioneer Press

On behalf of a hundred Minnesota clergy and faith leaders, we write today with a sense of urgency about the unraveling of the fabric of American society. We ask all Minnesota political leaders to condemn the Islamophobic statements of Mr. Donald Trump.

On Dec. 7, Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump called for “a total and complete shutdown of Muslims entering the United States.” Earlier he called for a database to track Muslims in America and for many mosques to be shut down.

Such discriminatory, bigoted statements by the presidential frontrunner of a major political party make it appear that bigotry is the perceived stance of that party and that it thrives in the politics of our nation. As such, condemnation by all Minnesota political leaders is urgently needed on this issue.

Continue reading at Pioneer Press…

Imam Asad Zaman is executive director of the Muslim American Society of Minnesota. Amy Eilberg is a rabbi who teaches at United Theological Seminary. Lutheran pastor Tom Duke (ELCA-retired) is coordinator of Saint Paul Interfaith Network.

 

WANT TO ADD YOUR VOICE?

If you like this piece, share it on social media. We invite you to join us in this project on our social media sites. We welcome your voice to the Comment section below — or consider writing a commentary, podcast or photo story. (For more information, email engageminnesota@gmail.com.)

 

A holiday letter from Muslim leaders in Minnesota

By Multiple authors, Star Tribune

Two faiths, one hope — for peace

To our Christian brothers and sisters:

Out of our shared love for the Messiah, Jesus, Son of Mary, Peace Be Upon Him, we greet you with peace and joy during your celebration of his life.

The Bible refers to him as the Messiah and describes the annunciation, his miraculous birth and his numerous miracles.

The Qur’an refers to him as the Messiah, Jesus, son of Mary. It teaches about his miraculous birth and how his mother Mary was honored above all the worlds. Muslims are instructed to invoke peace upon him whenever his name is mentioned.

The Qur’an narrates the story of the angel who visited Mary, saying “O Mary, indeed God has chosen you and purified you and chosen you above the women of all the worlds.” (Qur’an 3:42)

The angel said, “O Mary, indeed God gives you good news of a word from Him, whose name will be the Messiah, Jesus, son of Mary. He will be honored in this world and the Hereafter and he will be among those closest to God. He will speak to the people in the cradle and in maturity and he will be of the righteous.” (Qur’an 3:44-45)

Continue reading at Star Tribune…

 

This article was submitted by Imam Asad Zaman, Muslim American Society of Minnesota; Dr. Odeh Muhawesh, Imam Hussain Islamic Center; ShaykhaTamara Gray, Rabata/Daybreak Bookstore; Dr. Tamim Saidi, Masjid Al Kareem; Fedwa Wazwaz, Engage Minnesota; Dr. Shah Khan, Islamic Center of Minnesota; Dr. Onder Uluyol, Islamic Resource Group; Zafar Siddiqui, Al Amal School; Imam Sharif Mohamed, Islamic Civic Society of America — Masjid Dar Al-Hijrah, and Owais Bayunus, Islamic Center of Minnesota.

WANT TO ADD YOUR VOICE?

If you like this piece, share it on social media. We invite you to join us in this project on our social media sites. We welcome your voice to the Comment section below — or consider writing a commentary, podcast or photo story. (For more information, email engageminnesota@gmail.com.)

 

Trump the Stereotypes

By Memoona Ghani, Engage Minnesota

With recent events and bigotry going on against Muslims, a lot of people are wondering what should Muslims do. Is there really a true relationship between Islam and terrorism? Do they do any good work in the community? The answers to these questions are not difficult as Muslims are living among us. They have truly made a positive impact in the community in many areas. There is no relationship between Islam and terrorism, the same way there is no relationship between terrorism and Christianity or Judaism or any other religion. The radical mindset in humanity exists and so does the respectful mindset.

The students at the University of the Minnesota took it to their heart and want to continue breaking the stereotypes against Muslims. They believe just like others, their good work in the community will also not go waste and unheard. They are the youth with constructive dreams; they study, work and help their community.

nora

Nora Nashawaty

I’m Muslim-American & I spend 20 hours a week helping survivors at a domestic violence shelter–without compensation. #TrumpTheStereotypes

 

Suheila

Suheila Musani

I came to the US with my parents at the age of 5, raised and educated here.  As a college student, I took part in sports, and as a college student, I studied abroad in South Africa representing the US.  I am currently in my final year at the University of Minnesota. I am proud of my identity as a Muslim-American! ‪  #TrumpTheStereotypes

 

Read more »

An antidote for fear

By Hani HamdanEngage Minnesota.

Here’s a question: if you’re given the choice of either living in fear (and having your fear be a money maker for politicians and pundits) or feeling safe, which would you choose? Read more »

In Gratitude to Our Christian Neighbors

By Mustafa Siddiqui, Engage Minnesota

In the spirit of the Holidays, the Muslim Community of Islamic Center of Minnesota in Columbia Heights, would like to thank it’s neighbors for being “Good Neighbors” for the past 40+ years.

Our congregation members and their families will be out “Door to Door” to meet and greet their neighbors and pass out prepackaged Gift Baskets to their immediate neighbors surrounding our Abukhadra Masjid mosque.

We will also deliver similar packages to the following: First Lutheran Church of Columbia Heights, City of Columbia Heights, Columbia Heights Police Department, and Columbia Heights Fire Department.

The neighbor holds a special status in Islam. Islam encourages Muslims to treat their neighbors in a gentle way that reflects the true and genuine spirit of Islam as exemplified in its tolerant aspect especially with people of other faiths.

It makes no difference whether the neighbors are Muslim or non-Muslim.

Ayesha, the Mother of the Believers, stated that she once asked Prophet Muhammad (peace and blessings be upon him), “O Messenger of Allah! I have two neighbors. To whom shall I send my gifts?” Prophet Muhammad (peace and blessings be upon him) said, “To the one whose gate is nearer to you.”

It is clear from the above Prophetic Hadith that Muslims are encouraged to not only treat our neighbors kindly, but also to exchange gifts with them. The wording of the Hadith does not indicate whether the one with whom we exchange gifts is a Muslim or not.

WHAT: Celebrate Christmas Holidays With Neighbors
WHEN: Sunday, December 20th. 2015 at 2:00 PM
WHERE: 4056 7th. St. NE, Columbia Heights, MN 55421
CONTACT: Mustafa Siddiqui, Chairman, Islamic Center of Minnesota
PHONE: 612-605-9797

WANT TO ADD YOUR VOICE?

If you like this piece, share it on social media. We invite you to join us in this project on our social media sites. We welcome your voice to the Comment section below — or consider writing a commentary, podcast or photo story. (For more information, email engageminnesota@gmail.com.)

Lessons on tolerance while living in America

By Memoona Ghani, Engage Minnesota

memoona
Before coming to USA, I always thought that America is all about bikinis and the Hollywood lifestyle, and that parents and kids both always want to get away from each other, i.e. kids to be of 18 so either they can leave the house or parents can kick them out. I was under the impression that most kids were not interested in getting higher education while parents were also not willing to sacrifice for their children’s higher education or careers. I thought that all the children wanted to work at McDonalds or Burger King when they grow up and that parents were okay with this.

However, I was wrong.  Those were stereotypes I learned about fellow Americans and the United States from across the seas. In reflection, that is all what was available.

Living amongst fellow Americans, I came to a humble realization that human beings want the same things in the life, and that parents in America love their kids the same way as I saw in a Muslim country and that they want their kids to excel in life and education. I met children who did not wish to leave their families upon turning 18, and I found that not every parent asks their child to leave the house.

I experienced that the majority of Americans, regardless of their faith, acknowledge modesty and practice it.  What changed my perception?  It’s the living amongst and talking to people from a different place – America – that enlightened me and increased my knowledge. That- my friends, is the key to tolerance, love and respect for human beings and humanity.

Read more »

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 407 other followers

%d bloggers like this: