Category Archives: Fedwa Wazwaz

Lessons on power and oppression from Moses 6

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)

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Sometimes, it takes time before God’s justice will manifest. Oppressors are sometimes given many chances for repentance and transformation.  Some receive, while others reject and grow in delusion.

I was trying to decide which article by scholars on trauma to share, but the reading is quite long and difficult to follow.  However, I found this article on psychotherapy which is a very easy reading that can help you follow my analysis in this piece.  Try to read it before continuing with the rest of this reflection piece.

God opened a door of repentance, and, in the case of the magicians, they saw the truth and told Pharaoh:

So the magicians were thrown down to prostration: they said, “We believe in the Lord of Aaron and Moses”.

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Learning from charlatans

By Fedwa Wazwaz, Engage Minnesota

Imam Ibn Hazm has noted, those who cross the line when offering advice and help become a “seeker of submission and possession,” are wrongdoers and not advisers.

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Sometimes, you meet people with knowledge. These people both expand your horizons and strengthen your faith in God. Sometimes, you meet charlatans. At first, they seem to offer you sincere advice and assistance, and yet it turns out to be toxic.

How can we tell the difference, and what can we learn from charlatans?

Sometimes God puts you in the path of charlatans. This isn’t so they can teach you wisdom, but so you can learn gratitude and humility from those who—like Satan and Pharaoh—try to pressure you into pledging your allegiance to them instead of God.  They will encourage you not to give money to ‘XYZ’ to encourage you to give money to them.

Knowledge and wisdom are a form of power. However, when they are misapplied, as by charlatans, they can do serious damage. It’s important to learn from charlatans what not to do.

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Emotional Bullying and Being a ‘Winner’ in Life

By Fedwa Wazwaz, Engage Minnesota

“Once a target realises this, they can take comfort from the fact that every time they are blamed, criticised or subjected to another specious allegation by the bully, the bully is implicitly admitting or revealing something about themselves.”
–Kitty Jones

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For a few years, a woman contacted me regarding a story about her in the shadows that was widely circulating.

Bits by bits the story unfolded itself to her, not through honest and open discussion, but slander, projection, bullying, emotional blackmail, gaslighting, mental abuse, harassment, and stalking.

The story began with another woman who wanted to bring her down and humble her. This woman saw herself as a matriarch and took it upon herself to act as Judge, Jury, and Executioner of the town. She demanded respect from everyone and wanted all women to acknowledge her sense of greatness in their eyes.

This woman created a team of people and designated each a role. One played the spokesperson, other the spies, some the hyenas who publicly attacked the woman targeted if she responds back. Others played an assigned role when it was needed.

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‘Nobody’s perfect’

By Fedwa Wazwaz, Engage Minnesota

Indeed, those who are in denial about their own specific imperfections are often obsessed with the imperfections of others.

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People often say: “Nobody’s perfect.” Many motivational speakers and life coaches are fond of the phrase. Even Adam, the first among us, wasn’t perfect. It’s undeniably true, and obsessing over perfection can be a harmful practice. But what sorts of things can we hide behind the phrase “nobody’s perfect?”

Imagine a child who is raised in a family where, every time he does something wrong, his parents make excuses: “He didn’t mean it,” “he’s a good boy,” “everyone makes mistakes.” Instead of the child facing the consequences of his actions, accepting responsibility, and repairing the harm, he avoids them because “he’s only human.”

This can result in a case like Brock Turner’s, where, even when he has been convicted of rape, his parents make excuses and help him evade responsibility. Here, the mantra that “I’m not perfect” becomes a way of refusing to deal with one’s crimes.

Indeed, those who are in denial about their own specific imperfections are often obsessed with the imperfections of others.

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Transforming Anger: Martin Luther King, Jr.

By Fedwa Wazwaz, Engage Minnesota

“Today, remember that MLK was an organizer who confronted unjust government policy of racism. Arrested 30 times, stabbed in the chest, sued for perjury, home bombed, and more; so America live up to its promises of Liberty & Justice for All.”
–Rep. Keith Ellison

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Below is a presentation that I made regarding the life of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.  I prefer to remember him as someone who acknowledged the suffering and oppression taking place and turning to God to receive wisdom and understanding on how to transform that anger which is justified into a transformative force for himself and his community and beyond.

 

This is an excerpt from a forthcoming book, currently titled Reflections of Faith: Lessons from the Prophets.

Fedwa Wazwaz is a Palestinian-American born in Jerusalem, Palestine and raised in the US.  She was the chair of the Interfaith Relations at Islamic Center of Minnesota.  She has completed training in restorative justice at the University’s Center for Restorative Justice and Peacemaking.  She was a 2008-2009 policy fellow at the University of Minnesota’s Humphrey Institute of Public Affairs.  She is a public speaker and writer and lives in Brooklyn Park, Minnesota.

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