Category Archives: Fedwa Wazwaz

Beyond shame, violence, and terror

By Fedwa Wazwaz, Engage Minnesota

One form of social-control shaming has been the humiliation of Muslims in an attempt to get us to transform into something “more American,” more comfortable, and more familiar.

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Faith, as I’ve said before, is about accepting ourselves as humans and turning to God to help us grow, heal, and be nurtured. This isn’t possible if we feel ashamed of who we are, of our core identities.

Oppressors—who are often themselves suffering from unacknowledged shame—don’t fight us just physically, but also psychologically.

The path to faith and healing is the path to knowing yourself. The more you know yourself, the harder it is for you to be recruited against another person.

When we talk about shame, we often think of public reprimand.  Yet, that is the least destructive of shaming as you know who is doing the shaming and can respond. For example, President Donald Trump’s shaming is faced with strong responses by many groups.  The worst of shaming is the insidious and hidden type which leaves a person or group conflicted of their perception of reality and undermines one’s ability to respond.

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Guilt, remorse, and getting beyond the self-help placebo

By Fedwa Wazwaz, Engage Minnesota

“O God! Grant us enough fear (of displeasing Thee) that it may serve as a barrier between us and our sins. . .and grant us enough faith that it may help us to face the misfortunes of this world easily.”
–Prayer of Prophet Muhammad, upon him peace and blessings.

fedwa wazwaz
It’s important to distinguish between two very different emotional processes: guilt and remorse.

We sometimes think of the two as interchangeable, but in truth they are very different. Guilt is connected with control, obligation, and fear. When you’re feeling guilty, you’re being shamed and disempowered. At times, this shame can be personal, part of a private controlling force. But often, guilt is part of a broad societal shaming.

For instance, Muslims have been pressured, for the past sixteen years, to feel guilty for the horrific events of September 11, 2001, as well as other violent attacks. We’ve been put on the guilt-track, where we need to constantly excuse, explain, apologize, and apologize for a crime that took us by surprise as it did everybody else.

Indeed, this guilt denied American Muslims the space to grieve. We, too, needed to share with the rest of the community the process of loss. We, too, needed to work through our sorrow and fear.

Instead, we were roped by a feeling of guilt and shame, and a burden to prove that we were not guilty. But in this case, there is nothing we can do to prove we’re not guilty. Still, the president’s executive order evokes September 11 when suddenly revoking permanent residents’ access to their homes, jobs, and lives.

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Jesus in the Bible, Jesus in the Qu’ran

By Fedwa Wazwaz, Engage Minnesota

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Jesus appears differently in Christianity and in Islam. Yet between the two, Jesus is a point of connectivity: His teachings and his life story are important in both the Bible and the Qur’an.

For me, as a Muslim, the teachings of Jesus remind me of the central importance of vulnerability. Jesus was born into a marginalized community during the rule of the powerful, patriarchal Roman Empire. He had no father to protect him. And it wasn’t just the agents of the Roman Empire who opposed Jesus’s works. His own community was often against him. So Jesus faced many forces that wanted to silence him.

Against all these forces, we’re told, young Jesus had only his mother Mary to defend him.

Prophet Muhammad, peace and blessings upon him, underlined the link between himself and Jesus: “Both in this world and in the Hereafter, I am the nearest of all the people to Jesus, the son of Mary, peace and blessings upon him. The prophets are paternal brothers; their mothers are different, but their religion is one.”

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What is—and isn’t—bravery?

By Fedwa Wazwaz, Engage Minnesota

fedwa wazwaz
The David and Goliath story is used by people around the world as a structure and a storyline to help them understand their own actions. The story has a wide appeal: It’s empowering for any of us to see ourselves as a small, unlikely “David” figure fighting against a behemoth of a “Goliath.” After all, justice was on David’s side, while Goliath had brute force and worldly power. And David won.

This story has been adapted to the purposes of people across many political and religious spectra. Ultra-right-wing commentators have called themselves Davids against a Goliath entity of the mainstream media; ISIS fighters paint themselves as a David against the Goliath of the United States military might. There have been heroic David-figures as well. Nelson Mandela has been called a David against the South African apartheid regime’s Goliath. Or a small whistleblower standing up to corporate corruption might also be called a David.

It’s an easy story to fall back on. As important and appealing as it is, when read simply the story can blind us to criticism, allowing us to see ourselves as a tiny hero against powerful aggressors.

But what was David’s story, really?

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When is it time for forgiveness?

By Fedwa Wazwaz, Engage Minnesota

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When we see people oppressed, trampled on, violated, and their loved ones murdered, “forgiveness” is one of the first words that often comes to hand. There are thousands of memes and stories that urge people to forgive. Indeed, popular wisdom informs people that the anger they carry is only damaging to them. Offload it, we’re told, and everything will be fine.

Forgiveness can be a positive force, of that there’s no doubt. But we must distinguish between a harmful “instant forgiveness” and a helpful, spiritually satisfying “sustainable forgiveness.”

Real, sustainable forgiveness rarely comes quickly, and it cannot be forced, compelled, or coerced. A sustainable forgiveness certainly isn’t about quickly offloading anger, which often forces victims to deny their reality –putting them in the same position that they were in when they were first victimized.

Indeed, there are many steps on the path toward sustainable forgiveness. This kind of forgiveness doesn’t emerge straight away from victimization, and it certainly doesn’t ascribe to “forgive and forget!”

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Loyalty & cooperation are two-way streets

By Fedwa Wazwaz, Engage Minnesota

Most of your sins are because of your tongues.
–Prophet Muhammad, upon peace and blessings.

fedwa wazwaz
There are frequent calls—from law-enforcement officials, from radio personalities, and from ordinary people—for Muslims in the United States to be “loyal.” It’s not new. The loyalty of many other groups has been questioned: Japanese, Catholics. But what does it mean to be a loyal citizen of the United States, and how can loyalty be fostered?

Loyalty doesn’t mean that you agree to every action taken by your country’s government. As a US citizen, I have some criticism of US foreign policy. But loyalty does mean that I will address this in the public square. I will raise my questions not to attack America, but in a way that will benefit the country. When you’re speaking up as a loyal citizen, you’re speaking openly—you’re not plotting and planning in the shadows.

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Trumped into silence

By Fedwa Wazwaz, Engage Minnesota

“Silence is the best way to answer a fool.”

fedwa wazwaz
After the Democratic National Convention (DNC, Donald Trump said the reason Ghazala Khan didn’t speak at the DNC is because she wasn’t allowed to. He played on stereotypes of Muslim women as oppressed and voiceless.

Some women will respond through a twitter campaign to demonstrate that we don’t need anyone’s permission to speak.

Today, between 10 a.m. and 1 p.m. (EDT), Monday, August 1, using the hashtag‪ #‎CanYouHearUsNow‬, some Muslim women will share a bit about who they are and how they speak out.

I respect these women’s right to express their outrage in this manner.  However, I disagree with this approach.  Why?  As a direct speaker, I have faced harsh criticism for my not speaking in a way that adheres to a stereotypical view of a Muslim woman by Muslims and non-Muslims, both men and women alike.  Hence, boxing women to speak in one way to appease a bigot or a group of bigots plays right into their game.  A show of false bravado is not necessary.  Rather, what is needed is an educational lesson on silence.

As someone who is a direct speaker, I heard a woman, Ghazala Khan’s message on stage very loud and clear.  A wise woman who stood dignified and respectfully – expressed her pain and suffering at Trump with her silence.  She was not silenced by her husband, but, too stunned by Trump’s stupidity to even respond.  She was genuine, open and authentic.  She was being herself, not putting on an act of false bravado like Trump has been doing since the Presidential campaign.

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Support a platform for Minnesotan Muslims

By Fedwa Wazwaz, Engage Minnesota

“When we view ourselves as the protagonist of a story in which we are always right, we collect grievances about other people by noticing everything we do and noting the ‘injustices’ that are done to us.  All of this builds resentment within us and instigates conflict.”  –Dr. Umar Faruq Abd-Allah 

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A Somali MPR reporter is stopped at the courthouse where he’s been going every day.

A 6th grade Muslim schoolgirl in New York is called “ISIS,” put in headlock, and punched as middle-school boys tried to pull off her headscarf.

A fourteen-year-old boy who wants to show his clock to a teacher is treated as a terrorist.

My daughter is called a “terrorist” in school.

These are not isolated incidents, but part of an increasingly powerful narrative about Muslims. I get up early to read the news. When I do, I find Muslims all over the world, mainly in a negative light, often framed as a stereotype of violence and hatred.

In the last year, the voices of ISIS and their supporters have been saturating the internet—both because of their shocking acts and because of how well they fit with stereotypes of the “eternally violent” Muslim. One would think they are the majority of Muslims rather than a fringe minority.

All around the world, Muslims are working as journalists, attending school, inventing things—but extremists get the coverage and the mic. The picture is overwhelmed by them, and they seem like the majority.

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Ramadan Mubarak (Blessed Ramadan)

By Fedwa Wazwaz, Engage Minnesota

 

“O who believe, fasting is decreed for you as it was decreed for those before you; perchance you will guard yourselves.”

“The month of Ramadan is the month in which the Quran was sent down, a guidance for the people, and clear verses of guidance and criterion.” (Quran: Chapter 2, 183)

The fourth pillar of Islam is Sawm or Fasting in the month of Ramadan. Fasting is also practiced in many other religions and is mentioned in the Torah and Bible as well as in Hindu scriptures. Observant Christians fast during Lent by giving up a particular food. Hindus fast on certain days of the week or on holidays, and for Jews, the most important day of fasting is on Yom Kippur, which lasts a little over a day.

Ramadan is the 9th month in the Islamic Calendar. Because Ramadan follows the lunar calendar, it rotates through the seasons, moving back around eleven days each year. Last year, Ramadan started on June 18th and this year, the Islamic Society of North America, declared Ramadan to begin on June 6th, 2016.

Muslims fast from dawn to sunset, abstaining from food and drink during this time. The aim of the fast is to weaken the physical desire or self and allow for the purification of the soul. It’s a process of spiritual purification and strengthening of willpower to carry us through the year. Muslims break their fast with dates and water followed by the evening prayer and dinner.

It is customary for families to attend the local mosque after breaking fast for special nightly prayers called taraweeh. The entire Qur’an, 114 chapters or 6,000 verses are recited by the end of Ramadan in a melodious recitation, called tajweed.

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Inflict the legal punishments on the poor and forgive the rich?

By Fedwa WazwazEngage Minnesota

The camel sees all of the other camel’s humps but never his own.
–Bedouin Proverb

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Prophet Muhammad, upon him peace and blessings, taught Muslims that a society should not “inflict the legal punishments on the poor and forgive the rich.” This is not just an Islamic teaching–it has also been a teaching of those noble Americans who have nurtured our country to a higher understanding of human dignity and value.

Yet, with ISIS, we seem again to be forgiving the rich and focusing the brunt of our punishments on the poor.

In a newly aired PBS “Frontline” documentary, titled “The Secret History of ISIS,” produced by Michael Kirk, Mike Wiser, and Jim Gilmore examines how ISIS or Daesh came to be.  The documentary discusses how the US contributed to the rise of ISIS through many mistakes, as well as lies, told to create a link between 9/11 and Saddam Hussein so that we could make a case for Iraq.

Experts, including CIA officials, discussed how mistakes, lies and exaggerations were told along the path to a U.S. war on Iraq, which in turn gave rise to ISIS, also known as ISIL or Daesh.

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Reflections on Healing

By Fedwa WazwazEngage Minnesota

I am not what happened to me, I am what I choose to become.
–Carl Jung.

 

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There are health nuts and healing nuts.  I guess you could say I am a healing nut as I was addicted to programs, workshops, courses, and books that have to do with healing and reconciliation.

Tuesday, May 17th, there is an event titled, Acknowledging our Brokenness – Reflections on the Impact of Trauma from the Individual to the Community.

The event will be held at the
Amherst H. Wilder Foundation

451 Lexington Pkwy N,
Saint Paul, Minnesota 55104

7 PM to 8:45 PM

The event is free and open to the public.

Being that this is mental health month, I would like to encourage people to attend the event.  When we do an activity in a group or support it as a community, it makes it easier for people afraid to seek help to reach finally out and ask for help.

The suffering that is a result of trauma – if not addressed can spill over and affect family members as well as the community and society as a whole.

While I advocate for people to seek programs that help them deal with past trauma, I want to emphasize at times we face a major dead end in the process.  I learned over the years an essential wisdom behind an Islamic phrase, which I used to recite without reflection.  It is an Arabic phrase, so be forewarned, and do not fear.

lahawla

Reading it from right to left, it is pronounced like this:

lā hawla wa lā quwwata illā bi Allāh.

It is often translated as there is no power or strength except through Allāh.

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Syria: We Stand By You

By Fedwa Wazwaz, Engage Minnesota

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There are crimes against humanity taking place in Syria. Some blame the Syrian regime. Others blame the “anti-Assad propaganda.”

The conversation begins: who started it or who’s the lesser evil and in the chaos of blame and destruction, many innocents are killed, many drowned fleeing for refuge and many have become refugees.  Others are trapped in Syria watching like spectators the country fall apart.

What is our role in this bloodbath and what can we do to end the war?

As a Muslim, we begin resolving every matter with prayers of repentance and seeking guidance and help from God.

Please take the following with a grain of salt, definitely not a scholarly or political expert analysis.

  1. Given the length of the war and the human cost – I appeal for us to call for a Hudna or cessation of violence.
  2. Bring awareness to the situation.
  3. Elect a leader for the rebellion that represents the people of Syria.  Not a charismatic figure, but someone with wisdom and understanding, who is interested in the people of Syria, than in bringing Assad down.
  4. Submit a request for the Syrian opposition to join the International Criminal Court.  Violations and crimes against humanity need to be called out on all sides.
  5. End the mocking, ridicule and anything that adds fuel to the fire. As much as you can – do your part to promote calm to assist the refugees and those impacted by war.  In listening to lessons from the Qur’an by Imam Al Sharaawy – he explained that cursing an evil person only empowers him to do more evil.  Is this what we want?  Remember the man who killed 99 people and how the intelligent scholar helped him end his killing spree.
  6. We need to come up with a face-saving solution for Assad and his regime to step down.  If you send a message of no hope to Assad, he will have every reason to fight to the very end.

We need to flood the Russian Embassy with calls.

Protest in St Louis Park tomorrow at 4:45.  Message CISPOS for details.

CISPOS: Committee in Solidarity with the People of Syria

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Lessons on power and oppression from Moses 5

By Fedwa Wazwaz, Engage MN

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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Oppression works in many ways. One way is by convincing people that they’re bad: that they’re thugs, savages, or terrorists. A people can be controlled psychologically when an oppressor makes them feel as though they can’t overcome a mistake that they’ve made or defines them by their worst moment. This is also true if an oppressor defines the “other” by the worst actions of the fringe amongst them.

An oppressor thus doesn’t allow people to grow. To oppress another, you have to dehumanize them in your eyes first and then, later, in the eyes of others, then in their own eyes.  An oppressor takes the worst act and the worst moment and keeps people hostage to that act or moment.

Sometimes, we react to this by trying to show only our best moments. This creates a cycle of showing good Muslim, bad Muslim, good Muslim, bad Muslim, and doesn’t advance the discussion.  A case in point is 9/11 or the Paris attacks, where many in the Muslim community reacted to being demonized by working to prove that Muslims are model citizens.  

Even though it doesn’t seem so, it’s counter-productive for Muslim-Americans to present everything that Muslims do as good. It feeds into the psychological construct of oppression by not allowing Muslims to admit error and grow. We cannot “prove” that Muslims are perfect, because there are also bad and ugly aspects of Muslim communities like everywhere else. Our argument should be, we are human and then turn the mirror around and say, like you.

Craig Hicks, who assassinated three young people in Chapel Hill, counted himself an atheist, but this hardly proves all atheists would act in this way. But it does tell Bill Maher and Richard Dawkins, two atheists who are also prominent bigots, that you and your group are human, too.

But we can’t just condemn Dawkins and others. We also need to give opportunities for growth and repentance, because God is a perpetual forgiver.   

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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)

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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?

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Join Us for Discussion on Wrestling Jerusalem

By Fedwa Wazwaz, Engage Minnesota

fedwaThis Saturday, I was invited to collaborate with the Guthrie Theater and join creator/performer Aaron Davidman for a discussion on his play Wrestling Jerusalem.  

Wrestling Jerusalem, is a play written and performed by Aaron Davidman with direction by Michael John Garcés Set in America, Israel and Palestine.  The play follows one man’s journey to understand the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Davidman’s performance is a personal story that grapples with the complexities of identity, history and social justice. Giving voice to 17 different characters, the play sheds light on one of the most entrenched conflicts of our time.

Please join us this Saturday, Guthrie Theater, at 1 pm.  The play is 82 minutes long.  A community discussion and my feedback will follow.

Fedwa Wazwaz is a Palestinian-American born in Jerusalem, Palestine and raised in the US.  She is the chair for 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 lives in Brooklyn Park, Minnesota.

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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.)

Blessed Festival of Sacrifice

By Fedwa Wazwaz, Engage Minnesota

fedwaI am rewriting a blog I wrote for Eid ul-Adha, or Festival of Sacrifice.  September 24, 2015 is a special day for Muslims all around the world. Eid ul-Adha is one of the major Muslim holidays. It comes right after the fifth pillar of Islam called the Hajj or pilgrimage. The Hajj commemorates the life and trials of Prophet Abraham’s family, upon them peace and blessings. Once in a lifetime, every adult Muslim who has the physical and financial ability is required to make a pilgrimage to the holy city of Makkah, home of the Ka’bah, which Muslims believe was built by Abraham and his son Ishmael, upon them be peace.

I made the trip last year and this year, my brother Kennedy is experiencing the special event.

The Hajj pilgrimage is an extremely communal event as over two million Muslims, men and women of varied ethnicities and nationalities, dressed in simple white clothing symbolizing the equality of all people, perform identical rituals.

Eid ul-Adha celebrations are similar to Eid ul-Fitr with the addition of sacrificing a lamb, goat or cow to commemorate Abraham’s willingness to sacrifice his son, Ishmael, who Muslims believe was miraculously replaced by a lamb, similar to the Biblical story.

Jeewan Chanicka explained Abraham’s sacrifice in his Hajj reminders with the following words:

But it wasn’t his son that was slaughtered. It was his attachment. It was his attachment to anything that could compete with his love for God. And the beauty of such a sacrifice is this: Once you let go of your attachment, what you love is given back to you– in a purer, better form. So let us ask ourselves during these beautiful days of sacrifice, which attachments do we need to slaughter?

People share the meat of the animal with the poor and needy, relatives and friends.

The day begins with a special congregational prayer followed by a short sermon. People are dressed in their best clothing, and children traditionally receive new clothing as well as other gifts. Food, holiday congratulations, and festivities such as rides, balloons, and other fun activities for children follow the prayers. The holiday lasts for four days during which people usually visit or invite each other.

In conclusion, I want to share Rumi’s Eid al-Adha Poem.

BISMILLAH! (In the name of God!)

It’s a habit of yours to walk slowly.
You hold a grudge for years.
With such heaviness, how can you be modest?
With such attachments, do you expect to arrive anywhere?

Be wide as the air to learn a secret.
Right now you’re equal portions clay
and water, thick mud.

Abraham learned how the sun and moon and the stars all set.
He said, No longer will I try to assign partners for God.

You are so weak. Give up to grace.
The ocean takes care of each wave
till it gets to shore.

You need more help than you know.
You’re trying to live your life in open scaffolding.

Say Bismillah, In the name God,
As the priest does with knife when he offers an animal.

Bismillah your old self
to find your real name.
– Jalaluddin Rumi

I wish everyone in all places at all times a blessed Eid Mubarak. May God accept your good deeds and all your efforts during the blessed month of Dhul Hijjah (the name of the month in the Muslim lunar calendar).

Fedwa Wazwaz is a Palestinian-American born in Jerusalem, Palestine and raised in the US.  She is the chair for 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 lives in Brooklyn Park, Minnesota.

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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.)

Listening to God – Toward Healing and Reconciliation

By Fedwa Wazwaz, Engage Minnesota

The first duty of love is to listen.
–Paul Tillich

fedwaThere is a narration on the Prophet’s cousin, Imam Ali ibn Abu Talib, who was fighting an enemy with his sword ready to deal the final blow, then the enemy spit in his face. Ali refused to continue the battle as the fight became personally motivated.

We learn from this incident – that whether in battle or in discussion, when conflicts or a fight becomes poisoned with personal angst – the wisest thing to do is to ground oneself and remove the personal angst. Until the personal angst is removed, then the discussion can continue.

There are many roads in the valley of impotence in the face of adversity, and many lead to loss and perpetual suffering. At times, we find ourselves at a junction where many voices are giving us advice, however, all these voices lead us astray. There is the road of guidance which is a steep road, but first we must acknowledge that we do not know and seek guidance.

At times, voices that validate our pain and suffering seek to manipulate one in their most vulnerable state when a person is hurting and unaware. Whereas voices of guidance seek to center and ground you so you can see the roads ahead and choose the road to travel with wisdom and reflection. It is for this reason that God guides us to show patience in times of adversity, so we can reflect and follow the road of guidance and not one of the seductive roads of validation or conformity.

I like to emphasize listening, but not to validate the one speaking but if our aim is to guide another or receive guidance, then we must find where we are emotionally, mentally, spiritually on the map before we can guide each other appropriately. Giving people advice based on conjecture, false assumptions or projections of our own internal issues can lead to many misunderstandings and name-calling.

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Autism and Other Disabilities Fair

By Engage Minnesota

Autism Spectrum and Other Disabilities Awareness Fair

Activities for kids of all ages!
Tuesday, Nov. 20, 2012
10 a.m.–2:30 p.m.

Islamic Center of Minnesota
Gynasiumm
1401 Gardena Avenue,
Fridley

Autism Spectrum and Other Disabilities Awareness Fair provides a great opportunity for family members to talk to the medical and educational representatives about resources options; visit with organizations, disability, life insurance and wellness program representatives, as well as some community organizations that provide health and wellness programs.

For more information, contact Nemeh Sarraj at sarrne11@hotmail.com or 763-516-6065

There will be gluten free/casein free samples.

This year’s fair highlights include speeches by:

  • Theresa Namie from ANSWER
  • Nora Slawik from Autism Society of MN
  • Nancy Michael from Amaze Works

The following organizations will be present to answer your questions:

Legal:

  • Autism Law and Advocacy Center

Education:

  • The Whole Learning School

Advocacy:

  • ANSWER
  • ARC

Employment:

  • Opportunity Partners

Rehabilitative Services:

  • Fraser
  • Midwest Special Services

Other services:

  • Art Without Boundaries
  • Special Music of MN
  • In The Company of Kids
  • Amaze Works
  • Dodge Nature Center

Your attendance and support is welcome!

‘Day of Dignity’ held Sunday at Masjid An-Nur

By Engage Minnesota, Fedwa Wazwaz

On Sunday, October 7th in North Minneapolis, Masjid An-Nur will host the 2nd annual Twin Cities Day of Dignity, a day to celebrate dignity and well being in the Twin Cities. 

“It means alot to the communities,” said Masjid An Nur Imam Makram El-Amin.  He added that there are: “a ton of services as well as direct services to really help people have a higher quality of life”.

The event is a combination of day of service to the community and a free block party.  There will be many free services including health care services, hair cuts, books & school supplies, winter clothing, meals and health and hygiene kits.

CAIR-MN will be organizing a Free Brief Advice Legal Clinic at the Twin Cities Day of Dignity. This is the state’s only Muslim-run free legal clinic! Any lawyers or law students interested in volunteering, please contact CAIR-MN at info@mn.cair.com

Last year’s Day of Dignity had live music by Brother Ali and Freeway.  This year, there will be live music by Atmosphere and Stalley of Maybach Music Group.

The Day of Dignity – “We’re Here To Help Everyone”

The event will take place outside Masjid An-Nur Sunday from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m.  Masjid An-Nur is located at 1729 Lyndale Ave N.

Celebrate Civil Rights

CAIR-MN Ramadan Dinner to be held tonight!

CAIR MN 2012 Ramadan Dinner

On Friday, July 27, the Minnesota chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR-MN) will hold its 6th Annual Ramadan Dinner. It will be held at 7:30pm at the Mounds View Community Center, 5394 Edgewood Drive, Mounds View, MN 55112.

The event will feature CAIR-MN’s recent case wins and accomplishments, a Ramadan fast-breaking meal, and a video presentation. Guest speakers include CAIR National Executive Director Nihad Awad and Congressman Keith Ellison. CAIR-MN has had an incredible year. A few recent CAIR-MN accomplishments include: ·        

  • Reaching federally-mandated settlement agreements in student harassment cases in St. Cloud and Owatonna·        
  • Defeating the Minnesota anti-Sharia bill·        
  • Leading the call for an investigation of a mosque permit denial in St. Anthony Minnesota·        
  • Organizing a day-long seminar, Positive Interactions: Working Effectively with Your Muslim Employees,” for supervisors and human resources personnel·        
  • Organizing the state’s only Muslim-run free legal clinic·        
  • Receiving the Minnesota Council of Nonprofits “Mission and Excellence Anti-Racism” nonprofit award

SEE: CAIR-MN Photo Slideshow: http://youtu.be/fz1IzxfTBus

CAIR-MN is the state’s only Muslim civil rights advocacy organization. Its mission is to enhance the understanding of Islam, encourage dialogue, protect civil liberties, empower American Muslims, and build coalitions that promote justice and mutual understanding. For more information on CAIR-MN or the Ramadan Dinner, visit www.cairmn.com, call (612) 206-3360 or e-mail info@mn.cair.com

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