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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It is caucus time; we need your support.

Minnesota precinct caucuses will be held today, February 6, starting at 7:00 pm.  You might want to come early if you want to support Minnesota Break the Bonds in passing a couple of resolutions.  We also have a FaceBook group if you want to join us.


So what is a caucus?

Precinct caucuses are meetings run by Minnesota’s political parties. They are the first in a series of meetings where parties may endorse candidates, select delegates, and set goals and values (called party platforms).

In 2018, one part of precinct caucuses will be a preference ballot for the candidates you want your political party to support for Governor.

If you want a visual aid instead of reading watch the following video:


How does it work?

You can click on here for more information on finding your party caucus, on eligibility and how the night unfolds.

At the caucus you also get to introduce resolutions for your party to include and address.  This is your chance to push solutions that will nurture a better Minnesota.

If you are planning to go, please consider supporting Minnesota Break the Bonds by introducing the following resolutions for your party to include in their platform:

  • Resolution 1:

Category:  Government Accountability to the public.

The State of MN must not invest in nor contract with nations or corporations violating human rights laws. – The State Board of Investment formerly had guidelines to restrict investments in countries and corporations which did not violate human rights, labor rights or environmental protections. When MN BBC urged them to follow their own guidelines, they instead threw out the guidelines altogether. We want them back!

  • Resolution 2:

Category: Civil, Human and Constitutional Rights.

The State of MN must not restrict the Constitutional rights to Free Speech and advocacy by individuals and organizations, nor retaliate against the exercise of those rights. – This should not be controversial, right? But the MN legislature passed, and Governor Dayton signed into law, a bill which does exactly that: it requires a person or company doing business with the state to sign a certification that it does not participate in a boycott of Israel. If the individual cannot sign this certification the state will not grant the contract. Similar laws were ruled unconstitutional in a Supreme Court ruling Claybourne Hardware v NAACP, and recently a court threw out a similar law in Kansas.

Ask your party chair for resolution form or find it online and fill it out in advance.

Minnesota DFL Resolution Form
Republican Resolution Form

Please bring these resolutions to your caucuses on February 6, and please let us know what the results were!

Engage Minnesota!

‘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


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.

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.)

© Copyright 2005-2017.  Fedwa Wazwaz, All rights reserved.

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