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In the footsteps of Al-Husayn

By Fedwa Wazwaz, Engage Minnesota

“Husayn is from me and I am from Husayn”
–Prophet Muhammad, upon him peace and blessings.

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A bomb went off in the capital of Somalia killing over 276 people and injuring 300.

People are understandably in total shock and grief as the tragedy is described as the worst massacre in the past 27 years.

The country was in a civil war since 1991.  No group has taken responsibility, but the government blames Al Shabab.

This tragedy touched us right here in Minnesota, as some Somali-Minnesotans were killed in the blast.  Locally, families are grieving the loss of Minnesotans.  One such person is Ahmed AbdiKarin Eyow, a Somali-Minnesotan who died in the recent blast in Somalia on Saturday, October 14, 2017, a few hours after he arrived at his hotel.

He died planning a better life for his family and motherland, but God had another plan. May God accept him as a martyr or witness in this holy month of Muharram.

The local Muslim community is raising funds for his family and funeral expenses.  If you would like to contribute, click here.

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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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Prophets in the Qur’an vs. the Bible

By Hani Hamdan, Engage Minnesota.

Knowing the way Muslims view prophets can be beneficial when formulating a good understanding of Islam and Muslims. The majority of prophets mentioned in the Qur’an are shared with the Old and New Testaments. Muslims recognize and revere Noah, Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, Joseph, Moses, and others. Muslims also believe that Adam received prophethood after leaving the Garden and they also believe Ishmael and kings David and Solomon to be prophets as well.

But there is a general notable difference between the stories of prophets in the Qur’an when compared to the Bible – a difference that yields an important aspect of the Islamic view of prophethood. Read the rest of this entry

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