Blog Archives

‘Shariah’ is not a scary word

By Elias Karmi, Engage Minnesota

 
The word ‘Shariah’ is a bit prickly even among many of the better educated in the West. I and many Muslims, however, grew up viewing Shariah as an exit from current-day injustices. Now, instead of having to read me blabbering away about it, fortunately for you I came across a highly insightful article by professor Noah Feldman, law professor at Harvard University and adjunct senior fellow at the Council on Foreign Relations. The following are two paragraphs from the first page of the article. Please check out the article and let professor Feldman do all the talking:

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‘Raw capitalism is dead’–and Muslims have a solution

By Elias Karmi, Engage Minnesota

It was just a few weeks ago that U.S. treasury secretary Henry Paulson declared raw capitalism’s death. And if I might add: Thank God someone realizes the futility of our current financial system. Two problems here: 1) it may be too late, and 2) even if we recover, the true solution may never be practiced.

It is challenging for someone who grew up surrounded by our current financial system to be able to feel what is fundamentally wrong with it. To illustrate, let me ask a question: Why is it that you can never own a house or open a business without borrowing money? And if you think that is the way things should be, it is not! Nor was it ever before in human history.

Borrowing money is not how humanity built its great historical monuments. The Pyramids and the Sistine Chapel were not paid for over years and years to come with interest. Yet in today’s world, if you avoid borrowing, you can barely add a wall to your house without going nearly bankrupt. Everyone, from individuals to large corporations and even governments are under some obligation to pay a debt that is often more than their net worth. How did we get here?

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Students Deserve Equal Religious Rights Under the Law

By Fedwa Wazwaz and Marcia Lynx Qualey, Engage Minnesota

Marcia Lynx Qualey

On April 9, we read Katherine Kersten’s column in the Star Tribune, and the e-mail exchange between Kersten and Asad Zaman, executive director of Tariq ibn Ziyad Academy (TIZA), and were compelled to respond.

I (Fedwa) have an eight-year-old daughter. I visited TIZA and decided not to enroll my daughter, choosing instead Al Amal School in Fridley. The primary reason is that I was convinced TIZA is not an Islamic School and does not teach Islamic Education to kids. I pay from my own pocket to put my daughter in Al Amal, the only Islamic school in the Twin Cities.

I (Marcia) have a four-year-old son, enrolled in a private Montessori school in St. Paul. While the school is housed adjacent to a Jewish temple—as TIZA is housed adjacent to a mosque—my son has learned nothing about Judaism by mere contact with the building. The school’s vacations are, as you might imagine, focused around Christian holidays.

Both of us work at the University of Minnesota, a public institution that receives taxpayer money. This school also closes on Christian holidays. Tests and school breaks are planned around Christian holidays to allow Christians time to celebrate. The floating holiday this year was on the Christian Good Friday, right before Christian Easter. There are “holiday parties” around Christmas Day—not, for instance, Ramadan.

However, the University of Minnesota presents itself as a secular university. Read the rest of this entry

The ‘True’ Act of a Muslim

heba-only.jpgBy Heba Abdel-Karim

Sitting at Borders on an early Saturday morning, I noticed an elderly couple coming to sit in an area near me. It was crowded, and the only two seats were quite far apart. One of them was right next to me. Being raised to respect the elderly, I happily gave up my seat for the man to sit by his wife. Not expecting a response, I started walking away to find another seat. He stopped me, however, and said something that amazed me, yet left me feeling cheerful until today. He said: “By the way, that was a true act of a Muslim.”

At that time, I was very happy with his comment, and I still am today. But now that I think back and reflect upon it, I am left pondering a question: How are we to know what is considered a true act of a Muslim and what isn’t?
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