Monday, July 23, 2018
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Confronting the negative image

By Abubakar N. Kasim


Assalaam Alaykum Warahmatullah

Every conscious Muslim living in the west must be and should be  worried and concerned about the future of our community and the direction it is heading to  in an era when hatred against Muslims has been building up and gaining momentum like wildfire. It is like a piece of soil which is ready to erupt violently at any moment as a result of the volcanic forces that has been building up over time.

Depending where you live, the amount of tension varies. In London for instance the situation is getting serious as Muslims are facing the threat of hate mongers using acid to attack them with. Also, according to the news, an armed militia in Alberta is training with live ammunition in order to attack the community around the country.

Thanks to the right wing politicians and neocon media commentators, they deserve credit for the hatred and animosity that has been gaining momentum over the years. It is easy to cure an illness at its early stage but it is hard to contain it once it spreads its venom. When anti Muslim hatred started, the leadership of the community should  have confronted it right then.

We have to come up with a  plan to save the ship. We ought to strategize our plans to confront the hate so that our future generations will not end up in concentration camps or lose their identity altogether and melt down in the wider society and abandon their faith.

There are certain and crucial steps we have to consider before acids is thrown at our faces here in North America.

  • Hatred in the media must be confronted and challenged. We should empower the community and instill  in them self confidence in order to be proud of who they are and never allow the tree of hatred to grow in their circles. As the CSIS employees stood up for their rights and took the management to court, others should follow pursuit in standing up for their dignity and respect.  I am certain, from my past experiences working at the airport, working condition for Muslims has turned into poisonous but very few people choose to fight back.
  • Those who practice faith in the community  (which only represents a small fraction of the wider community) should unite among themselves and avoid tribalism and sectarianism  such as  who is Salafi and Sufi. They should work hard to reach out to the wider community who only show up at mosques  in Ramadhan and on Eid. They should make mosques places of fun and welcoming.
  • Physical fitness should be emphasized including self-defense courses to women. It should be made crucial and a must for all so that when they are attacked they can at least defend themselves.
  • Community leadership should invest in the media and political think tank  as other communities do. Communities like Sikhs, Sri Lankan are well connected with politicians and no one can kick them around like a ball.

Hatred against Muslims has reached a boiling  point.  We as a community  are partly  to blame for not living up to our religious values and principles.

By Allah as I used to tell the congregation which I was leading at the workplace on Fridays, had we been representing our values with our colleagues and neighbors,  our situations would have been different. People would have respected us and they would have stood up for us.

In spite of the hatred everywhere, there are still people who are objective and don’t buy the lies that are fed to them  by hate mongers. When President Trump introduced travel ban, I was moved to see the protests everywhere including immigration lawyers who volunteered at airports to help the stranded passengers.

We have to reach out to these kind hearted and caring  people and build a relationship with them.

Hardcore followers of Trump and right wing commentators use the media to spread fear about us. With their big mouth, they portray themselves  as  the majority but  as we have seen during the recent travel ban protests, there are still open minded people who don’t buy such hatred.

If  we don’t reach out to these voices of sanity and nurture them, the evil forces will take advantage of our silence and try to convert  those who are simple minded and only watch Fox News to their side.

We have a lot to do. We have to wake up. Our situation is deplorable. We are not even able to get approval for a cemetery for God sake as what have just happened in Quebec.  Soon they will even try to take away the right to breathe Oxygen. Bullies are never satisfied in demanding more from their victims.

We have a lot of talented people in our community including leading doctors, lawyers, professors, business people  and professionals of all work of life.

We have the talent, the brain and the resources. It is only a matter of organizing ourselves, putting our ego and tribalism aside and work for the betterment of our community and for the wellbeing of humanity at large.

May Allah help us all.

Abubakar N. Kasim
Toronto, Ontario


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