Editorial-Arrests of Florida Imams Require Serious Investigation

May 19, 2011 by · Leave a Comment 

By Dr. Aslam Abdullah, TMO Editor-in-Chief

Two imams, (Muslim religious leaders) and four of their family members were arrested in Florida for allegedly sending money to the Taliban in Pakistan and supporting their terror network. The two were naturalized US citizens. The FBI and other law enforcement agencies rightly explained that the indictment was not against a community or religion but against individuals. The authorities have the recorded conversations of the two imams with the Taliban contacts in Pakistan and have the information about the money transfer between 2008 and 2010.

This is a serious issue and all mosque managements in the US need to take measures that that spiritual leadership positions must not be misused to promote personal political agenda. Regardless of how the situation is explained, the fact is that an average American would find it hard to trust a Muslim spiritual leader for his words. In his view, not only the individuals but people and institutions who support these individuals are guilty. However, illogical this perspective may be, but it cannot be overlooked.

It is the responsibility of mosque management to ensure that people who are given the responsibility to lead the community in spiritual matters are not pursuing some hidden political agenda. It is important that before hiring them, their background is checked and their understanding of religion is verified. There is nothing wrong in taking the help of the law enforcement agencies in having background check of individuals. The religious identity of a person is not a guarantee that his understanding of religion is sound or his past is free from actions that are contrary to religion.

The two imams of Florida should not have been at the position they were appointed. How could such people who have a duality in their character ever lead a people to the correct understanding of their faith. Does their behavior not confirm the fear of many non-Muslim Americans that Muslim Americans lie in order to promote their hidden agenda of destroying America from inside?

These sort of religious fanatics must be rooted out of the community. In fact, those who invite such people to America to lead the community in the masajid must be investigated too.The faith cannot be held hostage by the people who have nothing but hatred in their heart, two of the diseases that Islam demands must be fought.

Injustice must be fought but not through violent means. Yes, what is happening in Palestine is wrong and what is happening in Pakistan and Afghanistan is wrong. But the wrong can not be corrected by doing more wrong. Those among the Muslim community who promote hatred and anger and violence must realize that they have no place in the community. They will be challenged and thrown out of Muslim places of worship as they do not represent the faith and the example of the leader of the faith, the Prophet (s).

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Imams Condemn the Killing of UN workers in Afghanistan

April 11, 2011 by · Leave a Comment 

(WARREN, MI, 4/2/11) – The Imams committee of the Council of Islamic Organizations of Michigan condemns in the strongest terms the killing of innocent people and the UN workers at Mazar-i-Sharif UN station in Afghanistan.

Such violence is against the Islamic teachings and the spirit of the Holy Qur’an.

We are saddened by the unjust killing by a violent mob in Afghanistan, reacting to the Qur’an burning by Mr. Jones. Neither his provocative act nor any offense against the Islamic faith or Muslims would justify the killing of innocent.

We urge Mr. Jones to cancel plans to bring his hateful message to Michigan at the Islamic Center of America on April 22, to avoid potential irrational reaction by some equally ignorant among Muslims.
We urge all Muslims to ignore such provocative or aggressively symbolic acts against their faith.

The Qur’an teaches, “The good deed and the evil deed are not alike. Repel the evil deed with one which is better, then lo! he, between whom and thee there was enmity (will become) as though he was a bosom friend.” (41:34), the Qur’an further teaches, “…if anyone slays a human being unless it be [in punishment] for murder or for spreading corruption on earth-it shall be as though he had slain all mankind; whereas, if anyone saves a life, it shall be as though he had saved the lives of all mankind…” (5:32)

On behalf of the Imams and the Muslim community we offer our condolences and deepest sympathy to the family of the victims as we pray for peace and a world free of hate and bigotry.
The Imams Committee of the Council of Islamic Organizations of Michigan represents a coalition of Muslim religious leaders (imams) in the Metro-Detroit area.

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Islam in the Polls: Muslims Can Change Negative Views with Deeds

April 24, 2006 by · Leave a Comment 

Islam in the Polls: Muslims Can Change Negative Views With Deeds
By Hasan Zillur Rahim, Apr 17, 2006
Editor’s Note: Recent polls show that increasing numbers of Americans hold negative views of Islam. That isn’t surprising, writes New America Media contributor Hasan Rahim, considering which Muslims get all the press. Rahim writes on Islamic issues and has been an editor of Iqra, a national Islamic magazine.
SAN FRANCISCO—Americans know more about Islam than ever before — and they don’t like what they see.
A new CBS News poll conducted in early April suggests that 45 percent of Americans hold negative views of Islam, compared to 33 percent in the tense aftermath of the 9/11 attacks. A Washington Post-ABC News poll in March also showed a growing number of Americans (46 percent) expressing unfavorable opinions of Islam.
The situation has become so bleak that Muslim religious leaders sought the help of a Nobel Laureate to stem this rising tide of negativity. The Dalai Lama, 71, led leaders from Buddhism, Christianity, Judaism, Islam and Native American traditions at “A Gathering of Hearts Illuminating Compassion” conference in San Francisco recently. The leaders appealed to Americans not to equate Islam with terrorism.
What makes these polls so scary for Muslims is that the queried Americans confirmed that they were better informed about Islam now than they were five years ago.
In other words, despite all the mosque open houses, outreach and interfaith programs, books and articles on Islam, the idea that increased knowledge will lead to greater tolerance toward Islam and Muslims has become more elusive than ever.
Is there a contradiction here? Not really, if you think about it.
Consider the situation from the point of view of an average American.
During the week of April 10-16 alone (a remarkable convergence of Passover, Easter and the Prophet Muhammad’s birthday), the average American learned that Zacarias Moussaoui, the Al Qaeda terrorist, had “no regrets, no remorse” for the nearly 3,000 people killed on Sept. 11, 2001.
There is the consistent horror of Sunnis and Shias dismembering each other in Iraq and Pakistan, always when the gathering is large, as during the Friday congregational prayers.
There is also the daily genocide that the Muslim janjaweed militia wages against the indigenous tribes of Darfur, Sudan, most of whom are also Muslims but of darker skins.
Yes, most Muslims are as outraged by these horrors as the average American in question. But isn’t it too much to expect that this typical American will continue to be reassured by our words (the fanatics are not of us and we are not of them, and besides, every faith has its fanatics) while the horrific deeds continue unabated?
He sees what Muslims are doing to Muslims, how some of them are spewing murderous hatred for the West, and while he may hold his own country responsible for the catastrophe in Iraq, it does not diminish his growing conviction that Muslims are disproportionately prone to violence. Talk of peace and harmony can only go so far; he is more persuaded by the grim reality on the ground.
In the same week, however, quiet (and recurring) events of different sorts were taking place throughout America, far removed from the gaze of the mainstream media.
In a crime-infested neighborhood in East Oakland, Calif., for example, two Muslims stand at a street corner, giving out free popcorn and cotton candy to passersby. Their only goal is to spread some cheer and hope to their down-trodden neighbors. With help from their activist friends from the nearby mosque Masjid Al-Islam, they host year-round soup kitchens for the poor and the hungry.
We also learn that Habibe Husain, founder of Rahima Foundation, has received the Human Relations award of California’s Santa Clara County. Her organization distributes clothes, food and other necessities to the less fortunate residents of Silicon Valley and adjoining areas since 1993.
In cities like Sacramento, New York, Philadelphia, Chicago, Detroit, Tampa Bay and Atlanta, local Muslim doctors provide poor and uninsured residents with free medical care. And through organizations like Habitat for Humanity, Muslims also volunteer their time and skills to build homes for the homeless.
Is average American aware of these “events?” Perhaps not. After all, we Muslims providing humanitarian services are doing so not to enhance our standing in the polls, but as a religious calling to help the less fortunate.
But these acts do teach us an important lesson. While it is undeniable that there is a need to educate Americans about Islam and Muslims, perhaps our efforts will go further if more of us engaged in deeds rather than words.
Just as a picture is worth a thousand words, an act of charity is worth a thousand sermons. So here’s a humble suggestion to my fellow American Muslims: Let’s cut down on the number of seminars and conferences at our local mosques by about half, and replace them with charitable acts that help the homeless, the needy and the destitute. That will require more effort than writing a check or listening to an Imam expound on the same tired topic. But in the end, it will make us better Muslims.
Perhaps it will even improve our standing in the eyes of our fellow Americans.