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Growing Anti Muslim Bigotry: ICNA’s 6-Point Response


09 9 10

 

 

Dear Brothers and Sisters,
 
Assalamu alaikum and greetings to all,
 
As you are aware, there is an alarming rise of anti-Muslim rhetoric throughout the country that is guided by calculated bigotry and racism for political gain, and is aimed at excluding Muslim Americans from the economic and social life of this nation.

The opposition and controversy over the proposed Park51 project has now extended far beyond. Islamophobes are exploiting Americans’ emotions and sensitivities associated with 9/11 and Ground Zero; they forget or perhaps deliberately ignore, however, the fact that 9/11 affected every one of us, and its victims were people of all faiths including Muslims. We have a shared loss, and together mourn and remain determined to safeguarding our nation. While it is understandable that the current charged climate has caused anxiety and panic, it is simply unacceptable that some individuals, politicians and agenda-driven groups exploit the memory of 9/11 victims and campaign to deny Muslim Americans their fundamental and constitutionally granted rights. Several prominent American analysts have already warned that the controversy over Park51 is not an isolated event; it is part of a much more far-reaching pattern and problem.

The series of hate crimes that have occurred during the last few days indicate where anti-Muslim bigots intend to take America. Some of the results of their hate-filled campaign are the recent throat slashing on a New York City cab driver, the bombing of a mosque in Jacksonville, FL and the arson at the site of a Tennessee mosque. It is also clear that the increase of anti-Muslim rhetoric by certain high profile elected officials and political hopefuls has contributed to worsening the situation.
Urgent Donation Needed
We are deeply concerned by these crimes and ask members of our community to exercise extreme caution and immediately report any incidents of harassment, abuse or violence to the appropriate authorities. We also ask our government officials, both local and federal, to step up and ensure the protection of Muslim Americans. We urge especially the Department of Justice to pursue and prosecute each and every hate crime, and ensure that equal protection and due process rights are afforded to everyone, including non-citizens, in the United States.

While appalled by the level of intolerance exhibited by some, we are not necessarily surprised. Many ethnic and religious communities have been targeted and discriminated against in America’s past. The ordeals of Catholics, Irish Americans, African Americans, Jews and Japanese Americans are still fresh in the minds of many; now, as Muslims face the same prejudice, we are confident that we will also overcome and prevail, God willing.

To this end, we suggest the following to our fellow Americans, religious leaders, the Muslim community, interfaith and civil rights groups and members of ICNA:
 

1) Cooperation and Coordination

It is impossible to turn a blind eye to the situation described above. Islamophobia harms America; core American values, especially the ideals of religious freedom and coexistence, are at risk. We remind everyone what George Washington wrote in his letter to the Jews of Rhode Island, wherein he affirmed the essential nature of America as “a government which to bigotry gives no sanction, to persecution no assistance – but generously affording to all liberty of conscience, and immunities of citizenship.” Can America back down from its great foundational principles? Certainly not, no matter how bigots cry otherwise. However, to protect American values, all well meaning people and civil rights groups must take a stand. We commend those individuals, religious leaders, political leaders, media personalities and interfaith and civil rights groups who have already stood up for American values, spoken out against bigotry and racism and are working to counter Islamophobia. We join with all Muslim organizations and express ICNA’s solidarity with the commendable positive and proactive responses, such as Muslim Serve, and urge others to join these campaigns.
 

2) True to our Faith – True to our Country

We are Muslims and we are Americans. We are neither an extension nor instrument of political players in the Muslim world. Muslims have been here for centuries and have never committed those acts of which they are accused. We have invested in the infrastructure of America with our careers, relationships, lives, money and property. For decades, Muslims have been in positions of trust and authority and have honored their covenant with their fellow Americans. Muslims are everyday Americans. We are family oriented people who promote virtue and care for our neighbors. Muslims were not only among those killed on September 11th, they were also among the first responders who died trying to save others. We can be true to our faith and true to our country without conflict. We American Muslims see our future in America and care about America’s security and prosperity. Therefore, we ask our fellow Americans: Are you supportive of the ugly rhetoric and anti-Muslim rallies, or are you with common decency? There is no denying that anti-Muslim hysteria is bad for our troops, undermines our national security and national values and is profoundly irresponsible.
 

3) Persistence and Steadfastness

Since the current deteriorating situation began with the Park51 controversy, some suggest that choosing an alternative site would end the debate. We doubt this and rather agree with NYC Mayor Michael Bloomberg as he observed, “It won’t.” For “the question will then become, how big should the no-mosque zone around the World Trade Center be. There is already a mosque four blocks away. Should it, too, be moved?” Moving the center, the Mayor rightly observed “would send a signal around the world that Muslim-Americans may be equal in the eyes of the law, but separate in the eyes of their countrymen.” Such a move will only validate the incorrect perception of those who try to relate Muslim Americans with the 9/11 attacks.
 

4) Muslim Family Day (MFD) and Outreach

To all our ICNA members and chapters, we ask that you make every effort to make the MFD events a success and reach out to members of all communities. Let people know that ICNA is trying its best to improve the situation in our neighborhoods through outreach activities, relief and social services such as school supply giveaways and feed the hungry programs.
 

5) National Campaign Against Hunger

At a time when 49 million Americans remain hungry every night, ICNA is launching the National Campaign Against Hunger in October 2010, a month-long nationwide campaign to create better social awareness and remind all of our collective and moral responsibility to those who suffer around or right beside us. The slogan of the campaign is “United Against Hunger, Standing up for Justice.
 

6) Positive and Compassionate Response

Last but not the least, if the proposed misguided “Qur’an Burning” event does proceed as announced by a church in Gainesville, FL, we must transform this challenge into an opportunity to demonstrate what Islam really means and stands for. We should organize a positive and compassionate response so that the world can see the contrast between Muslims and bigots. Let us respond to their hate-filled campaign with compassion, care and wisdom. Our volunteers must not respond to any provocation even if they are the victims of hate crimes. All of our events must be organized in coordination with law enforcement. As always, our message must remain entirely positive (e.g., “We know that this does not represent Christians or their beliefs” and “We understand that people just don’t know.”) It is not unlikely that the Qur’an burning event will provoke unreasonable reactions from some Muslims who may feel that something must be done to protect the Qur’an. If we organize a positive response to the Qur’an burning, we can channel their grief and anger. After the Qur’an burning we may begin our Qur’an distribution, as people will certainly be curious about this Divine Book, God willing.
Your Zakat Needed

May Allah give us the wisdom to transform each challenge into an opportunity and may He help us all. Ameen.

Sincerely,

Dr. Zahid H. Bukhari, Ph.D.
President, Islamic Circle of North America (ICNA)

sm-logos

 

  • Fawad Hasan

    @rehma:-

    Whether you consider Mr. Sharifs opinion to be down right wrong, please act civily. Cursing someone else based on their opinion simply shows the shallowness of your own intellect. If you cant answer logically to their opinion and are threatened by their intellect, then you will simply curse back out of your own frustration of ignorence, since you have nothing else to say but then what does that tell us about your own intellect?

  • Ariffin Gutierrez Abdullah

    Assalamu alaikum, brothers and sisters in Islam.
    I think the Kafeer have the freedom to do what they want to do, including killing innocent people and burning the Holy Quran. Let them burn the Quran that they bought. It is their property. Even if they burn all the Quran in the world, they can not erase Islam from this planet because millions of Hafis(es) have memorized the Holy Quran.
    May Allah S.W.A. protect our iman and increase our yakin towards our Creator. And may Allah S.W.A. gives guidance to human kind around the world. The burning of the Holly Quran will be a universal act of Dawah. Ameen.

  • J’Amy

    Thank you Br Asif Sheriff for your positive, uplifting and practical outline of suggestions to help Muslims living in the West. If we could replicate your example of maturity, reasonableness and tolerance, we might take a step forward. Unfortunately too many Muslims in the world are not willing to more beyond the illusion of the categories of “us” and “them”; this will be our downfall and if we dont’ change it, it will perpetrate another 1000 years of misunderstandings, discrimination and bloodsheed.
    Also unfortunately, I do not think ICNA exists to protect and promote the unity of all Muslims in North America namely because their definition of “Muslim” and “Unity” is very narrow.
    You mentioned your contact information was on page one . . .where??

  • Chirine

    @ Basheer: I am totally fine with the muslim orgamizations in America thought at some points I disagree but they do stand whenever. Yet, we can’t blame them for not standing for every single muslim hystery throughout the world. They do as much as they can but they can’t save the entire world’s problems. Everyone needs to work on it.

    @ Fawad Hassan: My apologies. I agree on “I want to support an organization that is defending the rights of ALL the muslims regardless of their sect. Whether is Wahabi, Sunni, Shia, Sufi etc and stands up for Justice not bigotry and secetarianism.
    Now why i do that? Its because in my view supporting a certian organization who is tilted towards one sect is sowing the seeds of secetarianism and divison for tomorrow in US.” I totally agree again. I don’t follow (not even) a particular madhab, just the Qur’an and sunnah because for me, following a specific branch leads to sectarianism.

    Nonetheless, there will always be muslims that will go astray. Now, YOU tell me: is it better to strengthen our ‘Ummah and defend us against disbelievers and hypocrites attacking us or fight against us, trying desperately to put on track those who went astray knowing that it is an endless situation like politics and military situations in Kashmir and Palestine (but I am going off the subject).

    Anyway, all this to say: ICNA like any other American organization is doing a huge job. There is no such a thing in France or any other country (and even muslim ones!) so let’s be a part of the solution and not “publicly” create a problem. Let’s volunteer and propose instead of posting public comments displaying muslim problems to potential opponents of Islam.
    @ Asif Sheriff: May you be guided http://en.wiktionary.org/wiki/supposedly.
    In Ramadan, I would have told you “Allahuma ini saima” but now it’s over, I’ll let you attack as much as you want so that I can turn your bad behavior into good deeds in my favor on the day of the judgement ;)

  • Fawad Hasan

    @Chirine. With all due respect i completely disagree with you simply because How can ICNA claim to be fighting for the very rights that ICNA wants for themselves but are not willing to give them to others? They want rights from Christians such as freedom of worship, freedom of religion etc that they are not willing to give to other sects of Muslims? That is called hypocrasy. No one is asking ICAN to send volunteers to go and fight in Afghanitan, they would be supporting the enemy of our country – USA – but atleast what it can do is declare openly in its constitution that its a NON SECETARIAN, NON DENOMINATIONAL, NON extremist organization that is standing up for the rights of ALL and i repeate ALL the muslims and not certain sects.
    Morally ICNA or anyone else has no right to ask for the donations from those that she is not representing. Thats hypocrasy. Now as far as your comments about potential opponents of Islam, well the worst enemies of Islam are among us. They are zarqawis and Sadrs of Islam. They are the extremists and murderors in Deobandi, Wahabi, Barelwi, Jaffery, Hanafi, Shafee and of corse Salafis. These elements have killed, maimed, tortured more muslims in general then either the Jews or the Christians. Whoever they are and whatever sect they belong to, they are the real enemy, You are trying to hide the ginnie that is already out, everyone knows about it since they watch it everyday on their TVs, so who are you trying to kid and hide the truth from?

    I would urge the Ummah that we are American Muslims and we want to be united, not divided based on sects, color, creed etc and that is Americanism. So please support those organizations that are non secetarian, non denominational, non extremist and those that stand up for the rights of ALL muslims and for the rest of them let me die slowly.
    I still havent got my response from ICAN as to what do they stand for and since then, sorry ICNA you are not gettign a single dollar of my money or any other support.

  • Fawad Hasan

    @ Ariffin Gutierrez Abdullah. Br Abdullah the damage that muslims themselves have done to each other is far worse then the damage that outsiders have even done or will ever be able to do us. The “Zarqawis” of Iraq have killed more women and children then the Americans. They are still doing it. They just attacked womean and children in Iraq. Is it Americans killing the Iraqis now? Let me ask you a question. Why is it a big deal if an american or an Israeli for that matter kills a muslim baby but when a Sunni kills a Shia baby, or a Wahabi kills a barelwi baby, or a Shia kills a Wahabi baby or a salafi kills a Sufi baby that is not a big deal? Why is it fair that if we kill each other, blow each other into pieces, destroy each other houses, behead each other and prasie each other for doing so thats OK, but if Christians and Jews does it to us, well thats a grave sin? Thats a big NO, NO for us as an Ummah. Killing is Killing, it has the same results regardless of whoever or for whatever reason its done. Look at Pakistan, bombs are being blown up in shops, and in mosques and in Hussaniyas and in shopping centers and in villages but if these ba$tard Taliban are attacked by drones and killed they start screaming about their women and children being killed, well why is it OK for you Taliban to kill women and children in cities simply because you wrap your murder in the cloak of religion and claim to be doing it for the sake of Islam? This is all wrong and murder is murder whether done by Wahabi Taliban or by Christians or Jews it should all be rejected with the same passion if it was only done by non muslims or else its simply hypocrasy. Do you part in reviving Islam, dont support sects, support Islam that is for all.

  • Asif Sheriff

    Faisel Abdul Rauf needs to ponder the following:

    1) He may have to shelf his plans for Park51 and change his name to Ralph if one more terrorist attack on US soil succeeds. Daisy, one step ahead of Ralphie, will just have to bleach her hair blond.

    2) Instead of whining to build goodwill in the US thru Interfaith and Park51, Rauf may want to think about having green tea with Ahmadinejad to negotiate the release of the three American hostages.

    3) Have the leaders of US Muslim institutions given any thought to what might occur to Muslims if a crotch bomber were to succeed?

  • J’Amy M.

    If anyone is interested in good models of INCLUSIVE Muslim organizations in other countries, there are several in Canada and throughout Europe (Even France) explicitly stating they represent ALL Muslims. Each website for each organization also explicitly states they support Islamic Plurality.

    ISLAMIC SUPREME COUNCIL OF CANADA:
    “Islamic Supreme Council of Canada was founded in Calgary on June 18, 2000 with the following mission and objectives. Presently, its head office is located in Calgary, Alberta. ISCC members are from all the denominations of Islam. ISCC believes that the Muslims should not be divided based upon their schools of thoughts. ISCC encourages healthy difference of opinion among its members and follows the Islamic decision-making process, which is more democratic than the western democratic principles. ISCC is a Canadian organization, which is based upon one common belief, ” There is no God but Allah and Muhammad (peace be upon him) is his (last) Messenger” and provides nonsectarian environment to its members. ISCC members exhibit this unity through their behaviour.”

    CANADIAN ISLAMIC CONGRESS:
    “CIC is Canada’s largest national non-profit and wholly independent Islamic organization. It is an exclusively Canadian non-governmental organization (NGO) with no affiliation to any group, body, ideology or government, absolutely none. CIC is the independent voice of Canada’s Muslims — Sunni and Shi’a, men and women, youth and seniors. ”

    MUSLIM CANADIAN CONGRESS:
    “The Muslim Canadian Congress is a grassroots organization that provides a voice to Muslims who are not represented by existing organizations; organizations that are either sectarian or ethnocentric, largely authoritarian, and influenced by a fear of modernity and an aversion to joy.”

    COUNCIL ON AMERICAN-ISLAMIC RELATIONS IN CANADA (CAIR-CAN) – Not affiliated with CAIR in USA.

    MUSLIM COUNCIL OF BRITAIN

    THE ISLAMIC SOCIETY OF BRITAIN
    The French Council of the Muslim Faith , CFCM, Conseil Français du Culte Musulman

    Central Council of Muslims in Germany, ZMD: The Zentralrat der Muslime in Deutschland

    The Muslim Council of Sweden, SMR: Sveriges muslimska råd
    Dutch Muslim Council

  • http://helpinghandonline.org dr shaista khalid

    br dr zahid bukhari,

    it is a good point that you have decided to distribute Quran .it is book of Allah Tallah it will change their lives inshaallah so please keep on distribution of Quran.

  • Fawad Hasan

    @Asif Sherif; No i absolutely dont agree with your last comments. We the American muslims need to live our lives with our heads up high and chest out. Imam Rauf is not a second class citizen of America just because his name is Rauf. To suggest he should change his name even sarcastically is ridiclous. Muslims should be sensitive to the feelings of other Americans and i am for moving the mosque a few blocks if that would create harmony but we will never and should never quit/change our faith for anyone rather we should demand our rights – the same way i have been asking ICNA to clear her position and have not heard anything yet – and live with harmoney and mutual respect with other Americans. As far as Iran is concerned building a mosque is American has nothing to do with those who crossed into an enemy territory and got arrested. I didnt know Iraq was a hiking destination? So let Obama Administration that i voted for, deal with it and fix it, and God forbid if there is another attack well whoever is behind it – most probably wahabis – should be bought to justice. Its that simple. And Go on america, make sure you bomb and destroy these Taliban murderors.

  • Amjad

    What is “Park 51??” Would you please explain. Does it mean to kill or drive all Muslims from USA.

  • Fawad Hasan

    @Amjat to know what Park51 is: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Park51

    Still waiting for my answer from ICNA?

    wasalam,
    Fawad Hasan.

  • http://www.icna.org Azeem

    @Fawad Hasan

    ICNA is a non-sectarian organization, it states so in our Charter and Bylaws. We are open to working with non-Muslims and all Muslims.

  • J’Amy M.

    @Fawad – I’m also waiting to hear ICNA’s response to you. I have the same concerns as your postings. As you can see from my last post, there are PLENTY of organizations around the world, especially here (Canada) that are inclusive.

    We should never have to apologize for being Muslim or change our names. And we should never have to apologize or hide what minority sub-groups we belong to.

    Peace to all!

  • Fawad Hasan

    @Azeem: Thank you very much for your reply, can you please point me as to where it says in your constitution or your charter? Of course you have to respect the non-muslims since they are in majority, i am more interested in your declarations among muslims and your organizations secetarian inclinations.
    Looking forward to your answer.

    @J’Amy: Thank you J’Amy, make sure you raise this point from each and every organization that wants your money and time. As i have mentioned earlier, the reason i am so passonate about this issue is because by supporting a certian sect – who so ever it may be – we are sowing the seeds of secetarianism for our comming generations in American continent and eventually the results would be the same, we will keep on fighting among each other while EVERYONE ELSE and i repeat EVERYONE ELSE will succeed in the long run.

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