Judging by protests attended by various politicians at the Orange County ICNA fundraiser and the recent incident in Washington DC,the effects of the rally to restore sanity have surely worn off. And they exhibit a strong message to American Muslims: we sure have our work cut out for us.
Having grown up in Southern California, having gone to both a high school and university with a strong MSA, and having a large array of Masjeds and mimbars to choose from in my immediate vicinity, I feel almost sheltered from this part of society that so openly and bluntly expose their true thoughts about their fellow Americans.
I say true thoughts because it’s rather obvious these people find the “courage” to say these things when they are strong in number, when the common enemy is an abstract “Muslim” or “Islam” as opposed to Ahmed who works at Trader Joes, or Fatima the receptionist at the doctor’s office.
Even the crazed Orange County councilwoman Deborah Pauly, who in her own words admits “she doesn’t even care if we think she’s crazy anymore,” would have a hard time looking someone in the eye and telling them their prophet was a pedophile.
As rational and stable members of society, we need to understand that these people aim to instigate, therefore responses that feed the stereotype they wish to push forward as part of their agenda will only make matters worse.
At times like these I can’t help but remember the fiasco that surrounded the Danish cartoon series aiming to defame our beloved prophet. Many campus conservative groups and atheist clubs further instigated the situation by holding events exhibiting the prints and inviting the campus to share in the expression of “freedom of speech.”
I regret to admit that many Muslims, including myself, initially acted outside the akhlagh of even our own prophet, the one we were trying so desperately to defend. We lost sight of the Prophet’s example, of his story expressing how he cared dearly even for the sick woman who dropped garbage on his head every time he passed through her alleyway.
The fruit of his actions were quite clear, for as we all know she embraced Islam on her deathbed, claiming she wished to follow the religion of the man who cared for the needs of a wretched old lady who had shown him nothing but evil, the man who had come to her aid when no one else had.
Although we shouldn’t express anger or feed into stereotypes, we should also fear complacency. It is fairly evident from the comments surrounding these events that we have no choice but to speak out against these views, but the methods we choose are equally as important.
Back when the Danish cartoons first came out, the Atheist, Agnostic and Humanist Association at the University of Wisconsin decided to join the melee by drawing chalk stick figures all across campus walkways labeling them “Muhammad.”
What did the MSA do? They didn’t invite passionate speakers to start a shout-fest, they didn’t chant ‘Allahu Akbar’ in front of the student union, heck they barely even let out an official statement.
So what did they do you ask? Nothing short of simply walking out on campus that morning and drawing two boxing gloves on each hand and adding “Ali” to the end of each “Muhammad.” Genius, no? Well it goes to show that sometimes it takes pure genius to combat such blatant ignorance.