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Sunday, March 26, 2006

Using Our Diversity

Being a Minority in America, I am well acquainted with the pitfalls of discrimination. More importantly though, I am aware of the traps a victim of said oppression can fall into. Enter 9/12. I'm thinking," GREAT! I have a beautiful 1yr old boy (Masha Allah), who may have yet ANOTHER obstacle to hurdle over. WONDERFUL..." (that right there was sarcasm).

Here I'm sitting in a country that lauds itself on its "melting pot" status, and I am sure, without a doubt, absolutely positive, that a Muslim may be assaulted in America tonight.

"Anti-Islamic religion incidents were previously the second least reported, but in 2001, they became the second highest reported among religious-bias incidents (anti-Jewish religion incidents were the highest), growing by more than 1,600 percent over the 2000 volume. In 2001, reported data showed there were 481 incidents made up of 546 offenses having 554 victims of crimes motivated by bias toward the Islamic religion." – FBI Hate Crime Statistics 2001

What a trying time for the Ummah right now. Most want things to get better, but how do we plan on doing this? Muslims readily mention the diversity within the Ummah. We brag about the nationalities and how far Islam has spread. Sometimes I wonder if the bragging rights are more important than the benefactors of said rights. There is indeed a mysterious phenomena going on among us. How quiet we are when those in power oppress women or other Muslims. How silent we become when a Muslim acts as if he is superior to another.

Here's a page from my life:

When a family member of mine was young, he went to Israel and Palestine to visit his father who worked for the UN. While he was there he remembers his fathers disdain for some of the people. He recalls when his father was called " Abd". For those who don't know, this is sometimes used as a racist term some Arabic speakers use for people of African decent. What they didn't know, was that he understood everything that was said about him.

Alhamdulillah, Islam stands on it's own despite some of the people who claim it. My family member went on to become Muslim, his father, however, did not.

As heavy-handed as all of this sounds, I am not in a state of cynicism. I know that many Muslims of all cultures and backgrounds continue to want for their Ummah, what they want for themselves. I know that when they greet others with Salaam, they really and truly mean it.

We need to be an example by using our diversity for it's advantages. Because our community is so diverse, there lies a window into virtually every kind of human experience. Jewish, Christian, Buddihst, Sihk, Agnostic, Atheist, Scientologist, Hindu, African, European, Asian, American, Hispanic, Latino, West Indian, Native American, Scientists, Doctors, Farmers, Engineers, Designers, Soldiers, Celebrities, Activists, Scholars, Wealthy, Poor, you name it, we've experienced it.

A wealth of understanding lay at out feet, but I digress.
Though this entry runs the risk of hitting deaf hearts, I will remain a zealot for HOPE. Hope that we as an Ummah fight the injustice within. We are going to be hit with the hard questions from the next generation.

What say you?

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