Saturday, May 08, 2010

A Young Girl's Response to anti-Islamic Sentiment

Here's an important post that has been "lost" since blogspot indiscriminately deleted my old Capital Region People blog. It rings as true today as it did the day it was originally published: July 31, 2005.

The current wave of anti-Islam sentiment may well end up a "crush" and drive good people underground. Let's pray that we in the USA never find ourselves backed up against a wall, such as the way the ordinary citizens of Hitler's Nazi Germany were. They were paralyzed by fear and stood by as Jews, Gypsies, Homosexuals and other "undesirables" were taken away and extinguished. Don't let it happen here! I now turn over this post to a special friend:

Hi everyone. I am a 19 year old American Muslim College girl and wow, some of those things said by Michael Graham really hurt. I humbly request the readers of this website to take a step back, open their hearts and allow themselves to grow more knowledgeable and well-read as they proceed to read this. I am going to give you the opportunity to see the exact issues discussed by Graham and Thomas Friedman from the perspective of a practicing Muslim woman. For background on myself, I was raised in an upper middle class neighborhood in Long Island, daughter of two educated professionals (both hardworking, honest American citizens) and am currently pursuing a career in the field of medicine. My parents took tremendous effort to make sure they raised a well-mannered child who had a sense of good morals and values, all taught in an eloquent and comprehensive manner in the Qur’an. Let me be specific about some of the teachings of the Qur’an so that there is no room for misinterpretation.

“105. We have sent down to thee the Book in truth, that thou mightest judge between men, as guided by God. And be not (used) as an advocate by those who betray their trust (pact of servitude to God) ; 106. But seek the forgiveness of God. for God is Oft-forgiving, Most Merciful. 107. Contend not on behalf of such as betray their own souls; for God loveth not one given to perfidy and crime: 108. They may hide (Their crimes) from men, but they cannot hide (Them) from God, seeing that He is in their midst when they plot by night, in words that He cannot approve: And God Doth compass round all that they do.109. Ah! These are the sort of men on whose behalf ye may contend in this world; but who will contend with God on their behalf on the Day of Judgment, or who will carry their affairs through? 110. If any one does evil or wrongs his own soul but afterwards seeks God’s forgiveness, he will find God Oft-forgiving, Most Merciful. 111. And if any one earns sin. he earns it against His own soul: for God is full of knowledge and wisdom. 112. But if any one earns a fault or a sin and throws it on to one that is innocent, He carries (on himself) (Both) a falsehood and a flagrant sin.113. But for the Grace of God to thee and his Mercy, a party of them would certainly have plotted to lead thee astray. But (in fact) they will only Lead their own souls astray, and to thee they can do no harm in the least. For God hath sent down to thee the Book and wisdom and taught thee what thou Knewest not (before): And great is the Grace of God unto thee.114. In most of their secret talks there is no good: But if one exhorts to a deed of charity or justice or conciliation between men, (Secrecy is permissible): To him who does this, seeking the good pleasure of God, We shall soon give a reward of the highest (value).”-Al- Qur’an (4:105-114)

In this way, my parents have taught me that Islam is love; it is why I should smile at a passerby, or stop to help an elderly person cross the street. It’s why I am involved with my local Kiwanis club, and why I will volunteer at Blood drives. This is what Islam means to me and thousands of American Muslims who are your neighbors. Yes, that five year old giggling as she rode down the street on her tricycle was me, the Muslim girl who just wants to get a Popsicle from the ice cream man. I will find it futile to try to defend my faith of the ludicrous claims made by these people because I do not seek an argument. I only sincerely pray that their minds and hearts are open to seeing truth where there is truth and falsehood where there is falsehood. By no means should a religion ever be charged for the crimes done by its ‘so-called’ followers. If this was a historical rule then I may be able to blame all Christians for the atrocious actions of Adolf Hitler. I would never fathom such a thought though...and here’s why. I sincerely believe that every man, woman and child that lives in this world wants peace and wants to be loved. My best friends are Christians, Jews, Hindus, and Agnostics and I have great respect for them. Beyond that, I care for them. I have spent countless memories soaring through roller-coasters in Six-flags with them, or sitting at their bedside in a hospital. Islam supports me in these acts, and in fact, it explicitly encourages me by offering me a reward for such good-deeds in the hereafter (heaven).

I will address this single point because I think that it may offer some insight for those who are willing to grow a little smarter today. Graham stated the following words in his piece titled The tragedy of Islam, “And the reason Islam has itself become a terrorist organization is that it cannot address its own role in this violence. It cannot cast out the murderers from its members. I know it can't, because "moderate" Muslim imams keep telling me they can't. "We have no control over these radical young men," one London imam moaned to the local papers. Can't kick 'em out of your faith? Can't excommunicate them? Apparently Islam does not allow it.”

Consider this… can any religious leader, pope, rabbi or otherwise possibly control every criminal from declaring that he is a member of Christianity or Judiasm? Would excommunication change that criminal’s ability to commit the crime? Could you stop a psychiatric patient who is on the verge of murder from ‘claiming’ that he is doing it for the sake of your religion? And furthermore, how would you like to be victim to suddenly being treated as if you were like that dangerous psychiatric patient simply because a misguided man “claimed” to have something in common with you. Yet people still decide to use him (the exception to the rule) as a standard to judge the majority. When did any society in the history of man ever have ‘control’ over its ‘radical’ elements? Consider that sentence and its diction for one moment and you will begin to see hundreds of other weaknesses in Graham’s contentions. I leave you to use your common sense as I trust you are intelligent people.

I and hundreds of thousands of American Muslims who have attended religious schooling on Sundays have been taught that we live to better the state of humanity, through acts of kindness, generosity, sincerity and love. We will continue to do so until our last breath. I plead to you in whom my fate lies, be just with us…

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© 2005 by Dave Lucas

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