Friday, September 15, 2006

Muslim disappointment

I am beginning to feel like I live in some kind of Islamic vacuum. Its becoming increasingly clear that the larger Muslim communities are being apathetic to what is occurring in our so-called Islamic world. The only time we appear to care about anything is when someone "insults" our religion or our beloved Prophet(saw). Whether its a cartoon, a story about a Quran on the toilet, or recently the comments by the Pope, you can always count on some council, cleric, or organization to rally the Muslim troops to protest and show their anger.

As a Muslim, I have to admit that it is making me sick to my stomach to see such vain and pathetic displays of emotion. How can we sit back and get angry at these actions, without considering the ideas that produced these actions? When will we wake up and smell the coffee so to speak? We are so quick to get mad because someone insulted us, yet we never ask why have they done so. Nor do we ever ask what produced the mind that insults us.

Now don't get me wrong, I truly understand that there is ignorance and hate in the world, however, I also understand that people don't necessarily make ideas up in their head. Where do the ideas come from that makes people feel its OK to "insult" Muslims? What are Muslims doing that is so bad that people feel they have a defense to such insults?

As Muslims we are quick to point out that Islam is a religion of peace and the majority of Muslims in the world are good, law-abiding citizens, and this is true, but at the same time, we are also very quick to be apathetic to the minority that, like it or not, is defining our faith by their actions everyday in the eyes of those who insult us.

So what are we to do? Personally, I think its high time that we use all the energy that it takes to protest, condemn, march, etc. against some words that were said, or some image produced, and internalize it within our communities and countries. If we used that same zeal to create stable, peaceful, communities and countries, then we would truly be able to be outraged because then the insults and accusations would have no merit. But, as long as people can turn on their television and see the open hypocrisy of some cleric, organization, or council that will condemn insults, yet not condemn radical elements within our community, these insults will continue and we will continue to be as a dog chasing his tail.

We have to learn to accept the things we cannot change, have the courage to change the things we can, and the knowledge to know the difference.

Its about time we realize that no amount of pointing the finger or condemning Israel is going to change anything, until we first change ourselves. We call ourselves Muslim, yet in our oil rich countries, you have poor and uneducated masses. We have our children blowing themselves up, women being denied rights, we have atrocities in the Sudan, Palestinians without hope, and the list goes on. If we spent that energy and wealth into infrastructure, building up the people and places we do have, then we wouldn't have to worry about what we don't have, because if Allah willed it, those things would be ours anyway. Many Muslims have forgotten the basic teachings of Islam, Allah only helps a people who are willing to help themselves.

You want to help the Palestinians? Send those billions of oil dollars there to build schools, hospitals, a viable economy and government. Who would want Israel if home was better anyway? Send those billions to help Iraq stabilize, help modernize the educational systems, etc.

What about women's rights? The Prophet(saw) said "paradise lies at the foot of the mother" and Allah in the Quran said "reverence the wombs that bore you" yet you want to treat the women as chattel and keep her ignorant. You can judge a society by the way they treat their women. Where has our Islam gone? I hear more about Palestine, Pakistan, and Indonesia from so-called Muslims, but I haven't heard a bleep about Darfur? Whats going on! We are a bunch of hypocrites.

I cannot see how we expect to continue in this manner. I cannot see why we are so upset with the Pope and are not upset with ourselves. In truth, I don't blame the Pope. He should talk about us, somebody should, because we obviously don't have the courage to talk about it. 1.5 billion weak individuals, we deserve what we get, because we have become Arabs, Asians, Africans, Pakistani, Iranian, Iraqi, Sunni, Shia, etc. Instead of Muslim.

As Salaam Alaikum,

R. Salaam