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Up to 150 men and women detained at party in Iran

The Guardian World news: Islam - 26 July, 2016 - 18:59

Morality police swoop on festivities near Tehran as crackdown on socialising of men and women grows during summer months

Up to 150 people have been detained in Iran after the morality police raided what has been described as a mixed-gender party near Tehran.

In the sweltering heat and as people spend more time outside, the authorities tighten their grip on social norms, cracking down on activities deemed un-Islamic.

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It’s Not Mother’s or Father’s Day but… Imam Omar Suleiman

Muslim Matters - 25 July, 2016 - 18:18

“The most important thing a father can do for his children is to love their mother.” This is a quote I first heard in 3rd grade. I remember the day very well. My teacher, Mrs. Smith, said it to my father as he brought me to school and updated her on the status of my mother (may Allah have mercy on her) as she was in an unresponsive coma.

Men like my dad are rare. My mom fought through diseases, strokes, partial deafness, cancer, and so much more throughout my childhood. Throughout that process, I watched my dad demonstrate what it means to be a devoted husband. He stood by her side, literally carried her around the house at times, never made her feel like a burden, and was the anchor of our home.

I remember the “suggestions” being made to my dad during that time period by uncles who claimed they were looking out for him. I cringed but held my silence as they thought I didn't know what they were saying. They spoke of my mom as if she was damaged goods and my dad needed to be “happy.” But to him, happiness was in my mom still being able to smile despite the many close calls. It was in us having as normal of a childhood as possible, considering that our mom who showed us limitless love was unable to do things that other moms could do.

This to me didn't just teach me to respect my father more, but the faith that he had to keep him going. My dad was and, still is, an important man in the community. He sat on the masjid board, helped found an Islamic school for which he served as chairman for a decade, gave khutbahs, represented the Palestinian cause in debates, participated in interfaith dialogues, participated in local politics, and so much more. Not to mention, he had a lofty academy career as a distinguished tenured Professor of Chemistry, an admirable laboratory, serious research credentials, and impressive inventions and publications. But with all of that, he was always dedicated to my mom and us. Due to his unique circumstances and my mother's health, he would have to come home and still do plenty of work. But he never complained or showed an ounce of ingratitude. My mom was not a charity case to him, she was his queen. She was his wife who married him when he was a broke graduate student (sorry dad :-) ), and she was the mother of his children.

We all know how much Allah honors mothers in the Qur'an, as did the Prophet ṣallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam (peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him) through the Sunnah. But do we only attribute that honor to the wombs that bore us? What about the mothers who gave us our own children? The mothers who gave us our sadaqa jariya (continuous charity) and most precious investment. The mothers who literally flirted with death in labor while giving birth to our children. Imagine if someone gave you a million-dollar investment with your name on it. How would you treat that person? Yet still we find the nerve to show cruelty to the women that have given us investments in our names that will far outlive us. Not only that, they refine those investments for us by teaching them the religion and upright character that they may grow to supplicate for their parents and pass on this legacy that we've inherited from our messenger ṣallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam (peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him)

There is a reason that the Prophet (SalAllahu alayhi wa salam) mentioned of the many favors of Khadijah raḍyAllāhu 'anha (may Allāh be pleased with her) to him that “she bore my children.” Fatima raḍyAllāhu 'anha (may Allāh be pleased with her), Al Hassan raḍyAllāhu 'anhu (may Allāh be pleased with him), Al Hussein raḍyAllāhu 'anhu (may Allāh be pleased with him), the Mahdi that will eventually come that is of their descendants, etc. All of that is a favor of Khadijah raḍyAllāhu 'anha (may Allāh be pleased with her) to the Prophet ṣallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam (peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him)  and he did not fail to acknowledge that. So when Allah chides the ungrateful child who dares even to say “uff” to his mother or roll his eyes at her, what then of the man that antagonizes and belittles the women who gave him his own children.

So thank you mom for being the most loving mother that a child could ask for. Even though you were physically limited for most of my childhood, your overwhelming love and compassion made up for all of that.

Thank you dad for teaching me how to be a husband and father. Your example of unconditional devotion gave me no excuse to fail. When I questioned my faith, I was brought back partly due the amazing demonstration of it that I saw in you. Thank you for never failing to remind me to do the same with my own family

Thank you my lovely wife for being an incredible companion, my greatest supporter, and the mother of my two children. Without you, they literally wouldn't exist. And without you, they would not be the lovely children that they are today.

And yes, I'm pretty sure my dad loves my wife, who has become a daughter to him, more than me. And for good reason :-)

It's not mothers or fathers day, but make sure you thank all of the mothers and fathers in your life today.

Our Lord, grant us from among our wives and offspring comfort to our eyes, and make us an example for the righteous. Forgive our parents as they raised us when we were young, and forgive us and help us as we raise our young ones. Ameen

Treating Muslim children as terror suspects does not make Britain safer | Homa Khaleeli

The Guardian World news: Islam - 25 July, 2016 - 13:59
The government must rethink its divisive Prevent strategy. It’s forcing teachers to be suspicious of free expression and creating a culture of suspicion

In the last year, there has been growing unease around the government’s Prevent strategy. The UN special rapporteur, along with human rights groups and the government’s own independent reviewer of terrorism legislation, have voiced serious concerns. MPs and peers from the joint select committee on human rights have also called for an independent review.

Last summer, the government’s counterterrorism policy became a legal duty in schools and nurseries and for childcare providers. With just a few hours of training, a host of public sector workers were now expected to spot people who might be vulnerable to radicalisation, and refer them to the government’s deradicalisation programme, Channel.

Critics point out that it allows the government to label any views they disagree with as a sign of extremism.

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Eric Abetz praises article urging rethink on 'open borders to Muslim migration'

The Guardian World news: Islam - 25 July, 2016 - 05:45

Tasmanian Liberal senator describes article written by staff member as ‘great’ as the shadow attorney general, Mark Dreyfus, denounces it

Senator Eric Abetz has applauded an article written by one of his staff calling for an “open-border approach to Muslim migration” to be reconsidered.

The shadow attorney general, Mark Dreyfus, was critical, saying the comments amounted to supporting calls for a crackdown on Muslim immigration.

Related: Zed Seselja rejects Sonia Kruger's call to ban Muslim immigration

A great article from a member of my staff on why we need an open and frank discussion on the future of immigration. https://t.co/ciEBvB6LPo

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On Shariah Law: Tolerance is the Law of the Land

altmuslim - 24 July, 2016 - 19:38
By Fatina Abdrabboh I teach a course at a law school on Islamic Law, familiar to some as sharia. Yes, I teach sharia to American law students. In fact, the country’s leading law schools are increasingly offering this course alongside others meant to equip American law students with the cultural skills of a global world. In my class, we [Read More...]

George Brandis warns against assuming all attacks are terrorism after Munich shooting

The Guardian World news: Islam - 24 July, 2016 - 03:15

Attorney general says it is too early to be definitive about gunman’s motives after search fails to find Islamist-related material

The attorney general, George Brandis, is urging calm after the Munich mass shooting, saying the word “terrorism” should not be used too loosely.

He said it was too early to be definitive about the motives of the German gunman, especially when a search of the man’s home did not find any Islamist-related material, or any other political, religious or ideological material.

Related: George Christensen says Munich shooting validates 'admittedly incorrect' remarks

Related: ‘Strange and withdrawn’: what drove Ali Sonboly to launch Munich massacre?

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George Christensen says Munich shooting validates 'admittedly incorrect' remarks

The Guardian World news: Islam - 24 July, 2016 - 02:30

MP shares post from website named ‘Jihadiwatch’ while pointing to unfounded claims Ali Sonboly was motivated by Islam

George Christensen has pointed to unfounded claims the Munich shooter was motivated by Islam to claim vindication of his own incorrect claims an incident at a Sydney police station was a radical Islamist terrorist attack.

The federal MP for the Queensland seat of Dawson on Saturday shared a blogpost that said the 18-year-old behind a mass shooting in Germany was an Iranian Muslim and that this explained his motivation.

Related: George Christensen threatens to vote against Coalition's superannuation changes

Related: George Christensen retracts 'radical Islamists' claim over Merrylands incident

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Is Cosa Nostra now selling deadly assault weapons to Islamist terrorist groups?

The Guardian World news: Islam - 24 July, 2016 - 00:08
British counter-terrorism officials fear signs point to an ever-closer relationship between organised criminals and Islamists

A huge gun-running operation masterminded by the Sicilian mafia is being investigated by senior police officers for potential links to “terrorist activity across Europe and beyond”.

Anti-mafia prosecutors in Catania are investigating the possibility that Cosa Nostra is supplying assault weapons to organised crime syndicates from north Africa and firearms into the hands of extremists in western Europe.

Organised criminals are increasingly open to trading with extremists, complicating the battle against terrorism

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Apricot kernels

Indigo Jo Blogs - 23 July, 2016 - 18:54

Image of white apricot flowersEarlier today I was browsing the mentions of Kate Granger, the doctor best known for setting up the “Hello, my name is…” campaign aimed at encouraging doctors, nurses and other health professionals to introduce themselves to patients when they meet them, and who is in a hospice with terminal cancer at the time of this writing, and I came across a series of tweets from someone trying to sell her apricot kernels (organic Himalayan ones, no less) which she claimed had cured an old friend who had stomach and lung cancer that had spread despite surgery (a bit of “spiritual healing” helped also). I didn’t see any responses from Kate (who is clearly too ill to tweet much) or her husband (who is too busy caring and making the most ot his last few days with her), but I do believe this nonsense deserves a response because Dr Granger is obviously not the only person with this disease and there will be other targets for these cranks.

I had a look on Wikipedia for basic facts on apricot kernels. It seems there are two types, bitter and sweet, and the sweet type (grown in Europe and central Asia) are used in cooking oil and as a substitute for almond flavour, while the bitter type is the one thought to be a cure for cancer. The bitter type has a high concentration of amygdalin, a chemical which when ingested causes cyanide poisoning (the sweet type has a much smaller concentration); a pack of the bitter kernels, at one point marketed in health-food shops as a snack, contained at least double the adult lethal dose. As for curing cancer, in 2011 the Cochrane Collaboration (which specialises in meta-analyses, or analyses of groups of clinical trials) concluded that the claims for amygdalin or a synthetic derivative, laetrile “are not currently supported by sound clinical data” and that in light of the risk of cyanide poisoning from oral ingestion, “the risk–benefit balance of laetrile or amygdalin as a treatment for cancer is … unambiguously negative”. They recommended that no further research be conducted into the substances on ethical grounds.

The response from the amygdalin advocates was, predictably, to indulge in conspiracy theories and I’m sure some people will dismiss me as a “sheeple” (not sure what the singular of that is) for accepting “establishment” or “big pharma” science as fact. Readers might consider, however, that if this substance really was a cure for cancer, “big pharma” could have capitalised on it because even if they couldn’t patent it, they could have found more efficient ways to extract it from apricot kernels than small-scale activist producers could — and they could have developed and patented some derivative. They could have found ways to grow it here rather than import it from India or Nepal. They already derive medicines from plants, everything from aspirin from willow bark to the chemo drug vincristine derived from the Madagascar periwinkle, so why anyone thinks they would miss a chance to exploit a chemical found in a common fruit (and in other members of the same family) is beyond me. In countries like the UK where there is a public health system and chemotherapy drugs are funded by the state, it stands to reason that they would not pay for them if fruit seeds did the job better.

It’s obviously why people promote this junk. They don’t like big drug companies, they know that people don’t like taking drugs that make them sick and would use an alternative if one were available, and that people especially do not like allowing their children to be made dreadfully sick, and they prey on this desperation. They often present their ‘cures’ as gentler than the drugs ‘peddled’ by the big companies and the NHS, but in truth they are often poisonous, as with these seeds, or otherwise harmful, as (for example) with the bleach or anti-hormone agents marketed as cures for autism. If you’ve got a friend with a serious or chronic illness and you’ve heard of something that sounds like a miracle cure, think twice before recommending it to them. They’ve probably heard it all before (many, many times, and if the condition is a very visible one, likely from strangers on trains and the like) and if it were as simple as eating a few seeds, they’d have found this out from other people with their condition (yes, they have forums for these things). I know you don’t want your friend to suffer, but if they cease treatment because someone convinced them to try an alternative remedy instead, they could die. It’s happened many times.

It was Kate’s wish to raise £250,000 for her local cancer centre in Leeds before she died. That goal has been exceeded, but the JustGiving page is still open. She has also asked for donations to be made to St Gemma’s Hospice, also in Leeds, where she is being cared for currently. You may also like to donate to a hospice in your area, such as Royal Trinity Hospice in south London.

Image source: Wikimedia, sourced from Marco Almbauer; licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0 International Licence.

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Repercussions of the Sun’s hijab attack | Letters

The Guardian World news: Islam - 22 July, 2016 - 18:32

In Peterborough there are many secondary schools rated good by Ofsted. One is a large multicultural school with a high proportion of British Pakistani-heritage pupils. It encourages students to value education and strongly promotes diversity, creativity, ambition and a “can-do” attitude. One of the school’s alumni is Fatima Manji, the Channel 4 reporter attacked by the Sun’s Kelvin MacKenzie for wearing a hijab while reporting on the dreadful Nice attack (Anger at column on Muslim TV presenter, 20 July).

Fatima is a perfect example of the minority ethnic aspiration we are trying to encourage, graduating as she has to become a national broadcaster via school, university, and local journalism. So many members of ethnic minorities are criticised for not integrating or adhering to so-called British values. Mr MacKenzie’s views will make some from ethnic minorities angry and may make others give up trying, thus creating even more members of the disillusioned and alienated underclass that we should be eliminating, and that newspapers like the Sun are so quick to criticise.
Toby Wood
Peterborough

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Thoughts from the RNC: We have Become a Nation of Fear

altmuslim - 22 July, 2016 - 17:36
Embed from Getty Images   By Alan Howard The 2016 Republican Party National Convention has been consigned to history. And what a convention it was. It seemed like the overarching theme was one word: Fear. Fear of lost jobs, of immigrants and refugees, loss of Christian identity, fear of terrorism and Muslims, fear of black [Read More...]

Q&A: ABC backs screening process after News Corp criticises Khaled Elomar

The Guardian World news: Islam - 22 July, 2016 - 03:35

The Australian highlights offensive Facebook posts but ABC says audience member who asked Pauline Hanson a question about Islamophobia was cleared by police

Q&A has defended allowing a Muslim engineer in its audience to ask Pauline Hanson a question after a front-page story in the Australian newspaper claimed he had not been properly screened.

Khaled Elomar was cleared by police and the program’s producers before being allowed to ask Hanson about Islamophaobia, the ABC has said.

Related: Pauline Hanson and Sam Dastyari clash over Islam on ABC's Q&A

Related: If I could peel back my brown skin, you'd see the Aussie bogan on the inside | Rana Hussain

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Australia once banned Catholics from mass and vilified the Irish. Haven't we learned anything?

The Guardian World news: Islam - 22 July, 2016 - 01:19

As an Irish Australian, Nick Earls says that when it comes to distinguishing cultural difference from threat, ‘we should be better at this by now’

I was passing through airport security somewhere in North America in October 2001 when I realised it: I was no longer the face of terrorism, and might never be selected for one of those comprehensive “special clearance procedures” again.

Until then, that’s what a passport with a Northern Irish birthplace had got me – it happened often enough anywhere in the world, and was almost inevitable at airports in the UK. I’d be taken away to a side room, physically searched, swabbed for explosives and asked to unpack my suitcase entirely. Sometimes I even had to unball my balled-up socks. I’d adjusted to it being the price of travel for someone with a birthplace like mine.

Related: The most troubling thing about Pauline Hanson's view of Muslims? The facts no longer matter | Susan Carland

Related: TV host Sonia Kruger calls for end to Muslim migration to Australia

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Teach Your Kids About Black Lives Matter Now

Muslim Matters - 21 July, 2016 - 16:02

by Sana H. Aaser

While Muslims were celebrating the final days of Ramadan and Eid, two unarmed black men – Philando Castile and Alton Sterling – were shot and killed by police officers in separate events in Minneapolis and Baton Rouge. These recent events underscore a disheartening trend: young black men in America are nine times more likely to be killed by police officers than any other demographic.

Race relations have become all the more tense as self-proclaimed, “freedom fighters,” have killed six police officers in Dallas and three police officers in Baton Rouge. Although the news and social media have been filled with updates and opinions, few articles have been geared toward kids. Even those articles that make a case for why we should talk to our kids about it, don't explain how.

So, what do we tell our kids?

In the following sections, we will discuss: (a) a rationale for discussing race relations in America with kids, (b) a historical narrative to teach, (c) key topics to discuss, and (d) action items.

Why Muslims Must Tell Their Kids

As a parent, you might be asking yourself, “Why should I tell my child about race relations in America?” Here are three important reasons:

Instilling Justice

The cases of Philando Castile and Alton Sterling are each examples of a grave injustice in which police officers used their positions of power and authority to make a judgment and exert force unfairly. Islam teaches us to stand up against injustice wherever we see it. The Qur'an states “…do not let the hatred of a people prevent you from being just. Be just; that is nearer to righteousness. And fear Allah; indeed, Allah is acquainted with what you do” (5:8).

Standing for Equity

The events that transpired in Minneapolis and Baton Rouge are part of a larger narrative of the persistent unequal treatment of people of color. This is not only morally reprehensible, but also against the teachings of Islam. Allah says “Oh mankind, indeed We have created you from a male and a female and made you into nations and tribes, that you may know one another. Indeed, the most noble of you in the sight of Allah is the most righteous of you” (49:13).

Creating Consciousness

Reflecting on the stories of the police officers who shot and killed these Black men, a discussion on our own awareness of biases and stereotypes is required. While the police officers might deny being racist, their actions say otherwise. Their hasty judgment led to the death of young men. In the same way, our own assumptions and prejudices can have terrible consequences.

This isn't just an American problem, it is an American-Muslim problem as well. The Muslim Anti-Racism Collaborative released a study in 2015, documenting serious forms of racism within the American-Muslim community. If you don't have time to read through the study, a summary (in pop-culture form) is available here.

Why Parents Don't Tell Their Kids

These are tough conversations. Parents may not want to have these conversations because they are personally uncomfortable. The American Psychology Association, believes that it is integral for parents to keep talking anyway, and that the discussions get easier over time. However, there are two common hesitations that parents have.

My Kids are Color Blind

One common hesitation that parents cite when discussing topics related to race is that “my children [and I] don't see color; we treat all people equally.” This argument, often referred to as “color blindness,” lacks merit because even if a parent allegedly does not see race, it still does not account for institutional racism. Secondly, studies show that our brains naturally discriminate and therefore, it is irresponsible to claim that one, “does not see color.”

My Kids are Too Young

Another common contention is that, “my children are too young to speak to about race,” or that “my children aren't affected by racism.” This is simply not true. An in-depth investigation by CNN, titled “Kids on Race,” in 2012 showcases that children as young as six years old have varying attitudes on race.

We recommend the following discussion for parents of children age six and above.

The Story to Share with Kids

Our goal is to share a historical narrative to help children understand the concept of institutional racism, as it pertains to Black people in America. This narrative follows advice provided from the journal, Multicultural Education.

What Monopoly Can Teach Us About Racism

Let's begin with a story. Imagine everyone in the family except for you (the child) are playing a game of Monopoly (or pick another game that may be more appropriate for your family, e.g. Pokemon, Chutes & Ladders, LIFE). We play for one hour, and now, each of us owns properties and has earned lots of money. Now imagine, after all of this, we let you (the child) join the game. You start with nothing. If each of us does the same amount of work, do you think you could win? No, there is very little chance, because you are starting so far behind.

This game is similar to the experience of Black people in America. Nearly 400 years ago, White European settlers in America went to Africa. There, the settlers kidnapped Black Africans and brought them to America. These Africans were enslaved. This means that they forced the Africans to work for them. From the time the Africans were children, they had to work all day and were not able to go to school either.

For more than 200 years, this is how Black people lived in America. Finally, a lot of people – some White and some Black – gained the courage to stand up against this. They said that enslaving people was bad, and that it needed to stop. And, they succeeded. Slavery was abolished, meaning that it ended. Black people were freed so that they could begin leading normal lives. Meaning, they could buy homes, go to school, and get normal jobs!

But, remember that game of Monopoly we played? Just because somebody is playing the game, that doesn't mean it was fair. Today, because they were treated unfairly from the beginning, Black people have to work harder than others for the same results. Not only that, when slavery was abolished, some people still had bad feelings towards Black people just because they looked different. Because of that, they treated Black people very badly. For example, Black people weren't able to eat at the same restaurants or even use the same bathrooms. These actions are called, “discrimination,” and some still treat Black people unfairly today.

For a more detailed history of slavery in America, this website is a good source. Additionally, “If You Lived When There Was Slavery in America,” published by Scholastic, paints a picture of slavery in America for children age five and above.

Key Watch Outs

Important notes: (1) Do not refer to the Africans as “slaves,” but rather say that they were “enslaved.” This slight difference underscores the initial act of injustice, instead of labeling a group of people with a term of disempowerment. (2) Clarify that over time, enslaved Africans were called African Americans, who are also called Black people, or people of color. (3) This narrative is a very simplified version of the history, and can be modified depending on the age of your children.

Given this history, below is a set of questions and activities that parents can engage in with children to help foster an understanding of fairness and discrimination.

inequity

Activity #1 – The Sweet Taste of Fairness

What does it mean if something is fair? Have Black people been treated fairly in the history of our country? We seek to answer these questions through this activity. You will need 12 pieces of candy. Follow the instructions and questions below.

Imagine President Obama gave me five pieces of candy and only gave you one. How would you feel? The goal of this discussion is to help children understand the meaning of “fairness.” It is in our fitra, or human nature, to be opposed to injustice and attracted to justice.

Now what if the roles were switched, and you received five pieces of candy and I only had one. How would you feel? The goal of this discussion is for children to understand that when we are in situations of privilege (e.g. when we have the candy), we must give to those who do not have it.

So let's say President Obama gave me five pieces and only gave you one. Now, President Obama comes back. He has four pieces of candy. Who should he give the pieces of candy to?  The goal here is to foster a desire for equity instead of equality. By the standards of equality, each individual should be given two. But, this isn't fair because the child will only have three pieces total and the parent will now have seven! However, by the standards of equity, the child should be given all four pieces to make up for the prior deficit. That way, each individual has five pieces of candy.

In the American context, this goes against our beliefs about hard work paying off (the Protestant work ethic, the land of opportunity, etc). We like to believe that the good that comes to us is a product of our own efforts, not a privilege handed to us by a rigged system.

Final question: Now that we know about fairness and equity, do you think Black people have been treated fairly in the history of the United States? The goal here is to bring the conversation together. Black people in America have not been treated fairly. The over 200-year history of slavery (and lack of equity) means there isn't a level playing field.

In the Holy Qur'an, “Allah orders for justice and fairness, (16:90). Allah subḥānahu wa ta'āla (glorified and exalted be He) continues saying, “O you who believe! Stand firmly for justice, as witnesses to Allah, even if it be against yourselves, your parents, and your relatives, or whether it is against the rich or the poor…” (4:135). Not only with your family and relatives, but even with others, Allah subḥānahu wa ta'āla (glorified and exalted be He) commands us to be fair and just.

Activity #2 – Tart Discrimination

Is it okay to treat people differently based on how they look? We seek to answer this question through the following activity. You will need at least four people and four lemons. This activity was originally created by the Anti-Defamation League.

Assign each person a lemon and ask the individual to become an expert on the lemon – how it looks, smells, and feels. Next, collect the lemons in one basket and move them around such that their order is not easily discovered. Finally, ask the participants to locate their lemon from the basket. Remarkably, most will be able to find their lemon.

Ask the individuals how they were able to spot their lemon. Some may reference the size, others may talk about color, etc. This is a precursor to a discussion on how people are like that – different sizes, shapes, and colors.

Now, collect the lemons again. This time, peel the lemons, and ask the kids to find their own lemon. Presented with this, the children will respond saying, “All of the lemons look the same!” This comment opens the door to the realization that people, similar to lemons, look different on the outside but are all essentially the same on the inside.

Final Question: If we, like the lemons, are all similar on the inside, is it okay to treat people differently based on how they look on the outside?The goal here is to bring the conversation together. Black people in America are still being treated unfairly because of the way they look.

The Holy Prophet ṣallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam (peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him) says, “If one of you sees something evil, he should change it with his hand. If he cannot, he should speak out against it, and if he cannot do even that, he should at least detest it in his heart, this being the weakest form of faith.” We describe this notion of justice in our book, “Noor Kids Stand Up to Bullying.”

As parents, we recommend the following three actions to help alleviate the inequity associated with race in our communities. Some activities involve children, others do not.

Step One – Reflect on Our Biases

Where do biases stem from? According to Dr. Derald Wing Sue at Columbia University, it starts at home. She says, “Many parents talk to their children about embracing difference, but in subtle, covert ways, they communicate something very different. For example, when approaching a group of black youngsters, a mother may unconsciously pull the child nearer to her.” As parents, it is our responsibility, firstly, to reflect on our biases. If unchecked, these biases may manifest themselves in our children.

Step Two – Role Model Behavior

How can we protect ourselves from negative biases? The answer is simple: people. Dr. Wing Sue explains, “many [non-Black] parents often talk to kids about the evils of prejudice and discrimination, yet in their own lives they have few friends or neighbors of color with whom they regularly socialize. These implicit communications are more powerful than any intentional efforts on the part of parents.”

As parents, if we expect our children to grow up with an appreciation for humanity, we too must reflect such diversity in our daily lives through our friends and neighbors.

imamomar

Step Three – Participate

As the Holy Prophet's ṣallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam (peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him) saying goes, if we cannot solve this issue with our hands, we should at least speak out against it. Many scholars of note, including Shaykh Omar Suleiman and imam Suhaib Webb, have taken to the streets and participated in locally-organized protests. Participating in such events sends a strong message to children that we, as Muslims, have a responsibility to stand up with the oppressed.

If it is not possible to attend a protest, it is valuable to either call or write a letter to your local state representative. In your phone call or letter, you and your children should each discuss why you are troubled about recent violence towards Black people in America and express a need to hold responsible parties accountable. This too sends a strong message to children to participate in their local government.

This work has been created by Sana H. Aaser, Educational Director at Noor Kids. Sana has a Master's degree in education with a focus on equity and social justice. Her research on American-Muslim youth identity earned her San Francisco State University's highest honors as a graduate hood recipient.  

Noor Kids is a Harvard-supported monthly, at-home Islamic education program designed by creative and scholarly experts to help 4- to- 8 year-olds learn and love Islam. To see a free sample, click here.

 

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