NATO is aiding the obliteration of Gaza.
Currently, there are several crises raging across the Muslim world. In the past few weeks, we have seen earthquakes devastating Morocco and Afghanistan, flooding in Libya, and various ongoing conflicts across the Muslim world. These past few weeks, our news feeds have been filled with heart-wrenching headlines and reports from the atrocities that are being committed in Gaza. “Atrocities” is too soft of a word. What we are witnessing is ethnic cleansing and genocide. As this article is being written, the death toll in Gaza is now above 7,000; 2,913 of those are children. We are witnessing genocide and ethnic cleansing taking place right in front of our eyes. We are seeing some of the worst atrocities being committed by occupiers and oppressors. Western states and the mainstream media are willfully, cruelly, and arrogantly turning a blind eye. The rhetoric from heads of state and the media is absolutely infuriating. The Muslim world, particularly the Arab states, seems powerless and helpless.
May Allah ﷻ accept all the deceased as martyrs, grant patience to their families, grant them immense strength, patience, and perseverance, and grant them freedom from occupation.Cheap Blood
It truly feels like we are living during the times that were described by the Prophet ﷺ.
Thowbān narrates that the Prophet ﷺ said, “Soon nations will summon each other to attack you just as a group of diners usher each other toward their meal.” Someone asked, “Will that be because of our small numbers at that time?” The Messenger of Allah ﷺ said, “No, you will be numerous at that time, but you will be like the scum and rubbish carried by flood water. Allah will remove from the hearts of your enemies their awe/respect for you and will place weakness in your hearts.” That person asked, “O Messenger of Allah, what is this weakness?” He ﷺ replied, “Love of the world and dislike of death.” [Sunan Abi Dawud 4297]
The Prophet ﷺ described a time when we as an Ummah, as a nation of believers, will be extremely weak, humiliated, and disgraced. We will have no respect, honor, authority, sovereignty, or dignity in the eyes of others. Our lives and honor will have no value or weight in the eyes of others. Muslim blood will be cheap.
Perhaps the longest and most frustrating crisis we have witnessed during our lives is the illegal occupation of Palestine. The Palestinians have been living under occupation for the past 70+ years, since the creation of the state of Israel in 1948. Since that time, Palestinians have been victims of a systematic process of persecution designed to push them out of their homes and abandon their land. There’s no doubt that Israel is an apartheid state where the Palestinians are treated as second-class citizens who experience various forms of discrimination daily. One of the biggest issues of the occupation is the illegal settlements established in Jerusalem to push out the Muslim population. Israel’s unlawful construction and expansion of settlements and their related infrastructure on Palestinian soil is one of the most defining features of Israel’s occupation and has bred mass violations against Palestinians over the past five decades. Tens of thousands of Palestinian homes and properties have been demolished, displacing entire communities from their homes, and at least 100,000 hectares of land have been seized for Israel’s settlement project, including for construction and agricultural use. Israeli settlements on occupied Palestinian land do not just amount to war crimes under international law, they violate fundamental principles of international law triggering additional responsibilities among all states.A Very Muslim Issue
These past weeks, the IDF has launched an illegal war on the residents of Gaza dropping bombs indiscriminately killing women and children, and destroying entire neighborhoods. As a community of believers, this is not just a Palestinian issue or an Arab issue; this is a Muslim issue. It is a Muslim issue because it involves our Muslim brothers and sisters and al-Masjid al-Aqsa, our third most sacred place of worship. Al-Masjid al-Aqsa is the destination of the Prophet’s ﷺ Night Journey, the starting point of his ascension through the heavens, and our first qiblah in Islam. It is the land where the Prophet ﷺ led all the Prophets and Messengers in prayer.
One of the most frustrating things about the entire conflict is how it is portrayed and reported in the mainstream news media. Every time I read or see a report from CNN, BCC, or Fox News I’m reminded of the following quote from Malcolm X, “The press is so powerful in its image-making role, it can make a criminal look like he’s the victim and make the victim look like he’s the criminal. This is the press, an irresponsible press. If you aren’t careful, the newspapers will have you hating the people who are being oppressed and loving the people who are doing the oppressing.” They paint the oppressors as the oppressed and the oppressed as the oppressors; the victims as the criminals and the criminals as the victims.
And what’s even more frustrating is the inability of the Muslim world to do anything about it. How did we get here? How has it come to this? How is it that we have such large numbers but have no weight, power, authority, influence, or value? How is it that there are over 2 billion Muslims in the world but we are still weak and oppressed? That we can’t do anything beyond offer a few empty condemnations? The Prophet ﷺ told us the reason why, he told us that it will be because of a very specific weakness; love of this world and dislike of death. This weakness is found in us, not the people of Gaza. The past few weeks have shown to us that the people of Gaza are people of pure unwavering faith and reliance upon Allah ﷻ.Strength from Imaan
This is what I want all of us to reflect upon. Our strength as an ummah has never come from numbers or material means. Our true strength comes from the strength of our Iman; the strength of our faith. Our true strength comes from following the Book of Allah ﷻ, the guidance and teachings of the Prophet ﷺ, and implementing them into our lives.
Oftentimes when we discuss the problems and issues we face as an Ummah, we end up focusing on material factors; social, political, and economic. And of course, these factors play a role in what is happening in Muslim societies throughout the world. I’m not denying that. The issues we are facing are complex and multi-faceted. However, I firmly believe that the root cause of our issues is that we have left the guidance of the Quran and the example of the Prophet ﷺ.
Not only were Muslim lands colonized by Western imperial powers, but Muslim minds were colonized as well. As a result of this intellectual colonization, we have been looking for success and the answers to our social, economic, and political problems towards the various ideologies and philosophies that were born of modernity. But the answer to our problems doesn’t lie in secularism, modernism, liberalism, scientism, socialism, democracy, or any other manmade system that exists. The answer to our problems lies in Divine guidance in the form of the words of Allah ﷻ and the teaching of our beloved Prophet ﷺ.Allah’s Promise of Security
Allah ﷻ tells us in Surah al-Nur,
“Allah has promised those of you who believe and do good that He will certainly make them successors in the land, as He did with those before them; and will surely establish for them their faith which He has chosen for them; and will indeed change their fear into security—˹provided that˺ they worship Me, associating nothing with Me. But whoever disbelieves after this ˹promise˺, it is they who will be the rebellious.” [Surah An-Nur: 24;55]
The starting point or focal point of the problems we’re facing is not some external factor; rather, it’s internal. The problem lies with us as Muslims. We have left the way of life explained to us in the Qur’ān and shown to us practically by the Prophet ﷺ and have adopted ideas, beliefs, customs, and a way of life foreign to our own teachings. We no longer ascribe to the Islamic worldview or live a life according to Quranic and Prophetic principles. If we want to turn the tide and change our current situation we have to start changing ourselves. We have to recommit to our faith, come back to the basics, build a strong connection with Allah , and live for the sake of Allah .
That’s what Allah ﷻ is telling us in this verse. If we have faith and that faith results in righteous actions, then Allah ﷻ promises us success. Allah ﷻ is promising us as believers three distinct favors: 1) He will make us successors to the land (make us vicegerents upon the earth), as He did those who came before us, 2) He will establish the religion He has chosen for us and 3) He will grant us security to replace our fear. Allah will give us ‘izzah, honor us, elevate us, and place us in positions of strength, authority, and power. The Ummah will have respect and value. The believers as a nation, as an Ummah, will have influence and bring real change in the world. They will be seen as world leaders. Islam will be established and firm as a way of life. It will be seen as the best way of life that can benefit humanity. People will recognize its value and look towards Islam and Muslims for solutions to problems that they’re facing. Allah ﷻ will grant us security to replace our fear. The fear of mockery, ridicule, harassment, persecution, and oppression will be removed and replaced with peace, safety, and security. But this promise is for those who fulfill two conditions; faith and righteous actions. Meaning their faith is proactive.
The formula is very simple and straightforward; it’s literally only two things. Faith and righteous deeds. If we as an Ummah come back to the basics of our faith and religion it will make a huge difference. If we as an Ummah want to return to our glory days, if we want that ‘izzah and honor, then we have to come back to Allah. The Prophet ﷺ told us, “Truly Allah ﷻ elevates nations through this Book and lowers others.” If we want to bring about real and true change, we have to start changing ourselves along with all of our other efforts. We have to free ourselves from this intellectual colonization by submitting ourselves to our Lord and Creator.
As young Muslim college/university students, we may be asking ourselves, “What can we do?” “How can we help?” “How do we start bringing about change?” I want to share five practical things all of us can do to start making real practical change:
- Come Back to Allah ﷻ – I’m sure all our hearts are shaken by the current events in Gaza. The eyes shed tears, the heart feels pain, and we sincerely pray for our brothers and sisters. When atrocities like this take place, they are moments of introspection. These are times for us to come back to Allah ﷻ, al-Rujūʿ ila Allah. This is a wake-up call from Allah ﷻ shaking us from our deep slumber and heedlessness. It is as if Allah ﷻ is telling us enough is enough. We have missed enough prayers, we have slept through enough Fajrs, we have missed enough fasts, we have sinned enough, we have disobeyed Allah ﷻ enough, we have been careless long enough, we have stayed away from the masjid long enough, we have focused on the dunyā for too long, and we have been divided for too long. Enough is enough and it is time to come back to Allah ﷻ. We will not be able to liberate or free anything unless we are able to liberate and free our lazy bodies from our beds at Fajr time. We will not advance as an Ummah unless the masjid is as full for Fajr as it is for Jumuʿah…
- Duʿā – We cannot and should not underestimate the power of supplication. Duʿā, supplication, calling upon Allah ﷻ, is one of the absolute most powerful tools that a believer has. The Prophet ﷺ said, “Dua is the weapon of the believer.” It is a direct line of communication between a believer and their Lord and Creator. It is considered to be the essence or epitome of worship. When a person raises their hands in supplication to Allah ﷻ it shows that they recognize the reality of their relationship with Him. They recognize that they are His servants and that He is their Lord and Creator. They acknowledge and admit that they don’t have the power, ability, or capability to do anything without the help and assistance of Allah ﷻ. By supplicating to Allah ﷻ they are fulfilling their obligation of calling upon Him. And the beautiful thing is that when they call upon Him, He answers. Allah ﷻ says, “And your Lord says call upon me and I will respond to you.” Similarly, in Surah al-Baqarah Allah ﷻ says, “[Prophet], if My servants ask you about Me, I am near. I respond to those who call Me, so let them respond to Me, and believe in Me, so that they may be guided.” When a person frequently calls upon Allah ﷻ it shows that they have firm faith and a strong relationship with their Lord and Creator.
- Awareness – All of us should be aware of what is happening right now and educate ourselves regarding the history of the conflict. We should also be actively engaged in spreading awareness in our respective spheres of influence. Our voices will make a difference and it is important for each of us to play a role in changing the narrative. That like, retweet, share, and post makes a difference. Have conversations with your classmates, professors, and build awareness on campus through programs, lectures, teach-ins, rallies, and walk-outs etc.
- Get involved with the BDS movement
- Don’t Lose Hope – Despite all the material odds stacked against the Gazans, believers are people of hope and optimism. We know for a fact with absolute 100% certainty that Allah ﷻ will aid, support, assist, and grant relief and victory to the oppressed. The Prophet ﷺ taught a young ibn ʿAbbāds , “And know that victory comes with patience, relief with aﬄiction, and hardship with ease.” The Prophet ﷺ told us, “Beware of the supplication of the oppressed for there is no veil between it and Allah.” We know their prayers are being heard and answered. Allah ﷻ consoled and comforted the best generation of believers to walk in this earth saying, “Do you think you will be admitted into Paradise without being tested like those before you? They were afflicted with suffering and adversity and were so ˹violently˺ shaken that ˹even˺ the Messenger and the believers with him cried out, ‘When will Allah’s help come?’ Indeed, Allah’s help is near.”
Allah’s help is near!
Doctors bracing for an even bigger disaster when fuel runs out.
Student has been charged with threatening to kill or injure using interstate communications, and faces up to five years in prison
A Cornell student who allegedly made threats to his university’s Jewish community is expected in federal court in Syracuse, New York, on Wednesday.
In the aftermath of Hamas’s attack on Israelis on 7 October and Israel’s subsequent retaliation on Palestinians in Gaza, concerns of a rise in antisemitism and Islamophobia persist, especially on college campuses.Continue reading...
Protesters disrupt Blinken as two-thirds of Americans support ceasefire
In yesterday’s (Monday’s) Daily Telegraph, there was an opinion piece by Nick Timothy, former chief of staff at 10 Downing Street when Theresa May was PM, giving a caricature of the pro-Palestinian protests in London by cherry-picking a few extreme things a few individual participants said or chanted, a few irrelevant examples of wider Muslim criminality, before demanding “a more muscular approach to end this culture of domestic separatism”, including tighter laws on “incitement, hate speech and extremism”, a register of imams and mosques with the threat of “preaching bans and closures” when Muslims say things he doesn’t like, a ban on the so-called burqa in public and hijab in schools and the criminalisation of “sharia marriages”. He criticises the police for not arresting enough people for carrying or shouting offensive slogans at the “rolling protests” and suggests we have a “desire to play things down, to convince ourselves that this is all about a quarrel in a far away country”. Can anyone call what is going on a mere quarrel?
For most of October, the Gaza Strip has been under sustained bombardment by Israeli warplanes and missiles, which have cost more than 9,000 mostly innocent Palestinian lives. This is no mere quarrel. This is at least a massacre; the language of Israeli politicians, military leaders and commentators suggest that it is a prelude to a forced expulsion or genocide, if their actions until now do not constitute that already. There has been an upsurge in violence by Israeli settlers, backed by the army, against Palestinians in the West Bank where Hamas has no military presence, and of repression against Palestinian citizens of Israel, who have among other things lost their jobs for social media posts criticising the attack on Gaza, or just for being Arabs. While this goes on, our politicians argue as to whether a mere ceasefire or just a “humanitarian pause” is appropriate, while the media parrot official euphemisms and narratives, taking Israeli army claims at face value. Are we supposed to just sit back and say nothing, or do no more than mouth the same platitudes?
He quotes Lord Austin, a former Labour MP, as claiming that he saw “lots of signs calling for Israel to be eradicated” but none “calling for peace, a two-state solution, Gaza to be freed from Hamas or hostages to be released”. By the first, he presumably means the slogan “from the river to the sea, Palestine will be free”, a quite reasonable thing to chant about any oppressive regime including the one Israel inflicts on the natives of Palestine. As for the other suggestions, a “two-state solution” has been another empty slogan liberal Zionists have been mouthing for decades. There is not going to be a two-state solution because Israel is busy destroying one part of Palestine, allowing its settlers to seize more and more of the other while driving the natives out. There was a brief period in the 1990s when it looked possible, but extremists on both sides thwarted it. As for the release of hostages, Israel could achieve that by releasing its many unjustly detained Palestinians — those held for no real reason under administrative detention and the children jailed for throwing stones at their tormentors, for example. It prefers to put their lives in jeopardy by bombing the places they are being held.
His demands regarding the status of Muslims in this country show that he is spoiling for a fight. The Hamas attack was on Israel, not us; there is no equivalent here, because Muslims do not have to contend with an occupation, with settlers taking our homes, interfering with our water supply, destroying our crops, harassing us as we go about our business. The peaceful demonstrations he does not like are the result of Israel’s collective punishment massacre; even the first one was held at a time when statements consistent with genocidal intent were being made by Israeli leaders and our politicians were not remonstrating. The offensive slogans were not targeted at British people, but the racist thugs and murderers in Israel. Muslim life here and our relations with the rest of the community are relatively peaceful because we are mostly not being interfered with and our religious practice and expression not restricted, especially on an official level. The hijab is part of the scenery, enough that advertisers routinely feature women wearing it. France has had a lot more trouble, with more severe terrorist attacks during the ISIS era and periodic riots involving mostly young people of North African background, because of Islamophobic policy (especially targeted at women) and racist policing.
Finally, the ‘hatreds’ which have been causing the most destruction recently are not ‘imported’ to the UK, as he claims, but exported by militant Zionists from Europe and the English-speaking world to Israel. A lot of the worst fanatics we have seen over the past 30 years are migrants to Israel who moved there not to flee persecution but out of ideology. If we cannot stop Jews moving to Israel for that reason, we should be standing firmly against their violence, not excusing it as self-defence, not repeating their lurid claims and not selling, let alone giving, them weapons.
Possibly Related Posts:
- The condemnation game
- The spectre of genocide
- Hamas: Terrorists versus militants
- Racism on Today
- Sunak’s doughnut strategy
At least some of the Israelis were killed by the Israeli military.
Israel bombed Ahmed Alnaouq’s house, killing more than 20 members of his family.
We met in a space within Westminster Abbey, and agreed that both religious communities must fight for safety and empathy
No matter how many times I rewrite these words, nothing feels right. There is pain, there is rage, there is grief. It feels impossible to do justice to the horror that is unfolding. My social media feeds groan with ghastly images and fraught, exasperated posting. And the bleak news from the Middle East has claimed a further casualty: the already volatile state of relations between Muslim and Jewish communities in the UK and across the globe.
Each day brings more fury and tension. I fear the will to protect faith and community relations is eroding, which risks propelling higher an already sharp surge in antisemitism and Islamophobia. The rejection of this hard-fought equilibrium can leave a vacuum for extremists to clamber into, and for hate to breed. Rising tensions have been deadly. In the US, Wadea Al-Fayoume, a six-year-old Palestinian-American, was stabbed 26 times and killed by his own landlord, who shouted “you Muslims must die” during the attack. Over the weekend, a mob in Russia stormed Dagestan airport searching for Jewish passengers arriving from Israel. In London, antisemitic attacks went up by 1,350% and Islamophobic offences by 140% in the first half of October.
Remona Aly is a journalist and broadcaster with a focus on faith and lifestyleContinue reading...
Across America, Arab and Muslim community leaders are receiving an alarming uptick in student reports of religious-based harassment and bullying targeting Arab and Muslim students in elementary and secondary schools. Outside of Denver, just a week after October 7, Palestinian American students reported being called “terrorists” by teachers and peers. Across Maryland, Muslim and Arab students documented threatening incidents in school when they affirmed their support for Palestinian human rights. In Northern Virginia, students mobilized walkouts to express support for a ceasefire and humanitarian aid in Gaza, but still faced close observation and scrutiny from parents who worried that the walkouts would not be peaceful.
This is not the first time that Muslim and Arab students have been subjected to collective blame after violent incidents in the Middle East. My research shows that after 9/11, Muslim and Arab students face targeted harassment each September when 9/11 is taught in classrooms. In past crises, when Muslim and Arab students speak out in support of Palestine, they are met with bullying and harassment, often at the hands of adults. Attempts by school leaders to teach this history in ethnic studies classes are met with local resistance and Palestinian curriculum resources remain censored in many public schools. Muslim students have the right to practice their faith and engage in political speech without being subject to harassment or bullying.Community leaders need information
Community leaders should be equipped with key information to give to students and their families. There are religious and mental health resources available to guide parents on how to talk to their children about Palestine. CAIR developed materials to advise students on how to speak about Islamophobia and Palestinian rights in schools. The Family Youth Institute has effective guidance on addressing traumatic events with children. Parents and community members can get direct support from The Khalil Center’s online psycho-spiritual support group and Maristan’s mental health guidebook. Yaqeen Institute published a dua’a to recite to overcome feeling helpless.
ICNA Council for Social Justice has essential references defining bullying with related prevention resources. This is not new; in 2022 nearly half of Muslim families with school-age students reported experiencing bullying. And each September when 9/11 is taught in classrooms or when a terrorist attack takes innocent lives, students describe a spike in targeted bullying and harassment.Responding to bias in U.S. schools
In addition to these valuable resources, community leaders can advise students and their families on how to respond to bias-related incidents occurring in U.S. schools.
Report! If a student experiences bias or bullying, including nonverbal actions, families should report it to the school as soon as possible. Incidents that occur in the classroom should be reported to the teacher. Incidents that occur in hallways, cafeterias, playgrounds, restrooms, or buses should be reported to the Principal (or Principal’s Designee– Assistant / Vice Principal). If a staff member is responsible for causing the incident, or if the child experienced bias or bullying before, report directly to the Principal. If the Principal is responsible, report directly to the Regional or District Superintendent. If the student experienced racial or religious discrimination, they can also file a report online with the US Department of Education Office of Civil Rights. In addition to meeting with a school official about the incident, encourage families to file a written report with the school or district equity office to document the incident and begin the formal process to address the concern. If a family needs assistance filing a report, direct them to the district’s confidential ombudsman’s office, a parent liaison, or a school guidance counselor.
Address it! Families can request to meet with a school or district leader to discuss how to address the bias or bullying incident, these meetings should include the child when possible. It is reasonable to request that the student receive a written or verbal apology from the one(s) who caused the harm. If another student is repeatedly at fault, families can ask for that student to be removed from their child’s classes or school bus route. If a teacher caused harm, families could ask for the student to be placed in a new classroom with a different teacher. Families can request counseling services to help the child recover from the harassment. Families who are aware of other incidents of bias or bullying can suggest guidance lessons or school assemblies to raise awareness of racial and religious bias and bullying. Families can also propose age-appropriate anti-bullying campaigns, professional development for staff, and the establishment of guidance groups for students with shared experiences.
Follow up! After 1 – 2 weeks, families should follow up with staff to ensure that the issue was effectively addressed. The original documentation should be reviewed and the plan to address the incident should be assessed for completion. Families can describe how the incident has impacted their child since filing the report to determine if additional wellness or safety resources should be offered. If the school has not implemented the agreed-upon plan to address the incident, the family should consider escalating their grievances. Reports not addressed at school should be raised to the superintendent’s office. Reports not addressed at the district can be raised to the state board of education or the U.S. Department of Education. Families may also choose to document bias and bullying incidents with Arab or Muslim legal organizations who may assist a family in seeking legal recourse for civil rights violations.Common errors to avoid
By following these steps, community leaders can effectively guide students and their families to address incidents of bias and bullying in U.S. classrooms or schools. But under the stress of this crisis, I see Muslim community leaders taking actions that may not support the long-term interests of students and their families. Below I list some of the common errors that leaders have made in this situation hoping that others can avoid similar responses.
- Masjid and community center leaders have created online forms for students and families to report incidents of bias and bullying. Leaders are not ensuring that the personal data being collected is protected with appropriate levels of privacy and security. Most importantly, community leaders cannot use this information to address specific incidents with school leaders on behalf of students due to the legal restrictions in the Family Education Rights and Privacy Act. Although leaders are likely organizing to help identify local patterns of bias and bullying in the schools, it is a missed opportunity to teach students and their families to engage directly with public leaders to advocate for their rights.
- Masjid and community leaders have advised parents and guardians on how to address the bias or bullying incident without consulting with the impacted student. Students need to be involved in proposing ways to address the harm so that they can support the plan and minimize disruptions to their existing school relationships. Secondly, community leaders may wrongfully insist upon punitive and disciplinary responses with legal consequences because it appears as a moral victory to the impacted student. School leaders may instead propose addressing incidents through restorative justice because research describes it as preventing further injustice and promoting a healthy school climate.
- Well-intentioned volunteers may not follow up. After a student or family shares an incident of bias or bullying with masjid or community leaders, the leadership team should ensure that someone follows up with the student and family in a timely manner. The masjid or community leaders can determine if the family needs additional services to meet the child’s needs, or if the family needs guidance on elevating their concerns to higher authorities. When a community fails to follow up it can leave a family feeling a greater sense of frustration and isolation as they try to navigate a complicated school system.
Muslim students are facing harassment and bullying in schools for both their religious and ethnic identities as well as their bold declarations of political speech. Masjid and community leaders need timely information to guide students and their families through established processes to report incidents of bias or discrimination. It is our civic responsibility to hold public officials accountable for establishing safe and supportive schools for all students, and that includes speaking up and speaking out when our students’ rights are violated.
The post Responding To Religious Harassment In US Schools – A Guide appeared first on MuslimMatters.org.
Hundreds of Palestinians have been driven from their homes, with herding communities the most vulnerable.