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Khaled Abou El Fadl On the Price of Silence, Nicki Minaj, and the US Human Rights Commission

Dr. Khaled Abou El Fadl reminds of the tradition of the Prophet Muhammad in which human beings are told not to surrender, rely upon, become pacified, embrace or turn oneself over to the unjust. He reminds us of the weight and seriousness of “the Word” and the moral and ethical obligation upon human beings through their relationship with the Word. He recalls to the tradition that the word is light, the pen is light, the intellect is light and the ink is light–a symbolic construct of the relationship between Creation and the Word. In a moving and powerful testimony, Dr. Abou El Fadl recounts the tragedies taking place around the world against Muslims, and his own wrestling of the conscience to speak out for truth and against injustice as if in the wilderness. He presents the cases of horrific human rights violations in Syria, in Egypt and in places all around the world where Muslims are suffering, and the associated complicity of Muslim governments and the reactions of Muslims around the world. He laments the ironies of the invitation and subsequent refusal of the U.S. singer Nicki Minaj to perform in the Hijaz, the land of the Prophet in Saudi Arabia. He juxtaposes her moral stand against the abuses being committed in Saudi Arabia to that of fellow Muslims, particularly those who refuse to take a stand and prevent others who want to take a stand, as in the local case of the Islamic Center of Southern California most recently. Lastly, he addresses the establishment of the U.S. Commission on Human Rights this past week and the clear implications and hypocrisies of such a commission given the Trump Administration’s stated positions and actions, as well as the ideological positions of those appointed to the commission. He addresses the appointment of Hamza Yusuf to the commission and its implications for Islam and Muslims, particularly in the West. Powerful and eye-opening. Delivered 12 July 2019.