It’s easy for young Muslim professionals to feel fearful as they enter into the workforce. Girls are afraid to go into journalism with their hijabs on, guys are afraid to enter into business with their beards. Often, this fear causes our young professionals to dissociate from their Muslim identity to assimilate into American culture. The truth of the matter is that the Prophet SAW stated that “Islam began as something strange and will revert to become something strange so glad tidings to the strangers.” Instead of being afraid to be different, we should proudly stand out. Our youth should be the first Muslim hijabi news anchors and the first Muslim male CEOs. Your Islam should not be the reason for your hiding, rather your Islam should be your means of standing out.
On Tuesday, September 17, 2019, the Muslim Students’ Association, in collaboration with 33 campus units and 11 student organizations, hosted Imam Omar Suleiman for a keynote speech at the MLK symposium event, Malcolm & Martin: Intersecting Visions of Justice. Imam Omar was joined by UM’s own Drs. Su’ad Abdul Khabeer and Stephen Ward for a dialogue and Q&A session. The focus of this event was advocacy, allyship, and the intersectionality and global nature of social justice.
The event program can be viewed at bit.ly/mxmlkprogram
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.
Standing firmly for justice is a core value in Islam which should be given a priority in managing our resources and planning on both individual and community levels. Our efforts in standing for justice should be principled, not exploitative, and should observe Allah’s ﷻ limits. What are the features of our “Standing for Justice” which might differentiate us from other Social Justice and Advocacy movements? What should American Muslims do to deliver to this religious responsibility?
Whether we live in a small town or big city, a predominantly Muslim neighborhood or are the only Muslims on the block, it’s important to be involved and engaged in society as a whole. And that’s where our civic obligations come in. As Muslims, our Islamic duties are what push us to be involved. Whether we are temporary guests, visitors, or citizens, Islam mandates that Muslims should be an integral component part of society.
In this powerful and emotional talk, delivered in front of the largest annual gathering of Muslims in North America, Shaykh Dr. Yasir Qadhi shares his thoughts on the current state of Islamophobia in America, and the dismal situation in Muslim lands and how we should work together to speak out against oppression and injustice.