Thursday, December 24, 2015

Strange Times We Live In

   I haven't posted in a while because I have been just so incredibly busy.  My full time job is literally the work of two jobs, but I'm not complaining.  Alhumdulillah I have work when so many are desperate for a job.  May Allah bring relief to those in need!

   Anyway, I do follow the news as best I can, and I think about things when I'm driving or in between making yet another lesson plan for my students in the school.  One thing I have noticed is that there seems to be a great polarization happening.  We Muslims and issues related to our faith are now the topics of conversation nearly everywhere we go.

   Normally that would not be a bad thing, if the context was positive, but of course, as we all know, everything we hear is resoundingly negative.  It's really hard on our young people, to have their religion and Prophet called such horrible things.  I do not know where this will all lead, but I do remember an article I wrote about 15 years ago or so that many non-Muslims ridiculed.  The link is below:

   In this article I attempted to imagine what would happen if all the propaganda against us came to its full fruition, and Muslims suddenly found themselves hunted by enraged mobs of their neighbors, right here in America.  Some non-Muslims exclaimed that that sort of thing could never happen here, but does any Muslim now have any doubts about the frenzy being arrayed against us?

   There was a time when we were ascendant here and the public at large either ignored us or had a somewhat positive attitude towards us.  If you were here back in the 80s and 90s, you will remember that our debaters had Christians against the ropes in interfaith debates.  Our logic was impeccable, our research above reproach, and all the contradictions of the Bible looked truly awful compared to the pristine unity of our Holy Book.

   We also were beginning to take the moral high ground in the 90s against Israeli oppression in the Occupied Territories.  People were getting exposed to video of Israeli soldiers beating, killing and harming Palestinians.  The tide was turning, if ever so slowly, and activist Jews and Christians could not best us.

    The Soviets had stirred the Afghan hornet's nest in the 80s, but it looked like Afghanistan would not affect outside regions as the Mujahideen got busy fighting each other.  The Arab world had the simmering PLO business going on, but it was more or less contained.  Lebanon was in disarray too, but manageable.  But huge geo-political forces were at play in the late 90s.  Secular, greedy, power-mad men turned the wheels of history, and the Middle East was plunged into turmoil.

   Saddam Hussein, another in a long line of American installed brutal dictators got greedy for Kuwait.  Okay, the U.S. and world banned together to oust him, but then Bush foolishly decided to fill up Arabia with hundreds of thousands of non-Muslim troops.  This, as we all know, got Osama bin Laden in motion, and then 9/11 was the result.

   From there it was all downhill.  The second Bush-inspired war was more blatantly a power grab for oil, but it was such a bungled job that eventually the Islamic State (or ISIS) came about.  How did that happen?  Who was involved?  Why is ISIS so barbaric?  These are a lot of issues, and there is a lot of information floating around, but the basic premise that opportunistic Christians and Jews have taken and run with is that somehow "Islam" is a "bad" religion "prone" to violence.

   So simplistic a message, but it resonates with simple-minded people who don't have any idea about the intense foreign meddling in the Middle East for generations.  Since World War I when the victorious Europeans carved up the Middle East into unnatural states with illogical borders, the place has been a powder keg.  The uneducated masses in the West don't know that.  Israel was established by fascist-minded Jews seeking a safe homeland for their persecuted brethren, but they had to brutalize the local Arabs to make it happen.  Again people don't know that.

   Made in America bombs have been dropped on people's towns and villages from Libya to Iraq to Afghanistan for decades.  Simple folk never ask, "What would I do if that were happening to me?"  Back to the main point however, the narrative has been turned on its head from what it truthfully should be.  People are being told: "Those evil Muslims follow a demonic religion that tells them to kill everybody and do every bad thing."

   What they should be told is that "Islam is a religion that is not much different than a fusion of the Catholic Church and Judaism.  Brutalized people in the Middle East have tried every secular solution to stop the outside meddling that has caused generations of death and destruction.  Now some are using religion as a vehicle for their revenge/resistance, and they are twisting it in the same way that Christianity was twisted in the Middle Ages to justify horrible things and murders."

   There are some Muslims doing "Take Back Islam" campaigns, and there is nothing wrong with that, but what must also be blared loud and clear is that the religion is not to be blamed for terrorists, rather decades of bombing, war and oppression whose origin almost always goes back to offices in Washington, London, Tel Aviv and Moscow. 

   Ours is a beautiful religion, and we are in an informational struggle just as dire as when the Mongols sacked half the Muslim world 800 years ago.  Inshallah, we can get our message across and the shrill voices against us can see the light of reason.  Ameen.