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June 2, 2004

by Gillette aka Hassan[uddin] Khaja

Responsibility for the current state of the image of Muslims in America rests solely at the feet of the Muslims themselves. If American airwaves and screens are saturated with an image of the Muslim terrorist, it is only natural for the country to assume that all Muslims are terrorists. If we had asserted our Muslim identities so that we are very visibly Muslim and we refrain from blowing people up, the first thing that an American kaafir might think when he or she hears the word "Muslim" would be the image of their co-worker, classmate, or colleague, instead of Osama bin Laden.

However, as a result of the deathly fear of asserting their identity, everything that has been held and is continued to be held as Islamic is considered extreme. Consequently, kaafirs will pretend to be tolerant of Islam, just an Islam that is suited to their tastes. So believing in the superiority of Islamic law over all else is considered extreme.

The belief in this superiority is currently being equated with kaafir Christian conservatives beliefs ("Every religion has their extremists"). We might - technically - believe in some of the same things as them with regards to abortion, decency in the media, etc. But the one reason that we can't necessarily seek to be like them is the fact that, in the media, they are regarded as ignorant.

To prevent this, we have wisdom on our side. Not only do we have that, but we have foresight. Both of these allow us to compromise (however little or much it might be) for the sake of da'wah. So we don't necessarily have to impose laws of decency on the media, and we wouldn't have to lobby for them, considering that there might be a backlash culture i.e. pornography.

In fact, the failing of Muslim governments who try to place restrictions on behavior is that they've imposed those restrictions on people who don't necessarily want them. Unlike other religions, however, we have a check against this in the ayah after Ayat al-Kursi, where Allah ta'ala states that "there is no compulsion in religion."

While we do have to take into consideration the da'wah implications of an action that would be percieved as extreme, we still need to take into consideration the da'wah implications of inaction. Few Muslims will argue that we want to make society so safe for Muslims and their practice of the sunnah that a sister should feel safe walking down the street wearing a niqab. However, the only way that this is remotely possibly is if Muslims emerge as people willing to be Muslim inwardly and outwardly. No change can ever be made unless people were to emerge and finally say, “I love the sunnah in its entirety. I want to enter Islam completely.” If enough people adopted this attitude, and these same people refused to murder people, a non-Muslim couldn’t help but develop a positive image of Muslims.

of and relating to...
Justoju said

Wow, nothing offensive, controversial, or insulting in this edition of Fire. Whats going on?

on June 2, 2004 1:40 PM
Rami said

Asalaam Aleikum Warahmatullah Wabarakatu,

Masha Allah...good article brother.

I like what you said before in "With muslims like these who needs kaafirs". tthe fact that we Muslims are trying to hide things that are in fact part of our deeen in an effort to just lokk like everyone else. In reality, those who turn to Islam do so because of those differeces which they cannot find anywhere else.

I think if you expanded on your article more it would be quite a nice one. For instance the topic of Jihad...and it's rules of engagement.

On the one side you have the Muslims who go outside the rules and laws set forth in Islam and become our modern day terrorists. Then there are the Muslims who try to disasociate Islam completely from Jihad for purposes of da'wah or whatever. Even though the very nation they live is in currently 2 wars...with civilian casualities already in the tens of thousands somehow Muslims are made to lok like Mongols.

If rather than denying an aspect of their religion they would explain how Islamic rules of engagement are so strict that it in reality...it would make all of these modern nations' wars look like a cup of tea. Even Augustine's rules of Just War can't stand up to it...so the conservative christians can't even deny it. I even heard Billy Graham, islamaphobic #1 defending the Iraqi soldiers dressing as civilians to sneak up on American troops as just 'A tactic of war' when one of his viewers was yelling 'look at these Jihadi Ay-rabs!'

Anyway, you probably could have expaded on just about every paragraph in the article...then Insha Allah we will have a genuine "offensive, controversial, or insulting" Fire article.

on June 2, 2004 3:47 PM
Nadia said

"No change can ever be made unless people were to emerge and finally say, “I love the sunnah in its entirety. I want to enter Islam completely.” If enough people adopted this attitude, and these same people refused to murder people, a non-Muslim couldn’t help but develop a positive image of Muslims." An excellent statement Mashallah. May Allah (swt) make all of us Muslims in true spirits. Ameen

on June 3, 2004 8:20 AM
gillette said

Fear factor: 44 percent of Americans queried in Cornell national poll favor curtailing some liberties for Muslim Americans
EMBARGOED UNTIL FRIDAY, DEC. 17, 2004, AT 11:59 a.m. EST
Contact: Blaine P. Friedlander Jr.
Office: 607-254-8093
E-Mail: bpf2@cornell.edu

The full reports are available in PDF form.

ITHACA, N.Y. -- In a study to determine how much the public fears terrorism, almost half of respondents polled nationally said they believe the U.S. government should -- in some way -- curtail civil liberties for Muslim Americans, according to a new survey released today (Dec. 17) by Cornell University.

About 27 percent of respondents said that all Muslim Americans should be required to register their location with the federal government, and 26 percent said they think that mosques should be closely monitored by U.S. law enforcement agencies. Twenty-nine percent agreed that undercover law enforcement agents should infiltrate Muslim civic and volunteer organizations, in order to keep tabs on their activities and fund raising. About 22 percent said the federal government should profile citizens as potential threats based on the fact that they are Muslim or have Middle Eastern heritage. In all, about 44 percent said they believe that some curtailment of civil liberties is necessary for Muslim Americans.

Conversely, 48 percent of respondents nationally said they do not believe that civil liberties for Muslim Americans should be restricted.

The Media and Society Research Group, in Cornell's Department of Communication, commissioned the poll, which was supervised by the Survey Research Institute, in Cornell's School of Industrial and Labor Relations. The results were based on 715 completed telephone interviews of respondents across the United States, and the poll has a margin of error of 3.6 percent.

The survey also examined the relation of religiosity to perceptions of Islam and Islamic countries among Christian respondents. Sixty-five percent of self-described highly religious people queried said they view Islam as encouraging violence more than other religions do; in comparison, 42 percent of the respondents who said they were not highly religious saw Islam as encouraging violence. In addition, highly religious respondents also were more likely to describe Islamic countries as violent (64 percent), fanatical (61 percent) and dangerous (64 percent). Fewer of the respondents who said they were not highly religious described Islamic countries as violent (49 percent), fanatical (46 percent) and dangerous (44 percent). But 80 percent of all respondents said they see Islamic countries as being oppressive toward women.

"Our results highlight the need for continued dialogue about issues of civil liberties in time of war," says James Shanahan, Cornell associate professor of communication and a principal investigator in the study. Shanahan and Erik Nisbet, senior research associate with the ILR Survey Research Institute, commissioned the study, and Ron Ostman, professor of communication, and his students administered it.

Shanahan notes: "Most Americans understand that balancing political freedoms with security can sometimes be difficult. Nevertheless, while a majority of Americans support civil liberties even in these difficult times, and while more discussion about civil liberties is always warranted, our findings highlight that personal religiosity as well as exposure to news media are two important correlates of support for restrictions. We need to explore why these two very important channels of discourse may nurture fear rather than understanding."

Researchers found that opinions on restricting civil liberties for Muslim Americans vary by political self-identification. About 40 percent of Republican respondents agreed that Muslim Americans should be required to register their whereabouts, compared with 24 percent of Democratic respondents and 17 percent of independents. Forty-one percent of Republican respondents said that Muslim American civic groups should be infiltrated, compared with 21 percent of Democrats and 27 percent of independents.

On whether mosques should be monitored, about 34 percent of the Republicans polled agreed they should be, compared with 22 percent of Democrats. Thirty-four percent of Republicans said that profiling of Muslim Americans is necessary, compared with 17 percent of Democrats.

The survey also showed a correlation between television news-viewing habits, a respondent's fear level and attitudes toward restrictions on civil liberties for all Americans. Respondents who paid a lot of attention to television news were more likely to favor restrictions on civil liberties, such as greater power for the government to monitor the Internet. Respondents who paid less attention to television news were less likely to support such measures. "The more attention paid to television news, the more you fear terrorism, and you are more likely to favor restrictions on civil liberties," says Nisbet.

on December 17, 2004 7:40 PM
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