Islam students at LUC

Archive for November 2009

So this past Friday was Eid-ul-Adha, a holiday for us Muslims. ANDD the wonderful Best Buy was kind enough to release an ad that said Happy Eid to all of us. Not too big of a deal, considering Best Buy does the same for Hannukah, Kwanzaa, and Christmas. But of course, the forced-to-be-politically-correct-in-public masses set to sending Best Buy hate emails, threats they would ‘never shop there,’ etc.  Don’t worry morons, you’ll get your Merry Christmas. Ugh. Anyway, as annoying as this backlash was, I wash happy to see that Best Buy didn’t back down and even decided to release the ad. Its about time the Muslim American community gets some positive recognition.

 

Compare the Best Buy scenario to the disgusting situation in Switzerland right now. So a ban has been voted and agreed upon to ban minarets being added to any future mosques. The rationale of the right wing was that it was opposed to POLITICAL Islam. And minarets..represent that..how?  FYI– minarets are the iconic towers of mosques where the call to prayer used to be called from– most often now, its just to distinguish the mosque as a mosque. Just as the church steeple defines the church.  There are a total of FOUR, count ’em, FOUR minarets in the entire country. I always LOVE it when the oh-so-tolerant European countries implement such discriminatory and prejudicial laws against immigrants and especially Muslim populations.

Look to France– the headscarf is banned, the immigrant  Muslim population has been ghettoized and denied its rights. And they advocate freedom and liberation. Yeah. Right.

I may have a lot of beef with American foreign policy, but I am SO happy that I live in a country that allows me to practice religion with freedom. I think the fact that America is so ‘Christian’ sometimes works to the betterment of other faiths. In Western Europe, especially, the (as we learned in class) religious doctrine of secularism is the norm. So practicing religion poses a threat to the materialistic standards of living.

I think at the core of it– France and Switzerland are afraid of losing their ‘national’ identity. With such a large influx of immigrants coming in from the Muslim world, the traditional image of the Frenchman sitting in a coffee shop with his paper is being diminished. And rather than embracing the diversity the way America does, they attempt to stifle the effect of the growing nature of immigration. France colonized so many countries in North Africa– and now its former colonized are going to France to find labor. It only makes sense– you degraded and oppressed the people through colonialism, destroyed their natural economies– and now complain when they live on your land and try to make a living for themselves.

 

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I posted this on the blog for Professor’s other class but I want to relate this one to reform and revival. I was at a family friends house earlier today for a house warming party and I noticed something on his wall that stuck out to me. It was a Islamic calendar. It was not the calendar that stuck out to me but the pictures on it. Calendars usually have pictures which are determined based on a theme and the theme of this calendar was holy land in the Islamic world, so it had pictures of Makkah, Medinah, Jeruselam, etc. The month of November had a picture of the Kabah and Makkah. Makkah is the holy city where the Kabah resides. The Kabah is the black structure most of you see and hear about on TV and it is the direction toward which Muslims pray and where the Hajj occurs. This was no regular picture of Makkah but a picture of future Makkah. Over the years there has been a lot of talk about modernizing Makkah and the sorrounding areas of the Kabah to make it look real modern and nice. Well after a lot of controversy that construction has begun but I amn not sure what the layout is. If you go to google and type in future Makkah and look at the pics there you will see they layout I saw on the calendar. But basically what my concern or question is: Is it right to modernize holy land? The yare basically trying to turn that holy land into another Dubai. I am just curious what many of you have to say about this. I myself am totally against it. Of course there is always room for improvement for the betterment of society but to modernize a holy land to such an extent seems horrendous to me. When I go to Hajj I want to be in the land that the Prophet was in. I want to see it the way he saw it and struggle they way he struggled. The more struggle, the closer we can get to Allah. I say we can make minor improvements but I am against turning it into another Dubai.

Now let’s talk about this situation in terms of revival and reform. Will changing the holy land and the way it looks change the way Muslims think? Does this not go against what people like Ghazali preached. Most of the people whose works we have read said to put aside the material hoys of this world and imagine the material joys that will be provided in the Hereafter. What’s basically happening is that the holy land is being turned into a material object and being sorrounded by it. I don’t think to many reformers would be happy about this. When Muslims go to Makkah to pay tribute to God and worship him, especially during Hajj, they will be distracted by the huge towers and the beutiful architecture, and this might ruin their Hajj.

I saw a post abouyt a political discussion at the Thanksgiving dinner table and I wanted to share my experiences and the holiday dinners. I am of Indian descent and this past weekend I gladly able to enjoy a Thanksgiving dinner and a Eid dinner. At most Indo-Pak gatherings the men, or what most of us refer to as Uncles, tend to always have their political conversations. As a kid I avoided these conversations to the best of my ability becaues I always thought the Uncles argued about pointless stuff and talked about how American sucked or something like that. But over the past couple of the years I have had the privileage of joining in on these holiday dinner table discussions and they are not that bad at all. Of course these desi Uncles will at times talk about useless things and act as if they understand NFL football and hate on Cutler when Cutler is not the problem. Anyhow, this Thanksgiving and Eid there was a huge discussion at the dinner table about how the government views Muslims. Different Uncles have different opinions, but it seems like they always avoid talking about Osama Bin Laden. Its either cause they feel uncomfortable as Muslims or they think that the CIA/FBI/other letter coporations, are listening in on their conversation. For the first time I felt comfortable and old enough to have my input and it was nice to see them listen to what I had to say and using alot of what I learned in this class, I was able to discuss politics and the situation of the Muslim world.

So this Thanksgiving I went to my friends house (his parents were kind enough to invite me over even though we had never met)… So there I am at a table of 10 people that I have never met, eating a Thanksgiving dinner, when an interesting political discussion begins. Of coarse it ended up on issues of media, horrible wars, and the mistakes of the West in the past century. I, of course, decide to bring up my very liberal views of such things in the midst of these strangers and began to talk about Bin Laden and his statements. Amazingly I was not kicked out or tarred and feathered!

That, in response to the whole peanut debacle, should say that at least some Americans are willing to look more honestly at our current position in the world. The basic point was that if we don’t learn from the mistakes of the past, if we don’t wisen up and start to REALLY look at what the “haters” of the good old US of A are angry about (both the radicals and more rationally inclined people) we will be like any other ’empire’ out there, we will be stomped out. This is never a very pretty proccess either!

So I have to catch up on my blogging so you will be hearing a lot from me in the next couple of days.

The first conversation I wanted to respond to is the whole democracy/ religion thing based off of Ramadan’s book. The first thing that should be said is that you simplify what he is arguing from modernity to democracy. His support of modernity is reason/rationality, change, and freedom. Ramadan states that “modernisation is a liberation, the breaking of the chains of all intangible dogmas, stilted traditions and evolving societies.” (pg.3) So I don’t think his argument is for democracy per say, but rather for the modernisation of Islam (and that these priniciples are already in Islam so it is not a bad thing).

So I don’t think he is really try to “reconcile democracy with religion” in the first place. It is true that religions can be exclusive (especially the more radical forms) but in terms of modernism he is trying to say that it can be applied to Islam as long as they heed the lessons in the history of the West. 

At least thats what I got from it…

Firstly, I think it is terrible that a woman was stoned for this offense, when in my opinion worse things are being done. The difficulty in many faiths, as we have seen this semester, is interpretation. In this case someone of influence declared this offense to be worthy of death. My concern is the lack of accountability for such people. In any belief there will be people with a varying degree of interpretations, from liberal to conservative. What I still do not understand is how these ‘Muslim’ countries function, seemingly, without any accountability. This has been a long-standing issue for me and instances like this make me wonder what the umma is going to do about it. If actions such as these do not represent Islam then when are people going to start publically challenging those who would propose that it does?

I think the media plays a huge role in this. If we look at news over the past two decades, whenever the media can attach Islam to anything they blow it up into a huge seen. As we all know, the man involved in the Fort Hood shootings was Muslim. Since that shooting occured I have been inolved in many group conversations with Muslim in and out of the Masjid where this topic came up. Everytim it did come up the one thing we all talked about was how he did notthing in the name of Islam but jsut because he was Muslim it blew up in the faces of all the Muslims. Now lets say this man was Christian. This news would probably not been as big of a deal and there would be no religious association to it. Now we must realize in this day and time that the media, in my opinion, is evil. We must be careful of what we belive and don’t belive. We cannot always make a quick judgment based on something we hear on T.V. Its funny that the media could actually get away with saying that stoning is a form of the death penalty in Islam. The problem here is that people will belive it, EVEN the Muslims. Why? Because over the centuries its just been like that and so they assume thats how it should be dealt with in Islam. Most of the reformers that we have been readindg about are trying to overcome this media wall that has made the interpretation of Islam a hard task. Instead of looking at the Quran and sunnah as the primary text and sources of interpretation, people are basing their opinions on what they hear and read from the media. Establishing the Quran and Sunnah as the main sources needs to be established as one of the many tasks.