Last week my family and I attended a two day session regarding developing a five-year plan for our Muslim Community which is located in an urban setting of New England. There was a lot of dialogue as to the direction the Muslim Community should take as they assessed the economic and human resources of the Muslim families. There was no talk of Trayvon Martin, no talk of racial profiling, no talk of the growing gang population and no talk about the impact of the greater society.
This past Saturday, New Haven held its “Rally for Trayvon Martin” coordinated by the Yale Black Student Alliance. Over 1,000 people attended and several Muslims attended. Among the faces of Islam was Mongi S. Dhaouadi Executive Director for Council on American-Islamic Relations-CAIR. I call it the Muslim NAACP. Other faces included world-renowned personal trainer and business guru Mubarakah Ibrahim who has been very active on collective social issues. At this event, Mongi S. Dhaouadi and I were guest speakers. Mongi delivered a speech about racial profiling as it affects the Muslim Community and I delivered a speech (soon to be released on You Tube) about racial profiling and racial accountability in the Black Community at large.
Today, I had the pleasure to enjoy a cup of coffee with a young Muslim father of four children all under the age of 14-years old. The conversation could best characterize as a coffee talk about “Islam In Question.” As we both floated visions of a brighter and better tomorrow in America for our families, the question arose of what we “The Muslims” are doing to make it better. Are we holding each other accountable for being actively engaged in the greater society? Are we taking on social issues regardless if it involves a Muslim? Are we concerned with creating environments that all people can strive in or are we just focusing on our “own?”
It was clear from my conversation with this young Muslim family man and professional that the Muslim Community can no longer continue living on what we described as an island. Many may use the term “living in a bubble.” Whatever the language, everything that happens in America (good and bad) will have an impact on the Muslim Community in America so it would be to the benefit for Muslim Leaders to gather their communities and join the “struggle for the improvement of life in America for all people.” El-Hajj Malik El-Shabazz said, “What doesn’t affect you directly will affect you indirectly!”
There have been deadly reminders of why the social, educational, parental, and economic issues in America are struggles that need the efforts of the Muslim Community. Just this past week, 26-year-old Nabil (Sam) Almoganahi, 24-year-old Gaber (David) Alawi and 16-year-old Mokbel (Sam) Almoganahi were gunned down during an armed robbery of the Hustle Mart Convenience Store in Farmville, North Carolina.
Last year on August 16, 2011 in Boonton, New Jersey 27-year-old Nazish Noorani and her husband, 26-year-old Kashif Pervaiz, were confronted by several men shooting at them as they walked between family homes. Noorani (the wife and mother of two) was killed and Pervaiz (husband) was shot four times. Their 3-year-old son was in a stroller and was not hurt. The couple also has a 5-year-old son, who was at home at the time of the incident. Pervaiz and his wife were in town from Boston for the holy month of Ramadan.
So, the question I raise again is how will the Muslim Community in America help strengthen the American Society at large? The tragic incidents mentioned here are not everyday events in the Muslim Community, but for some ethic groups in America a family loses a “Trayvon Martin” daily. I have had endless dialogue with Muslims about outreach and partnership. There has always been hesitation about how to get started. So, I will offer a well-kept secret on how to begin. Pretend that the people you are trying to help are the family members you love the most and never give up.
Islam in Question? The answer in Faith in Action! Be a mentor, volunteer, coach, build a community center for inner city youth, write self-help books, share your culture with your community, run for elected office, register to vote, vote, support a political campaign, attend community events, become a police officer, become a firefighters, make social impacting movies, make new positive friends outside your Muslim Community, partner with other group’s causes, hold your family accountable for their actions, become a millionaire who donates back into the poor communities and much more.
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