Finding a new way to fight
By Imam Abdullah El-Amin, TMO
Since the start of the so-called â€œMuslim Reformationâ€ in Tunisia, Egypt, Algeria, Yemen, Libya, and others, there have been manyâ€ Coach Potato Diplomatsâ€ explaining the whyâ€™s and the whoâ€™s of what is happeningâ€¦
These â€œIslamicâ€ countries have been operating under tyranny and dictators since they gained their freedom from the colonialists who put these dictators in power. The same countries that colonized these countries; the United States, France, Italy, Germany, United Kingdom and others, are the same ones controlling their economy today. In some African countries, the colonizing country controls the airports that they built and command upwards of 95% of all revenues generated yearly â€“ while the natives are just happy to be able to use it.
One of the most common descriptions of Islam is itâ€™s theâ€religion of peace.â€ And this is true. The very root of the word Islam means peace. But itâ€™s more than a definition and explanation of a word; it is actually a way of life.
The war we are fighting today is not really one of bullets and physical violence. For us Muslims it is not even one of planes, ships, rockets, and nuclear weapons because we are grossly inferior in all those areas. So it makes sense to approach the solution to our problems in a different way. The war we must fight today is not one of raw emotion; it must be one fought with morality and spiritually-guided intelligence.
Iâ€™m sure most of you readers have heard of the â€œQurâ€™an-burning Pastor Jones from Florida. This fellow traveled to Detroit, Michigan to stage a protest against the â€œthreat of violence stemming from what he thinks is sharia law. Ironically his protest was to be in front of a masjid widely known for its efforts to spread peace through our society. It seems his, and his sponsors( reported to be some White-supremist right-wing group in Northern Michigan) sole purpose was to incite the very violence he says he was trying to prevent. And he wanted to do all this on the Christian â€œGoodâ€ Friday and in the very name of Christ Jesus, who, according to biblical scripture, would never have done such a thing.
As a result and Iâ€™m sure much to his surprise, Pastor Jonesâ€™ plans backfired on him and actually benefited the Muslims. Nearly a thousand people of varying faith traditions (mostly Christians) came to the masjid targeted by Jones, the Islamic Center of America, to speak against him and extol the virtues of our glorious religion. The Archbishop of Southeast Michigan, the leader of over one and a half million Catholics was in attendance and lead the speeches of the interfaith group of leaders.
After the short program one of the most glorious and spectacular sights I have personally witnessed took place. A multitude of Christians, Buddhists, Jews, Bahia, and others, joined hands with the Muslims and circled the masjid in a show of solidarity and interfaith love and respect. It was a sight to behold. Now who would have thought such a show of love and respect was possible? Many people, including many Muslims, believe this religion would never garner that kind of respect. But Almighty ALLAH has promised the believers the victory IF they submit to Him with a gentle heart.
But it was no accident that that great multitude of people showed up to support the Muslims. The Council of Islamic Organizations of Michigan (CIOM) has been working diligently fostering interfaith love and respect for over thirty years. Additionally, the Interfaith Leadership Council co-sponsored the program at the masjid. They worked tirelessly to show their support of the masjid and their disdain of â€œPastorâ€ Jones. The relationship with the different faith traditions in the area has been on solid footing because we reached out to them and they reached out to us. We accepted their overtures and they accepted ours. So we grew to know one another.
As I said earlier, we do not have the wherewithal to fight a physical war but our God and our scripture make us well equipped to fight a spiritual one.
Let us focus on fighting a war we can win. Let us argue with them in the best manner â€“ with wisdom and beautiful preaching. Thatâ€™s when we are setting our aim on the real enemy; the Shaitan.
It is a war fought on our terms; and it is a war we can win.
As Salaam alaikum
Al Hajj Imam Abdullah El-Amin