By: Waheeduddin Ahmed Ph.D.
It is obvious that Muslims have overwhelmingly voted for president-elect Obama, although the Obama campaign’s discomfiture with their enthusiasm was only too obvious. Hijabi women were plucked out of the pictures for the media. Those Muslims, who were allowed to campaign for the candidate, had to do so under assumed names such as Alex and John (See Paul Vitello’s report in the NY Times of Nov. 7). The community activist of South Chicago and the senator, who had shown considerable sympathy for the cause of the oppressed at home and abroad, declared
One of the only two Muslim members of the Congress, Keith Ellison, was kept away from the company of the candidate lest the appearance of association may spoil the chances of election. Now, any misgivings among the Jewish electorate about the President-elect‘s favorable attitude towards Israel has been dispelled by the appointment of Rahm Emanuel, an ardent Zionist, as the Chief of Staff. In short, Barack Hussain Obama knows that in order to demonstrate his American-ness, he will have to run faster and faster from his Hussaini heritage and disown its barakah. The President-elect is, after all, a product of the system and is no revolutionary. We can’t have Che Guevaras running this country.
What does all this indicate? It indicates that Muslims are a pariah in the
The American elections are about winning and the governing is about surviving and getting re-elected. Obama or no-Bama, the biggest players in the politics and the economics of this country are the corporate interests of oil, pharmaceutical, banking and insurance companies, which preside over a system of serfdom, putting their vicegerents as elected official at the helm. The recent financial crisis has lifted the curtain on the scene of this neo-serfdom in which we saw, for once, the captives breaking loose and running hither and thither but make no mistake; they will soon be rounded up and put behind bars --- the bars of indifference and ignorance.
The Muslims of America are a special breed. A lot of them are ex-patriots, coming from various regions of the world and yet their ex-patriotism is so diffused that they are themselves confused about their identities. In the aftermath of 9/11 their patriotism for
What are the Muslims of America to do in the meantime? One thing we can do is to disentangle our emotions from the conflicts abroad and focus on our day to day lives, as others have done. Most of us, particularly our children, will find our future, not in the Middle East or the Far East but here in
Let us look at the
A great many of us, having undergone some lessons in religious studies are concerned with the implementation of the Shariah law and the creation of the Islamic State, a beautiful idea no doubt in the context of the Muslim majority countries but with little relevance to us.
Some of us are agitators for Khilafa. The Khilafa, when it comes, will be the fulfillment of a dream but we in
The Diaspora people are special people, whether they are Jews, Chinese, Hindus or Muslims. Their level of intellectual energy is very high, which enables them to accomplish extraordinary feats. The Muslims of America are lagging behind others in intellectual achievements, not because of any intrinsic lack of quality but because of lack of focus and due to the diversion of their emotions. This must change. Madrasas are and must be an essential part of our children’s upbringing. Religious discussions and seminars are valuable in keeping the intellect alive but let us return to the traditional seminaries of yesteryears, which gave birth to the renaissance of natural sciences and philosophies. Razi, Ibn Sina, Ibn Haitham and Hayyan were the products of madrasas, where learning was not restricted but universal and hence the word “university” (jame’ah). Let us change the culture of our madrasas, our weekly jalsas and our annual conventions of repetitive rhetoric and open our minds to inquiry and acquisition. We are luckier than our brethren abroad in so far as our women are equal partners in these pursuits. We are standing on the verge of a new era. Let us write history and let not history write us off.