Tag Archives: Religious Discrimination

My Advice to the Ummah

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#‎Muslims‬…especially ‪#‎MuslimReverts‬ and/or Muslims native to the ‪#‎WesternWorld‬ are in a serious bind & all because of ‪#‎Islamophobia‬: it’s turning Parents against Children, Spouse against Spouse, Co-Worker against Co-Worker, Neighbor against Neighbor, Friend against Friend. It’s tearing our Societies apart, and if we study the Sirah/Biography of Muhammad (Peace be upon him), the same thing took place in 7th-century Arabia. And, yes…I know it hurts when someone mocks you for praying, fasting, trying your best to not do negative just to fit-in: I’ve lived it & I’m still living it. But, I’m here to tell you that when Allah rewards those who are sincere to ‪#‎Islam‬, in both word & deed, and by His Mercy grants us victory over our Enemies who want nothing more than to display us as blood-thirsty Tyrants, we will ond day look back, laugh, and say to ourselves, “Because I was patient with the trials which Allah imposed upon me, and because I sincerely worked hard to be Good in the face of Evil…this was all worth it: every time I was arrested based on false-charges, stripped-searched & detained at airports, denied jobs/fired from jobs, teased & bullied, forced to fight in order to defend myself, forced to endure the lies against our perfect lifestyle called Islam…it was worth it all.”.

Gareth Bryant

The Evolution of my Confidence:

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Author’s-Note:
I’ve arrived at a beautiful realization, today, based upon a much-needed epiphany, decided by Divine-Providence, from Allah, the Creator/Lord of the Universe.

For every person who has ever told me that I wasn’t good enough for them, there have been thousands who would tell me they want me by their side…

…for every person who has ever said that I’m “too-dark”, there have been thousands who have said your skin is beautiful…

…for every negative comment about my beard, there have been thousands of positive comments about it…

…for every person who has mocked where I come from, there are thousands who wish to hear about how I became the person that I am, despite the challenges of my life-experiences…

…for every person who has discriminated against me for being a Black-Man in America, there are thousands of their children who want to walk, talk, dress, act, be just like me…

…for all of those haters out there who have slandered me, Allah, my Lord has shielded me against their lies, and protected me from their hands being the cause of my demise.

So, for all of you who can’t appreciate me, you’re the minority, and those who do appreciate me, greatly out number you.

Gareth Bryant/2014

Israel: the new Nazi-Germany:

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Author’s Note:

These same exact things happening in Israel, right now, where Non-Israelis, Non-Jews, and general ethno-national undesirables are being oppressed (denied housing/education/employment, sent to prison/concentration camps, etc.) are the exact same things that we’re taught, historically, that the Nazis, Fascists, of Europe, had done. So, if the Jewish-State was born out of tyranny, to promote fairness & freedom, then, why, oh why, is fairness & freedom being denied to others…#ThinkAboutIt

And, this is what U.S. tax-revenue goes to: to support a state that treats people the same exact way that others were treated within the United States, and during Holocaust-Europe. It’s very obvious that it is Israel that has brought the Holocaust back to life, to oppress others the way that their own people were oppressed. But, the #UnitedStates definitely knows what’s happening there, so why are they continuously giving Israel this free-hand, to oppress others?!!!

#DemocracyIsAnIllusion

Shari`ah & Women’s Rights in Islam: Who’s entitled to interpret it?

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Oz Sultan pic

In the past decade, we’ve seen a huge debate around the concept of “Sharia: in America “, what it means, as well as what it’s implications are on Americans as well as to women, on a more global scale.

I’ve known Carlin for a while and we’ve started to have some discussions on the matter. Discussions that I hope might lead to more posts like this over time – for as we can open dialogues, we begin to break down the walls that separate us.

So on to why I’m writing today:

Yesterday, Deutsche Welle (The German News Service) published an article that covered the issue of Women’s rights, specifically the holdup around  legalizing a Women’s Rights law in Afghanistan.

(http://www.dw.de/afghan-widows-would-rather-die/a-16562576)

So what’s the holdup you ask? In a country now redefined after almost 40 years of continuous war – first at the hands of the Russians, Civil war, Warlord fighting and US reparations post- 9/11 – you’re dealing with more uncertainty than certainty. Governments often last less than the years it takes for a child to grow into adolescence.  The family unit is the only sacrosanct thing and anything that could lead to divisiveness in the family is viewed as a threat by a lot of the old guard – especially Mullahs and  Leaders that are averse to change.

Then…there’s the whole Sharia issue: So what is it?

Simply put “Sharia” is a code of conduct that includes the practice of law (“Fiqh”) and is complimented more often than not by tribal law (“Wali”). Now, here’s where it becomes fuzzy for a lot of folks who’ve never dealt with this before. In most countries where you see the subversion of human rights or women by Mullahs – you’re dealing with Wali – a code of conduct and tribal law that often precedes Islam and Sharia by centuries.

So what does this do? It creates an environment where fear of change and fear of the loss of control by a few is used to limit the advancement of women. The use of Wali in this respect is rampant in countries that have been war-ravaged or where technology and change are viewed as potential harbingers of oppression by foreign forces.

What has this led to? Let me use an analogy – Countries like Afghanistan, Pakistan and parts of North African nations are dealing with a rise of fundamentalism tied to Wali that uses Sharia as a guise to keep Status Quo. Status Quo here means that if a Mullah or group of Mullahs or Elders or Local Civic leaders has grabbed control – they’re reluctant to share or give it away. Especially when sharing has unknown consequences and everyone is looking for their nickel out of any arrangement.

There’s also the big misunderstanding outside the “Muslim World” of what the Muslim World is. There is no Muslim World. The concept is a figment of policymakers imaginations – and a term that allows diverse groups of varying people to at least be comprehended.  Muslims in Afghanistan alone are divided by multiple ethnic groups and a myriad of languages and dialects. Often the Wali of one village can be at odds at the Wali of a neighboring Village – differing from National policy, National Law and how Sharia is interpreted on a local, state and National level.

So ultimately when Afghani (MP) (Member of Parliament) Masooda Karochi says “If a lunatic protests that this law is against Sharia you can imagine the consequences it can have.  .. these proponents make it impossible to have a constructive discussion.”

What she’s speaking to is the core issue that Muslim Nations will have to address, as they begin the long process of getting past Colonialism and being buffer states for foreign interests. It’s Fear. Fear of change. Fear of disrupting the Family unit (Under current mandates – victims of domestic violence can escape to shelters – often preventing further assault of death)..fear of political-uncertainty and fear of what an empowered Female populace might lead to (It wasn’t so long ago that in the US – we thought unrestrained female autonomy would lead to anarchy…or dancing).

So what to do?  Starting to understand that Sharia is a blanket moniker for a complicated system of National, Regional and Local laws that are coupled with the interpretation of law (Fiqh) and tribal law (Wali) is the beginning.

I worked with a few NATO campaigns in the past that used video to try and show Afghanis that US troops and Coalition forces were there to help and how. Engagement is key, if we’re to break the cycle of Fear that has pervaded these nations. Social Media and outreach allows us to interact to get involved with Women’s rights; Child Health and Domestic Abuse.

Lastly, we need to educate ourselves on the issues and find ways to engage. With over $1 Billion in aid going to many of these nations, it makes good sense for us to engage our lawmakers and give them our own mandate – A mandate to put Cultural Education of our policymakers on the agenda and earmarks, where our Foreign Aid spend is tied back to initiatives that will help raise the voices of our sisters – beyond the issues of domestic violence, towards more equality and participation in the decision-making of their own lives.

 Oz Sultan/2013

What is Islamic-Feminism/What is A Muslim-Feminist?!!!

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Author’s note:

Since Feminism has taken a very significant foothold, within the greater Muslim-World, in our modern-age, as a direct-result of the atrocities brought on by Misogyny, many Muslims, both Men & Women, whom are religiously in favor of Feminism, have decided to coin the term “Islamic-Feminism/Muslim-Feminist”, to identify with the greater Feminist-Movement, with an Islamic/Religious spin on how it should be applied to the lives of Muslims, Muslim-Women, particularly/especially. So, now, we have Muslims, from everywhere, whether their in Muslim or Non-Muslim nations, adhering to this new-wave of Feminism, called “Islamic-Feminism”, attempting to consolidate the fundamentals of Feminism & Islam, together, as though they are one in the same.

The following is my conclusion, after attending the highly-anticipated, highly-controversial, ICNYU Shuruq event, “Why All Muslims Should Be Feminists”:

A Muslim being forthright concerning the pursuit of socio-religious equality, between Men & Women, doesn’t make one an Islamic-Feminist/Muslim-Feminist, it simply makes one a Muslim. Just like: wanting to adhere to Islam, based upon the way of the Salaf (the Sahabah/Companions [May Allah be pleased with them all-together] & theTab’in/Followers [May Allah mercify them all-together]) doesn’t make one a Salafi-Muslim, wanting the global-unity of the Muslims make one an Ikhwani-Muslim, having respect/love for Ahl-il-Bayt/the People of the House (the Muslim-Relatives of Muhammad [Peace be upon him] & their descendants) doesn’t make one a Shi`i-Muslim, striving to establish a, solid, spiritual-connection with Allah doesn’t make one a Sufi-Muslim. The term Feminism, Islamic-Feminism, etc. are just excuses, among many others to attempt to monopolize elements of Islam, which have existed, before the inception of these respective coined-concepts & movements. In other words, calling to “Feminism”, regardless of intent, is just as divisive as calling to “Salafism”, “Shi`ism”, “Sufism”, ‘Nepotism’, “Ethnocentrism” “Racism”, “Nationalism”, “Classim”, “Chauvinism”/”Sexism” or any/all other ‘ism’s’ out there.

Gareth Bryant/2013

The Perils of MSA-Life, anywhere/everywhere:

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Author’s note:

This is an anonymous-advice, that someone, whom is a Muslim, would like to give, to Muslims generally, and also, to Muslims involved in MSA (Muslim Students Association) work, whether you’re in High School, or at the College level. I think that this advice is very commendable, and even anonymously, I’m sure that it took a lot for this person to write this, which displays an immense amount of courage, on her part.

This is their story:

“The only reason I’m writing this is because today I was being “haram” and thinking about a guy back in middle school. He read books all the time and knew things that our teachers didn’t expect anyone to know, let alone a Black male who hung out with the wrong crew. To be honest, I really liked him, and I wasn’t even in love with his clothes or his personality; it was his brain.

Something that struck me about him was that he never did his homework, yet on tests he’d score higher than any of us, and he never bragged about it. I remember hearing people ask him how he knew these things, and I remembering asking him that myself. I never realized what I was doing to him; I never would’ve asked a non-Black guy because that’s something I would’ve just expected; but now I realize how wrong it was to question him just because I expected him to be like the others who looked like him. I never really knew that what I was doing was wrong, and the proof is that I liked him all throughout middle school.

When I thought about him earlier today and started thinking why I liked him so much, I saw a reflection of him in me. I wear tight jeans, and my hijab is a mess. My shirts are never long enough and my relationship with my family isn’t even Islamic. Although I can go on and on about my negatives, I can say one good thing about myself without lying, I read; sometimes I act stupid or do things just because I’m expected to, and I know that people will question me if I say things I’m “not supposed” to know, similar to that guy. I started reflecting back on every time I interacted with a Muslim who seemed to be more religious then me (they probably were, I’m just saying “seemed” because only Allah knows what’s truly in our hearts). Every time I though about these interactions, I felt like I was being treated like that guy, and I really was. And when I thought about it I got really angry. It hurts to know that your brothers and sisters can expect so little from you; I was really angry because know one even knew how much or how little I read at home, and they simply expected so little from me. Even though  I’m still really angry at them, I’m just a little less angry because I remember asking that guy why he knew so much and I remember expecting so little from him. I guess that’s how some people think of a girl who doesn’t look as Muslim as them. The same way it was unintentional for me, I guess it was unintentional for those people, and this is why I am writing this. The words you say to someone can really hurt them. Please, don’t question how someone knows something and don’t give a fake smile and tell them that you’re so proud that they  are taking notes at an Islamic event – an event that they made it to earlier than you probably even left your house.

I remember back in Arabic school (something that I quit because I had to much “work” to do), the teacher was explaining to us how it’s important to treat people of all religions nicely. I had to share the story of how the Prophet got up when men passed him with a dead Jewish body. The people around him asked him why he got up for this man if he was a Jewish man, and the Prophet simply responded, “Is he not human”. I remember the look of surprise and the smile that she gave me, and at the moment I smiled, yo. I couldn’t believe this woman was complimenting me, and when she asked me how I knew that, I proudly replied I read. Now, I look back, and I’m angry that she would ask me something like that. If it was one of the other girls, whose parents were Arab, she would only be happy, not surprised,  to hear it from them. And, yeah, I still realize that she could’ve only said that because she wanted to know how she can get her teenage sons to read , but that still hurt.

Then, a few months ago, I went to one of the first Islamic events I went to in a few months. I was mad hype, it was a brother I listened to a lot, I loved when he made videos criticizing things I did as a young Muslim. Anyway, I’m there about 20 minutes early or whatever, and this girl that I go with tells me that I should pray. I casually try to shrug it off, and then I tell her that prayer isn’t important right now. She gave me this huge speech about how it’s so important to pray, and I know I needed that, but it just wasn’t the time- and also , I don’t just accept advice from anyone. I know I should fix that, but also if you’re giving advice to someone, make sure they like you enough to be willing to receive it (not that I didn’t like her, she’s really nice, but her speeches are just tooooo long). Anyway, the reason I didn’t want to pray was because I knew there was some pee on my pants. I can’t blame her, I know she didn‘t know, but please try to consider why a person might be doing something before assuming something and giving them a whole lecture.

Anyway, I’m at this lecture, and another girl, a board member of our MSA, comes up to me and tells me that she’s so happy I’m here. I know that you probably think I’m overreacting for getting angry, but I still feel like I deserve to feel angry. This girl greeted the people around me with “Salams!” and when she saw me, sure she said Salam! in that stupid voice, but she also told me that she was so proud that I had my notebook. Me, being the retard I am, smiled and felt so happy to hear someone complimenting me; but now when I think back, the first girl that she said Salam to had a paper in her hand also, and she didn’t say anything about that, but when she saw me, it was just unexpected. She probably didn’t mean it the way she said it, but I still have a hard time forgiving her. If there’s a group of people, don’t make one seem less than the rest, not even religiously speaking but just in general. I’m not saying that everyone should just say Salam with the same expression to every person, but we need to remember that it’s not cool to talk down to someone. I don’t know why it’s so hard to forgive her, I really don’t, but maybe its because that comment was given at a time when my Islam was already shaky.

 

The only reason I wrote this is because I feel like this is something we do unintentionally, but the feelings that we hurt may stay hurt one, two, five years later. Please, if your giving dawah don’t question people’s intelligence. I know that I barely know anything, but you don’t need to tell me that and treat others different while in front of me, and don’t think you know why someone does someone does something because you really don’t.

 

Also, this is to every MSA board member anywhere, if you don’t ask people what they want to here and if you aren’t willing to take suggestions, the MSA isn’t what its supposed to be. If someone doesn’t even pray, why not take to them individually instead of having meetings about the Sahaba or about a Prophet (I’m not saying that’s not important. I’m just saying that you guys don’t even know what we’re going through and instead of trying to find out, you tell us things that we’d be happy to learn If our Islam was stronger). I think our MSA’s focus way too much about facts, than on trying to understand things and apply them to our daily lives. Also, one more thing, please give us the chance to ask questions. Cut the meetings short a little, hear what we have to say. And try to instill family. I don’t even smile at the board members who are sisters because we all don’t try hard enough to make it a big family. Let’s do that.”

Gareth Bryant/2013

The Fallacy of “Muslim Male Privilege”:

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Author’s note:
The following is a personal-commentary, of an article, written by a fellow Muslim-Writer/Blogger, Jamerican Muslimah, about this concept, she dubbed as, “Muslim Male Privilege”-This concept is based (directly/exclusively) upon B. Deutsch’s “The Male Privilege List”, as well as Peggy McIntosh’s “White Privilege: Unpacking the Invisible Knapsack”-In this article, 16-points, detailing what “Muslim Male Privilege” actually is, which is available on her own blog, under the April 2008 Archive section of her blog.(http://www.jamericanmuslimah.wordpress.com) I’ve made my own personal-commentary, commented on (most, but not all) the 16-points, which I’ve actually emailed to her first, before even placing this into the public-sphere. I wanted to show her some respect, by emailing her concerning my discrepancies about her article, before making a contrary article to hers. So, here it is, exactly what I’ve sent to her via email. Let me make it very clear, as a Muslim-Man, that there is no such thing as Muslim-Male Privilege, especially at the expense of oppressing someone else. No Muslim-Man should feel that being a Muslim-Male gives him the “privilege” to be a tyrant. And any/all those who advocate for this type of sadistic “privilege”, are people whom are guilty, in front of Allah, the Creator/Lord of the Universe.

Here’s the direct-response to Jamerican Muslimah’s article, concerning “Muslim Male Privilege”:

Salam

With due respect, most of the points in this article are completely false & unfairly-biased.

I’ll explain:

1. There are Masajid/Mosques that even I, as a Muslim-Man, have been made unwelcome, just because I’m not Arab, Desi, African, etc. So, basically, Mosque-Discrimination is something that applies to both Muslim-Men & Muslim-Women.

3. This point is only partially-true: Just because someone is a Man, it doesn’t mean that they’re always free to speak their minds at Islamic events, religious-classes, religious-lectures, etc. A lot of times, even if a man has a view or opinion, that he wants to express, depending upon his communal-standing, which Mosque he’s in, which event he’s in, he’ll immediately get shut-down, himself, for challenging the religious-authority, or being perceived as challenging the religious-authority of others “more-knowledgeable” than himself.

4. True, Muslim-Men do try to justify misogyny via Islam. But, what is also true is that Feminism, Western influences, Secularism have most definitely made a very ugly mark upon the minds & hearts of both Muslim-Men & Muslim-Women, all across the Globe.(http://www.garethbryant.wordpress.com/2011/10/19/bothmisogynyfeminismareevilandhereswhy)

5. Muslim-Men get criticized all of the time for quote-on-quote “Imitating the Kuffar”, in terms of fashion. And, by the way, “Islamic-Dress” for men is almost always a religious euphemism for Arab-Clothing. And, there are definitely Mosques which ban Muslim-Men from wearing certain things, which they deem as “Non-Islamic Dress”, such as pants, shirt-ties, etc.

6. There are plenty of Islamic-Scholars, whom are well-known to the Muslim-World, most-notably, `Ai’shah (May Allah be pleased with her). In fact, most, if not all, of the Ahadith concerning the personal home-life of Muhammad (Peace be upon him), were personally narrated by her. And, if it were not for her, we probably wouldn’t have any surviving evidence of how detailed his personal home-life was. And, to note, further, none of the Ahadith, confirmed to have been narrated by any of the Wives of Muhammad (May Allah be pleased with them) were ever questioned, regarding their authenticity.

7. In regards to not finding persons of Islamic-Knowledge whom are Muslim-Women, or Islamic works written by them, then, as an individual Muslim-Woman, one would have to take the initiative to seek those out, herself, just like with anything else.

8. A Muslim-Man should/must be concerned with whether a person giving him marital-advice is a chauvinist/sexist. Typically (with the minority-exceptions aside), a Muslim-Man is not looking to get a ruling in his favor; but, rather, to resolve any issues with his respective spouse/spouses, which he cannot do himself, hence, the need for some type of marital-counseling.

9. Every marriage-counseling session is as different as the persons seeking out the marriage-counseling. So, to paint that scenario with just one coat of paint, is very unfair.

12. Muslim-Men, as well as Muslim-Women struggle in this regard, to standup, for what Allah has established within Islam, and, we both face stringent opposition in this regard, respectively, regardless of our genders.

13. One, it seems that you’re in fact mocking the Islamic-allowance of a Muslim-Man to have more than one wife, which would mean that you are mocking Allah, in the process, because the only reason how & why Muslim-Men are ever allowed to have multiple-wives is because it has been thoroughly established via revelation (i.e. the Qur’an & Sunnah). Two, A Muslim-Woman has the right to marry & divorce whom she wills, it’s just that, based upon revelation, that the modality of divorce for Muslim-Women are a lot different than for Muslim-Men, courtesy of the Qur’an & Sunnah. So, if you have a problem with how/how not a Muslim-Woman is able to annul a marriage, than that means that you have some issue with the Qur’an & Sunnah.

14. No, a Muslim-Man cannot always have rational, real-life, discussions about his sex-life: Imams, Shaykhs, Scholars, etc. Often times (and I know this for a fact, because even I’ve had to deal with this), people automatically assume that if one is not married, that they’re must be either committing some type of Heterosexual or Homosexual offences. It really isn’t as one-sided as you’re purposely trying to make it.

15. This is actually one of the most inaccurate points in this entire post: both Muslim-Men & Muslim-Women have an obligation & duty to be representatives of Islam. Also, a lot of times, even if one is not a Muslim, if you’re living in a Non-Islamic society/Non-Muslim-Country, and you have an Arabic first or last name, you’ll automatically be red-flagged as being presumed as being a Muslim, anyhow.

Gareth Bryant/2013

Some Brief Islamic-History (Islam’s female version of the “Dream-Team”):

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Author’s note:

I’ve written this exclusively to address the fallacies of people whom are Islamophobic, who state that Islam has no respect for women, and that it’s even religiously-sanctioned in Islam to mistreat women, all of which are complete not at all true.  However, ironically, unfortunately, sadly, there are Muslims out there who attempt to justify the abuse of women via the religion of Islam. What my writing is merely meant to do is to highlight just some of so many known female figures in Islam, whom Allah has honored to such a magnified degree.

1. Eve-
The mother of the Human race, Eve (also known as Hawwa’ [Peace be upon her]) is the pinnacle of womanhood. The first to mother a child-She was the first to nurturer & educate people. She was the first woman to cover herself, commanding respect, honor, pride, and dignity, by not revealing her body to others, setting an ever important precedent & example for any & all of her female descendants to come after her.

2. Hager-
Known as Hajar in Arabic, Hager (Peace be upon her) was the wife & mother of Prophets, Abraham, her husband & Ishmael, her son (Peace be upon both of them). She taught us all how to deal with the separation of family, during hard times. She taught us that a woman can raise a man, in the absence of a father. She taught us the resilience, drive, ambition, and iron-will that is required for survival. She taught us gratitude, in the absence of security & hope.

3. Mary-
The mother of Jesus (Peace be upon him), Mary, known as Maryam in Arabic (Peace be upon her) was an outcast of the Children of Israel, because she had a child, but no father for him. Because of this, she was scrutinized, ridiculed, and slandered. But, through all of this, she was still an honorable woman & a mother like no other, whom in the face of adversity, raised a man, whom Allah is well-pleased with, who became a Prophet, Messenger, the Christ, and will return to this Earth, as the one who will rid the world of the corruption of the Anti-Christ. Through Allah’s guidance & direction, Mary gave her son his foundation, to commit himself to the service of his creator.

4. Khadijah-
The first wife of Muhammad (Peace be upon him), our mother Khadijah (May Allah be pleased with her) was the first from among his nation to believe in his Prophethood & the first to accept the teachings of Islam, even when he doubted the legitimacy of his own calling. She gave him the encouragement that he needed to endure through those early years in Makkah, when he really didn’t know whether he was suitable for this mission, and when the Muslims were mocked & persecuted, just for their belief in the existence & oneness of Allah. There was never anyone before or after her whom the Prophet could’ve individually count on for moral support in the fashion that was provided to him by Khadijah.

5. `A’ishah-
The wife of Muhammad (Peace be upon him) & the daughter of his most trusted friend, Abu-Bakr (May Allah be pleased with him), our mother `A’ishah (May Allah be pleased with her) set the standard for leadership & scholarship among women. She set an unprecedented & unchallenged authority of narrating the most Prophetic-Statements about Muhammad (Peace be upon him), about his military campaigns, his home/family life, his character, his business practices, his humor. All of the narrations about Muhammad, through her, gave us humanized aspects of his life, that we may have never known without her exposing them to us, through teaching them to countless persons, many of whom were men. After all, she came from a society where women were not Humanly valued as they should be. But, through the guidance of Islam, she was able to establish herself as a religious, social, and political authority that no one would dare violate the sanctity of.

Gareth Bryant/2012

My thoughts on negative portrayls of Muhammad (Peace be upon him) inciting violence in the Muslim-World:

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The recent attacks on U.S. Embassies in the Muslim-World, mainly in the Mideast, as a result of numerous negative, propaganda, short-films, caricatures, cartoons, pamphlets, novels, books, movies, shows, etc. negatively portraying Muhammad (Peace be upon him), has incited immense violence all across the Muslim-World, particularly, in places like Libya, Sudan, Yemen, and several other Muslim countries-Now, with nations like these, in deep-rooted political instability to begin with, as a result of events such as the Arab-Spring & removals of dictators, or by partitions of portions of their nations to make other independent states, of course, inciting religiously motivated violence would give any nation, with interests in this region, particularly/especially the U.S., an excuse to swoop in, play the liberator/saviour card, and at the exact same time, horde whatever resources are available in this country, for their own devices.

This has happened before, and it’s very likely to happen yet again. And, also, since Islam has been seen as a radical cult by certain groups of people, governments, etc., for centuries, it’s of course easy to project attacks upon our faith, while knowing fully well that most people in the Muslim-World are so ignorantly off-based to what the true spirit & practice of Islam really is, that any remote attack on anything or anyone connected with Islam will incite senseless violence. Unfortunately, as well, as ironically, we as Muslims always, in our ignorance feel that we must “defend” the honor of Muhammad (Peace be upon him), whenever people say negative things about him. Well, yes, this is true. However, there’s always a right way of doing it & a wrong way of doing it.

There are some very important aspects of how to deal with things such as this:

-One, obeying what Allah says about how to react to attacks by those who disbelieve in the guidance sent by Allah, and/or those who oppress the righteous, and/or oppose the progress of, or those who cause harm to, those who believe in the guidance of Allah.(Noble Qur’an: Chpt.6, V.34; Chpt.7, V.87; Chpt.11, V.115; Chpt.14, V.12; Chpt.86, V.17)

-Two, learning from the Prophetic-Example directly, referring to how to react to opposition to the progress of Islam by the enemies of Allah-When Muhammad (Peace be upon him) was religiously & personally slandered, or attacked, especially when he & his Companions (May Allah be pleased with them all-together) were in a state of weakness, without an Islamic-State (central Islamic government), in many ways much similarly to how weak the Muslim-World is currently, he never attacked people back. He never fought fire with fire; rather, he fought fire with water. There are authentic reports of people doing & saying mean-spirited things about Muhammad (Peace be upon him), during his own lifetime, right in his direct presence.(al-Bukhari, Riyadh-us-Salihin) He never fought against them, nor ordered their deaths, until after Allah had given him & the Companions (May Allah be pleased with them all-together) the order/permission to meet their enemies on the field of battle.(Noble Qur’an: Chpt.2, V.216; Chpt.2, V.190-194; Chpt.47, V.4; )

-Three, having general respect for all Prophets & Messengers (Peace be upon them all-together)-When is the last time that a group of Muslims (regardless of how radical they are) blew up or burned down a Synagogue or Church? Great question, right? And, why do I pose this question? Well, both Jews & Christians say things about previous Prophets, in their remnants of the Torah & Gospel, which are very slanderous in nature. For example: it clearly states in the Bible (a collection of the remnants of the Torah, Psalms and Gospel), that Lot (Peace be upon him) committed incest, with his own daughters(Genesis: 19: 31-36), that Saul, the first King of Israel as a tyrant(1 Samuel 22:20-23), that David (Peace be upon him) sent a man to the battlefield to die, so that he can have that man’s wife (2 Samuel 12: 9-10)…and, all of these accusations are completely false.(Qasas-ul-Anbiya’) These are just a few of the many examples of slander against Prophets; yet, the Muslims only piss & moan when people talk smack about Muhammad (Peace be upon him)-What happened to standing up to defend the honor of any & all Prophets (Peace be upon them all-together), if/when they are spoken about or mentioned in writings and/or films negatively?!!!

Furthermore, more importantly to observe & reflect upon, when is the last time that a Church or Synagogue has been blown up, or burned down, by Muslims, for associating false qualities to Allah? When is the last time that a Reverend, a Rabbi, or any religiously Jewish/Christian figure been dragged into the streets & beaten to death, for saying that they are the “Children of Allah”(Noble Qur’an: Chpt.5, V.18), or for saying that Ezra is the Son of Allah, or that Jesus is the Son of Allah?!!!(Noble Qur’an: Chpt.9, V.30)-It’s never happened-I mean isn’t it much worse to say something false about Allah, as opposed to a created, thing/a Human being, regardless to whether or not they’re a Prophet, a recipient of some type of revelation from Allah, or a righteous person?(Noble Qur’an: Chpt.18, V.15)

So, since the Muslim-World has never went up in arms, destroying Embassies & beating people in the streets, for someone committing Shirk with Allah (associating false qualities with Allah, which is the worst sin that any created thing can do), then, why would we only do it because of a film-short, filled with obvious misinformation, that is exclusively intended to get an emotional rise out of us, in the strategic hopes that we’ll be foolish & unintelligent enough to behave & react stupidly (which unfortunately we have in many parts of the Muslim/Arab-World), just because of a movie short. To be fair & honest, there have been, historically & contemporarily, so many slanderously produced materials about Islam & Muslims, which the Muslims have said and/or done absolutely nothing about, like all of the Jesus-Movies for example, which portray Jesus (Peace be upon him) as the “Son of Allah”, knowing fully well, based upon the text of our book of guidance, the Qur’an, that this is an obvious lie.

Also, when is the last time that we, as Muslims, destroyed the whorehouses in Saudi Arabia, UAE, Kuwait, Qatar, Bahrain, and Oman, dragged the pimps of Egypt, Lebanon, Syria, and Albanina out in the streets & beat them senseless/to death, or burn down the pornography stores and/or newsstands which sell obscene sexual-material (movies, magazines, etc.) which are owned & operated by Muslims from Pakistan, Bangladesh, India, Senegal, Guinea, Gambia, Mauritania, or supermarkets/stores owned by Bengalis, Pakis, Yemenis, Jordanians and Palestinians, which sell pork, alcohol, cigarettes, cigars, marijuana roll-up leaves, heroin-syringes, crack-stems/crack-pipes Lotto, or put and end to drug-smuggling & money/credit-card fraud-schemes run by Nigerians, and all of these various other types of vices that people all over the world freely indulge in?!!!

These are questions which we must/need to ask ourselves & also find the answers to!!!

Gareth Bryant/2012

My thoughts on Myanmar (formerly known as Burma)

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Author’s note:
The following poem is about the recent string of violent religious & ethnic-cleansing episodes, in Myanmar (formerly known as Burma), which have barely been reported, on any major news circuits, to the extent that it needs to be.

Myanmar has lost its way:

My homeland, once peaceful, has become a breeding-ground for religious fighting.
Yesterday, it was in Bosnia & today, it’s here-the battleground of ethnic-cleansing.
All around the world, people know of the plight of my country; yet, no one has intervened.
News reports are scarce, as to what’s really goin’ on, and, it’s more tragic than perceived.
Murder is the malice of the day; there’s so much bloodshed that it hurts.
Angry mobs, of people, from all sides, rioting, makes things a lot worse.
Rampant, countless, raping of women, this shameful act, is commonplace.

Hatred has fueled this conflict; for those suffering, this isn’t fair.
Apathy is what people have decided to use, to no longer care.
Sorrow, and despair, has overcast this land, like clouds of air.

Love, as well as respect, is just gone, it has no place here.
Oppression took over, while justice lives in a state of fear.
Systematic terror, used to keep people down has not been thwarted.
The need to deliver the people out of darkness isn’t so much desired.

It’s truly a shame, how a place with such beauty is leaving a legacy that’s so ugly.
The time to act is now, to rescue those tied-down, by tyranny, swiftly & urgently.
Sadness deepens in my heart, those who can change the world, do so only rarely.

Why is it so much easier to support wrong & so much more difficult to stand and do right?
Anyone can bully; but, it takes a special person to relieve the downtrodden, of their plight.
You & I must learn, from the tragedies of others-never must we use hate to enforce might.

Gareth Bryant/2012