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16 ways you can fight Cartoons & Islamophobia

Abdul Malik Mujahid

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"[I'm] okay with discrimination against young Arab males from terrorist-producing states."
-Illinois Congressman Mark Kirk, November 2005

In Nashville, Tennessee, a homemade bomb caused a fire at the Al-Mahdi Islamic Center on February 3, 2006; on January 30, 2006, a woman who has now been arrested after she allegedly threw a copy of the Quran on the floor and sprayed a fire extinguisher which caused a smoky haze in a Sacramento mosque; also last month, KFI-AM 640 radio host Bill Handel mocked the death of over 300 pilgrims during Hajj on January 12, 2006. Twice Sound Vision's front glass wall has been broken down with gunfire.

All of the above, including Congressman Mark Kirk's statement, are examples of the growing Islamophobia in America. The Danish cartoon controversy reflects the level of fear and hatred for all things Islamic worldwide by the fact that newspapers in other European countries, and now, Australia, have decided to reprint the offensive caricatures of Prophet Muhammad, peace and blessings be upon him.

Well, it's time we took a strong stand against Islamophobia. Here are some ideas of what you can do:

  1. Remember the Prophet. The Prophet was subject to horrible insults and hate crimes in his lifetime. He remained steadfast, patient and tolerant in the face of this Islamophobia. We must model this same behavior.
    Good and Evil deeds are not alike. Requite evil with good, and he who is your enemy will become your dearest friend. But none will attain this save those who endure with fortitude and are greatly favored by God. (Quran 41: 34-35)
    Pray that God guides these people who mock His messenger.
  2. Keep sending Salam and Durood to the Prophet, which is the main way Muslim demonstrate our love for the Prophet.
  3. Make protest more honorable since it is for the love of the Prophet. Perhaps a public recitation of the Quran either voiced or silent will be more powerful and worthy of the Prophet.
  4. Do not engage in forms protest that are condemned in Islam. This includes burning flags or other symbols that people hold in esteem or insulting other religious groups. Unfortunately, some Iranian newspapers have commissioned the drawing of anti-Semitic cartoons in protest of the offensive Danish ones. This is a disgusting form of retaliation that deserves absolute condemnation. Not only does this contradict Islamic rules of respect for others, it will neither help fight Islamophobia, nor elicit any understanding about why Muslims are upset about the Danish cartoons.
  5. Note that incidents of Islamophobia are not isolated. Whether it's depicting the Prophet as a terrorist, disrespecting the Quran, torturing prisoners, bombing civilians or occupying Muslim lands, these are all signs of Islamophobia.
  6. Also note that not all media or all non-Muslims support this type of insulting behavior. Many have been at the forefront of condemning torture, bombing and occupation.
  7. Equate racism, anti-Semitism and Islamophobia. They all are fruits of the same tree of hate.
  8. Start using the word Islamophobia to describe any kind of hate crime or speech against Islam and Muslims. Doing this will make the term uniform and eventually, an accepted part of the English language the way the term "anti-Semitism" is.
  9. If you are involved in interfaith work, bring up the topic of Islamophobia at your meetings. Stress the urgency and need for people of all faiths to help address and condemn it and all other forms of intolerance publicly. If possible, get the organization to issue a public statement condemning Islamophobia in general, as well as in response to specific incidents like those mentioned above.
  10. Sponsor reports on Islamophobia. Unless more documentation and yearly opinion surveys are conducted, people will continue to dismiss Islamophobia as a reality. So far, the UK is the only country which has officially commissioned a report on Islamophobia. The word has yet to become a part of American media.
  11. Report any and every incident of Islamophobia you, your family or friends encounter. The FBI collects hate crime statistics. Report Islamophobia to them at your local FBI office http://www.fbi.gov/contact/fo/fo.htm. File a report with the Council on American-Islamic Relations at http://www.cair-net.org/ireport/. They issue an annual report on Muslim civil rights in the US. Also report the crime to your local police office.
  12. If it's an election year, make sure your local Congressman or Congresswoman who relies on your vote is aware of Islamophobia. Organize a delegation of Muslims in your constituency if you can and arrange to make a presentation on the topic, as well as a list of clear things you would like your Congressman or Congresswoman to do about Islamophobia if they want your vote.
  13. For every incident of Islamophobia, write a letter to the editor and your local civil rights organization about it.
  14. Organize a program at your local mosque or community center about the problem of Islamophobia today. Hold a brainstorming session as part of the program as well to discuss how to solve this problem.
  15. Thank those who speak out or act against Islamophobia. For instance, we should thank the US State Department for condemning the publishing of the offensive cartoons in Denmark.
  16. Make Dua that Allah guides those who hold Islamophobic views and practice Islamophobia. The Prophet made Dua for the Quraysh, asking for them to be guided because they were ignorant of what they were doing by committing Islamophobic acts and saying wrong things against Islam and the Prophet.

Muslims are raised to love our Prophet more than we love our parents. We are deeply hurt when our Prophet is insulted. Although a few persons have resorted to violence, Alhamdu lillah, no one has insulted Jesus, Moses or the Bible in reaction. The Quran has asked us to honor the symbols that others hold dear. Flags and idols deserve that consideration. (Quran 6:108)

The Prophet never responded violently or angrily to the woman who used to throw garbage and thorny bushes in his house and on his path.

Allah's peace and blessings be upon him. Allahumma salle ala syyedena Muhammad.

*** Islamophobia Watch
Statistics regarding Islamophobia in the USA.
14 Ways You Can Fight Islamophobia
Islamophobia From Jefferson To Ellison
How Muslims of the past Dealt with racism and prejudice

*** Racism
Islam's manifesto of Universal brotherhood of humankind
Statistics: 100 years of Racism, Nationalism, Tribalism, and the Caste System
The Moakha system: How the Prophet brought people closer

How Hajj transformed Malcolm X against Racism

Muslims in the Mirror: Prejudice in the Muslim community
33 tips to launch your personal Jihad against racism

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Your Comments

, UK - wrote on 2/22/2006 7:03:20 PM
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Comment: the events that we witness today are in actual fact a result of our own behaviour. lets look to our own actions before looking at the actions of others. not a single day passes when we(muslims) do not hurt and abuse the teachings of our beloved Prophet (saw), what do we actually expect from the non-muslims? as each day passes we are in fact getting further and further away from the Prophets (saw) beautiful teachings. Instead of showing anger, we must show peace as advised in the article. instead of going on marches revive the teachings of the Prophet (saw) by carrying out a sunnah.The Prophet (saw) is being mocked as we have lost our true identities and our roots. we have the responsibilty to show the world what islam is actually about.

taraiqbal, india - wrote on 2/22/2006 4:55:51 AM
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Comment: I share the veiws given by you and hope all recieve this insight which will help unite the muslims of the whole world, for Allah has indeed said not to retaliate to inducements, for the people are surely trying to incite anger by their such misbehavior. Wheareas if all voice their objections in one voice, then Iam sure No right thinking person can ever criticize us.

David Santen, California - wrote on 2/21/2006 12:51:59 PM
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Comment: Excellent article and points. Using Point 1 as the core or basis, I think all other points should rely on this. Keeping the spirit of Pt 1, I would add two for America: patiently, calmly, but firmly challenge Chrsitians and Americans to live up to the words of their own prophet, Jesus Christ, and to actively uphold the US Constitution.

musibaudeen, nigerian - wrote on 2/19/2006 11:46:12 AM
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Comment: Asalam this is indeed one of the best solution to fight agaainst islamaphobia in our environment. and exercising sabr is also important if we want to fight this oppression from the European world . May ALLAH assist us . JAZAKKALLAHU KAYRAN

Shabnam Chaka, Leicester England - wrote on 2/16/2006 1:26:16 PM
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Comment: i think that this is a gr8 article .masha allah ! the best way to condemn islamophobia is to do everything against it. For example peaceful protests and never to retaliate or to b racist to any other group , bcuz that jst makes ppl more and more islamophobic. jazakallah 4 a very enlightening and useful article.

mohamde hydara, new york city - wrote on 2/16/2006 12:33:05 AM
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Comment: first of all I thank allah for being a muslim and we all need to do that in every morning that he wake us up , because as we all know evrything comes after that, and it is great thing for having brothers like you in Islam .pease and belsing upon our pro. and may allah belse you and your family

shadia, Oman - wrote on 2/12/2006 4:05:07 AM
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Comment: All should follow our beloved prophet and his seera to fight with Islamphobia

fatima, london - wrote on 2/11/2006 3:44:30 PM
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Comment: I would like to thank the brother for such an excellent article. Instead of getting angry, and inciting hate, this article gives very worth while advise, which I think if all muslims followed, would make a difference to how we will be treated. wasalam.

sayira, India - wrote on 2/10/2006 5:40:10 AM
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Comment: It is high time that muslims belonging to different sects unite. We often find that salafis, wahabis, etc criticise sunnis or sufis. Shias think they are the right and criticise others. We all say the kalima. What is acceptable to one sect may not be to another. Let each do what he/she is comfortable with and join together under the banner of the sacred kalima. After all Allah and his messenger know best. And all actions are recorded. So what holds us from first and foremost uniting, then when we ask for Allah almighty's help in one voice, it will come for sure.

Saladin, USA - wrote on 2/10/2006 2:53:12 AM
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Comment: May God Bless you and enlighten us all. Peace upon you and yours and upon our beloved prophet.

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