Talking Points & Thinking Points About Nice, France [Newsletter 2016-07-15]

SoundVision.Com

Friday | Shawal 10, 1437 AH | July 15, 2016

Assalamu Alaikum.

Terrorist attacks on innocent people, be they French, Turkish, Nigerian, or Belgian reflect criminals’ callous commitment to their ideologies at the cost of life around the world.

Last time, in the wake of attacks on Brussels, then presidential hopeful Ted Cruz called on law enforcement to “patrol and secure Muslim neighborhoods”, Donald Trump, unsurprisingly, supported him.

This time, former U.S. Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich is calling for testing Muslims to see which ones believe in Sharia or not. Those that do, he says, must be deported. This is exactly the same rhetoric that Hitler used against Jews pre-Holocaust in Germany, demanding a test of allegiance.

War-terror-hate-fear all feed off of each other. ISIS and terrorists like them use the veneer of Islam to dupe ignorant young men with little to no knowledge of Islam into committing horrific crimes. They feed into their fantasies of revenge for the wars and attacks on Muslims in Iraq, Afghanistan, Syria, Yemen, Pakistan, and other parts of the world.

Islamophobes like Gingrich, Trump, and Cruz further this agenda by alienating Muslims, using a rhetoric of hate and fear to foment misunderstanding about Islam and questions Muslims’ allegiance to common values of dignity, decency, and good citizenship.

This is despite the fact that this past Ramadan, Muslims have been attacked by ISIS while fasting in Baghdad and Turkey, and most egregious, these despicable terrorists attacked Madinah, Islam’s second holiest sanctuary in the blessed month. This should have laid to rest any and all claims that they represent Islam.

As well, in this latest attack in France, Muslims have also been victims.

But for ignorant, hateful, and bigoted Islamophobes, it makes no difference.

As we have said before, Muslims must do more to liberate America from fear, hate, and anger. We can only defeat terrorism by thinking, planning, and acting carefully and calmly.

Talking Points

The following are a few talking points that can be used to share our perspective on the ongoing tragedies. Please note:
  • Since these attacks did not take place in the United States, the local media may not approach you. However, it would be helpful if you approached them to offer a Muslim perspective on the tragedy. We highly recommend choosing a Muslim woman to be your Masjid or Islamic organization’s spokesperson.
  • Similar points should be brought up during the Friday Khutba.
1. Share your deep sympathy with the people of France who have lost lives and face trauma. You have nothing to do with these terrorist attacks. Don’t feel a need to condemn something you neither approve of, nor are involved with. Your sympathy and solidarity are far more important for the victims.

2. Note that there have been Muslim victims of the attack in Nice, France as well.

3. Also remind media that if it had not already, then ISIS lost all claims of speaking for Muslims when it attacked Islam’s second holiest site, Madinah, this past Ramadan, as well as killing fasting Muslims during the holy month in Iraq, Bangladesh, and Turkey.

4. If you are given an opportunity to speak about the attacks in the media, make sure you read the most recent news coverage. Newt Gingrich has already called for deporting practicing Muslims, but Donald Trump and other Conservative commentators, in particular, will no doubt be serving up more of their customary post-attack Islamophobia.

In responding to such bigotry, emphasize that such statements play right into the hands of ISIS and other terrorists. The marginalization of Muslim citizens in Western countries through bigotry provides fertile ground to recruit into their ranks.
  • Mention the Pentagon-funded research of Dr. Robert Pape, which has a complete database on its website, along with books, articles, and graphs documenting how there were no suicide bombings in any Muslim countries until the invasion of Afghanistan and the Iraq war.
  • One effective way to cut down terrorism is for America and European countries to support the Muslim struggle for freedom, liberty, and democracy instead of dictators, torturers, and military forces. Fifteen years of war have not succeeded in defeating terrorism. We must think smarter about how to defuse terrorism the way we defused it in Latin America in the 1980s by reducing military engagements.

3 Actions For Next 3 Months

1. Surveys have proven that those who know Muslims have a better opinion of Islam and Muslims. This is why we recommend three programs in the next three months. 
  • In August, before everyone goes back to school, host an Open House for Neighbors: It works. As compared to last year, we are seeing more neighbors willing to visit Masjids and Muslim homes.
  • In September: Open House For Students. Once school starts, get your local Muslim Students’ Association to have a campus-wide campaign inviting students to Masjids. This is important since most college students are more open-minded than the general population about “The Other”, including Islam and Muslims.
  • Also in September, host an Eid carnival/community celebration. This should include food, rides, games, and fun. You can also offer free health checkups for blood pressure, diabetes, etc.
In addition, the Imam should have a separate table under the banner “Talk to our Imam” in one corner, a group of sisters on another table under the banner “Talk to Muslim women”, and some youth at another still under the sign “Talk to a young Muslim”. You can round it out by having some trained volunteers in the gathering wearing t-shirts that say, “Ask me anything”.

Part of the planning should also focus on inviting local media to the event and sharing with them what photo and interview opportunities are available. If you have established contacts with specific reporters, discuss what angles they can cover focused on Eid.

You can hold a similar event for elected and non-elected officials of your community, along with firefighters and law enforcement officers.

2. Consider hiring a small, local public relations (PR) firm for $5,000 to $10,000 to see what kind of media opportunities and connections they can provide at the local level.

3. At whatever event you plan, or even in your personal interactions, skip the usual brochures. People are no longer interested in the five pillars of Islam. As crass as this may sound, today, thanks to terrorists and the hate and fear spread intentionally by Islamophobes, most of our neighbors want to know if their Muslim neighbors will kill them. So use Sound Vision’s brochures that debunk ISIS and what is going on in the Muslim world. You can order as many as you want for free for distribution.

4. The November election is fast approaching. Every Masjid and Islamic center must hold voter registration drives and heavily encourage Muslims to vote. The stakes for all of America, and Muslims in particular, have never been higher. We cannot have a demagogue lead our nation and lead us like sheep to a proverbial slaughter. We must vote. And we must vote smart for the good of all, and for a better future for our children, as well as the world.

Thinking Points

1. Muslims cannot afford to maintain business as usual. Today in America, in any large city, there are millions of dollars worth of mosque projects either completed or ongoing. We have given more than $1.1 billion just for the Syrian refugees. We seem to invest 90 percent of our money in buildings and international disaster relief.

But Muslims in America are facing a clear internal disaster. We need to invest in relationships with our neighbors if we want to strengthen our capacity to continue to build mosques and to donate to humanitarian relief around the world.

2. This is why every Masjid and every Muslim organization must rethink their priorities, plans, and budgets. We must allocate more resources for connecting with neighbors, developing coalitions, and engaging in civil society. To empower ourselves, to liberate America from fear, hate, and anger, and to adopt wiser policies to defeat terrorists and hatemongers.

3. Election season is a great opportunity to connect with neighbors. It is a time to mobilize not only Muslim votes, but all votes, and to have a conversation about issues that matter to your neighborhood, city, America, and the world.

4. There are things each organization cannot do independently to address. For example, developing resources for Masjids and Muslim organizations to respond rapidly to meet crises effectively. This is where Sound Vision comes in. We are expanding our team and hiring top-notch professionals to work with us for exactly this purpose.

If you have never donated to Sound Vision, this is the time to do so. If you would like to know more, we can arrange a webinar to explain our plans. We can also visit and meet your community for that purpose.

Practically speaking, can you designate one Juma to raise money not just for disasters and buildings, but to manage crises and develop resources to empower the Muslim community and develop allies in society? This is what Sound Vision’s strategic plan is all about.

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5. There is tremendous pressure on Muslims the world over. Five countries have been destroyed because of the cycle of war and terror; the largest number of refugees today since WWII are Muslims; Islamophobes have launched a campaign of psychological warfare in countries where Muslims live as minorities. This has resulted in a worsening mental health state, with 50 percent of Arab-Americans clinically depressed today.

Giving comfort to the community is important. And giving them a narrative which is positive is critical. This is why we have developed Understanding the Muslim World Today.

6. But along with our efforts, let us never forget to make Dua. Our Duas need to be longer and more thoughtful. They should be in the language most of the community understands and more relevant to our current situation not just in the U.S. but around the world. So while praying for your community, individuals, neighbors, and America, include Duas for those issues your congregations care for, including the Muslim Ummah and its struggle for freedom, justice, and Islam.

Finally, let us never forget the words of our Merciful, Compassionate, and Wise Creator:

“Then, surely with hardship comes ease. Surely, with hardship comes ease” (Quran 94: 5 and 6).

Peace
Abdul Malik Mujahid

5 Critical Webinars to Choose From

Tuesday, Jul. 19, 2016 - 7 pm CST / 8 pm EST
 
Tuesday, Jul. 26, 2016 - 7 pm CST / 8 pm EST
Presenter: Imam Abdul Malik Mujahid
 
Tuesday, Aug. 2, 2016 - 7 pm CST / 8 pm EST
 
Tuesday, Aug. 9, 2016 - 7 pm CST / 8 pm EST
Presenter: Imam Abdul Malik Mujahid
 
Tuesday, Aug. 16, 2016 - 7 pm CST / 8 pm EST
Presenter: Imam Abdul Malik Mujahid

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Comments

"As crass as this may sound, today, thanks to terrorists and the hate and fear spread intentionally by Islamophobes, most of our neighbors want to know if their Muslim neighbors will kill them."

MOST of your neighbors? Really? Like, a majority? More than fifty percent? You got statistics on this?
Isn't this just as silly as the Islamophobe's believe that MOST of his Muslim neighbors will kill him?

For the rest, some good points. Best of luck.

Location

Paris

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