CC ISSUE: SEP 2011 Last updated: Sep 8, 2011
A Faithful Word
This month, our country marked the ten year anniversary of the worst act of terrorism on U.S. soil. Our country suffered a tremendous trauma on that day, and ever since that time, we have tried to rebuild our lives and navigate a world in which the threat of terrorism always looms. Despite what many may say, the Muslim community is innocent of the crimes committed in its name. Throughout the world, it is Muslims, in fact, who are the majority of victims of so-called “Islamic terrorism.” While some want to blame all Muslims for the crimes and aberrations of a few twisted criminals, the truth is manifestly different.
Yet, it very well may become, I am afraid, worse for the Muslim community before it becomes better. As the 2012 Presidential election season heats up, we are likely to hear much more about the “threat” of Sharia law to the American constitutional system. In more than a dozen states, laws are being introduced which almost seem to criminalize being a devout Muslim. Last month, the Associated Press revealed the details of a massive New York Police Department effort, with help from the CIA, to spy on the Muslim community. Muslims have expressed shock at this, and there is fear that this will damage the vital relationship between law enforcement and the Muslim community.
What should be our response? Should we “close ranks” and “circle the wagons” in order to protect ourselves from “them” who are all against us? Should we mistrust everyone around us? Has our massive effort, ever since the horrific attacks of September 11, to engage the society around us to become more productive members of society been a mistake? Absolutely not.
We must heed the advice of our Lord in trying times like these: “You shall most certainly be tried in your possessions and in your persons; and indeed you shall hear many hurtful things from those to whom revelation was granted before your time, as well as from those who have come to ascribe divinity to other beings beside God. But if you remain patient in adversity and conscious of Him - this , behold, is something to set one’s heart upon.” (3:186)
While I pray, from the bottom of my heart, that our community not be tested with such horrible things as mass internment, attacks from fellow citizens, and the like, we must not shy away from continuing to engage our fellow Americans. We must continue to be active the community life of our neighborhoods, villages, and cities. We must continue to be active in the American political process. We must continue to help improve our society and our country in any and every way we can, even if a tiny minority may scream that we and our faith is a “threat” to America.
We must not continue to do this because it is “good public relations.” Never. We must continue to do this because it the command of our Lord: “You are the best nation put forth for humanity, [because] you enjoin what is good, forbid what is wrong, and believe in God.” (3:110). Moreover, the Lord our God has told us: “Never let the hatred of a people toward you move you to commit injustice...” (5:8). Helping make our streets safer from crime; helping elect good, responsible leaders; and yes, helping law enforcement protect us against threats of all kinds: this is enjoining good and forbidding evil.
No matter what they say against us, no matter how much hatred some people - and they are a very small number indeed - may show us, we must continue to work and engage and make our country better for all. It is the way of our Prophet (pbuh), and it is the command of our Lord. May He help us achieve success in this life, and may He give us eternal success and felicity in the life to come.