Being Muslim in the West

Calisha Bennett

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Channel: Calisha Bennett

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The speakers discuss the challenges faced by Muslims in regards to their community and values, including the lack of politicity and the need for individuals to not become attached to anyone. They stress the importance of learning to handle the pandemic and practicing social distancing to avoid overwhelming crowds at work. The potential for increased demand for hybrid work due to the pandemic is also discussed, along with the potential for a hybrid workforce.

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questions that you have along the way, and we'll have q&a at the end.

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So Inshallah, the topic today is about being Muslim in the West. This is a topic that was given to me by the ladies here. So

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an interesting topic. And the question did arise like, okay, of being Muslim in the West, but what is the West? Where is the West? Is it west of Austria? Yeah, that's where I'm from Western Australia. So I can tell you what it's like being Muslim in Western Australia, but being Muslim in the West, like, what does that mean? So we have to kind of unpack the title of this talk. So what is the West? And how do we define the Western world. So the contemporary cultural meaning of the Western world, it's Europe and other countries of European colonial origin, or places that have substantial European ancestral populations in the Americas and in Oceania. Okay, so sometimes they

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see, they say, being Western, it means in all from the west of a region or state or country, or it's described, people who are associated with the United States, Canada, and other countries in the Western, Northern and Southern Europe, it's more up that way. It's.

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So it's a bit of a slippery concept, which is, it's not like what we used to say about maybe 20 years ago, some of the lecturers they used to say, you know, Muslims living in the West, and we had this very clear contrast, a very kind of clear cultural difference. But that's changed in the last few decades. Now, there is kind of like an amalgamation, like there's been a coming together, of the East and the West. And when we look at modern times, technology, modern media, we have kind of like, infused the cultures now. So you have Western influence in eastern lands now. And we have, you know, Eastern cultural influence and people living in western lands. So we're in this very interesting,

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globalized world. So we know that living in Australia, it would constitute as the West as such, if we want to use that. But again, we don't need to be, I guess, so attached to labels and labeling. It's pretty much this topic is more like being Muslim, in modern times, as opposed to the West that let's look kind of like reframe it being Muslim in modern times. And maybe the title is what brought you here? Because like, yeah, how do we do this thing of being Muslim, and so many differences around us in the world, in our neighborhoods, in our societies, in global cultures, and we feel so different. So what does it mean for us being asked, being Muslim, and being in maybe a western

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culture or a modern culture? How does that work, and a lot of people don't know how to define how we live within a modernized culture or an anti Semitic culture and an Islamic society. So it's important to have the conversation, because as we define it, this is what we then translate to our children and the next generation, who they are, once they live in a society that is different to them spiritually, culturally, morally. So it's a very important topic, very, very important. And the fact that maybe previous generations, our parents generation,

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maybe didn't have the understanding of what was coming of the future to have these conversations with us. So we're in this world in this time now. And we're like, this was crazy. Well, how do how do we raise our kids in this time? We have no idea, right? We don't even know sometimes how we got through it unscathed. Or sometimes we aren't unscathed. Sometimes we're like, gosh, I'm still trying to

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detox myself from the cultural influences around me and trying to purify my own Islam. Right. So we have to have this conversation, especially with the times we're in in the rapidly changing world that we're in. And we know that this COVID-19 state of the world for this year, is changing the world in a way that it will never be the same again, there is no normal of what things used to be anymore. And when we have to be aware of that.

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What does the world look like for our children moving forward? And what does their dean look like? How do we keep their dean alive? How do we keep keep our Dean alive? So it's a very important issue to discuss. So there's the area of globalization and we're gonna look at global culture, in terms of modern society and the times that we're living in. And globalization it's not easily defined.

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The some it has like a positive meaning some say it has a negative meaning, but it's just it's more so much about what is the dominant culture? When we look at global culture, what is the dominant culture? Who says what isn't isn't okay in the world? Who says what is right or wrong in the world? Who dictates or you know, what? Ideology kind of dictates the way the world works and should work? And we know as Muslims, it's not Islam, which is global culture, right? It's not based on Tawheed the belief in one Allah subhanaw taala. It's not based on Islamic model. So we have to be aware of what is global culture because that is what we are meeting wherever we end up living in the world.

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Now we're

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in times where there's a global culture, it's not just purely Australian culture or Saudi culture or Malaysian culture, there's an infusion now of a global culture. And, you know, this is because of the advent of the internet and how interconnected we are now. So Pamela, so,

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some critics refer to global culture as the McDonaldization. Because of global advertising campaigns, which undermine cultural diversity is kind of like making it making most of the world the same or similar, it's easier to sell to people who are the same and similar, okay, it's easy to capitalize financially, when global citizens, one kind of

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one kind of kind of type of consumer, okay, so the most similar, the more alike we are, the more we think all the same, the easier it is for domination of the masses. Okay, so a bit of a like a heavy, deep topic, and I'm not going to go very deep into it.

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So, Western culture, insinuating Western culture and other societies it diminishes global economic development, and it hampers the expression of individual cultural identity. So the global economic development is what is in conflict with us having individual Islamic identities or cultural identities. That's what we have to be aware of, like, what are we at odds with, like, what are we battling now. And without using all the fancy lingo, when you look at your home, and you're like, Okay, we're trying to have an Islamic culture and Islamic lifestyle in our home, you and I, we all know what we're battling in our home, we're battling our kids to want our culture and our way

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Islamically. And we're fighting against what the global culture of fun play desire, knifes entertainment, yeah, all of that. That's what we're battling. And it's in our homes, this battle between are holding on to a sonic identity and a summit culture, and the global culture, which is coming through media and social media and the amazing internet.

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So western ideals is what we are probably more addressing in terms of the conflict with our Islamic culture and Islamic identities. So western ideals and Western nations and in particular, the United States American culture, they impose impose their cultural values on others through media and popular culture, pop culture. So when we look at Ozzie kids, and then they listen to American like rap music, hip hop music, and then they start acting like they're gangsters, but they live like they watch neighbors and grow up on Home and Away, right? We're growing up on some of a Ozzy culture, and then they're like trying to act and walk tough, and their parents are hanging low in their hats on

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sideways to see how culture, global culture outside culture can influence. And it is it's an imposition, it's being imposed on our children against our will against our permission through mainstream media. So this is called they call it critics of globalization. They call it cultural imperialism, because the West promotes that its culture as having more worth or being more correct, than other regions, cultural values. And that's what it's that's kind of what we're tackling here. That the Western, you know, the culture is

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the better culture to be adopted by the masses. And don't anyone come in with their religion or their way or their etiquettes, or their cultures and say, No, we want our way, and always a better way, and that this way can benefit others. Right. And so this is what we're tackling. It's a cultural battle. And we know as Muslims, it's actually a spiritual battle, it's a battle for the souls, because we know that the culture that we are trying to live, the morals, the guidelines, the lifestyle we're trying to live is dictated by a last panel dialer. And it is the best way because we know that he knows what is best for us as individuals and for mankind. So

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when we look at the domination of news media and internet services by Western companies, it helps to maintain this influence over local views, Western nations are less likely to celebrate other cultural values. And this further minimizes the importance of other cultures. And so even when you look at Muslims that are put into TV shows, or even Muslims were put into advertisements, or music clips, and these sorts of things that even shaped the way we are depicted as not being true to our values and that we have some kind of oppressed culture and faith and that we need saving by the western ideals of what freedom and liberation is on a lot. And you know, for so many depictions and

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shows you're like, oh my gosh, I either make or smoke like the terrorist or the oppressed girl or the the guy who's like messing around or you know, doing haram things and all this you know, Muslims should be like that why they've been so strict for these types of messages and stories which our kids then watch to, or our teenagers, our youth

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And watching these things and becoming confused. So, also important to be aware of consumerism and its impact on global culture again, as a as a mass human, you know, human beings are looked at as numbers, how many can we sell to? How many can we move and shift and you know, when we look at ru Alajuela, the bigger powers that be the numbers, you know, of human beings and people living in certain places there are

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there are kind of like, you know, research and stats and whatnot done on how to sell to people. There are massive studies done on selling in particular to children, and, and young people, tweens, it's called between the age of between childhood and adolescence, massive reach research on how to sell to them, because if you sell to them, they dictate the adults spend expenditure.

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So again, not looked at as human beings, how we can, you know, move forward and develop humans to become the best that they can be fulfilled the potential of our young people, there are massive studies done by big companies and corporations, big money put into it, how can we sell to them? How can we target advertising, social media, automatic ads, YouTube automatic ads constantly trying to sell to the individuals viewing just online content and videos.

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So looking at the Muslim world, the Muslim world consists of diverse ethnic, cultural and geographic populations and we face we know we face the challenge of uniting the diverse national cultures. So we know as Muslims, we all want almost one OMA, we're all one. And we know we believe in that ilaha illallah it's easy for people to say it, but do we as Muslims live? Or do we have the disease of nationalism and my culture, my country is somehow better? Or, you know, what, in whatever way better than someone else's Pamela and this is an Islamic, we're all equal in the eyes of Allah subhanaw taala except for the one who is the most righteous and the most pious, so no culture, bloodline, you

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know, whatever your background is, these borders of countries were created invented. Right then once upon a time, there was just one world, human beings one race, the human race, whatever skin color wouldn't, you know, it's fun a lot.

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So,

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when we look at Muslim countries, they estimate is around 30 countries mainly in Asia and Africa, which are Muslim countries.

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So Muslims have an overall majority, more sizable, more countries have sizable Muslim minorities as well. A total Muslim world population they say is around 1.51 point 6,000,000,001 Quart which is one quarter of the total world population. So the estimate that that is growing because mashallah we have amazing birthrate and fertility. So, the Muslim numbers are going to grow and again we have to realize we are looked at as a sizable community to make money off of so when we look at some of the things they say, you know, the Muslim fashion industry is worth this many trillion or you know, the Muslim Hello. The Halal industry is worth this much, many billion trillion whatever it is, they look

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at these things, things are looked at as numbers. Okay, how can we capitalize on the popular on this population? So we have to look at ourselves as more than numbers we have to be thinking people and realize that if we live mindlessly, if we live without a close attachment to understanding how to decode life, the deceptions of life.

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So,

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more than two decades ago, Edward Sayid argued that Western values were dominating the Arab and Islamic worlds by a curious twist of global consumerism. His this is where they noticed that 20 years ago, Western values were dominating Arab and Islamic worlds by global consumerism. Arabs exchanged their oil in the open world marketplace for a foreign an antagonistic Western culture. Say it argued that the Arab and Islamic world remains a second order power in terms of the production of global culture, knowledge and scholarship.

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This is interesting, the Arab and Islamic world became remains a second order power once upon a time the Muslims were the leaders, economy, education, all of that, that was the, you know, when the West was having its dark ages that we were having the Islamic Renaissance like we were spot on with the leaders, we lost that because we left the teachings became weak in our Eman and followed our desires. And then you know, the, you know, the non Islamic way became dominant and it has still dominant till today's panel so we know that we are second in order of when it comes to global culture, knowledge and scholarship. It's very unfortunate.

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So, we have a responsibility then we have to be aware of it

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it. And when we look at our children, the next generation and what they see as global leaders and influence do they see as Islam and the Muslim world and us as Muslims, the community, our families, our leaders, locally and globally, the Muslim community, they see it as that's how, who they want to be with and identify with, they feel proud of our community and the adults in our community, or are they looking to the dominant culture, and that is the battle that we have now it's the battle for the Islamic identities from Allah.

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So I'm going to mention some of the different challenges that come up. For us in our journey of being Muslims living in the West.

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There was a Pew research article that Pew Pew Research pew research.org, they do a lot of different research, they have some great articles, this one is the great divide, and how Westerners and Muslims view each other. It's very interesting.

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And a lot of these, it's about global attitudes of between Westerners and Muslims. And it's funny, because the things that they see about the other, the other one sees about the other. So it's kind of like tit for tat. It's like, No, you're this No, you're this, like the views were very interesting spotlighting this research. So when it comes to things like for example, economic prosperity.

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So the Western world thinks that the Muslim world, they're not economically as prosperous as they should be like these people backward, they should do more what not the what the Muslim world thinks we are not economically prosperous, because you have taken advantage of our lands and you have conquered our lands. And that sort of thing is kind of like blame blame, where the attitudes, intolerance. The Muslims feel like the West is intolerant of us practicing our religion openly and is feeling like some is a better way. And feeling like we have a right to kind of, you know, speak that this is a better way of life. Whereas the West thinks that Islam and Muslims are intolerant of

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other ways. So both ways, again, the treatment of women, the West thinks that we mystery and oppress women. And we think that no, they want to oppress our women, they exploit their own women and that type of narrative migration. Why did they come to our lands? Why did they want to live here, go back to where you came from. And then we say, well, you bombed our land, where are we supposed to go?

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Things like positive or negative, general perceptions of each other. So that has risen and fallen in different countries in different places around the world. When they looked into this research places, for example, like Spain, the view of Muslims, the positive view of Muslims has decreased quite drastically, and other different parts of the world, places like UK, they said it had improved from where it once was, you know, whatever the reasons are migration, Dawa more awareness, more multicultural diversity, that sort of thing. But yeah, positive negative perceptions of each other go up and down. And we see that within our community, you see that some Muslims are just like, the

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West and non Muslims, never a negative narrative, and others are like no each to their own, get to know each individual one, every non Muslim you meet is a potential Muslim, just to be a good example. And likewise, the other way you have the good and bad

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terrorism, so we know that, you know, the West says that Muslims promote and you know, Muslims are terrorists, or they're aggressive or they're violent, the faith is violent, that sort of narrative. And then, within the Muslim perception, I think that the West is violent in the West are true terrorists and that sort of thing. Democracy and politics. You know, the the West might see Muslims and Muslim lands as needing democracy and leading needing justice and fairness within their political rulership. And then the Muslims are saying, don't come and preach to us your democracy. This is what you do XYZ. modernisation the West thinks that Muslims Muslim, landless and culture

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needs to be more modernized.

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And within the Muslim community, you know, we will say that we don't want your modernization we don't want your western culture and globalized culture. And then we also have Muslims who do want it and want want to embrace modern Western culture into their lands and become you know, progressive and to grow and advanced technologically and that sort of thing.

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We also see a conflict between being religious and living in modern society in terms of global attitudes. There are very strict adherence to Christianity who think that living in the West and modern culture does not fit with being Catholic. And for us as Muslims and Muslims think that you can't be you know, in the modern world and be a very strict practicing Muslim. And some say no, Islam is a you know, something which adapts according to the Times

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And then the parts of Islam that are adaptable can find ways to permissibly fit in with modern culture. So this perception of each other's community so you can see it's so tangled. And this is why like where we're living in and wherever Muslims choose to live around the world, they're going to face these different challenges, even Muslims living within Muslim countries, the security of being in a Muslim dominated Muslim majority country will still have these kinds of challenges with perception. And again, because we're seeing constantly through the news, what the world thinks and says about our community, as Muslims, and we aren't just a local community, we are a global

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community, because what happens to our Muslim community somewhere else doesn't matter to us a lot spineless is part of our very strong teachings in Islamic faith that we are like one body, and when one part of the body is in pain, the rest of the body is awake in restlessness and fever. So as we see different things happen to different Muslim communities around the world it does upset and does does impact us the treatment of those Muslims, what those governments and those societies do to those Muslims, it affects us a lot. And again, it's all about putting it into perspective and understanding, what is our role right here living where we are? What is our role and our

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responsibility? What can we do to be constructive and productive within our society living here and to take all what we see in all what we known or what we understand, and put it into proactive action where we live within our homes and our families within our community. And with connecting with wider society. You know, some people will say, horrible things about non Muslims and non Muslim lands along with some countries that they themselves live in. And you wonder why you're living here, then if that's what you think about these people, if you're gonna speak so horribly about people, a lot of whom are amazing, wonderful people who would protect Muslims if they were ever in harm's way. So

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it's very important to have like a balanced understanding a balanced perspective, and be bouncing, even what we say and what we are taught, you know, without children around, and decoding news and decoding what's happening in the world to our children, because unfortunately, children are very exposed to some of the horrible things that that are happening globally. So another challenge that we face is Islamophobia. And that kind of ties into the media's portrayal of us as Muslims. And there's an awesome paper which you can read, and it's a study put together by Israel. So israel.org.au, it's, they've put up made a report, entitled, Islamophobia in Australia. So it's

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really good have a read of it. It's just good to know, what are the numbers, the stats of Islamophobia in Australia have prison? Is it? How relevant is it? How does it impact us? And we will have to know we actually have a responsibility to turn that around, because it is on the rise, unfortunately.

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You know, there's racism on the rise diversity with other communities as well. And looking even into the COVID 19. situation, they saw massive increases in complaints from the Asian community about racism targeted towards them, because of COVID-19. Anyone with any Asian look, is being, you know, going through different abuse and discrimination in workplace, school kids. We see just last week, I was at a school. And, you know, we were talking about what it's like to be a Muslim and some of the things that we're going we ask the kids, what's it like for you, you know, has anyone ever been accused or had someone make assumptions about them because of how they look or how they dress? And

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then we had some kids in the house like, Yeah, someone told me that I brought Coronavirus here, and they called me this and they call me Chinese and I'm not even Chinese. I'm from Thailand and just nonsense. You know, it's polite. It's like it seeps in the racism attitude seep in. And even when, you know, the the outbreak first happened to hear our kids and you probably heard your own kids or some kids and they're like, yeah, the Chinese the Chinese made Coronavirus, right. So then they think they see the enemy as the Chinese People's want to like they just now see a whole race as some type of enemy. So we have to be careful how we talk about it. And another kid the other week said as

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well like people say that I eat cats and dogs because I'm trying to see these little kids pick up this stuff in here it and then it becomes like a social bullying so

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now we have that within our own community as Muslims as well.

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The role in Western media creating an inverse version of Islam is worldview is done by their consistently Hammerhead onslaught mass media have succeeded in portraying a negative image of Islam. They may even succeed in changing Muslim character

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and changing some character if we hear enough about Islam and Muslims. negative negative

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You know, that they're terrorists that the Obamas repeat the narrative enough times flickering images through the news on mass? Most people will it will, they'll see a Muslim and it will incite fear and anxiety just through seeing a Muslim. Because of the words and the images. We know this is like brainwashing say the words and flick the images on the newspapers by the news reader, extremist jihadist terrorists, Muslim Muslim, you know, all these types of things. And then the images of people with beards, people with juba's women and jilbab people see it long enough and they don't know much about Islam. I'll be scared to I empathize with non Muslims when they're scared of

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Muslims. Like if all I knew about Muslims was from the news in the media, I'll be scared to have this be honest. I wouldn't be nervous about those people. What are they about? So then the answer, you know, the question that come back to that comes back to us, are we giving enough Dawa? Do enough people know what Islam truly is? We know the answer to that answer is no. We're not doing nearly enough Dawa, that we should be the Western media offends Muslims at two levels. Number one, Muslims are often demonized in media programs as fundamentalist terrorists or religious zealots. And second, in many Western cultural practices, like drinking alcohol, gambling, permissible sexual activities,

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they're too offensive for Islamic moral ethical traditions. So it becomes like Muslims think they're better than us because they think we shouldn't be drinking alcohol and, you know, committing Zina and gambling and Muslims want to ban all of our cultures and traditions. And, you know, we're seen and depicted as a threat to global culture. Because we say we don't do that. And we don't think that that's right to do or moral to do. When we look at right here in Australia, the one path network did a study and they said that there's 357% more media coverage on Muslim terror attacks than the terror attacks of others. They looked at the front cover newspapers for a year, and said how many times is

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Muslim terrorist attacks mentioned as opposed to non Muslim terrorist attacks, which there were way more non Muslim terror attacks in the western world than Muslim attacks 357% More, which was three and a half times more. Okay. And they 3000 articles in that one year in Australia had articles referring to Islam and Muslims alongside words like terrorism, radical extremism, and violence. That's eight articles a day in Australia, written dedicated to mentioning Muslims and Islam with words like that 152 of those were front page, Muslim jihadist terrorist extreme, some of the messaging that's just newspapers and newspapers and nearly going out of dates, imagine news, Daily

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News, 60 minutes, Sunday program, all that sort of stuff. Like we're used to, we just I roll you know, we're like, oh, here we go. Again, like we used to have, it doesn't mean that it's okay. And we have to understand the implications of it. If Muslims are being depicted that way, yes, public opinion then changes to how the public feels about us. And when we go out in the streets, and people start yelling stuff at us, especially the Muslim women, the mothers or our kids at school, the impact of that the concern, the biggest concerning impact of that is on us Muslims in terms of what we start to think and feel about ourselves. And there's a term called internalized oppression, where

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you start to hear the narrative enough times about you and your culture and your community and your religion and your family. And now you start to hate yourself. You hate your culture, you hate your religion, you hate that everyone hates you and who they think you are. Okay. And that's a massive concern. And it's very real. Dr. Gail Peterson, she says internalized oppression is the incorporation and acceptance by individuals within an oppressed group of the prejudices against them within the dominant society. Again, coming back to this dominant society, what they say about us, for some Muslims, it's going to impact them. And they're not going to like that dominant society

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thinks that Muslims are this, that this negative stuff, and they start to want to disassociate from Muslims looking Muslim or being a practicing Muslim. Such feel embarrassed and ashamed. Okay, and it's not about saying so for longer these Muslims ashamed of Islam, it's hard. Some are going to struggle we need to address preventing it helping people to come back out of it. Because what is the consequence of a judgement isn't going to help anything right? We have Muslims leaving Islam, or leaving the practice of Islam or leaving openly wanting to show that they're Muslim. How many times we see these stories where they're like, I think I want to take my hijab off. I don't want people to

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know I'm Muslim. I feel scared. I don't want to be I don't want that attention. I don't want to feel nervous on the train. I'm tired of people staring at me. I can't handle people yelling at me in the street. Some can't handle is Pamela and a breaks into a point where they now want to disassociate from being an actively practicing Muslim.

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In a 2012 study on coping with Islam,

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phobia mental health experts, mental health experts said many Muslims not only experienced religious discrimination in their daily lives, but they're fully aware of their devalued position in society. They're fully aware that our were second class citizens were not like equal like other people, or non Muslims. And the impact of that again, on the next generation knew what the biggest concern is, you know, we say want to raise our kids strong self esteem, strong Islam, strong sense of identity, but they feel like they are devalued in society. And just the other week as well, in a public school, I sat with a group of Muslim youth six boys. And now we're like, we're doing a Lego

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activity, which is displaying what do you feel was the feel like in community? And how do you want to feel in your school community? And these boys who are clearly a group of Muslim boys, like they weren't intermingled when they did this group activity? And we said, what's the school? You know, what's a school like here for you guys? Do they facilitate for you to pray, like to do some stuff? They're like not? And they're like, Yeah, we just, we just want to belong, we just want to be with everyone else. We just want to play all together in one group, but they don't let us the other kids don't draw them in. And you look at these boys, you think what is the impact of that if at a pivotal

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developmental age, or 1112 years old, they already feel like they're devalued in a classroom setting, or not even the teachers amazing. But in school yard, amongst the other kids, we don't belong, we're not good enough. We don't accept, we're not accepted as we are, we're not equal. And imagine that that's how young boys or young boys are the future husbands as future leaders of our community. And we say we want to raise young boys to become men to lead the world to a better place. But they're already broken in such foundational ages and stages where they, you know, they were, they were visibly, like sad. And what they, they made this LEGO model. And one of them had a Lego

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guy with chains around him. He's like, see this, these are the chains of judgment that we carry. And we just want to be part of the group and they had they made this gate. This is the gate of we're not allowed to like hang with the other kids. Like, these are our boys. I was so precious. I just wanted to cry, you know, seeing that?

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And you think, do they even have safe places to share this struggle? Most don't. Mr. Donaldson kids don't have anywhere safe to talk about how they feel about themselves or how they're treated. It's kind of disregarded, just don't play with them play with someone else, minimizing how they actually feel that a boy at that age was like, these chains are the chains of judgment that we carry. And this is the gate we're not allowed in. And this other boy had really concerning behaviors. It was like, he made a Lego, he made a Lego piece. And at first it was up here. This was his his Lego man, he put it up the top. And then he's like, actually not up here. He's like, I'm here because I'm

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below everybody else.

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Use like thinks moments is so sad. It's so sad. What programs do we have male youth anyway, it's Panama where they can go to and grow and be mentored and loved, and supported and nurtured. we're way behind in community support and programs for the next generation. The next struggle is identity. Clearly, it's coming through and through what we're already mentioning. What does it mean to struggle with identity? We've probably touched on some of it, but I don't think we really define it, we don't really understand the enormity of having struggle with identity. In my work I specify like, I especially try to work on the Islamic identity of Muslim women and young people. A lot of people

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straight away. Oh, work with our youth work with our teens I on identity. My actual focus is on women. Because we don't even know who we are, what our worth is or what we stand for what Allah Allah has created us in destined for us in this life as the most honored person in the family is the mother. Yet how many Muslim women I see living in absolute dishonor, allowing themselves to be dishonored by those who are supposed to love them and hold them sacred. Women who are dishonouring themselves through the past, they're choosing through the way they treat themselves and their bodies through.

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You know, feeling like they have children there, they pray, they wear hijab, and they're like, I just want to die. And they're contemplating things like suicide and so you know, self harming and addicted to prescription medications, what's happened there, and they want to tell us come work with their kids and fix their kids set up their kids identities, it starts with us as adults. Who are we what are we standing for? What are we living for? And how are we defining ourselves Pamela in the US, this is what I mean when we look at the global culture leader the US in Muslims in the US their research that they've done 23% of born Muslims don't identify as Muslim, not 2% 23%, which is a

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quarter of all American born Muslims say, Yeah, born Muslim. My parents are Muslim. I'm not Muslim.

00:34:59--> 00:34:59

If you go

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For Kids, that one four of your kids choosing to leave Islam, Subhan Allah. And when we see what's trending in the US in that way, we have to realize, globally, the rest of the Muslim world and community are not far behind. We're going to face these struggles. And we have to realize the urgency of really scooping into understand what is that Islam? You know, truly about? How is it our way to navigate through this world?

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There was a Muslim identities study done in the US as well as San Francisco University, and they spoke to very young children aged five to nine. And I'll tell you about all the kids five to nine years old, very small, right? The formation of identity, usually when they're when they're small, they're like, Yeah, I'm Muslim, and they're, like, so proud. Yeah, Muslim, they kind of feel us early on in life. And then later on teenagers, they start to get insecure and shy about it. These five to nine year olds, one in three didn't want to tell others they were Muslim. Wanting to half of them, they didn't know if you could be Muslim and Americans so they don't know if they can be Muslim

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and the cultural or identifies, like, the country that you live in. They don't understand like, how can you be both? Can you be both they're not sure. And one in six would even pretend not to be Muslim.

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Okay. So it's concerning when you see numbers and research like that. Psychologists have identified three destructive conditions of the mind. And we're looking at times massive mental health struggles. Identity is, you know, a state of the mind state of the heart. Three destructive conditions of the mind. Number one is fear. When you're in a state of fear, it's going to crumble and crush your well being your mental well being. The other one is self hatred. Like I mentioned before, the internalized Islamophobia, the internalized oppression, like we hate ourselves, we hate our community, we hate our culture,

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fear, self hatred. And the third one is loneliness. Being lonely, is very disruptive for your well being and for your mental health. And when we look at a lot of Muslims experiencing all of these, when they choose, you know, when they're trying to be a practicing Muslim, they're trying to be openly Muslim, or they try to embark on a path of being a proud Muslim. They are bombarded with so many challenges. So many depictions so many narratives about Islam and Muslims, it can become very fearful it can become that you fall into self hatred, and it can become very lonely. Even when we look at men and boys and what they go through at work if their name is Mohammed or Abdullah, the

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amount of workplace bullying right here in Australia as pilots pretty bad. And men won't usually report or say anything, not to, you know, rock the boat, but they go through a lot.

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And it's yeah, it's very concerning. Another challenge is obviously the influence of modern culture and the temptations that exists within it, which is you know, modern culture is what do what you want what you feel like, express yourself, enjoy gratify yourself,

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whatever goes goes, be free, just do it, all that sort of stuff, right?

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That is the influence that is that we are being called to Yes, us and of course, our next generation of Muslims being called to do whatever you feel like doing. Whereas Islam is not about doing what you feel like doing. It's about doing what's right. It's about doing what your Lord permits. And I'm standing from what He prohibits, like we have very clear guidelines, very clear moral guidelines very clear what we can and can't do guidelines, which is a massive threat to the global culture of do whatever you want. So there's a there's a clash. There is a battle there and we know it's within our own homes. That battle happens, you know, most days panel on

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we have the challenges with immodesty and immorality, you know, illicit relations, sexual promiscuity, sexual freedom, to you know, sleep with someone randomly at any time. Go meet up with a stranger and do what you want with them. Multiple strangers what pornography, this hypersexuality that is so prevalent panela

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music that you know, music culture calls to so much immorality in modesty and influence and temptation. Or last ones Allah mentions about music, he says and before them gradually, those whom you can among them with your voice, saying shaitan will use his voice and his voice is known as music is the voice of shape one calling to all that is disobedience. Abdullah bin Mossad, he wrote the law when he said songs plant hypocrisy in the heart as water plants, legumes, we have the influence of movies. And when we look at anyone who studied media, when you when you study media, they study a section called media affects the effects of media. How do you create effective media

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and influential media? And are you just here?

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these words, these are the words in how it is kind of put together, to to entertain people, it starts off with priming, priming, get you ready for what you're about to be fed, right, or you know what you're about to consume, then there's agenda setting. It's whatever you watch, or whatever you're viewing, there's an agenda behind it. There's the framing, the angle of how it's going to be told that story is going to be told, then cultivation, the blurred lines between truth and reality. So cultivating that idea, like, maybe that's not what you would do. But here's why this person did it. That's why even watch

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it sometimes when I hear young people, they're watching some of these movies, and they're explaining something and you're like, or even some of these, the movies that we're training, like the ones very sexual in nature, or where the there's like a kidnapper, or there's, you know, like horrible treatment between two people. And what happens when you hear young people talking about it. They're romanticizing the the criminal, the romanticizing that the perpetrator doing the wrong thing. But he was so nice, and they're trying to understand the mind of a psychopath or a criminals polite, yeah, rationalizing and kind of like softening the view. So this is that cultivation. And then it results

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in the final goal is idea innovation, which equals and leads to change. So when we look at culturally the way the world has changed now, from certain things and choices, especially to do with like sexuality, sexual identity, homosexuality, once upon a time it was taboo. 20 years ago, majority of the world was like, yeah, that's kind of like a no go, how much has it changed now? And how did that happen? Priming agenda setting, framing, cultivation, an idea, innovation and change. And they can even do that with now. Okay, let's get society ready to think badly about Muslims. Prime society, set an agenda, frame it to a certain angle. So the Muslim looks like the bad guy,

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cultivate that idea. Keep pumping it out. And then there's idea innovation and change. Let's ban the burqa, society says okay, because they were primed and prepped for it. And this is happening constantly with so many different ideas and so many things. So we have to be aware that it's happening. So just being aware that it's happening can help you to just take a step back for a moment, and look at things carefully. As opposed to just being caught straight in. And often you see when people are not aware, the conversations that people have. It's like swallowing the narratives of media and the West hook, line and sinker. Without question. We always have to question what is

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the truth? What is the HAC? What is moral? What is true justice, and not just kind of blindly consume, what is what we see in media. Another challenge with of influence is friends and friendships, the company that we keep so so important is Pamela, so important, who you hang with, who you spend time with.

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There's a saying that you're the average of the five people you spend the most time with. And friends can greatly influence the choices that you will make.

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So if you have

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people, you know, people around you who are not Muslim, they're going to influence you and influence your ideas, the way you think the way you feel about things. And there's going to be some struggles that you have to know you have to have some clear boundaries with your different friendships that don't trespass, your spiritual obligations and commitments.

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You know, there's amazing research which shows that strong willed friends can help you increase your self control if you're with Muslims who adhere carefully and they're trying to make sure they stay close to pleasing Allah subhanaw taala at all times, it's going to influence you and likewise the other way Muslims who are not scheduling when they're going to do this Allah Muslims who just want to party and have fun or just be very loose and relaxed and not focused on the important objectives of life, it's going to influence you Okay, so we just have to be again be aware social media, no doubt massive source of influence now, I think it's probably the biggest source of influence of the

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mind and the heart and souls.

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Look at the times are in are under such tight restrictions with going out and living a normal life like we used to. And where do we see the majority of the next generation on Tik Tok? For hours and hours watching what?

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Rubbish dance moves lip sync scenes and I've seen some of it's pretty funny some of it right? But it's a nonsense and it's for hours and hours because it's just fleeting, boring. Next, Next Next for hours upon hours upon hours. Why? So that you're not a thinking consumer so that you're a blind consumer? being sold messages and ideas and spending most of your life most of your free time throughout the day. Distracted

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By the fleeting different social media platforms, engaging in very surface level shallow conversations and interactions, and consuming very surface level often falsely depicted information.

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So it's good when it's good, good for good for managing people. When the focus of the masses is over here on fleeting entertainment, as opposed to saying how and what's happening around us, what are these laws being passed, without our permission, we're living in a democracy. I didn't vote for that. But that laws being passed, and everyone was busy looking over here, even though they say the COVID focus look globally, the oppression that's happening still probably intensified because the news media is focusing on the COVID stuff, just give me a once a week update, 20 minutes a day max or whatever update on what's going on, or what the changes are five minutes a day, I don't need to

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know all my news to be focused on that. You know, like what's happening to other corners of the worlds Pamela,

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the family unit, massive struggle, the fragmentation of the family unit, we've lost the meaning of what it means to be a family, we don't know how to connect any more, we're more disconnected than ever. We feel like we have no support or help with our marital relationships with raising our teenagers with our kids.

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All of this is a massive challenge, especially living in a society or a culture that doesn't have communal support with family units.

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We have the challenge of things like atheism and disbelief creeping into our community, as well. Doubt in Allah subhanaw taala doubt in Islam being the truth. These things are seeping in and it's very common. They have conferences, Islamic conferences on why are Muslims leaving Islam?

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And it's the numbers are increasing, unfortunately, why aren't we finding the answers here? Why? What's going wrong, needs to be assessed and addressed. May Allah smart Allah protect all of us because that is the worst thing that could ever happen to any Muslim or any families for someone to reject Islam and reject Allah subhanaw taala in his oneness and the existence of Allah Subhana Allah that is the truest tragedy. Any other struggles that we might go through sisters we can get through each other. But just so long as we have almost one to Allah, in our hearts, that's the focus with whatever tests that come in our lives. Anything moving into the future, sometimes we have our deen

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and our next generation have their Deen then we'll inshallah be able to ride through other tests. The final struggle is or the important thing to focus on with Muslims living in the West is giving Dawa. A lot of scholars say we shouldn't be living in non Muslim countries unless you're giving Dawa. So for us to be here for us to qualify to be permissibly living in this land and enjoy its comforts and benefit from it. Financially security wise safety, we have to be inviting to Allah subhanaw taala through whatever capacity we can even a small way even when you're at school and you're at work that you always just openly show your deen and you'd be an open book calling to the

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dean. Allah wants Allah says in the Quran, let there be arising from you and nation inviting to all that is good in joining what is right for bidding what is wrong and those will be the successful and he also says will have the stability other Oh Illa Allah, I love Asli rotten and Amina diberi Tobiah Annie was Subhana Allah He wema and Amina Lucia, you can say this is my way I invite to Allah with insight, and I and those who follow me, and exalted is Allah and I'm not of those who associate others with him. So this is where the Prophet salallahu Salam is commanded to say this is my way I invite to Allah, we're supposed to say this to in our message to the wider society, wider public, we

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are inviting to Allah, and we exalt Allah. And we say, I'm not those who associate partners with Allah, you're just giving Diala to toe hate. So what are you Muslims about like, well, we just believe in one God without partners. You know, the same God as Moses, Jesus, Abraham. And the biggest thing you know, is that we don't associate partners we don't worship idols. We don't call it anything but that one God alone. Oh, I didn't know that. I thought he's worship Muhammad. I thought he's worshipped a weird God name Allah. All right. That's all you have to do. And say it again and again and again and show our morals and standards our clock, and that will that will do the job

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shall Allah

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the Prophet sallallahu sallam said, that whoever calls others to guidance will have reward like the rewards of those who follow him without that detracting from their reward in any way. And whoever cause others to miss guidance will have the burden of sin like the burden of those who follow him without that detracting from their burden in any way. So we have to call to guidance and will be rewarded for whatever good comes from that person's life because you call to that guidance and likewise, if we call to evil and misguidance, we will also get the sin and the punishment for the every wrong that that person continues to do because

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us of what you taught that person. So what is the way forward? The Prophet salallahu alayhi salam said near the establishment of the hour, there will be days during which religious ignorance will spread knowledge will be taken away or vanish and it will be much of a large and Alhaji means killing. And this is a Hadith recorded in Buhari. So near the top of the hour. This is important point, religious ignorance will spread, knowledge will be taken away, and there'll be much killing. When we look at the times now, like I moved to Sydney from Perth, and I moved here because we were like, you know, handed the dean, there's so much knowledge, so many scholars here, so many Shediac

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classes programs, we came, we went to a couple of conferences the last few years. I was like, where's everyone? Because I went to a conference about 10 years ago, and it was like 2000 people there. And then I went to a couple in the first few years that I moved here. And this whole stain was empty.

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With the buzz go to learn the dean, something went like that it does something disappeared.

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And when we have programs and courses and classes, the numbers are so low at the moment, so so low, why are we not aware that by not attending and participating in Summit learning and knowledge that we are contributing to fulfilling this sign of the hour? How many Muslims you meet, they look Muslim? And if you say to them, what's towhead? How would you explain who God is who Allah is? They'll say, I don't know.

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I say God's one. That's all they know. When you pray, and you do the Fatiha, what does it mean? Most will say I have no idea. But I've been saying for 2030 years. This is scary stuff, right? Why would we practice and look like the the outer shell of a Muslim and Islam. But the core of it, we don't know the meanings of it, we don't have true depth and resonate, we don't resonate with our faith, we don't truly understand who Allah is. Or number one, we don't understand who we are. This is why we do so much work on identity. You know, some of the schools or the past they say the one who knows himself knows his Lord. And likewise, when you know your Lord, you know yourself. You can't say you

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know, yourself and you're enlightened, if you don't know who I was, once Allah is and likewise both ways. When you know yourself, you know, your source, you know, you came from your mighty creator, and he's the one who put you into existence, because you know, you didn't put yourself into existence. I didn't ask to be here and asked to have this name and this family and this nationality. And I asked to be me, Allah subhanaw taala said, I choose you and you will come into creation, when you know yourself and discover and think about who you are, what you're supposed to do in this very short life. And you understand that you've come from a source who has an expectation of you, to

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fulfill the purpose of this very short life, that's when you discover that's what this life is about. This is why I'm here. This is who he is. He's the one I will return to. Now. That's all that matters, who you are and who he is. This is priority number one.

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But most people don't know who Allah smart Allah is that they'll say they believe in him, but they don't really know who he is. That's what we have to ask ourselves every day. Do I know enough? We could never know enough. You can never reach a high in faith and knowledge where you're like, Yeah, I've here reached the pinnacle. And it's going to I'm going to see here, we dip constantly and you have to pull yourself up through Islamic learning, through being connected to the mosques, connected to the scholars, keeping scholarship alive, making sure our community always has learned people and learned scholars is very, very important. The Prophet peace be upon him. He said, listen to this,

00:53:45--> 00:54:10

we're talking about Muslims, you know, being a Muslim in the West. What is this world it's now Western globalized culture world, right? The Prophet sallallahu sallam said, The world is cursed, and everything in it is cursed, except for the vicar, the remembrance of Allah subhanaw taala and anything that follows that the kid a learned person, or a student

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so if we don't want to be of those who are part of the cursed of this world, because everything's cuz everything's wretched and meaningless, unless there's the remembrance of God, in that person in that place, in that project, in that business, in that venture in that learning in that qualification. Or if there is a learned person study it teaching the religion or in a student who is learning that they killed and the remembrance of Allah subhanaw taala. So, this is what we have to put into perspective Subhan Allah, Allah subhanaw taala have finished Allah spent Allah says in surah Anam, verse 153.

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Well, Anna had us roleplay Mr. Lehmann said Debbie Aroo while at the Bureau Subala Fattah for Raka. Be calm.

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On Sebby Li, the liquid was slow Camila calm that debone And Verily Allah says this is my straight path. So follow it and not do not follow other paths, because they will separate you away from his path. This he has ordained for you that you may become pious allotments Allah has taught us and blessed us and given us the roadmap for the Scirocco animal study team. And we say as a minimum each day, 17 times per day as a minimum, if we do our five compulsory prayers, we say in our Serato monster team, guide me to the straightway not the crooked way, not the D two away, I want to be on that straightway. And we told follow it and don't follow other paths in life. In this world that we

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live in whether in western Eastern, northern southern lands, wherever you live, there going to be other paths calling you off that straight path. We recommend not to follow the other paths because they will separate you from Allah, Samantha, Allah's path. And Allah ordain that for us so that we may become pious, we have the roadmap, we just have to see it and treasure it as that perfect roadmap and stay using that roadmap as the navigation what is the roadmap is the Quran and the Sunnah, the sources and the origins of our religion, being tied to that constantly learning that is to help make sure your mindset doesn't get distracted and deluded and deceived by the other paths

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that exist around us the other agendas that exist around us, which we're never going to be able to call each of them out. You know, we can't be constant conspiracy theorists, I think I think that person is trying to mislead us there and trying to say, There's no way to decode out of falsehood from truth. We don't know how to decode that. You only have your deen which is the ultimate truth. And that should become the determining factor of which paths to follow which paths to obey, and which paths to totally abstain from and stay away from in this journey of being Muslim in the West. So just a couple of feet on sisters will open up for any questions, answers or even any comments.

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Apologies if any of this didn't line up for you, or if it was a bit

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maybe too deep and globalization. I'm not an expert on that stuff. I'm not very versed in it, so I apologize if that was a bit defragmented but inshallah I hope that you took from this session and reminder, the essence of it the meaning of understanding how we're going to navigate this life and ultimately stay true to our deen and true to Allah subhanaw taala just like little Hirens panic Allahumma BMDS panicle locomobi Handicare a Shinto Allah Allah in lantana Saphira Cava to boy like

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any questions