Islam And The Western World – Part 5

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Hamza Yusuf

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To be written, seems to be how to appear to be a caring person how to appear. And it's all about techniques. And I think that's a corollary to this thing on civics. We're not talking about who we need to become as people. We're saying, How do I how do I appear to be empathetic? But I hate the person's guts? Or how do you work with a boss you hate it? There's, there's a lot of issues in that whole

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house itself with the universal peace Federation. I really appreciate it. Your comments about extremism. And in some of the work we're doing in the interfaith area, especially in the Middle East peace initiative that we're working on.

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We hear this kind of comment often from other faiths, but it actually applies to all.

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And this comment is that if the moderate Muslims would just speak out and defend their faith represent their faith, that a lot of the problems of the radicals would would be dissipated. And I just would love to hear your comments about that kind of comments, knowing that in the media extremists themselves and moderate moderates usually don't have a voice. But this is something we hear quite often.

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Yeah, I wouldn't say that.

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We've been involved in so many initiatives that are just ignored by the media. I was at the top Kofi I was part of that one of those, you know, I signed that Topkapi declaration. Yeah, man declaration. Recently, the I was

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a signatory on the letter to the Pope. These are all major voices in the Muslim world. This BBC picked it up. I got called from BBC they want radio interviews, they talk to academics at Cambridge about the significance of this. And yet in the United States, almost nothing and so we've all been left a little bewildered as to why are these voices are just not amplified? It's very important. I would say that, you know, we have Dr. Sade, Sade, here. They're many of the most prominent Muslim leaders in this country. And he's among them among matches among them among us in husi. have been I think, unrelentingly.

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You know, condemning.

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You know, and I think part of the problem is we are a disenfranchised community, I really wanted to drive home the point, I'm not guilty of anything, I've never been a violent person, I don't like violence.

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I, you know, I self defense is part of my religion. But even self defense is always, you know, my mother is a bit of a pacifist. So even self defense, as always, I've always kind of thought that, you know, if push comes to shove, or bush comes to shove, or whatever, I just, you know, I tend to rather just be like the first son of Adam mentioned in the Quran, if you raise your hand and kill me, I'm not going to raise my hand to kill you, because I fear God, the Lord of the worlds, and that that verse is mentioned in the barn, it's immediately followed by a verse that and for that reason, we have written in the town mode in the Jewish tradition, that if you kill one life is it's if

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you've killed all of humanity, it's an immense thing to take a person out of the world. Because it, you know, if we believe in the narrative of the Abrahamic face, every single person since Adam and Eve participated in the creation of that individual. And so there is an element that's it's as if you're taking all of those people out of the world by removing that genetic pool, if you want to look at it like that, just from the world. And it's an immense thing. So I don't, I don't feel like we have to be defending all the time and just telling people we're not that this is a minority of people in our community, that have nothing to do with my religion. I don't want to be associated

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with them. I don't want to have to be defending my religion against these people want somebody you know, I really believe in franchise meant is is is when somebody does something to you, from your community, that's heinous. And the whole community is not not attacked for it. You know, we have people if somebody said yesterday to Dr. site, what are you going to do if there's another major attack on America? And I'm like, Well, you know, what are you going to do? You What do you expect me to do? I'll probably run and hide. You know, I mean, why do I have to be blamed for this? I don't have anything to do with it. My children don't my wife's a Mexican American. So I really want to

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drive that point home. You know, somebody's

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pretty say that somebody who was six feet tall, committed a crime. And then you know, you go out the next morning and see some guy six feet tall and tap him on the shoulder. What's wrong with you people? You know, I mean, we'd say that was insane.

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I'm here because I, I've studied this and thought about this question a lot. I'm on the board of Morehouse College, which is the greatest institution in Atlanta that armed with their king, attended, etc, etc. And it's interesting, I'm on the board as a minority. I think those of us in this room that are coming in to kind of look like me many times, we've not been in a minority status. And I think it's real different when you kind of don't have the numbers. And I think a lot of Christians in this country don't realize what it's like, when you're a small community to step up and say certain things. I'm not excusing anything here. I'm just saying, as I'm in a minority on

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that board, I'm aware, it's sometimes harder for me to say So some things because I've never been in that position before. But I'd say one great thing for all of us is find ways that you can be the minority, because it gives you an entirely different perspective on on every

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post in here.

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I have a question coming up, about

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coming up with your comment about how we don't get hurt in the media. Do you think that maybe

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at some point in time that maybe we need to look at ourselves and maybe change our game plan? And maybe we're not going about the right thing? I mean, I think if we all understand

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that I mean,

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I think we're all

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so what I mean, so doesn't that mean that

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we need to change our game plan? I think I mean, my question is, I guess, I mean, we have to look at ourselves in America first. And we have to fix what is that our core and take that magnetism towards overs? I mean, youth what this country gives us and fix, you know, ourselves first, or we fix, you know, something here, that's really far fetched. You know, I guess it's like, why applied to do like a movement, like a strong powered central movement

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to carry a strong non violence movement?

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I think he made the point. Yeah. Can I add one, I think to humanize things is great. Like, who's our friend that we know that is the filmmaker, the Muslim filmmaker that is doing the prince and Alex, Alex, great guy. But what was amazing to me this one film thing he did recently, there was a piece in there with a family debating with their daughter about wearing the scarf. And I said, this is so awesome, because every family Yeah, I mean, there's a lot of families that don't the scarf issue, but they're debating tattoos and all that. I think when you allow that humanity to say we're all wrestling with stuff, and our families in life is important. And one of my mom told me one time that

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they have one of the largest Cub Scout Boy Scout troops in the country, all of a sudden, you're humanizing things. So I'm saying, as an outsider to your community, that humanity really matters, because you have a lot of people talking theological things about Islam and all that, which I think is wonderful. But there needs to be an understanding, there's a lot of human things going on. And we're all pretty much alike in, in the struggles we have as human beings on this planet. So that's just just a thought as an outsider.

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You know, I've been for the last six years, I've been, on average away from my mom, my five children, seven months out of the year talking to Muslims trying to

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I don't, I'm just I really feel like the vast majority of Muslims are very peaceful people, they're decent people, they're good people, and I really feel they are getting such a rotten deal in this whole thing. We start adding up the numbers, you know, how many Muslims have been killed in the last six years? You know, and look at how many people from other faiths have been killed. I mean, the numbers are pretty frightening people. I mean, the Muslims are just wondering, why are these calling them violent? You know, we we have hundreds of 1000s of Muslims that are they're dead, you know, that had mothers and fathers and brothers and sisters, and they're dead because of this war on

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terror, which to me is akin to killing a fly on the main bars with a sledgehammer. You know, I just really feel that the whole way that we've gone about this thing, it's been insane and if you're wondering why Muslims are upset, well, you know, just look at a lot What's going on? I you know, if you want to quote the New Testament, one of my favorite verses is you know, before you condemn the speck in your brother's eye, pulled a two by four out of your own eye. You know, it

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Yeah, it's a very profound meaning, you know, to really look at yourselves and I agree with you Muslims have to look at ourselves. But I think we here in this country have to look at ourselves as well. And sometimes it's painful to look at yourself in the mirror. If you're vain and pride and proud, you tend to use the mirror to look at how beautiful you think you are. But the mirror is there to to show you your blemishes and show you your faults. And and the only way you can do that is with humility. And hubris is the last phase and in the decline and fall, that that's when it gets really well at it is actually with hubris precedes it. So probably before the fall. I wanted to keep

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my mouth sort of at a minimum here. But I just the young man's question was such a good one, I thought that that wouldn't say make a few remarks. One is never doubt that you are the solution to the problem that you've identified. I mean, you know, you guys three up here saying, Well, where's our movement? Maybe you're supposed to be leading the movement. I want to let's get together and talk about that. I mean, the fact is, you know, it's, you know, sometimes we gotta, we got to get everybody engaged in and find their own leadership potential. And also, let me just say this, you know, I'm on Financial Services Committee, and I'm on the Judiciary Committee, in my opinion,

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between in no good man here, but I'm just gonna call out some names. But between mas care is not mana impact, keep coming. Maybe some more ignorant.

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Who else?

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Absolutely.

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There ought to be somebody, all these committee hearings, having something to say somebody ought to be at every committee hearing table. What about trying to find?

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I don't know,

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alternative dispute resolution? And

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I'll put University in Jerusalem. And we do that here at the same time. Well, you know, what, yes, but let's not say, we can't do this until we do that. We have to do this. It's not sequential that way. I mean, if we have to do it all at the same time, you know, the thing is, is that you know, so we need to, we need a stronger presence, we can start that today. We need stronger media, we need to have people who do do action, in connection with scholars, like at this table, so that we're well informed, you know, and we need we need the people to write I mean, thank God for our young people, like, like a lot of other named names, because I'm going to leave somebody out. But there's a lot of

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there's a growing body of literature out there. And we need more of that. And we need more of it on the on the interface question.

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So that's my little while commercial, I might hopefully I won't say too much more than that, right over here.

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Well, I mean, my point simply was that extremism, you know, every moral philosopher talks about at least the virtue as is, beginning with Aristotle probably talked about trying to find the meaning that it's very difficult to find the meat that most most people fall on on these these extremes of the mean. And so, living a virtuous life is about finding that balance, which is very difficult. And the self in client we have obesity problems, because people are extreme in their eating habits. We have sexual problems because people are extreme in their their last, the seven deadly sins are all about capitulating to extremes and behavior. And and humans have a lot of trouble with being

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balanced with finding balance in their lives. And we've got go to the self help bookstore and just look at all the books about trying to find balance. So that's my point is that, that this idea that extreme is, I feel we're all extremely something. I mean, everybody, there's people here that I'm sure are extreme text messengers, I don't do that. But I'm seeing people all the time, like, you know, doing

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it under the table.

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That's how bad it's getting. You know, there's

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people that haven't talked to people in a long time because they're just plugged into a different world. So my point is that extremism is human behavior. Violence is one aspect of extremism. And so I think when you identify the problem as extremism and not recognize that the real problem is that one manifestation of extremism, what you're doing is you're harming all these other people that might appear to you to be extreme, but from their point of view, the Amish think we're the extreme ones and I think

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You know