Islam America 1 Of 2
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had our honorary guest, Dr. Gerald Dirks addressing us on this issue. And now we begin until 620. With brother usif Brandon sarpo Mr. Brandon tarpon is an American writer. He is the author of several religious guides including beyond mere Christianity, a complete Idiot's Guide to the Quran, the complete Idiot's Guide to the world religions. After converting to Islam on March 20 2003, Mr. powerpop began writing books on Islam for non Muslims and converts who wrote this and reverts to Islam like himself. These books include the complete Idiot's Guide to the Quran and the influential beyond mere Christianity, which was written as a rebuttal to CS Lewis lewis's Mere Christianity. It
argues that the Christian Bible contains evidence of Islam and Muslim beliefs. It also discusses the status of Jesus and those verses peace be upon him that are regarded as the oldest. So without any further ado, and before we stop for intermission and some refreshments, and the Muslims, I need to make a lot of melanin.
We have Mr. Brandon tartikoff.
smilla Rahmanir Rahim. hamdu Lillahi Rabbil aalameen. Assalamu alaykum
bet you can't guess what I have in my pockets.
for the sisters who wants one?
Okay, there we go.
So it's great to be in New York. I come to you today as a representative of a strange and foreign nation.
Red Sox nation.
We had the World Series last night and they wrap that up and it will put me in mind of a trivia question I wanted to begin today's talk with I wanted to see if anybody here could name the biggest postseason choke in the history of Major League Baseball. Anybody here can Emmett Yes brother. That would be the New York Yankees. Thank you very much. Give him a hand. All right, bravo.
I didn't come here to talk about baseball.
I came here to speak about a question that I get all the time.
And that question is summed up in a single word. Why? Why? Why?
After the horrible events of 911 a very strange thing happened.
Many, many native born Americans began turning to Islam.
And this is a full disclosure here. I'm one of those Americans.
And if time permits all I'll give some background of how I how I came to the dean
But for those of us who took on Islam who took Shahada after that horrific day,
we are faced with questions that I think people who are born Muslim in this country do not necessarily face. We have questions from people who are very close to us who love us who who care for us, and who followed us for our entire lives. They'll sit us down, they'll give us a cup of coffee, and they'll look us in the eye and they'll say, Why?
Why are you doing this?
Don't you realize that these people attacked our country? explained to me why. So what follows these remarks I'm going to share with you today are my best effort inshallah, to give an answer to that question that's responsible.
First off, I need to make a point. And that's that it's made over and over again, but it can't be made enough. So I'll make it again, is that the Islam that was practiced by the people who hijacked that plane on that horrible day
is flatly rejected by our Koran.
And Quran is what drew me like a magnet to this Deen. And as a Muslim, now, I have to take personal personal responsibility to do a better job of making it clear that there is both Muslims and non Muslims, that there are very, very clear guidelines and very, very clear prescriptions about the rights of civilians, and that ignoring those rights is a ticket to hellfire. So this is a thing that we have not done a very good job of, maybe I personally have not done a very good job of communicating. And I want to start, especially reach out to the non Muslims in the audience tonight. And let them know that that's something that we're committed to getting that message out
is something else that we don't do, in my personal view is as good a job of as we could. I say, this is a person who's half sisters Jewish. And that's it. We don't, in my view, personal view, I'm not a scholar, I'm just me.
We don't do a very good job of condemning anti semitism, when it arises, that's something else. In my view, we need to work on not talking about politics, I'm not talking about Israel, I'm talking about
assaults on Jewish people as Jewish people, I think we need to be in the forefront of condemning those.
Now, the third thing that the PR people in the machine, the spin machine, the CNN machine says that we don't do a good job of, is the way we treat our women. And the way women are regarded in Islam and the way their hand, they, their, their their dealt with and the status that they hold in Islam. And the beautiful thing about an event like this is you don't have to listen to me. For any non Muslims in the audience. All I would ask you to do on the break or any intermission, you've got a bunch of sisters here in the room, if you have this perception that women have a secondary status in Islam, if you have this perception that they are oppressed, if you have this perception that they
haven't gotten to the same status as a man, all you have to do tonight, is find one of these sisters and ask her if that's how she feels. So if that is your belief, I beg you tonight to do that. Take the opportunity with real sisters, and I've never met any of these people before. Take the opportunity this evening. Speak to one of the sisters and ask her Do you feel you're oppressed by this religion, I will guarantee you, her response will be more eloquent and more powerful and more convincing than my will. So that's that.
So this question, we get this question Why? Why did you do this? Why would you change your life? Why would you turn everything upside down?
I want to submit to you that it's possible that people like me, were drawn to Islam after 911 because there is something authentically American about Islam.
I want to say that again, it's possible that the reason we've had such extraordinary levels of conversion in Islam, after that event,
has something to do with number one, Islam became more of a topic of conversation. And number two, upon close examination of Islam, people found that there's something authentically American about Islam, I want to share what those those points might be.
To give you a little background on where I'm going with some of this stuff I want to share with you. The New Yorkers would be familiar with this example of the strategy by which Rudolph Giuliani reduced the crime in New York City and this does connect to our topic, but bear with me for a moment. He made a very important choice in how to attack the crime problem in New York City
by changing the social atmosphere
in which people operated,
he cracked down on things like graffiti, and toll jumpers at the subway stations. And he made a big deal about broken windows. People familiar with this strategy, this had a very powerful effect on crime in New York City have brought it down. Because the people in the environments, the public environments that they're in, they saw that this was a place that people took respectin. And they withheld their impulse to commit a crime. A small thing like keeping the toll jumper from jumping the tolls had actually an effect on a big thing like armed robbery.
So there's a word for that feeling about that you wouldn't commit something because other people are watching and because it's the kind of place where a community level is at a certain point. And it's an old fashioned word. I'll share it with you now. I believe that the Giuliani Giuliani policy worked because of an old fashioned word called shame.
If you walk into a turnstile, if you walk into a subway station, and you see someone being arrested for something like jumping a turnstile, you realize it's a shameful act.
If you if you're in a neighborhood that was previously distraught, and you see somebody cleaning up, fixing the windows, erasing the graffiti, making a community effort, you will feel shame to degrade that neighborhood.
And this internal manifestation of how we felt about ourselves in New York City had an effect on the crime rate in New York City.
So what does this have to do with Islam? What does it have to do with America?
I want to share with you some of the ways in which our country has changed, and maybe not for the better in the past 50 to 75 years. And this notion of shame as a as a powerful impetus is is part of what I want to talk about.
The brother before me spoke eloquently about the idea of gambling.
Most people don't know or maybe it's easy to forget now that for most of our history in this country, gambling was a very shameful activity. It was publicly not just frowned upon there were there were huge outcries against people who gambled in American communities in the 19th century. As a matter of fact, we're familiar with this phrase. Somebody who's a riverboat Gambler, people have heard that phrase about it being a riverboat gambler Gambler. You've seen that one. The reason we talk about somebody being a riverboat gambler was that in the 19th century, there were vigilante groups who would hunt down and kill gamblers who gambled on dry land.
Okay, that's how shameful gambling was for the most of our history in this country.
In 1970, when I would have been about nine years old, there was one state, a single state that had legalized gambling, that was Nevada. In 2006. There are 48 states that have legalized gambling, and gambling forms the core, the center of most state budgets.
This nation is now addicted to gambling. On the governmental level, our state governments could not function if we took government if we took government out of the gambling business. But I shared with you some of the numbers about gambling, which is quite staggering.
So the question I've got for you is, how much shame? Do we feel now about the practice of gambling. At one point in our history, it was a deeply American response, to feel very ashamed to be seen gambling or to support gambling, or to promote gambling, and now we don't have that.
Similarly, for about the first century of our country's existence, maybe some of the people in the audience don't know this, but for about the first century of our company, our country's existence, it was considered shameful for a woman to appear in public without a head covering here in the United States. In America,
a well bred in a well bred just a socially conscious woman would not appear in public without some form of headcovering. It's a matter of fact, Abigail Adams, who was the First Lady of the United States, refused to be painted for her official portrait without a head cover
Up until the 1960s, if you were to go to most any church denomination on a Sunday, if you look at those pictures of worshiping communities in the 1960s, you will see that the women all have some type of headcovering on even as late as that.
So, so why is this? Why is this happen?
We're very eager in our political culture now to search out the views of the founding fathers. Were very careful to say, what are the founding fathers think about this? What are the founding fathers think about that what the founding fathers think about this other thing? It's amazing to me that we have no interest in learning what the founding mothers thought about this issue of headcovering. But we don't, we don't much care about it.
A lot of people say when this issue comes up to go, you know what times change, people change. It's true times do change sometimes, but they don't always change for the better.
For as long as anybody can remember. The Amish and the Mennonites have held the custom of a woman covering her hair in public to be divinely ordained.
That's their belief.
And it doesn't make them on American.
It doesn't start protests. It doesn't start people
asking whether they're making some provocative statement. They're Americans, they're Amish, they believe this, it's their god, it's okay.
And in our, our world today, we have very little shame around the idea of a woman going around without her hair covered.
I would remind you again about this business about the toll jumpers and the the broken windows. This is another example of a place where a surface change may seem like a small change can make a huge, huge difference in behavior.
Huge difference and huge difference for the community as a whole.
There's a woman I know it's, it's not anybody I've I feel comfortable identifying but it's a woman I know. And I've spoken to
who grew up with everyone always praising her hair. What beautiful blonde hair she had, how beautiful her lawn is a girl 10 Oh, beautiful hair, a girl 14 beautiful hair, she has a girl 16 that's the one thing you know about her. She has beautiful, beautiful, beautiful hair
into her 20s men staring at her hair.
Brothers and sisters, I'm here to tell you that that unfortunate woman became a prostitute
and ended up having over 2000 sexual partners.
Now you can argue all day long about the social
justification of why something like that would happen. But I here I'm here to say that I firmly believe that in a world where she had had to cover her hair and decided to do so out of her own sense of duty to Allah tala, she would not have had that experience and would have had a better life. My personal view
for most of our history, moving on to the topic, for most of our history, the idea of having sex outside of the marriage Bond was a shameful idea. Not just a, an unpopular idea, not just a socially inconvenient idea, but a shameful idea.
And today is not that way.
Today, we hear a lot of very self flattering talk about relationships, quote, unquote, relationships.
Not so long ago think about World War Two, our history in World War Two. It was a big explosion of marriages in the early 40s. As women and men decided to get married right before the men went off to war. That's, you know, 5060 years ago.
These days, there's not a lot of concern about Let's get married before somebody goes off to war. Because some ridiculous something like one out of every three babies are born to unwed mothers or something like that.
Today in America, my view, people drown in quote, relationships, unquote.
Relationships are a transitory thing. Relationships are how you identify yourself, relationships or your you know, your social discussion, even intimate aspects of your relationship. We'll put that on talk show.
Well, relationships may pass and come and go but the problem is
being human is that the children who arise out of those relationships have a way of sticking around.
And for a large portion of our history,
we knew that was a negative. And we were ashamed when this phenomenon of the sexual relationships outside of the relationship outside the marriage bond happened.
Now, we don't have that. And I would submit that there's not only a damage to the institution of marriage, as a result of that change in the way we're looking at things.
It's not only damage to the children involved in these relationships, there's a larger damage to us, everybody here in the room, there's a larger damage to the social fabric as a whole, when one out of every three babies is born to an unwed mother.
So where's the shame?
We're feeling shame for that anymore. on a social level, I mean,
let's talk a little bit about alcohol. Brother already spoke about many of these points eloquently, so I'll keep it brief. In the year 1836, in our country, the United States population was 15,000,001 5 million.
And of those 15 million people, one and one half million, were active members of the American temperance society. So think about what that means. One, not one out of every 10 adults, one out of every 10 human beings who were citizens of the United States had taken a public pledge not to consume alcohol for the whole life, here in America.
And you know, what they called those people who taken this pledge back in those days, they have special name for them, they call them home, defenders, home defenders.
Now, US Constitution was amended in 1920, as I'm sure most of you know, to prohibit the use or sale of alcohol, and that ban lasted for 13 years.
And when that ban was repealed in 1933, many people who still supported that ban
argued that Satan had undermined the citizenry of this country.
Now, as someone who has had first hand experience with what alcohol can do to a family,
I'm an adult child of an alcoholic. I personally have to agree very strongly with that assessment that Satan shaytan was undermining the citizenry of this country when they repealed that ban.
We now have estimates that approximately 3 million American teenagers are out and out alcoholics 300 million people, 3 million teenagers are serious alcoholics.
A couple million more of them have drinking problems that they can't manage all by themselves.
In our country today, in the United States, the leading causes of death among 15 to 24 year olds are auto crashes, homicides, and suicides. And alcohol plays a leading role in all three of those types of death.
But we still don't feel a lot of shame about drinking.
We still don't feel a sense of violation. When we see a young person staggering down the street drunk, we may even think this person is having a good time and getting their wild oats out
helping that transition to adulthood.
Now, I'm not asking you whether you're alarmed or saddened or or concerned by this trend in our in our culture. I'm asking you to go a little deeper than that.
I'm asking you to think about the role that shame may have played at one point in our history.
To keep our nation on course.
For most of our country's history, there was a different issue. We had this concept, this tradition of civility in publications.
There were certain limits on crudeness and sensationalism. In public discourse, there are certain lines beyond which you simply didn't go
and in large part, we did that
I think because we wanted to protect our children.
When I was about 10 years old, in the early 70s,
any direct specific reference to human sexuality, on television, on radio or in a printed newspaper was unthinkable.
That's not that long ago. But it's a very different era from where we live now.
I had the experience not long ago,
of speaking to a six year old girl,
whose family made a habit of listening to hip hop music.
And there was a particularly lewd and suggestive hip hop song that came on and was apparently a favorite in the family.
And just as an experiment, I took this six year old girl aside, and asked her to explain to me what that song was about. And brothers and sisters, she did it.
She knew exactly what was happening in that song.
And I want to ask you again, if there's a point at which we're willing to feel ashamed of that.
I'm not asking you what do you think that's wrong? I'm not asking you whether you think it's acceptable. I'm asking whether you think there'll be a social purpose, a moral purpose, to feel a sense of shame in our society, when a six year old girl can talk to me about the kinds of things that were in that song?
Where are we going with all this?
This is a trend with these kinds of things I've been talking about. It's not a coincidence that they're all headed in the direction that they're headed. Where are we going with this stuff?
I want to ask if when we have these kinds of processes in our culture,
if we're going actually toward America,
or away from America.
So let me go back to the question I started this talk with, I started this talk with a question about why people who sit me down in my family, they say this cost to your marriage has cost you your well being a cost to you, all these different things. Why did you do this?
Why did you turn to this faith?
And the important short answer I give is that it wasn't because I liked our country's enemies.
We were called to Islam, those of us who have turned to it by something deep inside,
something very, very familiar.
Something that explicitly rejected, for instance, gambling.
There was a woman I heard on the radio recently who lost $50,000, in three weeks to online casinos. She put it on credit cards, we were called to something very familiar. That said, That's shameful.
And that's not really American.
We were called to something familiar, that explicitly rejected the exploitation of women for any purpose whatsoever, specifically using any kind of public sexual display. To sell anything.
We were called by something that said that's that's shameful. That's not just wrong. That's shameful. And PSS, not America.
We were called to Islam because it has something very deep and very familiar.
That rejected sex outside of marriage.
As I mentioned earlier, one out of every three babies born today is born to an unwed mother.
And that's not just wrong by the sisters. That's shameful. And it's not America.
were called, especially by something that was very familiar very deep inside of us that explicitly rejected drug and alcohol abuse. I know you've had a lot of statistics here today. I'll keep this very brief. I'm getting ready to wrap up. But between 15 to 20% of all US teens, have an addiction or substance abuse problem, serious depression, post traumatic stress disorder, or a combination of all three. And that's not just wrong, it is shameful. And it's not America.
And finally, we were called by something familiar that explicitly rejected what I call toxic culture. This is culture that in dangerous children, culture that disrespects women culture that glorifies a cheapskate
sectionalism and culture that glorifies Violence, Drug use, and access. That is not what the founding fathers and founding mothers set out to build when they founded this Republic was a culture like that.
We have a history in this country of open inquiry, freedom of discussion, freedom of evaluation, you will hear a lot of things from a lot of people in a lot of different sources on television or radio, all sorts of things about Islam
and how it directly or indirectly, it's supposedly unAmerican. And my challenge to you today as I wrap up is,
if that's how you feel, follow the American tradition.
Check it out, get the facts, get a copy of the Quran, read the Quran,
with the Quran, and see if what the detractors say about Islam speaks to you in that book or see if maybe that book has a message message of a special quality. And with that, I'll wrap up.
Over 100,000 people die every year directly related to alcohol.
After the horrible events of 911 a very strange thing happened.
Our Muslim roots in this country go back as far as anybody.
We're about the first century our country's existence, it was considered shameful for a woman to appear in public without a head covering.
murder, rape, robbery, sodomy, child molestation. America is in trouble. Many, many native born Americans began turning to Islam
in the law
that people like me were drawn to Islam after 911 because there is something authentically American about Islam.
he wanna come
rajim Bismillah R Rahman r Rahim al hamdu Lillahi Rabbil alameen wa Salatu was Salam ala nabina, mousseline Walla Walla, him Muhammad Abdullah sallallahu alayhi wa early he was so happy or Manuela. After seeking refuge and protection, a law from shaytaan the devil they rejected the curses In the Name of Allah, the Most Gracious, the Most Merciful. All praise and glory belongs to Allah, Lord of the heavens and the earth, and all that is in them and all varies between them and all that we know and all that we know not. And we ask a lot to send his finest, most abundant, most beautiful Peace and blessings upon His messengers and his prophets that he sent to guide and teach humankind
And with that we welcome our brothers and sisters in Islam with the greeting of Islam. Assalamu alaykum warahmatullahi wabarakatuh.
and our honored guests, we hope that tonight will be a night of eye opening educational, informative, enlightening words and can keep us thinking tonight and for the days to come.
The message international a nonprofit organization dedicated to bridging the gap between correct pristine understanding of Islam and America and the American people presents you the first of our series of lectures venued with the title Islam and America, Islam and America problems and solutions Islam and America What do these two terms have in common? Are they compatible or they conflictual?
Islam is the fastest growing feed system in North America and in the United States today? There is no question about this there are 1.6 billion Muslims all across the globe, and already eight to 10 million North America.
And as a direct result of the 911 tragedy, and several international conflicts, Islam and Muslims have been severely distorted and misunderstood. What is the truth? America is the world's superpower and the most advanced country in the world, its citizens enjoy a higher quality of life and social privileges than nearly every other society on Earth. Yet a provocative foreign policy has stained international image and on the domestic front is facing many critical challenges, which are a cause for every American should be concerned for the future. To begin, and without any further ado, Dr. Gerald efforts.
May the Peace and mercy of the One God of us all the upon each and every one of you,
Islam in America problems and solutions. Let's start with Islam.
From the Muslim perspective, Islam is a series of revelations that began with Prophet Adam and extended down through the prophetic tradition, including such notables from the Bible is Noah, Abraham, Ishmael, Isaac, Jacob and Joseph the son of Jacob, Moses and Aaron, Samuel, David, Solomon, Elijah, Elijah, Jonah job john the baptist and Jesus Christ. The final installment in that series was the revelation given to Muhammad ibn Abdullah between the year 16 and 632. These revelations given to Prophet Muhammad forum, Islam's book of Sacred Scripture, the Quran, and the Quran serves as one of the two main foundations of Islam. The other foundation being the sooner the religious
teachings and behavioral example of Prophet Muhammad.
Based upon the Quran and the Sunnah, the core beliefs of Islam may be boiled down to the six articles of faith. These articles of faith are fairly simple and straightforward, and are usually summarized as follows.
One, believing in the One God of all mankind, and exactly exacting monotheism, that leaves no room for the attribution of associates, or for the formulation of Trinitarian doctrines to believe in the prophets and messengers of God, specifically, including all those mentioned in the Quran.
Three, belief in the books of revelation of God, those books of revelation set by God to mankind, including those mentioned in the Quran, as being given to Abraham, Moses, David, Jesus Christ, and Muhammad,
for belief in the angels of God, five, belief in a and an eventual Day of Judgment, in which proper belief is unnecessary, but not safe, sufficient criterion for salvation, with the final determination devolving upon a combination of a person's earthly behavior, and the mercy of God
and six, belief in a theological construct that combines the absolute for knowledge of God.
Natural Law as Amanda
The station of Divine Decree
and the omnipresent possibility of divine intervention. This last article of faith has sometimes been erroneously presented in the West as representing a fatalistic predestination, which it most assuredly, does not.
Islam may be further understood by examining its teachings along a vertical axis.
That concerns man's relationship with God. And along the horizontal axis, that refers to man's relationship with his fellow man. With regard to Islam's vertical axis, the teachings of the Quran are very clear.
And your God is one God. There is no god but He Most Gracious, Most Merciful. Quran to verse 163,
say, He is God, the one and only Quran 112 verse one.
Your Lord hath decreed that you worship none but him. Quran 17 verse 23,
not a messenger did we send before you without this inspiration sent by us to him, that there is no god but I, therefore worship and serve me, Quran 21 verse 25.
Did I not enjoin on you, oh Children of Adam, that you should not worship Satan, for that he was to you an avowed enemy, and that you should worship me for that this was the straight way. Quran 36, verses 60 through 61.
That is your God your Lord, there is no god but He, the creator of all things, then worship Him, and He has power to dispose of all affairs, Quran six, verse 102.
I have only created gyms and men, that they may serve me, Quran 51 verse 56.
With regard to man's relationship to man, the teachings of Islam are equally clear. And many of them have important parallels with biblical instructions.
Your Lord has decreed that you be kind to parents, whether one or both of them attain old age in your life, say not to them a word of contempt or repel them, but address them in terms of honor,
nor come nigh to adultery, for it as a shameful deed and an evil opening the door to other evils noritake alive, which God has made sacred, except for just cause, give full measure when you measure and weigh with a balance that is straight, that is the most fitting and the most advantageous. And the final determination, and in no wise covered those things, in which God has bestowed his gifts more freely on some of you than on others. Quran Chapter 17 verses 2332 through 33 and 35 and chapter four, verse 32.
Those of you who are Christians and Jews will recognize many of the biblical 10 commandments in the previous listing. Additional teachings include the following, which is a close parallel to Matthew chapter 25, verses 41 through 46.
God's apostle said,
they're really God, the Exalted and glorious will say on the Day of Resurrection,
oh, son of Adam.
I was sick.
But you didn't visit me. He will say, oh my lord, how could I visit you when you are the Lord of the worlds?
He will say,
didn't you know that a certain servant of mine was sick, but you didn't visit him? Were you not aware that if you had visited him, you would have found me by him? Oh, son of Adam. I asked you for food.
But you didn't feed me. He will say, My Lord, how can I feed you? When you are the Lord of the worlds? He will say, didn't you know that a certain servant of mine asked you for food, but you did not feed him? Were you not aware that if you would have fed him, you would have found him by my side? The Lord will again say, oh, son of Adam, I asked you for something to drink, but you did not provide me with any. He will say, My Lord, how could I provide you with something to drink? When you are the Lord of the worlds? thereupon, he will say, a certain servant of mine asked you for a drink, but you did not provide him with one. Had you provided him with a drink, you would have found him
near me, Muslim Hadeeth number 6232. Consider one more Islamic teaching. This one paralleling Christianity's Golden Rule, the prophet said,
none of you
none of you will have faith till he wishes for his brother, who he likes for himself. I will carry volume on Hadeeth number 12.
However, it is not just that Islamic teaching regarding human relationships parallel the Bible. They also foreshadowed American ideals as stated in the Declaration of Independence. And in the United States Constitution.
We hold these truths to be self evident,
that all men are created equal,
that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights, that among these are life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness, Declaration of Independence July 1776.
All men are created equal.
Those are eloquent words
and lofty ideals.
that same Declaration of Independence goes on just two paragraphs later, to refer to and I quote,
The merciless Indian savages, unquote.
just 11 years later, in 1787,
in the matter of determining a numerical count of the state's inhabitants, for purposes of taxation, and representation,
Article One, Section two, clause three of the United States Constitution refers to African American slaves as counting for quote, three fifths of all other persons, unquote,
as though an African American, were only 60% human.
Despite the lofty ideals of the Declaration of Independence, in stating that all men are created equal.
Racism has been an ongoing social problem in America, ever since this country was founded.
Islam foreshadow the Declaration of Independence, his lofty sentiments that are all men are created equal, and did so over 1100 years before that Declaration was penned. Consider the following Quranic passage, all mankind,
we created you from a single pair of a male and a female, and made you into nations and tribes, that you may know each other, not that you may despise each other. They're really the most honored of you in the sight of God is He Who is the most righteous of you? Quran 49 verse 13.
As the above Quranic verse indicates, racism and ethnic bigotry are prohibited within Islam. Once particular ethnicity or race can never be the basis by which one is enslaved and
Never be the basis for any bigotry or prejudice. This Islamic prohibition against ethnic and racial prejudice is made even more strongly in Prophet Muhammad's as their sermons during his farewell pilgrimage to Mecca, during which he instructed Muslims to obey a black skinned slave. If the slave follow the dictates of the Quran, and during which he referred to the above quoted Quranic verse.
listen and obey, even though a mangled Abyssinian slave as your commander, if he executes the commands of the book of God, oh people, verily your Lord is one.
And your father is one.
All you belong to one ancestry from Adam, and Adam, was created out of clay.
There is no superiority for an Arab over a non Arab or for a non Arab over an Arab,
nor for the Hawaiian over the black, nor for the black over the white, except in piety. Verily the most honored of you in the sight of God is He Who is the most righteous of you.
Islam also foreshadow the Bill of Rights guarantee of freedom of religion, and that regard the following Quranic verses are relevant.
Let there be no compulsion in religion.
Truth stands out clear from error. whoever rejects evil and believes in God has grasp the most trustworthy handhold that never breaks. And God hears and knows all things. Quran two, verse 256. Let there be no compulsion in religion.
These words of the Quran are clear and unambiguous, there is to be complete freedom. When it comes to an individual's religious choice, he must be free to accept Islam or to reject it. He must be free to accept or reject any religious persuasion whatsoever.
Freedom of religious choice is a cardinal tenant of Islam, and is a concept that must be upheld by every devout Muslim.
Truth stands out clear from error.
And each individual must have the right to view that dichotomy as he or she wills as the following verses from the Quran indicate not even Prophet Muhammad peace be upon him, was allowed to compel non Muslims to become Muslims.
Because, quote, no soul can be leave, except by the will of God.
Prophet Muhammad was to quote, admonish with the Quran
and he was to, quote proclaim the message clearly and openly. But he was not to force any individual to convert to Islam.
If it had been the Lord's will, they would have all believed all who are on Earth. Will you then compel mankind against their will to believe? no soul can be leave, except by the will of God? Quran 10 verses 99 through 100.
We know best what they say. And you are not one to overall them by force. So admonish them with the Quran such as fear, my warning, Quran 50 verse 45.
Say, the truth is from your Lord,
lead him who will believe and lead him who will reject it. Quran 18 verse 29.
These same Quranic dictates, continue to apply to all Muslims for all time. A Muslim is directed to the
admonish with the Quran and to proclaim the message openly and freely.
But he has never to compel mankind against their will to be leave. And he is to let him who will be leave and let him who will reject it.
Correct adherence to Islam demands that Muslims affirm religious freedom for all people.
One of the things that the organizers of this event wanted me to address was the issue of problems and challenges facing Muslims in America.
Before doing that, I should point out that Muslims in America are allowed to practice Islam more freely, and more openly, then in many so called Muslim countries around the world.
For that freedom,
we are grateful to America and to American society. However, it is also true that there are some special challenges for Muslims in America.
The first problem is that so many Americans want to see Muslims as being somehow not part of the fabric of American identity, history and heritage. They seem to believe that Muslims are Johnny come lately is on the American scene, and that Islam first entered America in the latter half of the 20th century.
The truth is far different from that perception. We Muslims have a long and glorious history in America that stretches back across the centuries to be for this country was even founded
Muslims and mariscos that is Muslims who publicly converted to Christianity due to religious persecution in Catholic Spain, but who usually continued to practice Islam, privately and at home.
Muslims and moriscos sailed with Columbus in 1492. Examples would include Pedro Alonzo Nino Martin pin zone, the captain of the Pinta, the Santa Fe pin zone, the captain of the Nina and Francisco pin zone, the pilot of the penta
Muslims such as Mustafa Mori of the DNR aurveys expedition to Florida, and nuflow de olano of the Balboa expedition. Were here with the Spanish Conquistadores.
Muslims such as contact contae
made up approximately 20 to 30% of all the enslaved Africans brought to these shores and helped build the agricultural base of the American South.
Muslims such as Yusuf Bin Ali,
thought for American independence from Great Britain during the Revolutionary War. In fact, he was one of the first volunteer for a General Thomas summoners Brigade, where he served as a scout throughout the duration of the war.
Muslims such as Bill Ali Muhammad,
and 80 of his fellow enslaved Muslims stood armed and ready to defend the American coastline against British invasion and the war of 1812.
Muslims like Muhammad Ali even seed of company I have the 55th regiment of the Massachusetts colored volunteers fought to preserve the union during the Civil War.
Muslims such as Haji Ali, better known in western folklore as high jolly, help tame and settle the American Southwest and the latter half of the 19th century.
Do not attempt to rob us of our American identity, history and heritage. Our Muslim roots in this country go back as far as anybody is. We Muslims are part of the basic history and identity of America.
A second problem facing Muslims
America is the frequency with which our religion of Islam is so horribly distorted and slandered occasionally by the mainstream media, but most frequently over the internet. I can't begin to tell you how many times I've received mass emailed that claim that Quran Chapter nine verse 11. Note that 911
talks about the destruction of towers and the subsequent Wrath of the eagle.
And point of fact, Quran nine verse 11, reads as follows and I quote, nonetheless, if they repent, establish regular prayers and practice regular charity, they are your brethren in faith. Thus do We explain the signs in detail? For those who understand no towers, no Eagle.
Not only does Quran 911 not refer to destroyed towers, and the wrath of the eagle, there is not a single verse anywhere in the entire Quran that even remotely resembles such a statement.
The entire claim is a complete fabrication from beginning to end.
Yet back in the Midwestern heartland of America, where I'm from,
I know of Sunday morning sermons that were delivered from the pulpit that were entirely based on this lie.
Unfortunately, time does not allow me to respond with chapter and verse quotations from the Quran, and from the sayings of Prophet Muhammad to reviewed every slander now circulating about Islam. However, just to get it on the record, allow me to make the following points.
despite the little comic book that's being circulated by certain Christian denominations,
Allah is not an Arabian moon God.
Allah is merely the contraction of the Arabic word out in law, which literally means the God and by implication, the one God.
Furthermore, Arabic and Hebrew are sister languages among the Semitic language group, and the Arabic out in LA, is linguistically comparable to the Hebrew Elohim and l l, o heme, which are the Hebrew words typically translated as God. In most English versions of the Old Testament.
The equivalents of Allah Allah and of Ll o heme, can be dramatically illustrated by comparing the Arabic and Hebrew spellings of the two words. The Arabic alphabet law is spelled in Arabic letters, lF lF lamb Ha.
Remember that sequence Alif laam Lf lamb ha,
the Hebrew lol Oh, he misspelled in Hebrew letters. Alif Lam Alif laam Meem. The only difference is that the Hebrew adds a meme at the end, which transforms the term into a plural of respect. Otherwise, the two terms are absolutely identical.
In fact, Quran 29 verse 46, and referring to Jews and Christians, as people of the book specifically says, and I quote, dispute you're not with the people of the book, except with means better than mere disputation, unless it be with those of them who inflict wrong an injury. But say, we believe in the revelation which has come down to us, and in that which has come down to you, our God, and your God is one and it is to him that we bow in Islam.
Number two, Islam does not promote terrorism, it condemns it.
Number three, Islam does not sanction suicide bombers. Despite the pronouncements of al Qaeda and others. Islam prohibits any form of suicide, no matter what the reason, or the method.
Despite the despicable actions of some self professed Muslims in killing unarmed captives, Islam specifically prohibits that killing
torture or neglect of prisoners and captives. All prisoners in captives are to be fed, clothed and sheltered, in a manner equivalent to that of the captors.
Islam does not promote attacks against civilian non combatants, it prohibits them.
Number six, Islam does not preach conversion by the sward has already shown by numerous quotations from the Quran, Islam insists on religious freedom for all. Let there be no compulsion in religion. Quran to verse 256. Number seven.
Islam does not mandate the killing of apostates from Islam. It prohibits killing an apostate unless that apostate actively makes physical life and death war against Islam, in which case the apostate is killed as an act of war, but not because he is an apostate.
Islam does not encourage polygamy. It actively restricts polygamy to certain conditions that are extremely difficult to meet, and limits the number of wives a person can have.
Islam does not, does not instruct a husband to beat his wife.
This misconception arises from Quran for verse 34, which is perhaps best translated as follows.
If any of you men fear that your wives are behaving in a disgraceful manner, then try to remind them of their duty to God, their family and their husband. If that doesn't work, then leave them alone in their beds. And lastly, if they remain unmoved, despite your earnest entreaties, then separate from them.
Now in all fairness,
it must be admitted that the Arabic root dourada of the word that is being translated here as separate from them, has a number of possible meanings, including separate from expound, tap, and beat.
Unfortunately, some translators of the Quran have opted for the word beat when translating Quran 434 however, numerous sayings of Prophet Muhammad
stress that one is not to beat one's wife, that one is forbidden to strike one's wife in the face, that one is prohibited from causing one's wife any physical pain.
In one narration, a person question the Prophet about this, wanting to know with what he was to beat her.
In response, the prophet held up a twig used to brush one's teeth. Now the circumference of such a twig is about half the circumference of my little finger.
And it's about so long.
Obviously, to beat anyone with such a little and innocuous object, calls to mind the English idiom, made famous by Ann Landers, beat with a wet noodle.
Take your choice, either the verse calls for separation or for beating with a wet noodle. But either way, it must be concluded that a Muslim is forbidden to physically assault his wife. Number 10.
Despite the practices of some self professed Muslims, and certain Third World Muslim countries,
Islam does not subjugate women, it liberates them.
As early as the seventh century, Islam guaranteed women the rights to own property, to earn an income and their own behalf, to inherit, to receive a marriage gallery to choose their marital partner to seek a divorce, to speak freely and publicly to petition in their own right before the court of law and to receive an education. All this in the first half of the seventh century.
Now to put those rights in context, it might be helpful to note the following.
It was not until 1839
that Mississippi became the first and only state in the Union to grant women the right to own property.
A right that was conditional upon the woman having her husband's permission.
As late as 1873, the United States Supreme Court ruled in Bradwell the Illinois that the state had the right to exclude a woman from practicing law.
It was not until 1920
that the 19th amendment to the Constitution was ratified, giving women their boat throughout the United States.
between 1790 and 1922. It was the law of the land that any woman who married
a man who was not a US citizen, automatically lost her own citizenship.
During those same years,
any non US citizen who is a woman
who married an American man who was a US citizen, automatically received US citizenship, boom that very day.
Number 11. Islam is not anti democracy. Islam promotes democratic principles through its concept of Shura, or mutual consultation, a democratic process mandated by Quran, Chapter 42, verse 38. I've also been asked to say a few words about the problems facing America.
Oh, boy, where do we start?
On the foreign front, America is bogged down in wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. We're at loggerheads with North Korea and Iran. were increasingly isolated from the majority of world opinion, which tends to view us as quick on the draw cowboys that are far too eager to settle all accounts through military action.
We're shamed, shamed
by the incidence of torture at Abu Ghraib. And yet Mo. The list goes on and on.
Yet despite the importance of America's problems on the foreign front, I'm going to leave that to my co presenters to discuss and I'm going to turn my attention to what is confronting us here at home on the domestic front. For the last few years, the nightly news has been filled with headlines, decrying the economic scandals of such major American corporations has Enron and WorldCom.
However, we have far more to worry about, than mere corporate bankruptcy.
I would submit to you
that we are also facing a moral bankruptcy of our American culture and society.
And that regard, consider a few facts, figures and examples. Number one,
currently, only 82% of married couples can expect to remain married to each other after five years, only 65% after 10 years, only 52% after 15 years, only 33% after 25 years, only 20% after 35 years, and only 5% after 50 years.
Now, while some of the latter figures are undoubtedly influenced by mortality rates, there can be no doubt whatsoever that the institution of marriage is doing a poor job of surviving modern strains and stresses stated somewhat differently. As of 1997, the probability of a new marriage ending in divorce was 50%. The probability of a second marriage ending in divorce was 60%.
if the current divorce rate weren't enough of an assault on the institution of marriage, we also have to contend with the fact that the figures for the year 2000 indicate that approximately four and one half million people were separated from their spouses
According to the July August 1992 issue of Harvard magazine,
Americans wagered $2 billion
in 1962, in various forms of organized gambling, let me emphasize that we're talking about organized gambling. We're not talking about the Sunday afternoon office betting pool on the football game. We're not talking about the Thursday night, boys night out poker party. We're talking organized gambling $2 billion
wagered by Americans in various forms of organized gambling in 1962.
in just the single year of 2000
Americans wagered $866 billion
and various forms of organized gambling.
gamble gambling is simply and flatly prohibited.
But whether one sees all gambling as religiously unlawful or not.
Aren't we all a little appalled at the thought of Americans wagering almost nine tenths of a trillion dollars in just one year?
What else can be done with that kind of money?
How many social problems can be addressed with an extra $866 billion a year?
How many families and homes are being devastated by the effects of a compulsive gambler in their midst?
and not 1999 I was living in the Denver area. And like most of you was rocked back on my heels by the tragedy and senseless violence that transpired at Columbine High School just a couple of miles from where I lived.
You have the Columbine massacre was not an isolated incident on the American landscape. school house shootings had been going on for years before Columbine, and have continued ever since. Just in the last two months, there have been four schoolhouse shootings, of which I'm aware.
According to divorce magazine
27% of family households had only one parent in 1998, meaning that 20 million Americans under the age of 18 were living with just one parent in the family home.
By 2002 32% of all children under the age of 18. Were living in a home with no parent, or were living in a single family home.
single parent home.
In weighing those numbers.
I'd like for you to consider the effects
of a single parent home on the children.
During the year 2000 fatherless homes accounted for
63% of all youth suicides
90% of homeless and runaway children 85% of children with behavioral problems 71% of high school dropouts 85% of youths in prison and well over 50% of all teen mothers.
Another area of concern is highlighted by a set of figures provided by the federally funded National Child Abuse and Neglect data system.
According to their report for calendar year 2002 there were 1.8 million referrals alleging child abuse or neglect, just in that single year, and an estimated total of 896,000 children in America. Who were the victim
Because of abuse or neglect.
Of note, children under the age of three,
have the highest rate of victimization,
with girls being slightly more frequent targets than boys.
children are not the only target of abuse in American families. According to the American Psychological associations 1996 report entitled violence and the family.
4 million American women, that's 4 million American women experience a serious assault by a husband or intimate partner every year.
And nearly one in three, one in three American women will experience such an assault at least once during her life.
Further, at least 3.3 million children each year are traumatized by watching their mother being physically assaulted.
Finally, it should be noted that the 1997 estimates from the Bureau of Justice suggests that domestic violence accounts for fully seven teen
percent of all hospital emergency room visits.
Stop and think about that for a moment. 17% of all ER visits are the result of domestic abuse.
While I don't mean to bore you with a laundry list of all the yields and shortcomings of our American society,
I'm sure that each of you can generate your own list, alcohol abuse, drug abuse, racial, ethnic and religious intolerance, poverty in the homeless. The medically uninsured, the amount of personal indebtedness in this country, the AIDS epidemic, so called reality TV shows
that glorify interpersonal manipulation as the means to the ultimate end of winning.
Or suggests that sexual exploitation and gratification are the ways to advance in the game of life.
The list goes on and on.
With regard to the aforementioned problems facing Muslims in America,
it is obvious that we Muslims need to do more in setting the record straight. We need to be more proactive in educating our fellow Americans about the role and history of Muslims in America.
We also need to be more active in combating the slanderous distortions of our own religion.
God willing, today's event is a step in that direction.
How However, there is also something that those of you who are not Muslims need to do.
You need to check your facts.
Don't just take some email or pamphlet or talking head on televisions word for it, that this is what Islam is.
Check it out.
And the way to do that is to get hold of a good English translation of the Quran, such as that provided by so he international or Abdullah Yusuf Ali's translation are most especially
yahia Emmerich's translation, has been published by Doubleday next year.
I say this not in an attempt to proselytize
but in an attempt to get you to educate yourself.
If you want to have accurate information on Islam, go to the source. Go to the Quran.
Also take the time to read an introductory book on Islam by a Muslim author. At the risk of self promotion, you might have
Consider reading my own book, understanding Islam, a guide for the Judeo Christian reader.
With regard to the myriad social ills confronting America,
we need to recognize that all Americans have common cause and combating these conditions. It doesn't matter whether we are Muslims, Christians, Jews, Hindus, Buddhists, atheists, or what have you, we are still Americans. And we do have a common cause to better American society.
As such, we need to come together as Americans and start working together.
Perhaps the place to start
is by various communities of faith, beginning to work together on the front of social welfare. Most especially this means the Abrahamic faiths, Judaism, Christianity and Islam, need to break down some of the barriers that separate them from each other. They need to put aside their differences for a while and begin focusing on and celebrating the immense common ground that they share. This is not to say that we give up or somehow compromise those doctrines and beliefs that are unique to our own religion. But it is to say that those differences are not the place to begin our interfaith dialogue. We need to begin with what we hold in common. We need to explore it and cherish it and
Having done so,
can't we then work together for the betterment of American society?
We owe it to ourselves.
We owe it to our country.
And we owe it to our God.
As to all that I have said God knows best. Thank you very much.