Out Of Context – Part 14

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Omar Suleiman

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Do Muslims Support ISIS? – Omar Suleiman

In Part 14 of the interview, Shaykh Omar takes questions from the audience. When it comes to condemning acts of terrorism like San Bernardino for instance, every mosque and pulpit spoke against it, says Sheikh Omar Suleiman.

Episode Transcript

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Hi, my name is Mike Bachman. And I mean, I'm a Methodist pastor, and I'm excited that we're able to share a little question and answer time with Imam Omar Suleiman. He's here to answer questions from some folks who have been part of our audiences, we've been having an extended conversation together. So I'll introduce them each and looking forward to hearing their questions. And their response to that Imam Omar has. And then we have Kelly from audience here who has a question for Mr. Omar. Hi, I'm kind of cheating here, because I'm gonna hope that you'll fight some battles that I've been fighting within, unfortunately, my own family. So one of my best friends in the whole world is

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Muslim, and was my maid of honor in my wedding many, many, many years ago. And we're still very, very close, which is why I'm here today.

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So first, I want to know, can I wear the hijab without being disrespectful? Of course, you can. Yeah, sure. Okay, and what is the meaning of that? First of all, I just want to do it. So I had to do my hair every day, but

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a lot one of the jobs that we have here, but so

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it's, and that's part of the beauty of America is that these expressions of solidarity that we've had as well, just wonderful people, and that's something that we we feed off of, and that's something that we, as a community, we draw from that positive energy that you know, there are people that that are willing to even stand in solidarity.

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The poor Sikh community they've been attacked, because they look Muslim. Okay, over and over and over again.

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So they're being attacked for being Muslim, even though they're not Muslim. So it's wonderful to see solidarity and certainly you won't be disrespectful to us. And I think it's, it's wonderful to have people like you that are, I just didn't know if it it would be taken as you know, not making fun of them or making light of it because I think it's a very intimate decision that the women make just no to say why Muslim when someone says no, no, we good. That's everything be prepared for Islamic calm and all those guy can't do it. Okay, so what I did when this came about was I asked the member of my family that argues with me repetitively about these issues.

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It saddens me some of the belief system

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that my own family members have, and so I'd like for you to answer the questions that I asked them to write and I said, Give me your best. Okay, give me everything you got. Because here we go. Because and I said, if it's disrespectful, I won't ask it. Or you can ask it.

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You gotta hold more hours into question, how do you have a real hard one? Okay, so this is again, not, I understand. Okay. But I do have one for you at the end. Okay. Why would the Muslim community stand up as Americans and speak out clearly against ISIS? I don't. I don't accept that. They are afraid because we are all afraid and they're attacking us, not the Muslims. Okay. All right. So number one, every single mosque in this country. The sermon on that Friday after San Bernardino was a condemnation of terrorism. We've condemned, condemned, condemned, condemned, we've condemned more than more than we've more than we've read Koran lately. Spin, I condemn, I condemn and someone was

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even suggesting we have an app called I condemn, so we can just press a button every time something happens and Muslims can say I condemn I condemn I condemn. Number one, there's an implicit

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there is an implicit racism sometimes in those questions, right. Because do we ask when when dylann roof murdered those people in that church when when a white supremacist carries out? Murder? Do we ask all white Americans in the country to stand up and condemn that when any other faith group has a lunatic that comes out when someone blows up an abortion clinic in the name of Christianity? Do we ask all Christians to condemn and why aren't we hearing you condemn? You know that person that blew up the abortion clinic so there's almost an implied guilt collective guilt and we have to reject that collective guilt. I'm not responsible for I'm just as hurt as anybody else when it when an

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attack takes place. Muslims died on 911 Muslims died on 911 hundreds of Muslims died on 911 not just a few hundreds of them. There were Muslim firefighters on 911

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so that's number one. We reject the collective guilt we do condemn we condemn not not because we believe that we're guilty we condemn number one to distance ourselves number two to show our congregation you know, to just place that that path forward to pave that path that okay, you know, this is not part of Islam, and this is why it's not part of Islam. However, the media chooses

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What to cover and what not to cover, we reach out to the media all the time.

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But the types of guests that are brought on these media outlets are often, you know, not representative of our Muslim community. And when we do have someone that's put on these news channels eventually from our community before they can even ask a question, they're asked questions like, Do you support Hamas? Like, when, you know, they're immediately put on the hot seat and you know, their, their entire public life is put on display? So, people, you know, people don't want to deal with that nonsense, right. So we do condemn, we do stand up against that bigotry, and we stand up against that terrorism and all violence, in fact,

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but we've condemned ourselves out. So that's one.

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As far as the second part of that question, which is, Muslims are being or were being attacked, not Muslims, the biggest victims, most of the victims of ISIS are Muslims. And I Muslims hate ISIS, probably more than even non American Muslims hate ISIS more than most Americans do, probably. So Muslims are the greatest victims of ISIS. And actually, you know, the journalists that are being that were being massacred and things of that sort. There are a lot of Muslim journalists that were being massacred, too.

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So that doesn't take away from the tragedy of losing American journalists and things of that sort. But what about the hundreds of Syrian journalists and Iraqi journalists that were beheaded as well by ISIS, so we're fighting this cancer,

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as well.

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I often tell people, the irony of my situation, I've had death threats from ISIS, and I've also been threatened by islamophobes. So I've been attacked online actually have screenshots and emails and things of that sort from ISIS threatening to kill me for speaking out against them. And then I've been threatened by islamophobe for secretly belonging to ISIS, and for being a symbol for being for sympathizing with ISIS and for being a closet Islamist and so on, so forth. So the extremists will always will always speak in, you know, in a synchronized fashion, but we have to reject it altogether. Okay. How can you tell the good ones from the bad ones, because they are now being

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trained to shave and wear crosses and act very American to fool the public. Okay. And

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on a regular basis, I'm just saying, and I applaud you for bringing those questions for right. I think that it's tough. Yeah.

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I guess the good ones have beards, or

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I'm not sure. Well, I say, How can I tell any good person from any bad person, and I tell my children, you know, the Boogey Man doesn't look like a Boogeyman? Sure, sure. So that's, that's how I answer it. But how do you tell him much more? How do you tell the way that you, you know, how do you tell a potential supremacist or potential mass school shooter, you know, from from from a normal person that's not going to shoot up a an elementary school? Right. So I think that, again, it's the implied racism, that

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and the boogeyman effect. And even if you watch these different movies, there was a movie that came out recently about the Iraq the soldier in Iraq, I forgot what the name was.

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Was it? No, not 13 hours Benghazi, the soldier,

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American Sniper, and I think the only the only Muslim that appeared to be good in the movie turned out to be evil as well, right? So this idea of you know that that kind Muslim, the cab driver, the neighbor that that sweet Muslim is really, you know, plotting to kill you, and they're practicing up to you, and they're hiding their faith and these types of things. So you can't beat that. That's not something that we can do. We just can't beat that. So what I say is, I would rather die with love, then live with a beautiful, so that's

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beautiful, I think.

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So, I wish more people were like the the rest of the questions are kind of along that line. So I think we're good. But, but I would like to know and this is something that Miriam gave me an article is wonderful. What can we actually do? Because it is infuriating to me to hear stories that she tells me and knowing how much I love her and her family and and the folks that she in her community. It just it's infuriating to not know what to do.

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And what what can we actually do?

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We can continue to encourage dialogue and engagement and continue to respond to the negativity with with more positive things. I think efforts like this, I think service projects, I think initiatives, I think

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open mosques and open churches and synagogues and interfaith dialogues, people coming together and people using whatever they have, I don't ever belittle your position, you know to fight one, one person's hatred and and stereotype is a noble job in and of itself. So don't ever belittle your capacity with what's been given to you.

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You know, you don't even if you're not speaking to a million people, if you're speaking to one that's good enough so everyone in their own right and in their own capacity, just fighting that

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negativity. I think that's, you know, hopefully those voices will come together. And I do believe that we're moving towards a more tolerant America. I think that I think that the younger generation is by and large, far more tolerant and accepting and, you know, of a more diverse America. So I think we'll be okay. Well, that's good to know. Thank you. Thank you so much. Well, that wraps our time of asking questions with Imam Omar Suleiman. I want to thank you for the opportunity for me and for folks here to ask questions. I want to thank the people who showed up today to hear the interview and then to bring your own questions, whether they're from your yourself, whether it from

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family members and others. The more opportunities we have to ask questions, the more opportunities we have for dialogue, the better off we'll all be. And so I'm grateful for this time together. I'm grateful for for all the folks that you see here and all the folks behind the scenes that are working to make this possible. This makes our country better. It makes our culture better. And I'm grateful for opportunities like this or good day.