Sherman Jackson – CAIR 2012 Banquet Philadelphia

Sherman Jackson
AI: Summary © The speakers discuss the challenges faced by the country and the importance of addressing these issues in order to flourish. They emphasize the need for individuals to commit to their personal values and promote their cohesive sentiment to ensure their freedom. The potential for conflict between society and individual privacy is discussed, as well as the importance of protecting individual privacy and privacy for the safety of the people around them. The speakers also emphasize the need for a general anti-sharia legislation and avoiding harm to others. Finally, they discuss the importance of creating a culture of respect for human rights and creating a culture of fearless behavior to avoid negative consequences.
AI: Transcript ©
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Last Man or him

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dynasty no one has to fiddle with Mr. D.

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Whenever he

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would say

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again the level Omotola fella their heavy while shadow Allah, Allah Allah, Allah.

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Muhammad Rasul Allah Allahu alayhi wa sallam

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rubbish Rafi Saturday we certainly number a walk with the camera recently of Kali.

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location on us FC maternity resending when

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you let me go back Salam aleikum wa rahmatullah and good evening,

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The hour is late. And I am very fearful of trying your patience more than it can bear. And I was told in the invitation that I got here that I have to limit myself to 20 minutes. And they actually put that in capital letters,

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which suggested to me that they were very serious.

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So what I'm going to try and do is make maximum use of my time. And rather than go through a detail, thank you, for all the people who are responsible for affording me the opportunity to come here and speak to you tonight, I just want to sort of issue a gentleman thank you, and to say congratulations to care, for institutional longevity, and its ability to establish itself and the importance of the work that it does, as is manifested by the outcome tonight, and the level of support that it has received. What I'm going to try and do myself tonight is sort of, in a way, contextualize the situation, as I see it with regard to what care itself dedicates itself to doing. And that is, the

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relationship between Muslims and non Muslims in America, that is what has been captured by the whole title of the Council on American Islamic Relations. And what I want to try and do is to give us a sense of the fact that what is happening with regard to Muslims in America today is not simply happening to Muslims. It's happening to America. And it's happening in America. And I think that we as Americans, as a society, we have to recognize this fact. And we have to arm ourselves. And so that we are not prey to the various and sundry machinations that seek to take us down a path, that we have been down before with other communities that we should have learned from before with regard

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to the experience of those other communities, and that we have to dedicate ourselves to not going back down again. So what I want to try and do is contextualize this whole enterprise, and hopefully, provide us with a way of thinking more critically, and more holistically about the kinds of challenges and opportunities that we confront, as Muslims being a Muslim as much as Americans, I'm sorry, baby Muslim.

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Now, another team for

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there was a very famous case,

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right here in Pennsylvania called miners feel miners, though Ville, school district versus goodbyes. And this case actually went all the way to the Supreme Court. And it was about a group of Jehovah's Witnesses, students

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whose parents had basically said that they should not salute the American flag.

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And the students were told by their parents that they could stand up in respectful silence, but they would not recite the actual words, pledge allegiance to the flag.

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And so the migrants build School District, by the way, which is binding in Pennsylvania

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basically, tried to compel the students to pledge allegiance to the flag.

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And the case ended up going all the way to the Supreme Court. And then you have to remember this is during on the precipice of World War Two is a very trying time for the country as a whole. This whole by an eight to one vote Supreme Court insisted that the miners field school district have a right to require students to recite the pledge of allegiance to the flag, despite any religious misgivings that they might have about this very gesture.

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And the Supreme Court position was championed by Justice Felix Frankford. And Justice tried harder, had no ill will towards the Jehovah's Witnesses themselves. But he insisted that America as a society,

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in order for it to flourish, in order for it to be able to come to its fullest capacity, require the existence, the promotion, and the preservation of what he referred to as cohesive sentiment. And that is to say that Americans must be bound together by some emotional slash psychological glue that enables a society to function in a cooperative manner. And that if you allow certain groups or individuals to

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that cohesive sentiment, then the society itself would not be able to function as a whole. And we would not be able to put forth the kind of preference that we need to put forward to rise to the challenges that was the challenges that we're facing the country at the time.

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And so the schoolchildren were told by the Supreme Court of the United States, that they have an obligation, despite their religious misgivings, to pledge allegiance to fly.

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Three years later, however, and another case, what's the Jigna state board of education versus Barnett, a very similar case, the Supreme Court, by 63 majority, reversed itself and overruled the ruling that it had given in go bias. And in his majority opinion, Justice Robert Jackson, Jackson

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noted the following.

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If there is any fixed star in our constitutional constellation, it is that no official, high or petty,

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can prescribe what shall be orthodox in politics, nationalism, religion, or other matters of opinion, or for citizens to confess by word, or act, their fate.

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In other words, the Supreme Court was saying, the man Justice Frankfurter is concerned for a cohesive sentiment, that emotional, psychological bond that enables us to act in unison with a degree of empathy for each other, as a society. While this might have been important, it was not an emphatic thing, not the role of the government to try to force this cohesive sentiment into place.

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any attempt on the part of government to try to force this cohesive sentiment was subject to actually producing the opposite effect.

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For by targeting one segment of the population,

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as being insufficiently patriotic,

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the government would send a subliminal message to the rest of society, that it was actually patriotic to hate, or suspect, or discriminate against that group that had identified as being sufficiently sufficiently patriotic. And so in the name of actually promoting this so called cohesive sentiment, the government actually would end up undermining that sentiment by actually spawning hatred and distrust in the society.

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This, in a real sense, is actually a part of what we're seeing unfold right now. And in my estimation, this whole anti Sharia legislation has to be mindful of the effect that is likely to take and rather than just address those people who are behind these kinds of machinations, it is important that the people in this room, Muslim and non Muslim, understand what these kinds of machinations are likely to do to our society.

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And that these machinations cannot take effect without our permission. If we rise in opposition to these kinds of efforts, then those efforts themselves will be stopped in their tracks. And we know

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After understand that these are not efforts that will simply affect Muslims alone. But in fact, we will be unleashing forces and giving them permission to express themselves in the open public. And once that permission has been given, it will be very difficult to take it back, no more, we'll be able to determine who will be the object of that very negative energy.

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But in point of fact.

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I didn't have come here tonight to talk about this anti shittier legislation in point of fact, that, to me is sort of a side point, it's only a symptom of the problem. So what I want to do is move on to what I see as the real issue that confronts us.

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My main point here is to follow

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cohesive sentiment.

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Or we might even just say, mutual respect, or as I'll talk about a little later on what is recognized as a general fraternity within society, this is important for us as Americans, it's important for any modern society.

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Reality is that we are so

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interdependent upon each other,

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that it is important that we conduct ourselves collectively, in a manner that produces and allows for the flourishing of healthy individuals in our society.

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Because we can have all the segregated communities we want. We can have whites living in one area, blacks living in another Muslims in in one area, Jews, Christians, Atheists, others living in another, people with money living in one area, people have no money having enough. But the reality of the matter is, is that we all live in this society, and therefore we intersect with each other on various and sundry occasions. And the very person that I might see, I have no relationship to at all, I may find myself in a position where I am fundamentally dependent on that person for this or that particular service. Let me give you a concrete example of what I'm talking about here. I just

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moved to California,

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not too long ago, and we bought a house out there. And

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I'm new to the area. So I got a bill in the mail the bill from the county assessor's office, but it has the old owner on the address, somehow I have set forward to address it, that person is limited. So we didn't think it had anything to do with us. And two months later, I made a letter addressed to me say, if you don't pay these taxes,

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you have a problem.

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I said, I never got a tax bill. So I call up the county assessor's office.

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And I get this person on the phone just doesn't understand.

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And I'm trying to reason with this person, and they don't get an icon. They don't get it. They don't get it. And my point to you is this, I don't know that person. And that person doesn't know me. But the reality is, is that they have the capacity to be great and grateful ruin to my life and abandon a black purse, who said, I don't like white folks, and anybody who calls me that sounds like I'm gonna check them on box.

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Or he's a Muslim, or Jew or whatever. And anybody who calls here, they don't sound like a lot of people are like, I'm checking the wrong box, and they're gonna have some issues to deal with. So this is the point that I'm making, that no matter how we might try to separate ourselves and society. All right, we are dependent upon each other, for the purity of our water, right for the the nutritious value of our food. Just imagine when we get alienated individuals who turn into psychopaths that have no empathy for society at large. Imagine the type of badness that they can do.

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And so, this business of cohesive sentiment, it is very important for us to be able to function as a society.

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The government will protect us, one from the other, but government cannot put that piece of second in place that is ultimately up to us. And we as a society, have to figure out what we will do

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Want you to do in order to preserve the quality of life that we, as humans, and individuals want to enjoy in this country? Do we want to live in a country where, despite the fact that your religion, your culture, your color, your race is different from mine, I can depend on the fact that there is a modicum of mutual empathy that will bring you to see me as a human being, as a fellow citizen, and to deal with me on the basis thereof. You don't have to like me, you don't have to agree with me, you don't have to think that I'm handsome.

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But to recognize a basic degree of empathy,

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that brings you to deal with me in a manner that is equitable, or doing work around nice those negative forces that put us in a position where we can not move about in society, trustful that the people with whom we are interacting, have that kind of empathy will not do things to bring us gratuitous harm, and things of that nature.

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So what we're talking about here is how we as

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people who live in America, people who are American Muslims, and non Muslims alive,

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we're talking about how we are going to relate to each other, what kind of relationship we're going to have with each other.

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And when we start talking about relationships,

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one of

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the most common mistakes that can be made is that one party in the relationship basically says,

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everything will be alright. If the other party does what they're supposed to do.

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This is a way we try to manipulate ourselves into a sort of privileged position, whereby the relationship will be sustained. Right? If you offer your services to me, and I just sit back and receive your services, whereas important facts,

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relationships are by definition,

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dialectical in nature.

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And they are only preserved and enhanced by the commitment of both parties.

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Even if our mom

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and I come to you, and I apologize, that apology will go nowhere. If you are not psychological predisposed to accepting that apology, or it might not go anywhere. If I'm not willing to accept the fact that what I've done is so egregious that it may take you a little time to fully adjust to my apology. My point is simply that one party in a relationship cannot preserve a relationship. The relationship in order to be preserved, and perpetuated, can only be preserved and perpetuated by the mutual commitment of both parties.

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So what I want to do with the few minutes that I have remade is speak to both parties in this relationship.

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And I think again, it is important for us to recall that as Americans, whether we like it or not, we have a relationship with each other. We are gone into this relationship by the mere fact that we are married, we live together. We play together, we work together, we have a relationship. And we have to figure out how we're going to make that relationship work best for us. And so I have three considerations.

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considerations for our non Muslim citizens, as many considerations for our Muslim citizens. In other words, we want to look at what both sides of this relationship and I want to say just a few words very briefly about what I think might contribute to the health and the substance of that relationship, if we can be brought to consider these things. So to our compatriots.

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The first thing I want to say is that one of the reasons that many persons have this bit of difficulty with the presence of Muslim skin

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American society. And by the way, I should say here that I'm talking about America as a whole, I think that the situation in Philadelphia is a bit is a bit different from what it is in other parts of the country.

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Philadelphia is a very, very Muslim city.

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And it is very difficult for non Muslims not to have some kind of interaction with Muslims on some level or another in a city like like Philadelphia, but in the country at large. All right, in places where much of the revenue is emanating from one of the reasons that that rhetoric game such traction is that Muslims are looked upon as being the newcomers to America.

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A newcomer is always

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what was intended tendency, I should say, to look at newcomers through a certain prism of xenophobia, it's new, and therefore, I have to figure out how I'm going to adjust to it.

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While Muslims are looked at as new and Amanda, the reality is, they are not.

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Muslims have been here for centuries,

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for a very, very long time. And this is not simply rhetoric, we have the physical record of Muslims who are practicing in this country, and the 70s, in the 80s, and the 1970s, that the only reason that we think that they are new today is that our country at that time was of a mindset. Well, those people as Muslims were excluded from inclusion in American society. And they were excluded simply because they happen to be African slaves.

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So part of what I want, our non Muslim competitors to consider is that Muslims have not been excluded 200 years ago,

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that maybe we will be looking at a situation right now. Where society at large, would be much more comfortable in its dealing with Muslims. And the very idea that Muslims are looked upon as a new entity, that is not the fault of Muslims.

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Muslims didn't do that.

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That is the fault of the dominant culture in America. And by the way, Muslims, we're not the only ones. But I want to call your attention to this. And this is the real point that I want to make

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100 years ago,

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we need to think about the kinds of things that were being said about Catholics in this country.

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Catholics in this country were a great threat tablets in this country, we're going to drive this country under the yoke of the Pope in Rome. In fact, the whole movement toward public education was an art designed to control the rising tide of Catholicism in America. We wanted to take those children out of these Catholic schools and put them in the public schools with a need to be socialized in a way that we were more comfortable with. And so Catholics themselves were looked upon as a friend.

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But because Catholics were recognized

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as Americans, they were able to conduct themselves in a manner in which, over a period of time, they proved, we're not here to destroy America, America is home for us. We are here to carve out a dignified existence for ourselves, just like everybody else in America once. And because of the longevity of the Catholics being recognized in America. Today, we don't think about this business. The fact the highest court in the land today is dominated by Catholics.

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There are nine Supreme Court justices, five.

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So what we have to imagine is that if Muslims have not been excluded, and a Muslim are not excluded, Muslims will be as integrated into society as anyone else. And there will be none of this fear about what Muslims are trying to do to America, because we recognize that America is just as much home to Muslims as it is to anybody else. That's the first thing that our non Muslim compatriots could consider. The second thing, and this is a very important point to consider.

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Is that oftentimes in the rhetoric about Islam

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non Muslims

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tend to ask Muslims, well, what do you think about x? What do you think about wine drinking, for example?

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And a Muslim will give an answer based on his understanding of this.

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And they will say something like, Well, we believe that wine drinking is something that you should not do.

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From here. Now Muslims then adopt the notion that it Muslims morally condemn something, then this will automatically be translated into some political platform in which they want to impose that upon everyone else.

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This is

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there any number of things in this line that moves them to understand that we must do that, I'm not going to eat a ham sandwich. But I'm not going to pass a law saying that no one in society can lead a ham sandwich. And these are little issues. But this is the implication. I want to invite you as non Muslims to abandon that understanding to abandon that notion. Islam has always been a pluralistic religion. And Islam did not need modern liberalism to teach about tolerance. And let me give you just one concrete example of what I'm talking about here.

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There is a

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very prominent scholar,

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And he himself was the pupil of an even more prominent style. And they came to him by the way, this is 100 years ago, not in the modern liberal age 800 years ago. And they came to him and asked him,

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we have students who live in our society. And they believe in this practice of soft marriage, a man man, his daughter, married his mother, man says,

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What should we have the muscle power do about this? This was in Thailand, Spencer,

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in the zone, community does not seek our adjudication. We don't do anything about it.

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In the community does seek our adjudication, we judge them on the basis of their religion, not on the basis of ours.

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This is a new kind of Josie. Now, sensations are debated among Muslim jurists, and I'm not trying to whitewash the issue. But the very fact that they are the big shows that Islam have always discussed, that is the exact parameters of Parliament, and the parliament was not something that is alien to Islam. So for Muslims to be imperfect, and believe in practicing Muslims, in their own communities, and in their own personal lives, does not necessarily imply that they are born to try to hold you as a non Muslim element in our society to the very same thing. So when those people come to you with all this scary, talk about Sharia, this is one of the things that we should keep in mind. The last

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thing that I would like to suggest that our non Muslim compatriots think about is that Muslims are not new to discrimination in America.

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And if you aren't Jewish, if you are Catholic, if you are Irish, if you're Italian, you should know something about discrimination. And you should sometimes reflect on how your communities responded to that discrimination. And in that context, you should understand that America is not always right.

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Not always wrong. But America is not always right.

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when Muslims or non Muslims

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react to America's laws, we cannot always simply blame those people who are reacting to wrongs and give American society or the American government.

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Nor generally,

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all the time assume that whatever problems a Muslim may have with America is necessarily grounded in some understanding of the slang as opposed to their actual experience as a marginalized minority that has been discriminated against

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Let me give you just one concrete example here.

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Every time I've given this example, I've gotten the same response.

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It's 1030. At night,

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you're a black male. And it's those you're writing somewhere. backmarker anywhere in America.

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Your car breaks down, your cell phone battery's out. So you're gonna have to go knock on someone's door.

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You come upon a patch of houses,

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two houses.

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One of those houses, has an American flag hung out front.

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The other house, has the flag hung out.

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Which of these houses you want to knock off? Oh.

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In the majority of cases, and I've given this example, people have said, I will knock on the door of a house with no flag.

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Is that because blacks hate America?

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No, it's because that flag has been used as a symbol to terrorize black Americans. And that experience is real for them. All right. And so Muslims have a problem with this, but that aspect of American symbolism, let us not just leave it to this man, for some explanation of whether rather, we should perhaps look at what experience that Muslim community has been shown in America as an explanation for why they might have this particular predisposition towards America. And as Americans, we should dedicate ourselves to changing that experience, rather than holding their religion in suspicion. Because any community, any community that is discriminated against, on what

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feels like an official basis, will internalize certain feelings about their politics, that will not be positive. So we have to be careful by non Muslim compatriots about assuming that everything negative that Muslims may feel or say about America is necessarily grounded in some kind of understanding of Islam, rather than makes them to be grounded in their experience. But as I said, there are two sides to any

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relationship, and simply to address the non Muslims about the kinds of energies that are admittedly some a phobia, without addressing the Muslim community, in terms of what it may be contributing to the dynamic in American society right now, is the response. And it's the effectual because as I said, relationships

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in both sides, examining themselves and committing to right, a whatever it sees as being wrong and his perspective. So I have three suggested sort of considerations for the Muslims.

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The first is

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we have to abandon

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what I would almost characterize as this plantation mentality that many of us builders

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this plantation mentality takes to two forms. One with the immigrant community, those who came to America post 1965.

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This takes the form of

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sort of almost wanting to bend over backwards, so to show that we are here to do good for Americans.

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And I don't mean that Muslims should not do good to American society.

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But America is really home

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and not on plantation that belongs to someone else.

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Why do you always have to over express your commitment to doing good?

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I travel in the Muslim world all the time. I will hear that tone that

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when I've traveled to the Muslim world, that people want to serve their society accept society, but not

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because they are who

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they are hope they do not see themselves

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As guests in someone else's society, and because they don't see themselves as guests, they don't conduct themselves in a manner that looks almost desperate.

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And when you come to me with any proposal that feels better, number one, I'm likely to hold you in contempt to go by like desperate people. And number two, I'm not likely to believe you.

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So one of the first things we have to do is, we have to abandon that aspect of this plantation mentality.

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If America is truly home, the treatment is home, and the man of others, that they see you,

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as participate in the welfare of your own society. Oh, my God, man, many of you, I'm sure saw the movie Braveheart. And that's the guy coming from Ireland. And he says, What?

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that's the attitude that Muslims have to have about America, if we are Americans than America is mine. And there's no question about whether we want to do good to our own society, in the black American community. Three minutes.

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Okay. And the black American community.

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Sometimes this has manifested in this whole idea that, you know, it's a measure almost,

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to the extent that we are hesitant or willing check out Americans that will be clear right here. There are some people who have had very negative experiences in America, they haven't been falsely arrested, they have been falsely imprisoned, and they have been abused in prison. As an experience, they are to better to really look upon America, and in a positive way, I'm not talking about those people. I'm talking about those people who see opposition to being American as some kind of ideological defensible position.

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And this, we have to be very, very careful about.

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America will only be resisted by me. If I see her as

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somebody else's property. America is not somebody else's property. I've been a history 1619

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longer than many other people who claim ownership over America today, America and my society.

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And I have my America just like other communities, to create ones and then okay, all right.

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The second thing that Muslims have to consider is not listen,

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you don't have a constitutional right to be liked, or culturally accepted.

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If we want to be liked, or culturally accepted, we have to earn that right. And we have to organize to the point that we can bring people to treat us fairly and the way that we believe we should be treated fairly. But we don't have any constitutional right for people to treat us in a particular way and the public face.

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And this means that this is going to get a

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little southern massage. But Islam has no useful powers. We're not living in that time today. Someone say

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this means that Muslims have to unlearn some things about our own post colonial experience

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in the Muslim world,

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and Muslims kind of understand the West as being this.

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The worst case for the express purpose of undermining, destroying and subjugated Islam. Muslims therefore reacted, and they adopted a cultural expression of the slam, that would insulate

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against incursions of the West. But that was before a time when it became apparent that the West itself would produce its own postures. And we have to unlearn some of those cultural impulses from our past. And we have to learn that we have to be culturally imaginative, just like people only Muslims, well, hopefully imaginative, hopefully confident,

00:39:47 --> 00:39:48


00:39:50 --> 00:39:59

Totally innovative. And I'm not worried about our cultural capacities here in America, we have proven we have plenty of cultural capital. I'm this my left

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Want to

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00:40:05 --> 00:40:07

The last point that Muslims,

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I think need to consider is that while we may not call it a cohesive sentiment,

00:40:17 --> 00:40:25

it's functional equipment. functional equivalent is not only important, but absolutely justifiable from the perspective of

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the command, it's referred to more as

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brotherhood fraternity. And the point that I want to make here is this, the ad itself recognizes that all societies are defined by a need a monitor mode for eternity, in order for them to function.

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And look for an Olympics several societies, in fact, virtually all of them as being societies, in which profits tend to them as

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as progress.

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There was a fraternal bond between the profits, and even the people that rejected them will

00:41:10 --> 00:41:10


00:41:11 --> 00:41:14

who then will move on of

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Saudi will, upon whom choice,

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even mood not uncertain.

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But even moved, the people who have

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been engaged in what they will engage them and say,

00:41:33 --> 00:41:35

it refers to them, but get into the

00:41:36 --> 00:41:37


00:41:38 --> 00:41:39

Why do

00:41:41 --> 00:41:42

we do

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that these societies rejected all of the profits, and then it comes to life. And it refers to those people, that's who the brothers have lost.

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This, this fraternal sentiment is not something alien to the sun. It is not something that we should feel as being imposed upon us by the society that we in this paternal sentiment in

00:42:09 --> 00:42:18

this channel sentiment is part of the Sunnah of the Prophet and I will end right now with this. The Prophet himself so Allah, Allah he was setting them up,

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was brutalized by society.

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Scandaleyes lied about using a sama phobia or something. He was even forced to leave the society, fearful offices.

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So he left and went to him again. When the Prophet came back into Mecca triumphant years later, he said to them, what, what do you think I'm going to do to you? What did they say to him?

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Telling him No.

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You are a generous brother, and the son of a generous crowd. And what would the Prophet say? God, you are free. That is the function of different animal spirits.

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