How Strong Economics can IMPACT American Muslims

Tom Facchine


Channel: Tom Facchine

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The issue of economics is a huge, huge issue for for the Muslim community. strong economic system means a lot, especially in a capitalist society. What are we doing on that front? And when we look at where we are as a community and you start thinking about the wealth of the Muslims a billion dollars, like we we've got that for sure. But it's scattered and because it's scattered doesn't have any impact. But if you did, and you can pull certain strings and say, You know what, not if you do this, we're moving that billion dollars over here. What? Now? Now, now, you don't just sit at the table, you bring the table, you are the table Money Talks Bismillah Alhamdulillah Asad. So I'm sorry

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last time when I come back to LA Welcome back to Imam talk. And we have a very distinguished guest here, none other than the dawn himself safe to Hawaii, Philly's own first Americans to be granted a seat to teach in the province machine and Medina someone I've benefited from tremendously blessed enough to overlap my time there and have consistently been taken under your wing and have always appreciated the guidance that you've offered to me. So may Allah, let it weigh heavily in your scale and keep it sincere and his pleasure. We were having a conversation, we're here at the NJ dot o conference. And we were having a conversation about some things that that Malcolm X used to talk

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about, I believe he used to call black economics or black economics has to do with thinking about independence, and autonomy in a different way. Now, why this is significant, because I think the Muslim community in America is having sort of a reckoning, post 911 war on terror. last 20 years, the idea has been, well, if we get representation and access, then that equals being at the table instead of on the menu. And we've seen since October 7, the escalation in Palestine, the slaughter of people in the plaza. But that's not really the case, that that model of power was not really power that they were willing to let us get in the photo ops, and the White House if doors and

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whatever was optics, but not give us real power. So now we're at a juncture on a crossroads. And we're thinking now, where do we go from here? How can we actually build power so that nobody messes with us and holds us off to jail?

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arbitrarily, of course, and also that we're able to have some sort of influence on the society around us so that the nation that we send our tax money to doesn't go slaughtering our own brothers and sisters overseas. So what does it look like? Where do we go from here? How are we going to build power? What opportunities do we have to move forward to how the law salatu salam ala Rasulillah? While early he or savvy Woman Well, first of all, thank you for the opportunity to address your audience. And I think that the question that you pose, it's an easy question to ask. I think the approach is multifaceted. And I think that you and I may not even be the right people to answer the

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I think that what's going to be important moving forward, is that there's some consistent body of advisors, people who have lived the American Islamic experience for 50 years, many of them who are still mashallah of sound mind

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acute understanding of where we are as a community. But they themselves for whatever reasons may not have had the platforms that we have. So they can reach as many people for example, or maybe for one reason or another, they've been isolated from the Muslim community. So they kind of work in these silos. I think, perhaps, our generation and sometimes it takes people of lesser knowledge, and less our understanding, to ask the questions that benefit everybody, which is why the companions of the alo Tyler and whom they used to love when a Bedouin would come right to the Prophet, it is like the same as the Bedouin doesn't really have any etiquette, he doesn't have any of those protocols that

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the rest of the people may have, or the quorum or decorum for that matter. And he doesn't have any rules, that's the thing. So it's just like, the other sort of, like, you know, just ask whatever he wants to ask. Whereas the rest of the companions, while the along I know, who have a better understanding of the rights that the prophesy settlement has and how to approach the scene and they're gonna ask the same questions in the same way. And I'm not calling us better now. We're better ones. We're kind of we can we can own an

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American American version of veterans. But I think that we need to seek out some of these older Muslims.

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who may have been forgotten, but we know that they're there.

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We may have read their work. So listen to the, to the talks, or just know that they existed in a leadership role in a community at one time.

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Maybe bring them together as some type of Think Tank A lot of times was interesting. Subhanallah I think that unless you're dealing with people of that age, you don't realize that they hit a, at a certain age,

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income becomes very scheduled, it's restricted, right? Even if it's, if it's sufficient, you can't go outside of their normal life. So even just asking, Hey, we want you to travel to this place and that place and meet with this person and that person, it may not be that easy for them. So maybe that's that's going to be our role. But I do think that at some point, there needs to be a strategic think tank of Muslims and various spheres, who actually bring Islam to the table, along with whatever their expertise may be. Do we have Muslims who really understand I'm not talking about? I'm talking about people who

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do he had based off of watching CNN and Fox and some social media clips, and he patched it all together, and my shallow now they become, you know, geopolitical experts. I'm saying, Do we really have Muslims in our community? who are experts in these various fields, whether it's economics, politics,

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strategy in general, even even understanding

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military powers, because it's a little different than politics? How do these militaries operate? What are the procedures, what what is the relationship between them and their governments and so on, so forth?

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Bringing these people to the table, I think is going to be critical, I don't know personally have a think tank like this that exists for our community, those type of think tanks do exist for other communities. And you see the results of of they're coming together. On another front, and you mentioned this from the beginning, about the economics.

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I think that

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you know, SubhanAllah.

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Obviously, the Muslims have been a target, ever since the collapse of the Soviet Union.

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America looking for his boogeyman, and he has found it in Islam and the Muslims, the dehumanization of the Muslims, whether on large scale or even individually Subhanallah last night, one of the things that mood of the roof was talking about, I don't know if you noticed, because I didn't know that the documentary that Showtime was showcasing and called the best sports documentary that they've ever had, which was called stand about the career have moved or

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have you the hula.

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They pulled it, they pulled the documentary, slight pull, your best documentary ever was was what's going on? And someone told moved on, that's in the industry, that there are some people that are very concerned that this documentary has humanized, you,

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Yanni Subhanallah, the fact that a human is being humanized becomes a problem like Subhan Allah just let you know, the world that we live in. Right.

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To get back to the point, the the issue of economics is a is a huge, huge issue for for the Muslim community. And so when we look at where we are as a community, and I'm saying, okay, mashallah, like this community has a, you know, $10 million master this one as a million dollar master, and you start thinking about the wealth of the Muslims in that community. Okay.

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We've been under this onslaught for so long, that almost all of our collective effort has been just to preserve his land, right? We just want to make sure that we can stay Muslim, that our children have the opportunity to grow up in Islamic environments to the best of our ability, right. So you're creating, you know, building masjids, building Islamic centers, building Islamic schools, trying to create these little micro ecosystems whereby their Islam is protected. Right. And so, in terms of concerted effort, almost exclusively, that's where our efforts have been. It's been on preserving Dean. I. The thing is, we need other things to live as well, right?

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So a strong economic system means a lot, especially in a capitalist society, where money talks. What are we doing on that front? Well, hamdulillah we've got these mutual funds and these, you know, other investment opportunities so that Muslims can have halau options which didn't exist, for example, 30 years ago, I mean, not on any wide scale, what Muslims can purchase homes with some semblance of Islamic mortgages, whether you agree or disagree that they are totally Islamic, is actually beside the point, the issue is that there's there have been efforts made in this front, but again, all of that is very individual, right? You invest, you have a 401k, you buy a house, right.

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So the effort that we have to come together for conferences, to support our deen the national organizations that have been formed to protect Muslims civil liberties, or to promote some aspect of the deen. We don't have, to my knowledge, again, any national organizations to bring together the wealth of the Muslims in one fund, whereby now we actually have a voice because this organization is controlling a billion dollars, for example, which is nothing for the Muslim King. I'm saying like the American Muslim, a billion dollars like we we've got that for sure. But it's scattered. And because it's scattered all over the place, it doesn't have any impact is there is no concentration,

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there is no focus of that wealth. But if you did, and you can pull certain strings and say, You know what? Not if you do this, we're moving that billion dollars over here, right? Now. Now, you start having a little bit. Now you don't just sit at the table, you bring the team? Yeah, you are the table, you are the team. Right. So and really that kind of mentality, I think,

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you know, is going to it's going to take a shift. Again, I don't have those answers I can identify maybe that's not even the answer. But I do think that the I think that we have the pieces, I think that Allah azza wa jal has given us the people, the resources in general, human and otherwise, to make these things to make our impact more significant in this country, be in the light, and

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the rest is on us. The rest is on us to really figure some of these things out. And so I hope that that gets us started in this discussion. Yeah, definitely. Mashallah. No, I mean, those two tracks I see. So one, one track is talking about connecting the generations and tapping into our collective knowledge. And that's a huge thing. And I want to pick that up in a second, because it was a really interesting presentation, the first day that we were here on Friday, that blew me away. A lot of stuff I had no idea about. And the other track has to do with sort of collective power and how to organize economically and otherwise. I mean, we were talking yesterday, about, like, for example, to

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take the city of Philadelphia, as an example, that it doesn't always take a majority. All it takes is a plurality, right, and someone was telling you, I believe that if, for example, Muslims made up 30% of the police force, right, that would be significant enough to change the calculus to change the game. That's what a lot of people, you know, a lot I hear, one of the sort of, I think, excuses, that sort of a defeatist mentality that people fall back on as a were a minority. Everybody's minority in the United States. You know, what it is, is how you categorize things. Right? If I'm going to categorize, you know, if I determine the categories as white and black, all of a sudden,

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white becomes majority black, because minority, if I organize it as Italians versus people of color, all of a sudden people of color become the majority of times become the minority. Right, right. And that's not even to say anything about how majorities don't act, they're not really like we say, community, the SO and SO community. Well, if you don't act like a community, if you don't act in coordination, then you know, it's all just a paper tiger like you don't actually have any power. One of the old heads in, in the Twin Cities was telling me this, and I've got to get back up there too, because he's he offers some like trainings and stuff like that. He said, you know, power is not

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access. Power is the ability for a lot of people to do the same thing at the same time.

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You can get a lot of people to do the same thing at the same time. You might be technically a minority, but you got critical mass, critical mass. That's the issue. You got critical mass, and you've got to you've got an agenda, right? You've got to focus, right? And that's what gives you that strength Subhanallah

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Interesting story. And I don't remember if this if you were in Saudi when this happened, but

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like, nobody looks at the Bangladeshis in Saudi as being anything other than a minority, right? I mean, it's not a big no.

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No stretch of the imagination would the ever be considered to be a majority of anything? Right Subhan Allah.

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The Bangladeshis were largely allowed into Saudi

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for sanitation purposes. So they were sanitation workers, man SubhanAllah.

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You look back on the conditions and it was difficult. It was hot in the heat that I was just about to say you just talk the heat alone, right? So I mean, on a good day, it's 110 degrees only. Right? And they're wearing like these hazmat suits, almost right. On the back of a metal truck. How hot was the truck? Right? And this is what they do day in and day out for 600 rounds a month. For 600 rounds a month. Was that $160 less than them? Oh, Kefa. Exactly. Exactly. Okay. SubhanAllah. At some point, I'm not exactly sure how it went down. I don't know the details. I know the results. They stopped working for three days straight.

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strike, strike me.

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Okay. Now, some people might think that that's not a big deal. When the trash is not being collected for three days straight in 110 120 degree weather, it makes a difference comes a big deal real quick. So you've got this minority. Right? All doing or not doing right? Yeah, the same thing at one time, as power as power, it makes a difference. Right?

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I'm only mentioning that because I do think that

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we as a as a Muslim American

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community, we need to be known for something good. Yeah, we do. We need concentrated effort in certain areas, such that our participation or lack thereof, actually makes a difference, right? It's felt, right, that we can't be ignored. That may be on a political front whereby in areas, you have to have the Muslim vote, if you want to be in office, right. And part of that is some kind of agreement that Muslims will be appointed to certain positions, because again, I'm not particularly a fan of these campaigns, especially the major ones, where you usually wind up lying, because you're making promises that you know, you can't keep

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a bunch of money is being thrown behind you. People who are throwing that money behind you, you feel beholden to them, and so now, you know, you're compromising on your deen and

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it's set up to fail, there's a lot of things not to like about, about running for particular offices, obviously, there's smaller local things that, you know, don't require any of those, you know, things that we consider to be my facet from our perspective or, or drawbacks from, you know, from running.

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But, it if, if putting money behind a particular campaign, or even better than that, like I said, if we have enough of a block where we can So, look, that person is not getting in,

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unless, you know, they meet some of the demands of the Muslim community. And so, Pamela, what are what are our demands? You know, what are what are we demanding? That is so, that is so outlandish that, you know, somebody would not agree, right, for example, right? I mean, everything that we are asking for, as a people is recognition of our right to be here of our right to worship Allah subhanahu wa, tada. without obstruction. I mean, which is these are constitutional rights like these, and I would ask him for anything extraordinary and that our government just not be genocide enablers, or funders, right, with particular the Palestine issue. But, you know, just to further

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apply your point, is that the things that we're asking for, you know, it's not like we're asking for Sharia law. You know, what I mean? It's like, we're asking for people to act morally, and we're and that's actually something that's become a huge data point in the last two and a half months is that, you know, all of a sudden

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Um, you know, people are maybe waking up, or they're realizing how crazy it is to be in a society that so quickly on a hair trigger, can cause so much violence and carnage and destruction. And something that is as easy as asking for it to stop seems like this enormous political endeavor. And the Muslims are at the forefront of calling for it. You know, so I mean, like, that's what I've just given another example about how our demands are not that we're not asking for the moon, like, we just we would prefer our government behave in a basically decent and moral way, you know, yeah. And, and, and respond to the demands of the peoples whose money at the end of the day, because, I mean,

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we are being taxed, right, anybody who is working in this country, or as an American period, is being taxed. Because even if you live outside the country, and you cross a certain threshold, you have to pay taxes. And that is for the rest of your life, as long as you are an Americans. I don't know.

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So, so to I guess, to get back to, to the point.

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The, the reality is, and I guess this brings up the other issue of bridging that generational gap, using Philly as an example. So Subhanallah, the first Sunni Masjid in Philadelphia, to pray five times a day,

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was called mesodermal. J. Dean, fittingly, right?

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On Oh, guidance Avenue in the Northwest section of the city, there were two masjids that were there before that, but they weren't praying five times a day, like this was their mandate. And this was in late 1970, early 1971.

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That they started the message. So you're talking 52 years ago, right? And Alhamdulillah. And from then until now, the than has been called in Philadelphia, five times a day, multiple places, because mashallah, that was the first message. But obviously, now, you're talking 60 Plus,

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the majority of them praying five times a day,

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ability to connect with some of those Muslims and Muslims were their mind. I mean, that was the first message that opened, the Muslims have been there Sunni Muslims that only had been in the city identifiably it since the 40s, at least.

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But to be able to talk to them,

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pick their brains.

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What were they thinking when, when, when they were starting these massages and this Muslim infrastructure

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and the things that they see now, it is extremely, extremely beneficial, right, to be able to get their insight

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and to learn from their experiences and their wisdom.

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And I do think that

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part of our issue,

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or let's just say, I think one of the corrective measures that we may be able to take as a community is to build a curriculum

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that highlights Islam in America. Yeah, like, what does that really look like? Because not knowing that history, not knowing how we actually

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fit into the larger

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society and a lot of Muslims that are coming up now and they're involved or they want to be involved. They don't necessarily realize how deep the history of Sunni Islam goes in America. So it reminds me of a thought of Mohammed inside maybe what costs are the low tide and what Akima he said that, he said Cana Ebby. Yuan Nimona, a mala Ozzy como yo, I live on a sauna terminal Quran. Right? He said that our Father, this is the son of Saudi medical costs. I had them I shouldn't but she didn't but agenda and one of the 10 that was promised in his son said that our father used to teach us the military expeditions of the prophets, Allah Hi, they were some of the way that he would teach

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us a sauna on the Quran.

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And then he was say, you haven't yet had the HEMA athy role, but ECAM Philando the year or

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these are the accomplishments, the achievements

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of your father's right. So don't let that go to waste. Don't Don't let it be ignored.

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Continue to acknowledge it, these people put their lives on the line, these people made these sacrifices.

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These are your heroes. Right? And I think that for many of the American Muslim youth,

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because of pop culture, I mean, you can't divorce a person from the environment that they're in, that's, that's actually impossible. So they're going to know certain things just by virtue of, of where they live, and who they come into contact with. And so

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whoever is the popular people in society, they're going to like these these people, okay? But are we creating any alternative culture for them?

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If they don't have a history, right, as American Muslims, then they're going to draw the history as Americans, or wherever it is that they identify with, but not really pick up that the American Muslim identity, which is, which is huge, by the way, subhanAllah, in the, in the achievements of our fathers, and our mothers in this country, the American Muslims is, is nothing short of miraculous the what the sacrifices that they made, so that we could actually be here today. Is, is phenomenal. It is absolutely phenomenal. We don't even though these heroes and she rose are for that matter. And I think that building that into curriculum in the Islamic schools, right, and maybe even

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in the Sunday schools and weekend schools that we have, and so on, and so forth, so that there is an appreciation, and some level of attachment, right to these people who made the sacrifices, who put their lives on the line, who many of them who did not, you know, see their dreams met in terms of material dreams met, because they put all of their wealth on the line as well. So that we couldn't be here today, we standing on the shoulders of giants, many of whom we don't even know exist. Well, that's extremely timely, you know, the theme of the NJ dollar conference this year is heroes Past, Present Future and one of the reflections that have come through many of the talks is that, you

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know, you need to see yourself in part of a story and part of an epic struggle, right, you need to understand the sort of what's the significance of your life and the time in which you live in order to have a sort of mission to go forward. And, you know, one thing that that your comment, reminds me of this is, brings us back to the idea of diversification

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in the Muslim community, right, so we need people with different skills doing different work, where are the anthropologists going around collecting, doing the ethnographies, you know, collecting all this sort of stuff. Like there's methods for this, it's, it's a fence, right? It's a discipline, it has methods, it has practices, right, and connecting it to everything else. And then that, I guess that's the other part is thinking collectively, because as a community, if we don't have all of our bases covered, if we're all in one field or another field, or just the same three fields, then that's a vulnerability. Right? Well, unless, again, unless we're able to use it to our advantage,

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right? Right. So okay, if if I have a, you know, 30% of this region's doctors and Muslims, right, and these doctors come together and they create in they create their own hospital, for example, even right, or again, there is some type of unity amongst them whereby they actually have an effect on the field in which they work, that's a different story. But if everybody's just living their lives, right, there's no communal aspect, we have actually adopted much of the American slash colonial mentality, very selfish in the way that we live very enough's enough, see. And so, as a result, when there is no connective tissue between those people who are in the same fields even right, then then

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our effect is minimized tremendously whereby we really could in those fields alone, you know, have a much stronger effect if there was if there was some type of an impact, right? If there was some type of connective tissue but again, that requires intentionality.

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And obviously a lot of sincerity because Subhanallah there are things that happen Beto feet and min Allah azza wa jal kind of just strictly math tofi Allah azza wa jal guided them to this thing, without any previous plan without any prior planning. And I mean, look at the way I'm from, from our perspective, from an outsider's perspective, look at the way that the current war has brought together. Facts

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pins and personalities and organizations and otherwise,

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prior to were very disjointed, if not adding some level of enmity between them, right? So Pamela, this is

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Hickmott, Allah azza wa jal, his wisdom, and with no planning, from our part is my point. That being said, the Prophet alayhi salatu was set in the companions of the alo Tyner and him and those who followed them, they had plans for different aspects of what they were doing. Sometimes those plans worked according to the plan. And other times they didn't. But the point was that, or the point I'm trying to make is that we still have a role to play. And we still shouldn't be doing some level of planning for the OMA, at least for our community here. I think that so to what to your point about diversifying,

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this also needs a plan. Simply diversifying without some some level of coaching is also not going to have the impact that we're looking for. Because what we're trying to do is build a team that benefits the community as a whole. And so you may see something in a young man or young sister and you say, Look, this is the field you need to go into for the benefit of the OMA

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and Inshallah, tada, you're going to be okay, and your risk is taken care of, and, and we are able to pull our resources together as a community, so that we can have the type of impact that we need to have on the society around us. And I think, ultimately, our role. And I think that we've kind of strayed from this.

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If I look historically, I think we used to have a greater sense of the importance of taking Islam to the people for the salvation, right. Yeah. Meaning that our worldview was a lot more connected to the hereafter, and saying, wait a minute, these people, these are people Yeah, call me. Right, every messenger that was sent, being sent to people who did not believe in Allah.

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And they still call them their people. Yeah, call me rodilla. My people worship Allah, radical Medina. And so

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I think we, I think we had a sense of that, in the past, I think the sense was stronger in the past than it is now of actually taking this land to the people and feeling that responsibility that Allah azza wa jal has chosen us to be in this place. He has blessed us with this land. Now we have to teach the people this land, our our posture has become a lot more defensive. And I understand the reason why I mean, this didn't happen by accident, it not just defensive it almost more based on identity. Right? And I guess that comes from surviving, right? We're trying to sort of carve out a space and say, I just have the right to exist here. As opposed to, you should consider it for

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yourself, as opposed to this way is superior. Right? Yeah. But if we're not seeing that superiority, right, if we're feeling inferior, right, then it's really hard to come back and say that this way of life is actually the better way. And this is what you should be doing. So again, like you said, it's just about carving out a space and saying it's, yeah, I have the right to exist. I have the right to defend myself along star night. Last question. And this is something that I've started asking people.

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If you had $10 million

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and 100 employees,

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and that's a lot of math, she don't worry about the math. Okay, let's put it this way. unlimited resources. Okay. And unlimited support. What would you do for a staff? Whether in Philly national level, whatever, what are you doing? What's on your list?

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So how long those are like those fire questions that Allahu Akbar?

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so if we looked at it from from a national perspective, and

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and there were unlimited resources.

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Well, Sheikh, I mean, sorry, let's let's just back up, because unlimited resources means that we can actually,

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like take over the world.

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I think if we were going to be a little more realistic, because I do think that I do think that in my lifetime, and our lifetime, I mean, if alliances, you know, allows us to live for another generation. And so I think we can see an era where the Muslims do pull their wealth together, where we are in control of, you know, a significant amount of wealth where

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Where that generations

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problem, if you will, is not going to be raising funds, but being good custodians of the wealth that Allah has blessed this generation to, to acquire and the infrastructure that we have. But I would say, Let's to make it more realistic and a more immediate goal. I think, I think that

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if, if I was in control, you're the Khalifa of this. Yeah. What would you do? Yeah, if I was in control of wealth and the resources, I would create as many old cough as possible

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sustain the current infrastructure that we have

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in the Muslim community, and to support its growth, and specifically the educational institutions.

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I think many of our educational institutions are subpar. Because we're not competitive enough from a financial perspective. Young Brother, Mashallah. I've known him since he was a kid. And he's a he's a principal, in Philadelphia School District, the principal's I'm saying the young ones, right? The ones that have only been a principal for one or two years, they making $150,000 a year, plus benefits, and they get off, you know, the whole summer is and all that good stuff, right? All the perks that come with it, and a retirement pension and those type of things.

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A good Islamic school, right, will come and offer the same person

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$80,000 and feel like they're doing

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a great job like mashallah, we're offering 80 grand, right. Without the perks without the pension. Right. I was not working for the city. And so I think that if we had Oh, cough, and place that would support the educational institutions and other infrastructure that we have in the community, that that would ensure some level of study stability and continuity be in the lag time. I genuinely believe that the donation dependent model that we rely on right now

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in the volunteerism, so everything is volunteer run, donation dependent. I do not think that that's a sustainable model, I do believe will humbly lengthen the Muslim community is very generous. And so we will continue to have people donate, and who will support through the volunteerism. But it's not a sustainable model is my point. And it's definitely not a model that you can expand your current infrastructure based on. So excellent. Sheikh Tara, thank you so much for your time. May Allah bless you. So Panchal often will have a shadow and then just hold on to a lake. Until next time shall particle ofI will never be exactly

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100% on it, and it's not going to go to Munich.