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Channel: Yasir Qadhi
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Tip number seven
So the first question we have is please explain the seller fee or the Wahhabi movement and how it differs from mainstream Islam. So the summer fear that we'll have the movement is a trend within Sunni Islam. And this trend
has a number of key theological differences that make it separate from the other strands of Sunni Islam. And in a nutshell, they are extremely Protestant in their understanding of the faith. What do I mean by this? Their main criticisms are against what they believe to be a an excessive veneration of saints. So they want a direct relationship between man and God. And they want to go back to the original. So many people say that Salafism is a type of Protestant Reformation, if you like. And of course, there are parallels with every part of that there are also differences, but essentially, Salafist, one two very pure understanding of Islam that goes back to how it was originally
practiced, theologically, they're not saying that we should go back technologically, you know, they're saying theologically ritualistically, we should go back to the very early stage of Islam. And there's a lot of academics talk about Salafism and wahabism and how it's linked to to terrorism. And I have my own theories about this as well. And in a nutshell, I think that the linkage that has been made with Salafism and terrorism is somewhat overstretched. The fact of the matter is that there are radical movements from other strands as well. simple examples of Taliban have understand the Taliban have been designed have nothing to do with the southern three strike. And there are
other movements as well that we can point out that so it's and the Iranian Revolution by 79 has not used Salafism as well. So there are radical strands in every single interpretation of Islam. Salafism, generally speaking, is very quietest and pacifist, because they view politics as corrupting to the soul. So generally speaking, salafists are apolitical. And as a counter reaction, there has been a strand of Salafism that has gone radical jihadist as a counter reaction to the apolitical quietest. The mainstream normative Salafism is actually completely apolitical. They don't want to get involved in politics. In fact, even in Muslim countries, they say don't even vote
because all politicians are corrupt and evil. Frankly, many of us might be selfies if we look at that perspective, but but my point is that they just believe that politics is corruptive to the soul. And, and it's just best to avoid politics. Because some of us are so apolitical. a strand of them has counter reacted to that. And there's no doubt that a lot and and others came from that strength. But to blame the entire strand for that is simply not academically accurate. And I don't I don't necessarily view Salafism or wahabism as being inherently more terroristic than others. They are fundamentalist. But that's not the same as terroristic. They are very conservative. But that's
not the same as evangelicals or conservative. I mean, they have a very strict interpretation. But that's not the same as wanting violence. I have lived in the movement when the university I went to was the is the premier Salafi university in the world. I have been a part of the movement in my previous 20 years ago, 10 years ago, I've since moved on. And even though I'm a critic, for many reasons, I'm trying to be fair and say that they're not any more prone to terrorism than any other strand of Islam.
Three questions in one, okay. Okay, no worries.
Okay, so the second question is, do you condemn all forms of hate and bigotry even when they are directed towards Christians and other religious practitioners living in Muslim majority countries? And if so, please explain.
Okay, so my Afghan friend tells me that unmarried pregnant women should be killed. How do you handle this in America?
Rachel Rosa, of the Christian project shows a disturbing video about millions of Muslims who support honor killings, please, your feet hurt.
Okay, those are three totally unrelated questions. Anyway.
No worries I'll do all three one by one, um
hatred and bigotry against non Muslims against us.
Christians, there is no doubt that any Muslim in the world have a reasonable mind all of us in this room are of that mind. We understand that this hatred and bigotry that is taking place is against the teachings of our religion. Are there Muslims who hate Christians? Yes, there are. Are there Muslims who theologically believe that Christians should be persecuted? Yes, they are. But that's not mainstream, and every example that you quote, any example, look at that very country. It might not be ideal, but there are Christians thriving there. Look at Islamic history, the most ancient sects of Christianity have always flourished in Muslim lands and historians. Go back to Iraq, the
Maronites in Lebanon, the coptics in Egypt, to this day, 10% of Egypt remains Coptic. These are the most ancient, they predate Catholicism and Protestant strategy by 500 years. They're still strands of the ancient remnants of Christianity in these Muslim lands, agreed. They're not living the same types of freedoms as perhaps Muslims are enjoying in western countries. I agree with you. I'm not sugarcoating it. But to claim that Islam as an entire race has always persecuted Christians. That's simply false. It is true. And we get to the concept of Sharia here. Medieval Islamic law true, no denying this medieval Islamic law had a categorization system. And there's no sugarcoating this.
Muslims had certain privileges that non Muslims didn't have. But I think it's unfair to equate those laws with modernity. You should equate those laws with Europe at the time, then you're talking fair and square. If you're going to equate medieval Islam with modern human rights convention? No, that's not you're you're right. There are a lot of disparities. But let's look at Christianity in the Muslim world. And compare that to intra Christian warfare in the European side of things. I mean, what were the Puritans of this country fleeing from Muslim persecution? No. So let's be fair, and compare equally. I'm not sugarcoating it. But the fact of the matter is that the amount of freedoms
that medieval Islam gave to other religions was unprecedented in Europe, and that is why john Locke, somebody whom the founding fathers all read and benefited from one of the main visionaries of America, john Locke wrote in his famous epistle, a letter concerning toleration. He wrote that fellow Europeans, why don't you look at the Muslims, the Ottomans, the chirps, he said, and look at their toleration. Look at the irony. 300 years ago, a European is telling his fellow Europeans, let's learn some toleration from the Autumn is the Turks. Because the fact of the matter is we have now we're in a different world, we're in the world of nation states, we're in the world of nation
states, and having different laws for different nationalities is considered to be totally rational and reasonable. So when I'm going to Europe in three weeks, as soon as I land, there's going to be big signs EU to the right, everybody else to the left. Now I'm going to be shepherd and heralded to a long line, I'm going to be quizzed and grill. What are you doing here? What is your purpose of your visit? I'm treated differently than somebody from the EU, right? Look at us here in America, how we look at what we call them, illegal aliens, as if they're from Mars.
And we look at what we call the illegal aliens, right? So we have a way of hierarchy that is based on the nation state. Look at the rhetoric against Obama, where did your mother give birth to you? Who cares where his mother gave birth? And frankly, as a human being, let me say, who cares? How does that qualify you to be a better human being where your mother gave birth to you, but that's the way we categorize people. And that's totally normal and rational in the world we live in? Well, guess what, 500 years ago, the Muslim world had a different way of categorizing people. And I'm not going to defend it, I'm not going to criticize it. That's the way it was. They would categorize
people based upon religion. And if you have a certain religion, you would have certain privileges. If you weren't of that religion, you had the freedom to practice your faith, but and I'm not going to sugarcoat it, you didn't have the same privileges. Now, should that law be cut and pasted from medieval textbooks to modern nation states? Are you know, it shouldn't, but some clerics do and that's an internal discussion we're gonna have, we're having it in the Muslim world. And I'm of those that says we need to update those laws, but at the same time, so the reality is that Islamic law, never persecuted Christians, the very fact for example, these jerseys that are now being
persecuted by ISIS. They were living there for 2000 years, under a legitimate bona fide Caliphate, ie the Ottomans, and then the airbuses before them and then the oma years before them. These were the actual Caleb's of medieval Islam, the Christians that that left from Mosul, Iraq, the Christians that fled Do you know how many years they've been there? Since the time of Jonah
This is the time of Jonah of Nineveh. That's what most of those minutes right there, right
Since the time of Jonah, there have been people that believe in so they've been there for the longest time. Why is it that they're fleeing now, because ISIS, his interpretation is not typical of mainstream orthodox Islam. The very fact that you have Arab Christians that trace their roots 2000 years in that land, and they're fleeing for the first time is enough to indicate something is not normal about these people. They're not representing even medieval mainstream Islam. And that is a clear historical point that you can use as a reference. That was the first question the unmarried pregnant things.
Honestly, I don't know which which law This is an unmarried Frank, Islamic medievalist, again, medieval Islamic law.
And again, there's no sugarcoating you're gonna hear me very frank, I there's no honesty is always the best policy and as a person of God, I think it's a sin to lie in any way in any situation. Does medieval Islamic law prescribed the death penalty for extramarital sex? Yes, it does. Yes, it does. It does prescribe the death penalty for extra marriage and not premarital adultery, basically, Yes, it does. But once again, how often was this law actually applied? Even in medieval times? Was this the norm? Or was this a type of scare tactic so that people don't actually commit adultery? Even according to our own medieval scholars, this law is actually meant more as something in the books to
terrify you, rather than to actually implement. And it is very rare, even in medieval Islam to come across these occurrences.
Should they be updated and modernized? Again? That's an ongoing discussion. And that's one of the main sources of intra Muslim dialogue, we are debating amongst ourselves. You know, I am sure many Jews and many Christians understand this. The texts say things that are somewhat problematic at times you all religious people know what I'm talking about here. Right? The texts have some laws that are somewhat bizarre. And this is all texts need. I quote you literally Leviticus and Deuteronomy and, and whatnot. I mean, you know, you understand my point here. So Muslims do need to have that dialogue. And and they are having it. But the claim that somehow this is representative of
mainstream or even worse, that this is somehow relevant to us, American Muslims. I mean, that's simply preposterous. What has this act got to do with us here? I understand that at a theoretical level, it's nice to discuss let let academics come let clerics Come, let's discuss this out. But I as a national American cleric, when I go to sleep at night, it's not my primary concern. What do I do with the texts about about about adultery, because we're not calling for the implementation of Islamic law in America. That's I don't know of a single organization or cleric or institute that is saying, Let's abolish the US Constitution. And let's let's supplant it with the Sharia. That is a
figment of Fox's imagination.
It's not a reality on the ground. Again, let me be frank here, it simply doesn't exist, go and interview any Muslim any. And you know, even the irony, when Fox News needs to find the Muslim radical, they always have to go to somebody in Europe.
They can't even find a radical here in America. They always have to go and get some radical cleric somewhere in Belgium or London or whatnot, and then interview him as if he's representative of the entire Muslim world. So I agree with you. If and it does happen in the Bundestag. These are issues that yes, at some level, the Muslim polity should come together and discuss. But what if I were to quote you bizarre incidents in America, or amongst Christians, and then leak it to you? I mean, let me give you an example that perhaps will help you understand. Imagine if you had never ever stepped foot in America, and never met an American in your life. And day in and day out for years, your only
window into America was the Jerry Springer show.
Do you understand this is how we feel when you bring up these incidents? Do you understand this is how frustrated it becomes like, like,
I have never met somebody in my life. That was that was stoning or Pritchett. These are things that happen. And the fact that one incident happens in the world and it's reported is not in any way indicative of our religion, just like what you see on Jerry Springer. Yet it does happen in America. But is it representative of America? the very reason why it's on Jerry Springer is because it's not representative. You see my point here. So we need to be a little bit more cautious about these types of incidents and understand, you know, I'm sure it does happen. But even in upon it's not it's not the norm if it were the normal
Wouldn't be reported in the news, even there. It's not something that's a daily reality. And yes, at some level, we do need to come together as a Muslim polity and discuss it. The the last question was reached was over here because there was
something about the honor killings. honor killings. Okay. The honor killings. Very good. The honor killings, honor killings, once again, a very,
very sad reality. That once again, is blown out of proportion. Does it happen? Yes, it does. How often you do the statistics find out? There are more cases of domestic murder here in America than honor killings of spouses murdering spouses because of jealousy than honor killings. And, in fact, that is a type of honor killing, by the way, when a spouse murders another spouse because they were caught in an affair. What is that? It's a type of honor killing, except that is between spouses. Okay, that is more common in America, then honor killings. Does it happen in the Muslim world? Yes, it does. But again, to take this one bizarre act. And then now in this case, I can thankfully say,
without sugarcoating it at all, that honor killings are not at all the part of Islamic law.
That this is something that is tribal and cultural, and that every mainstream cleric, every school of law has sanctioned honor killings as being illegal, and something that goes against the Islamic tradition. Again, one needs to understand that those societies were tribal in nature, and they did certain things and they continue to do certain things in the name of their tribal honor. The religion of Islam does not ever sanction, honor killings. You don't ever take the law into your own hand and kill somebody. And even in Islamic law, premarital intercourse has no punishment of death whatsoever. premarital intercourse, you might be imprisoned for a year or something in classical
law, but no, there is no death for premarital. Yes, it is true. I'm not going to sugarcoat adultery if you're married, and you cheat on your partner. Classical medieval Islamic law did have the death penalty. I'm not gonna lie to you. Yes, but premarital. No way. So to say that a father or a brother should kill you know, the daughter or the sister because they've had a boyfriend or something? Yes, it happens. Number one is extremely rare. And number two, it has everything to do with culture and tribalism, and nothing to do with religion of Islam. You can Google fatwa against honor killings, and you will find tons and tons of photos, religious wordings by all mainstream scholars saying that
this is not part of the religion of Islam. And the same goes for FGM female genital mutilation, right? Again, so many people say, Oh, those Muslims practice FGM. Do you know FGM is a practice that is done by Christians, Muslims and animus of a certain region in Africa has nothing to do with religion, any religion. Everybody in that region, there are Christians who practice FGM, there are Muslims, and there are animists. And they miss the ancient religious paganism, what combines them geography, there's one region in the world, in Sub Saharan Africa, there's a particular region there, where for whatever reason, they practice FGM. And they're still practicing it. So to
concentrate on the Islamic side of things while neglecting that this is a cultural practice that transcends religion. And again, it's nothing to do with the religion. So when it comes to FGM and honor killings, I can honestly tell you, both of them have nothing to do with religion of Islam. In fact, they are antithetical to the teaching of the Islamic Lee.
How do we know that women that wear the hijab aren't part of ISIS? How can our fellow Americans tell the difference?
Women in his job any of you ISIS, please raise your hand.
The notion that a woman who covers herself would somehow be complicit in ISIS. I mean, let me reverse the question. How do I know a person wearing the cross isn't a member of the KKK?
Why do you assume that a person who's a Muslim is somehow sympathetic to terrorism? I just gave you the statistics actually 0.001 to 5% of the entire Muslim world. And then here in America, less than 40 or 50 young men from 10 million.
The FBI has said that the greatest domestic terrorism threat comes from the far right groups, not from Muslim radicals, more people die in America from furniture accidents than from Muslim terrorists. You should fear your sofa more than you should fear your Muslim neighbor.
So this this, this fear that already exists that how do I know a Muslim in his job isn't somehow a member of the terrorist organization? I mean, again,
Look at the statistics. How many mass shootings took place in the last 10 years? You know, the magazine, Mother Jones, very famous magazine, Mother Jones, they had the most exhaustive survey of mass shooters for the last 25 years.
Would it surprise you to discover the profile of a lone mass shooter?
Of what race? What what background? Caucasian, white Christian male?
Am I scared of every Caucasian white Christian male that I see? Even though statistically, statistically, there's more of a chance he's going to be a lone shooter than a Muslim being a member of ISIS, statistically speaking? No. This is exactly what paranoia does. Where you think one person is somehow representative of the worst thing you've ever seen in your life. And all I can tell you is, rather than cower in fear, go out and say hi to that girl in his job, go out and say hi to her and say, how are you doing? What's your name, humanize them, break bread with them. Ask them where they're from and what they're doing. And the more you did that,
the more you do that, the more you'll realize that
it's really in your mind this figment of fearing and by the way, I have to say this, we have our sister sitting here who are dressed very similar to ladies in his job. And you wouldn't think that there any way associated with, with anything like that. So we have others in his job as well, that we also have to give a shout out for okay.
The process of demonizing the other side begins by dehumanizing them, what can we as Muslims and Americans do to rehumanize the other side while being faced with the fear of rocking the boat? How can we get a better and more positive representation while jilting the mainstream society and of their comfort zone?
Wow. And without further in two minutes? Well, I think what you're what you're asking is really,
every person has a role to play every person, I can't answer that question. Except generically, what capacity Do you have to reach out to others, some of you are doctors, others are students, others are engineers, some of you are involved in social work, others, you're just running your own business, whatever you're doing, whatever you're doing, look at how you can positively impact your circle of influence. And the amazing thing is that all of us here have a different circle of influence. There's no two people in the world that have the exact same circle of influence. And we as Muslims believe that God is not going to ask you about global problems and what you did to solve
them. God is going to ask you, we believe as Muslims about what did you do to impact your circle of influence? What did you do to better your family, your friends, your neighbors, your colleagues? And the answer to that question varies from individual to individual, what is your potential? What are your strengths? What are your weaknesses? What can you do for for some of for some of us, maybe you're not going to be famous and under Limelight and on the stage, but guess what, God's not going to ask you? Did you reach 10,000 people? He's gonna say, Did you smile when the customer came in and treat him the way that our Prophet Muhammad wanted you to treat other people? Were you genuinely
kind and compassionate to the person on the street who didn't have food? Did you give him as the Quran says the literally Muslims notice that they give up their food, even though they love that food and eat it themselves? They give their food to the orphans and the idiom and the mosquito, this is in the poor. Did you do that? So, yes, it's true, we think globally, but we act locally. And that is an Islamic Maxim, what can you do? Just be a better human in whatever circumstances you are, and be kind and compassionate and merciful. And realize this is the message of all the prophets, Abraham, Moses, Jesus, Muhammad, this is what religion is about. love God with all of your heart and
love your neighbor and your friend and your colleagues and people around you with all of your heart as well. Isn't that the message of every single prophet? That's how you bring about a better word.
Okay, so this question begins with the dear kind, sir, can you please give us your most important guidance to law enforcement in the United States?
law enforcement is of various stripes you we're not talking about. So you can talk about police. You can talk about the FBI, the Federal each one is different.
I think the question is more to the federal because they're the ones that deal with terrorist crimes.
I've had very frank conversations with the FBI in many cities, and in Memphis, we have a very good relationship with the FBI, and really the the FBI.
Unfortunately, they don't have a unique universal policy. Each branch is somewhat independent in its methodology.
And I think that's a bit of a problem. I wish I had a more uniform methodology. Some branches on some cities are a bit more hostile to the mosques and communities and some branches are more open and willing to cooperate. And I think that that is the way to go, that the FBI does need to understand and thank God in Memphis, we are on the same page here, I'm very good relationship with, with the FBI, and then the counterterrorism officials there. And we know we're working on the same side, that is really the spirit that there's got to be a genuine understanding that when it comes to an actual case of real terrorism, not manufactured terrorism, of real terrorism, we are on the same
side, we are more terrified of that terrorist than you are, because we know what the repercussions are going to be. So as long as that attitude is there, the rest is just detail the rest, you just what are we going to do? We are the best line of defense. And if we can cooperate and this is one of the points that I've mentioned, to many senior FBI agents that look, you know, if you find this young kid online, because they're the ones monitoring online compositions, I don't know, even what members of my own community are doing online, but they are as we know, they're monitoring this type of stuff. And I've said to them, Look, if you come across some 19 year old kid, who's really angry
about things going on, it's all legal. It's all within the First Amendment. I said to them, come to me, let me deal with this young angry man, rather than set him up and send him to jail. Let me talk to him. This man has potential, his his passion can be channeled to something positive, we can tap into that energy, tell them to go get an education, become a journalist, go and expose whatever crime you're angry about. Let the world know, rather than join those radical groups and think you're doing something.
But, but instead of doing that, what do they do? What do they do some cities, thank god Memphis is not amongst them. Some cities, they view this to be another feather that can put in their cap. And they say, Oh, we can we can have another counterterrorism case. I mean, I hope you understand when you have statistics, that 97% of Islamic radicals in America, are constructed by the FBI. That is just not right. And I'm sorry, but you have to change your tactics. These aren't real terrorists. These aren't the these are kids that are mentally troubled, that don't understand things about life. All of them are young, all of them are overzealous and under educated, rather than, you know, set up
the sting operation and spend millions of our tax dollars, until finally they press the false button, they thought is going to blow something up, and then they go to jail for the rest of their lives, as long as it because again, maybe some of you don't know what I'm talking about here. But in a nutshell, what happens is when they come across this angry kid, and he's doing everything legal, just angry at foreign policy, what they'll do is they'll send an informant who is a pretend radical, and they'll convince this 19 year old to sign up, and they'll sell him false goods, and they'll construct a bomb for him. And they'll let him do everything until finally, you know, he has to push
the trigger, and he does it. Then the FBI turns out everybody around him was in fact, sting operation. Everybody was planted, and the people that so this kid would never have gone down that route. Never, unless we spent a million dollars with five agents, befriending him over a year. And then we capture him. And there are many articles just Google this I mean, many articles that have exposed this tactic, and it's just not right. What happens is not only do you destroy this young man's life, you actually traumatize the community. Because you took away one of our own, who didn't need to go down the road. Just imagine if we followed this tactic on the war on drugs. Just imagine
if we found a 17 year old kid, and we sold him false weed and we said go and sell it on the streets. Would that curb drug problems? That's not the way you fight crime or terrorism. So my appeal to law enforcement officials on the FBI, when asked for the police and whatnot than that they're not generally involved in terrorism issues, and they're involved in regular stuff that we're all we're all afflicted with. What my appeal to the FBI is simply to understand that that tactic is the most counterproductive tactic. It's wasting our tax dollars is destroying lives. And most importantly, it traumatizes communities. And a lot of minorities understand what I'm talking about here. When you
have pointelle Pro when you have these types of things going on, you don't trust law enforcement and that's not good. Law enforcement is meant to protect us not to interrupt us. Okay, so that's my that's my
ISIS derives at least one aspect from the Quran, which is about the slaves of the land being your left hand and to conquer being the owner. ISIS uses this to claim women. What are your thoughts on this? Well, ISIS derives many things from the Quran. There's no there's no denying back. They
view themselves as being following the Quran. So I'm not I'm not saying that ISIS doesn't view itself as being Islamic. I'm saying is their interpretation, normative mainstream orthodox? That's the question I'm asking. Right? I'm not saying that ISIS is coming out of the agnosticism, of course, ISIS claims allegiance to the text. And of course, as a religious movement, they are backing up their practices. In fact, they're doing the most bizarre things. And they're claiming the sanction of Islam and I gave the example of burning the Jordanian pilot alive, which was roundly condemned, it was one of the most shocking things that they have ever done. And no scholar ever
historically has sanctioned anything so bizarre. So it is true that ISIS, the point is they justified that they attempted to justify that islamically as well. So the point is that ISIS does indeed view itself as being Islamic. But the question is, Is this how normative Islam is practiced? And again, all you need to do is look at where else in the world are Muslims invading and taking slaves and killing men and enslaving their women. That doesn't happen. And the fact that ISIS is the only group that is doing this is enough for us to pause and realize that is not normative Islam. Did Muslims practice slavery once upon a time? Yes, of course they did. But there were abolitionists
movements in Islam 150 years ago, just like in Christianity, from 1850 to 1900. Every Muslim civilization came to terms with slavery and banded. So it is true medieval Islamic law has certain laws and again, that but 1850 onwards, Morocco, Tunisia, Saudi Arabia, Algeria, every single country, just like Europe, maybe Europe did it before I agree, Europe did it before, but the world moves on. And every Muslim country banned slavery more than 100 years ago. And there are no more Muslim countries that are practicing slavery. So for ISIS to go against this unanimous consensus. And here's another point here that according to Islamic law, there's something called unanimous
I believe there's something equivalent in some branches of Christianity when the clergy come together, and they vote on something and then that becomes law or something like that. I'm not sure of the technicalities, but there are councils that come together and they enact laws.
Muslims don't have a pope figure the Catholics do. Muslims don't have a full figure. There's no one figure that decides the law. So how is law decided and transformed Sundays believe in something called unanimous consensus? unanimous consensus is when the clergy basically agree on something, then the followers are bound to that unanimous consensus. Slavery is one of those things that 100 years ago, unanimous consensus, it's gone. And it's completely now therefore not considered a part of Islam, for ISIS to go against unanimous consensus, and that's actually one of the criticisms in the letter to Al Baghdadi that was released. We quoted this issue of slavery and he said, You have
contravened a fundamental principle of Sunday law by jumping over unanimous consensus by making yourselves the representatives you can't do that according to suddenly law that slavery has been abolished, and for you to ignore that abolishment, and to go back and resurrect it contravenes fundamental tenants of Sunni Islam. So does ISIS practice it? Yes, it does. Is it in accordance with modern Sunni interpretation of Islam? No, it is not, and just read the liturgical body and you will see for yourself what I'm talking about.
Okay, this next question begins with Salaam, what do you have to say to young people who go to school and our work and are experiencing hatred or any kind, any kind of backlash? What should we do? How do we cope? How do we educate? Who should we talk to? Very good question.
Realize that you're not the first and sadly, you won't be the last to experience racism and bigotry. Realize You're not the first and you won't be the last. Racism is as old as human beings are. And in every civilization, certain people have discriminated against others. So, understand and take courage in every single person before you who has been discriminated against, learn from their struggles, be it the prophets of God, be it the people involved in the civil rights, be it abolitionists, whoever it was, you're not alone. There are many people like you, who have felt the same fear the same anguish, the same feeling of not being as human. But guess what, no one can take
away your inner strength and freedom other than yourself. So if you can regain your own inner strength against that racism and bigotry, there is nobody who is freer than you are. No one can strip you of your dignity unless you will
Let them strip you of your dignity, because that's in turn.
So if you're able, if you're able to be that courageous, young man, young woman, to understand that I am just as human as everybody else. And that because this person is discriminating against me merely because of my skin color merely because of my faith or my creed, frankly, that makes him lesser of a true human being because I'm recognizing his humanity. If you're able to get to that level of courage, then honestly, you've solved the inner problem of racism. But that still leaves the outer problem. And the outer problem is a long process. Some would even argue a never ending process. Some would argue a bit of a pessimism here, but the reality is racism never goes away.
Racism never goes away. Do we not see what's happening with the hashtag black lives matter? I mean, how could we be blind 50 years later, we still have to have a discussion about how African Americans are treated. How can we be blind to this reality? And now we're starting with Latinos, Hispanics, the Asian community, I mean, this is the reality of the world we live in. So the question is coming from a Muslim, realize that you're not alone. Lots of people are suffering the same. And the only way to reclaim your narrative is to let us speak on behalf of yourself. Nobody can claim your narrative unless you let them. You're an American, you're a Muslim, there's no conflict between that
identity. And you will have to get the bravery and the courage to explain your narrative as you are. Because if you're going to be silenced by the voices of bigotry, if you're going to be silenced by the voices of hate, that's when the voices of hate have one, as long as you have the courage to speak out, and to affirm your identity. And to always be on the side of the truth. And this is what I believe as a Muslim, as a Muslim, we believe this and many people here, believe it even if it's not Muslim, but this is the Islamic tenant, that eventually truth prevails, eventually, truth prevails. Even if you know, you have to go to jail like Martin Luther King, even if you have to go
to jail like Muhammad Ali, when he was asked to go find in Vietnam, and he goes, I'm not gonna go fight against people that have never harmed me to win corporate wars, whatever the lobby that he went to jail in the 60s, right? Back then he was blacklisted. Martin Luther King could never have imagined in the 60s or the 50s, that there would be a day that we all celebrate his memory, he could never have imagined that there are multiple stamps in his name, because it's so convenient. Now, to claim Martin Luther King as a hero. The fact of the matter was, he wasn't a hero when he was alive, meaning your understanding to the people at the time. He was viewed as a trader. You don't just
don't say to the people alive at the time. I mean, look at the FBI. What's his name, the guy that had the details his name? Edgar Hoover, J. Edgar Hoover, look at J. Edgar Hoover, and how he viewed Martin Luther King. Right. So what do we believe? Truth is not on the side of J. Edgar Hoover, even though power was on his side, at the time, we as Muslims believe that the truth shall prevail, that power eventually will go to those who are weak and oppressed. And political power is nothing power we believe comes from God Himself. Muslims, what do we say? La Hola. What are quwata illa Billah. The Islamic phrase means what? There is no change, nor is there any power except by the permission
of God. That's what we believe. So stand on the side of truth. And eventually, God shall give you the power to set you free.
How should we as Muslim parents address radical Islam to our children?
radical Islam from there's a there's a there's two, there's two ways that we need to get across this question. The first is the innocent child who's wondering, why are these people doing what they're doing the name of Islam, right? That and I'll never forget. I was in New Haven. I was going to yield
for my PhD. And my son was in grade one. My son was born in 2000. So I mean, he has no clue of 911 this is not grade one. This is 2005. Right. 2005 was in grade one. 2005 2006. And he comes home one day, and he says Baba, who has been locked in?
six year old kid
who has been locked in and my wife and I just like, froze.
Why are you asking?
My friend at school called me been lagging?
And my jaw just dropped like what type of household does that other child come from? My son doesn't even know. His friends are Christian Jew Muslim, like my son is so innocent at that age. He doesn't even know that there is the
Other you understand, like these, David doesn't even categorize. And he comes on say, my friend said, I'm in London. And I just could not fathom how a six year old is taught to register that this kid is a Muslim, and that, therefore he must be a terrorist. That was one of the most awkward discussions my wife and I ever had with this my six year old son at the time, we literally have to explain to him 911, as a six year old, I didn't want to explain to him 911 as a six year old,
I didn't want to tell him what happened. He's too young. But unfortunately, that innocence was stripped from him, when his friends, his friends and Marxism apostrophes calling him that, and that is a very awkward conversation. And you know what his first question was, was? Why would a Muslim do something like that? Because in his mind, Muslims represent the mosque and friendliness and playing in the park and whatever else we're doing, like, it's just not fixing it as my Why would a Muslim do? And you need to explain to him, you know, there are some Muslims are bad people as well, just because you're a Muslim doesn't mean you're good. Just because you're Christian, doesn't mean you're
bad. There are good and bad in every community. That's an awkward conversation. But hopefully, you don't have to have it at six years old. But at some point in time, you do have to have your kids introduced to the fact that there are radical Muslims out there and explain to them that, you know, there are people that are doing that, in the name of every religion, the more difficult conversation, which is much more rare. What if a young man or woman is actually flirting with radicalism.
And that's rare, but it does happen, even if it's point 01 percent, but whatever it is, it's still there. What if a young man is genuinely espousing that rhetoric, and that's where really you do need to get professional help, by professional help, I mean, clergy or religious figures that can take on these challenges and deconstruct them, because this young boy, if he's listening to those types of rhetoric online, that type of rhetoric does need to be deconstructed. It's not that simple to do. Because the version of the world this young mind is getting his Muslims are oppressed. And so much bloodshed is being done to them. And the list of grievances goes on and on and on. The pictures are
absolutely gruesome and whatnot. And this person feels that nobody's doing anything to defend the Muslims. Believe it or not, you know, the, the adage that one man's terrorist is another man's freedom fighter, we need to understand that adage is very true when it comes to al Qaeda and ISIS. They viewed themselves Of course, I don't they view themselves as freedom fighters. they view themselves as defending the innocence of Palestine, the innocence of Iraq, the innocent, and they're like, Who's going to defend these people? For how long are they going to be killed and more drones and more bombs? So to get to that mentality, requires longer conversations. And unfortunately, I
can't give you a simplistic answer. However, there are many good lectures online I've given some of them others have given others where we actually do deconstruct the the the arguments from a historical and theological perspective, because another point is low. By the way, studies have shown and there's lots of studies that have been done on these young men and women that have joined these movements. Studies have shown that there's a certain personality profile of people who join these movements. I mean, frankly, you have to be somewhat crazy to think it's legitimate to kill people like that, right? It's a personality profile. By and large, they are introverts.
They're very to themselves. They don't have a social life. By and large, they themselves have a lot of times imbalances, personality imbalances. And a lot of times they are people who rediscover the faith rather recently, they're not people that come from stable religious families. Rather, they rediscover the faith on their own. And they go from zero to 102 seconds. Like they think they're all of a sudden, you know, super Muslim and super and and they don't go gradually. And it takes a while. And one of the one of the main narratives of ISIS is, do not listen to your local clerics and preachers. Do not listen to your local scholars. Listen only to us were the ones who are preaching
the truth. They're gonna brainwash you. And so it really and I have spoken to young men by the parents have called me up and I've gone and spoken to them. It is possible. And I can, you know, thankfully, I can say that everybody I've spoken to about this, thank God. I mean, nothing has happened. And they've kind of, you know, come back, but that's not. The point is that there is a narrative that needs to be deconstructed, and that narrative can be deconstructed, but it requires more knowledge and it also requires a psychological understanding of the person you're talking to. So if that exists, then reach out to local Imams and reach out to people that can help and I believe
that it is possible to change
That energy to something more productive. And I've told many of these young men that are so angry, what is it, you know, you need to channel that anger into something positive for the community, go into journalism, for example, right? Or go into this and go into NGO and go work with refugees, there are things that you can do when you feel so passionate about, you can make the world a better place. By you joining this movement, you're going to make the world a worse place. And I can say thank God, the people I've spoken to a lot. That hasn't happened, but can't give an easy answer, I'm sorry, as best as I can do.
What do you say about governments of Muslim countries sponsoring terrorist movements, such as Qatar supporting the Taliban, Saudis supporting al Qaeda and Iran supporting his bola?
I'm sorry, that's just too simplistic. It's just not valid. It's this is very simplistic. And there are many other factors at play.
The government of Saudi Arabia, for example, to claim that it supports al Qaeda is really preposterous. Al Qaeda has killed more Saudis than Americans. Okay, there has had more bombs go off in Saudi Arabia than in America. And so to claim that the government actually wants to support al Qaeda, the government actually was the one that expelled been logged in himself, the government stripped and logged in from his Saudi citizenship. That is exactly why he went to Afghanistan. So do a little bit more research. It's a bit simplistic to say that these regimes and I'm not defending the regimes, the regimes have their own issues. I mean, I kind of agree with selfies of politics,
harshly politics is a dirty field, and almost every politician ends up doing things. But I think it's somewhat simplistic to say this, Saudi Arabia has its issues, no doubt, but so does every country it's not as if our country has I mean, every country has its negatives, and positives. And they definitely do have some major foreign policy issues they need to discuss, but supporting al Qaeda is not one of them. Saudis themselves and the government of Saudi Arabia are very much anti al Qaeda. As for Iran, and his bullet, that is a more complicated topic. And it's not, I mean,
so much to say, I mean, this is political science here. Look, in the end of the day, every country, every country supports things that are in its interest.
And we as a country also support movements in our interest. So it's a two way street here. Just like we're criticizing them for supporting things that they like, and I am critical of them as well, let us realize we also have quite a lot of baggage on our side. Right. And so that's the nature of global politics. We are in this very dirty field. And we have supported and continue to support
very, very evil regimes or whatnot. And that's the nature of politics. So as we criticize Iran, as we criticize Arabia, as criticized, realize, we too, are worthy of some of that criticism. If we look at our own policies, there is no angel in the room of global politics. And I that's all I can say for now. But education, education, because you read more, read multiple sides. every issue has two sides to the point, and every country has its own scenario. So that that'll answer that question for now, I guess. Otherwise, take my class at Rhodes. That's all I can say.
Last question, last question. How do American educators help combat the influence that some politicians who promote hate and despise divisiveness and insult American educators? So we're talking about teachers, professors, we're talking about people in the education industry? Again, I think humanizing the other one of the things that I think is very necessary is to reach out to your local mosque, and have a Muslim come and speak. Just humanize them. I'm very happy to say Memphis, a number of schools have reached out to me I've spoken a number of high school colleges. Just an intro like what exactly and have a range of mosque visit as well. One of the things that I do from my
intro to Islam class, so I teach many classes, one class is introduction to Islam as a part of the syllabus, they have to visit a local mosque, they have to go and see. And the overwhelming response is, and because most of my classes Christian Rhodes is a very Christian university Presbyterian and you know, it's very, Tennessee is a very, you know, as you know, very conservative state. Most of these are church going people, and the overwhelming sentiment is Wow, it's so similar to what I do at church, except that is in Arabic, but it's so similar to feeling and and that's exactly the point that if you were to only go and see what Muslims are doing or spear Muslims or interact with them,
you wouldn't have this other thing. You can't other eyes, right. The one that as I said before, you're breaking bit bread with and joking with it's really not possible. So my advice to everybody, not just educate
caters but everybody has reached out, reach out across the aisle, reach out to somebody you've never met before, interact with them. And sure their food might be slightly different, maybe spicier. Sure, their dress code might be a little bit different. But in the end of the day, they are just as human. And they want to live the same lifestyles, better education for their kids, just a good neighborhood. Everybody wants that. And all you need to do is to humanize the other reach out to them intermingle with them, and especially educators, I think they have a bigger responsibility because they're put in charge of lots of young minds. That's their job to make sure that the kids in
their class do not, do not, you know, be swayed by by such rhetoric. And I think that the truth shall be on our side. And that's the reality is that the, as I said, the prophetic message that if we try our best to spread the compassion and mercy that is the under threat of every single religion, if we try our best to love our neighbors, and our and our peers with all of our hearts, I do think that eventually we will cause an impact maybe on the globe, but at least in our own local communities. And guess what if we change our local communities, if all of us change our local communities, we would in fact impact the globe. That is the ideal that we all strive for.