Channel: Yassir Fazaga
CAIR helped coordinate KROQ’s “Ask a Muslim” with Shaykh Yassir Fazaga, religious director of the Orange County Islamic Foundation.
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Muslim sensitivity training
You're not allowed to have sex
and what do we know about the places
they live in?
Now this is the latest and the continuing series of entertaining and educational features on the Kevin Biggio. We did ask a cop, we've done acts of black, we did ask a horror just last week. But this is what we've been working on behind the scenes for a while to try to get the right guy in studio, a guy willing to go through metal detectors and he is here with us today. Shaykh Yasser Rosada joins us Do I have that right check for Let me start off by asking Did I pronounce you correctly? Yes, you did. You need to work on the sound Barrett shift, so to speak German or Hebrew? Alright, to get that and he's the religious director of the Orange County Islamic foundation.
Question number one, what's up with 911?
He gave me $100 of is that cash? Where's the cash? You barely tried yet?
You didn't say it had to be good to live? In disaster delivery? Wait, let's start with what's a what's a shake? That sounds like like a title like is it like a king? Actually, it has different meanings. It could either mean somebody who's elderly man call them chef, or is that mean? a head of a tribe? Very similar to a mayor. Okay. Or it could be somebody who has religious education. And that is you you are what they call an Imam. Right? Right. And remember that there is no concept of clergyman in Islam. So there is no hierarchy. So the title does not indicate anything more than the person that just knows a little more than the average person when it comes to that there's no
hierarchy. As far as who's in charge. There is no hierarchy. Nobody's above me. Nobody is below me. The point is that you respect whoever has got the education. But again, and I hope you understand this shake, we are so ignorant, as many Americans are about the about Islam. So please, I hope you'll give us a wide berth on how how gumps and naive some of our questions are. But when you see people standing up and addressing large groups of Muslims, and when you see ayatollahs and people like that, aren't they considered higher up in the in the religion? No, not necessarily. Not necessarily in a theological way. But what happens is that these are people whom they have
supposedly established their credibility to the public, they have earned the trust of the public. So when they address them, there is more weight into what it is that they're saying. Like, okay, now, what's your background? Where were you born? What's your education been? Like? How did you become a mom? I was born in Eritrea, in North East Africa, small country, it's about 1000 kilometers along the Red Sea. Okay, and I think Long Beach would have been more appropriate.
And I moved to the student after Civil War, broken my country. And then I moved back to the states here in 1987. I went to high school in Irvine. And then I got my BA degree in Islamic Studies and Arabic sciences, okay, came down to California that was in Fairfax, Virginia, came down to California, went to Cal State Long Beach, to do my Master's in counseling. I have not finished that yet. And then I went to Loyola to do my Master's in Catholic theology. And I'm working on that. Okay. Now, Kevin brought up 911, which is where most of us even first started giving any kind of serious consideration to learning about Islam. What has it been like for you as an American now
since 911? Has it been difficult for you? You know, sadly, the way that most Americans find out about Islam is mostly through headline news, something terrible happening somewhere in the world, the perpetrators are Muslims. So you've got 1979, the hostages in Tehran, right. And then 82, the bombings of the Marines in Beirut, and then the hijacking of the Akilah LAU rondon, Desert Storm and just keeps going on and on. Right. But I think the worst of it was 911, which we consider to be a mass murder mean that there is there is no justification, there is nothing Islamic or human about what took place on 911. And unfortunately, for the Muslim community in the US, we were almost
defined by 911. Every time I speak to people anywhere, they only have one vision, and that is planes diving into the World Trade Center. Right? And when they speak to me, I end up defining what Islam is not. But I never get the chance to speak as to what Islam is. And that is very, very frustrating. I can certainly make the difference between Islam and Muslim. Islam is the name of the religion. It is actually an Arabic word, and Arabic is a Semitic language. Time to show off here I speak half of the Semitic language.
I speak for a different language. What do you call a person that's
For different language really smart
and then if they speak the language, trilingual and if they speak to quatro Hmm. We call them Americans
through Islam is the name of the religion, and whoever adheres to that religion is called a Muslim. Okay? Okay, similar to Christianity and a Christian. Okay, same thing. Now speaking of Christianity, a religion many of us are familiar with the basic tenet of which is you believe in Jesus Christ as your Savior, and then you die and you go to heaven. Okay? What would be what would be the the shorthand version of what the the the principal tenet of the faith is for Islam, make sure you have a proper relationship with God, don't only just believe in his existence, but you should have a personal relationship with Him that should impact your life positively. And that, and that
relationship is expressed in how you deal with the creation of God. That is really the gist of it. So Islam gives the principles and the guidelines and the values of how you should lead that life when you have a proper relationship with God. But at the same time, you also have a proper relationship with what God has created. And in other words, it is as a Muslim, you're supposed to submit to the will of God, surrender to Him, and that way your that will be your way of attaining peace in this world, and salvation in the hereafter. So there is a hereafter if you're a believer in Islam, yes, we do believe that there is a hereafter and it is physical. It's not an abstract idea,
okay. And this life is is is what we call this is a time when we study, and it's our exam. And then later on, we will be held accountable for the choices that we made, and some are going to be rewarded and some are going to be dealt with. If you're just joining us on k rock and are confused as hell because you thought there'd be a wacky Ralph Garman voice in the other room. It's actually a shake. Yasser wasaga who is the religious director of the Orange County Islamic foundation we are doing ask a Muslim we have so many more questions and I know you do too. But I think we need to take a break right now. Is that right? And then come back and get into more of that ask a Muslim one. 805
to 01067 your questions more conversation when the shake when we return on camera?
Kevin in the show.
Welcome to Muslim sensitivity training.
You're not allowed to have sex.
And what do we know about the places
It is Africa Muslim on the Kevin and bean show in the world famous k rock one 805 to 01067. Our guests and it's a real treat to have him in the city this morning to shake Yasser wasaga. He's the religious director of the Orange County Islamic foundation. We did ask a whore last week. I don't know if you heard that one or not shake, but very different conversation that we're having here today. I got two
great questions. Let's start with Wow. All good. Let's start with with the ray. How about that Ray and Glendale might be a good starting point for those of us who know so little about the Islam faith. Ray. Good morning. Welcome to the Kevin and bean show. Oops, I'm sorry, this is Ryan. I got the wrong one. Sorry. I bet. Ray, are you there? Yes, sir. Good morning. Sorry about that. Go ahead. Yes, I was wondering, could you tell me what the Qur'an is? And are there any parallels between it and the Holy Bible?
Well, the Quran is the name of the book that the Muslim is considered to be holy. It is considered to be the Word of God. And generally speaking, it discusses very quickly five different subjects, God and who he is. It talks about stories from the past. It talks about the Day of Judgment. It talks about the do's and the don'ts of a Muslim and then it also speaks about the character for Muslim. And there is a great deal of parallel accounts between the Quran and the Old Testament, specifically the Old Testament. Almost all of the stories that are mentioned in the Old Testament, they have parallel accounts to in the Quran that right there are different but there is common
characters common themes are there. Okay. As far as the New Testament is concerned, the only mentioned characters in the plan from the New Testament or Zechariah, Mary, and john the baptist, okay, and generally speaking, the disciples of Jesus with no name given on them, but there's I teach a course it's called introducing the Bible to the Koran readers, and introducing the Quran to the Bible readers via comparing and contrasting parallel accounts in both books. There are so many similarities between the Old Testament and the Quran. Why does it seem like so many Muslims and Jews are at odds with one another? You know, that is really sad. And historically speaking, Muslims and
Jews got a lot better together than they than either one of them did was Christianity. For example, the golden age of both Muslims and Jews was
In Spain, Moses, my mother, this was the greatest Jewish philosopher wrote his most important books in the Arabic language. And he did not even write it in the in the holy tongue, which is, which is Hebrew. We've got some of the best theological debates that took place was between Muslims and Jews in in Spain. And I think this being them being at odds at this point, I think it has a lot to do with what's going on in the Middle East. Yeah, but theologically speaking, Muslims are much closer to the Jews than they are to the Christians. Okay, thank you for the call on that now let's go to that Ryan call. He's on line three and wait a park. It's asked a Muslim on the Kevin have been
showing Kira. Good morning, Ryan. Go ahead. You're on with the shake. So guys, all right, Heather. Hey, I was just wondering, what's this? The pilgrimage to Mecca thing all about? Have you done it? You know, anybody that has done it?
What's the deal with that? Yes, I did. The pilgrimage is one of the pillars of Islam. It is one of the five pillars of Islam. So you're supposed to do it if you're if you're able, physically and financially, it is once in a lifetime visit to Mecca. And what it is, it's a beautiful family reunion of the entire human race. And what happens there will be about 2.5 million people, they're all dressed the same, or doing the same prayers, and it is to emphasize the equality of humans. And as you recall, that was the turning point in the life of Malcolm X. Malcolm X was here in the US being part of the Nation of Islam, believed that white people were inherently evil, and that black
people were inherently good and that God was black. He goes to heart, and he is surprised to see that there were blonde people blue eyed people in Hydra with him. And that's when he was introduced to orthodox Islam. So I did do it. I was. I was fortunate enough, the school invited us to go for Hajj back in 94. I couldn't have afforded it on my own. It's about six to $7,000. If you want to go by yourself,
Why do so many people get trampled every year when they do the thing in Mecca, it seems like there's always a great deal of injuries. Unfortunately, that is the case. There is some sort of bad management in how the traffic is, is controlled. And you also have lots and lots of people who do not have any place to stay in. So they end up staying under bridges, they end up saying on the streets, and they cause great, great amount of Stanisic. It's just too many people in too small an area without proper accommodations. It is it is too small of an area with about 2.5 million people that shake do you pray five times a day toward Mecca is that something that is part of your daily
ritual is actually and this morning, I started driving before it was time for the first prayers. So I actually did my prayer of the day here in the station. Oh, that's not allowed. But
he was driving and he heard being referred to him coming in on a camel and he thought that well.
Coffee out. That was hilarious. We're doing shake Yes. Here for saga is here. He's the religious director for the Orange County Islamic foundation. I want to ask you a question. My biggest problem with the Muslim faith is their treatment of women. So I'd like to get your answer on that. We'll take a quick break. And we'll come back at 1-800-520-1067 I know you aren't the same as everyone else. But maybe you can help answer that. And any other questions.
One 805 20106.
Kevin and bean show we would ask a Muslim on the Kevin. Thank you rock shake. Yes, here. wasaga is here with us, the religious director for the Orange County Islamic foundation your calls at 1-800-520-1067. And before we go back to the phones, Kevin, you had a question, but I'm not all that studied, but it seems like women are way second class citizens in much of the Muslim world they can be Oh, yeah. What do you know? Yeah, so they, they, they can be beaten, there's in some places they're supposed to be beaten, they can begin to rise, don't they? The guy can divorce them for looking at. I mean, it just seems like the treatment of women is so bad and most of the Muslim is
that accurate? Or unfortunately, in most in a good number, or in a good part of the Muslim world. That is the case. Unfortunately, again, people confuse the cultural practices of people with the principles of the religion but is that isn't that what they're using to get the right to beat or, or poorly? We all have had our fair share of misusing and abusing the name of God, right as individuals as nations as different, you know, religious communities. So unfortunately, in some places, they do that it seems so accepted. I think that's my problem with it is it just seems like women are abused and most people just seem to be okay with what see remember also was domestic violence here in the
States. A woman is beating what every half a minute. Yeah. And I think is here we talk about it, we address it as as an issue as a problem that is worthy and rightly so. In the Muslim case. I don't think that has
happened yet, but changes are taking place. Just to give you an example that happened. Yes, it's already happening give you a quick example of 60% of college students in Iran are actually females at this point. You've got the most populated Muslim country is ruled by a woman that's in Indonesian Prime Minister is a woman, the second most populated Muslim country, Bangladesh is ruled by a woman Prime Minister is a woman. She's also handicapped. By the way, the third most populated Muslim country, Pakistan, the prime minister was a woman, the fourth most populated Muslim country, India was also the prime minister was a woman and they are gone today. So the change is taking place.
Unfortunately, the change is, is slow. But calls for reformation social reformation are happening. Okay, fantastic. Great answer. 1-800-520-1067. Let's talk to Kevin in Santa Ana. He's on line eight. And I know that as you said, when you came on shake, you spend a lot of time talking about what Islam is not based on Americans perceptions of your religion based on what they hear in the news. I think that's where Kevin's question is coming from. Kevin, you're on the air asked him Muslim. Yeah. My question is, how come in this country we hear about how Muslim or Islam is a religion of peace yet, across the world are killing each other and doing all these horrible things. But you don't ever
hear anybody specifically denounced that sort of activity?
What Why? Why doesn't anybody speak out against all the killing and, and that kind of stuff? The criticism is very valid. And I remember that within the Muslim community in the US, people would come out to us and they say, you haven't said enough about 911, you have not criticized those who have done. And we did, unfortunately, our criticism and rebuking and denouncing these, these statements and these behaviors, it's not very exciting. It's not new swarthy, it's almost like, you know, if it bleeds, it leads our case, you know, trying to denounce a behavior like this, there is nothing exciting. I don't think there's too few people doing it. You know, we are very, we are very
loud about you, of course, but I'm saying a cry. I mean, especially in the Middle East, are there people who criticize loudly? They do. And I don't think it's loud enough, though, I'll have I'll have to be honest with that one, it is not loud enough. And sadly, Muslim against Muslim violence is also increasing. And I know that maybe some members of my own community would not, would not want me to say this. But if you look at it in Afghanistan, it's Muslim, for killing Muslims in the Sudan, in, in Pakistan, like you've seen was Benazir Bhutto attempted
assassination there, and you just name it in Iraq, even in Iraq?
I mean, isn't part of it, that it's very dangerous in certain parts of the world to come out and speak against radical Islam? It is. And I think that the idea is not only amongst Muslims, if you remember, in Ireland, Protestants, killing Catholics, and that went on for some time, as well. But there is just this religious jealousy where people compete, to claiming the truth, but not necessarily the implementation of that truth when people claim peace, but they don't act it out. Right? Shake How did the United States get to be the great Satan? Why are we the infidels? And why does it seem to us maybe just based on news reports that there are so many Muslims around the world
who hate everything that we believe in, in everything that we do? Very quickly? Two things, the infidel is not a Muslim term. We do not have that. We do not have that term, that term actually originated from the Catholic Church. Secondly, this question as to why do people hate us? I think it has to be rephrased, I don't think there is hatred. Like I said, I was in Romania this last week, and everybody wants to come to the US. Everybody is listening to American music. They're watching American TV, they're buying American products. So there is really no hate there. What there is, there is a lot of resentment. And this resentment is directed more towards the policies are not
necessarily to the people there. We had a Muslim theologian who once came to the US. And he was just surprised when he came to the US by the decency and the generosity and the goodness of the people. And he made a very profound statement. He said, Americans are the most decent people. Unfortunately, their decency does not go beyond the ocean. And he was referring to the fact that those who represent the people do not necessarily have the the policies that express the decency of these people. And I'm not I'm sorry, I'm not talking about the Muslims only, but Americans are not are not looked at as as as good because of the current administration in South America, in parts of Asia and
parts of of Africa. And I can tell you this as an African, we always felt that we were exploited by the Western world, specifically by the US because the government would sometimes back rulers of countries because they were friends of the US as opposed to good for their people. And people see it as we spit on some of the dictators, and yet we embrace others and people are not dumb. Would you say that george bush is or is not a hero to the Muslim people.
I think we were
have to agree was the majority.
We can all agree on that. Do I remember though, guys, that there was video shortly after 911 of people on the street, not people in the military, not people in the government, but people on the street who were cheering at the fall of the Twin Towers. And maybe that's where my impression comes that there were people who were happy Muslims who were happy to see harm come to this country. Yes. Some people refer to that video, it happened in Palestine. And it reminded me of the reaction of some of the people within the African American community when OJ Simpson was acquitted. Yeah, they were not celebrating the murder of Nicole and her boyfriend. That's not what they were celebrating.
But you know what? It is one of us who did it and got away with it. Right. And with that celebration, it was you know, what now get to feel what we've been feeling where missiles would hit our homes in Gaza and in the West Bank. Now maybe when you get a chance to see that you will be more sympathetic towards our cause? Well, not surprising, because we support Israel. Now. Most of them weren't from Palestine, they were from Saudi Arabia and other places. What what's the is it all about the Jewish war with the Palestinians? Is that 90% of the problem? Well, if we, if we listen to what they have been telling us their grievances is the presence of the US troops in, in Saudi
Arabia, the unconditional backing of Israel in the in the Middle East. And on top of that, the unconditional support for for a great majority of the Muslim dictators who are ruling the Muslim world. So their grievances is we can do this with our people. But you know, let's look into the big guy that's being supporting all these activities. And in that case, it happened to be the US. Let's talk to Mario in Whittier real quick. We got a question about the afterlife. We touched on briefly in our discussion of the Quran. It's ask a Muslim on the Kevin and bean show on kerak. Mario Good morning. You're on with the shakes. Go ahead. Morning, guys. Morning, Lisa. Morning.
I have a question. What is up with leaving the 22 virgins in the afterlife? aftermarket? Oh, yes, I have heard different numbers I've heard 2277. That's the right number. Where's that come from? Ashley decor and does it refer to some of the reward that people have in the afterlife, and it speaks about partners that will be granted to people who have done good and it speaks about them, that the term that is given is hold which means somebody who is vice less, somebody who is pure. So when you die and you make it to heaven, this will be part of the reward that you get. Now, that is that is a very, that is only a small physical reward that you will get in the hereafter. But the
majority of the Quran when it speaks about the Hereafter, this is not what it concentrates on. It rather speaks about the greatest reward will be is that in Paradise, there will be no grief and there will be no anxiety. This is the this is the word that is repeated. Do you believe in the 22 versions or however many versions? I mean, it sounded like they it does refer to it and you didn't disagree with it. No. small part of the Quran does refer to it. It does not make a big deal out of it. Okay, it does refer it does. You know, sexual sexual pleasure is something that the Quran does not look down upon. As long as it's put in the proper chat. If you're saying someone is voiceless
who gets that, then you're talking about what in a Christian religion would be a saint or a Catholic religion, someone that's that? of that magnitude? Yeah. Well, the purity of the belief is that these people are created up in heaven, they have not have the creation of the earth. virgins, how fun Can that be, you know, experience.
Now, what about the people's shake? I know we're almost out of time. I just have one more question. What about the people who believe that the way to get the best deal in the afterlife and I know that's a dumb way to put it but is through martyrdom like that's the ultimate way to express your love of Allah and your your Islam faith is to somehow become a martyr by blowing something up and taking yourself with with you because we seem to there seems to be no shortage of suicide bombers, for instance, who are willing to die for their cause. Unfortunately,
what you have is this idea that if I the greatest, the greatest sacrifice would be to give up my my life for my cause. But remember this, that the nobility of the cause is very important. It's a prerequisite martyrdom, I believe, which we refer to as the concept of jihad is a very noble mission, which basically means it is the elimination of injustice, regardless of who is the oppressor, who is the oppressed. Islam says that when you see this, you have got, you've got responsibility. You either eradicate it physically, you speak against it, or you denounce it in your heart. I remember a beautiful word that was said by Father Desmond Tutu, and he said, in a situation
of injustice, if you decide to be neutral, then you have chosen the side of the oppressor. So another point is, you see this, you got to do something about it, even if it means that you give up your life in the process, most of the oppressive governments, Muslim, unfortunately, that is that is the
So shouldn't so why where's the focus on on that seems like they should be focused on that more than well going. In their case, the belief is that you're going for the big head that is keeping them where they are. And in this case, it's it's, it's the Western world. And by the way, speaking of suicide bombers, what do you think most suicide bombers come from? If we were to watch the new probably Santa Ana?
I don't, I don't know. Palestine. Actually, if you go to Saudi Arabia, if you go to the State Department, website, most suicide bombers come from Sri Lanka.
Actually Muslims and they're not religious people, the Tamil Tigers, it is a secular cause. The first suicide bomber, our the person that took the first suicide mission in Palestine was actually an American. Baruch Goldstein from New York, a medical doctor, he went down there during the month of Ramadan, while the people who were worshipping and he killed about 42 of them. And of course he was he was killed in deposit, right? We're kind of out of time we've been doing ask a Muslim, the religious director of the Orange County Islamic Foundation, Shaykh yasir fissara is here and um, I just wanted to give you one minute you said one of your biggest, most frustrating things in life is
that you have to say what Islam isn't. So wrap it up by saying what Islam is. Islam is a religion that is adhered to by 1.5 billion people or 1.4 billion people in the in the world. It is a religion of peace. And I know that sounds cliche, it is a religion, of submitting to the will of God. It is a religion of reaching out to people it is a religion where you have a proper relationship with God, where you are given principles to live by. And these principles revolve around your character. And that character must manifest itself in the way that you deal with other people. Believe in God manifested in rituals, rituals must impact your character character that shows when you deal with
other with other people. We've got statements by the prophet Muhammad peace be upon him, when he speaks about those who are loved by God or those who are of most benefit to humanity. Those whom God loves are those who are of our in help of the people out there. And I would invite all your listeners to please just call your local Islamic Center and see you know, just go ahead and visit us and and we are more than happy to accommodate people and invite people in, go to our website, if I may say that or OC I f.org. That's the Orange County Islamic foundation.org you know, give us a call. pay us a visit and we would love to have a chit chat with you. Very nice. Our guest has been
the Shaykh Yasser photogra thank you so much for joining us. I'd like to I want to go out into the parking lot and give you a candle some carrots before he takes it.
Great to meet you. I hope we'll stay in touch. Thank you for coming by today. Thank you for having me. And thank you for the opportunity. Thanks for the Kevin and bean show passable. Okay, this is this isn't terrible. The world famous k rock