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Archive for the ‘Fear’ Category

Today is 9/11. Our lives have been so shaped by it that I have no need to explain to anyone who will read this what I mean by “9/11″.

We left for the Middle East in January, 2002, only 4 months after 9/11. I remember being with friends right after 9/11 had happened and listening them to tell me why we surely couldn’t go to “those Muslims” now. There was a lot of fear among Americans then. There still is. Unfortunately, this has caused some non-Muslims to say and even do things that shame us all. The result is that Muslims today feel more fearful than before.

Sumbul Ali-Karamali wrote an enlightening piece on CNN, “American Muslims Live in Fear 11 Years after 9/11″. There has been an increase in anti-Islalmic rhetoric and crimes. This is tragic. It has certainly changed the landscape for our Muslim neighbors.

The Islamophobia that seems to continue to gain steam is unhealthy and destructive to our nation and ultimately our own souls.

For American Muslims, the past decade has been tumultuous. We have emerged from private life to public life, into the public sphere in an effort to aid understanding between the communities of our multicultural country.

We do it not only for ourselves, but because irrational fear of Islam and Muslims is bad for all Americans: it frays the social fabric of our society; it creates divisions between Americans; it affects the health of our democracy; and it affects the wisdom of our policy choices.

It’s not too late to invite your Muslim neighbors over for dinner in order to love them by hearing from them what Islam is about. Such hospitality and pursuit of understanding seems like a fitting tribute to those who died on 9/11.

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Pictures of Muslims Wearing Things is a very creative (and humorous) site that seeks to break down stereotypes of Muslims and what many think of as “Muslim garb”.

Here is an example:

Nadia Firozvi. Muslim, friend, lawyer, snuggie lover.

HT: Muslimah Media Watch

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In this short video Hussein Rashid and Joseph Cumming share their thoughts on the Ground Zero mosque controversy. I found Joseph’s comments to be very helpful in thinking about how Christians should respond. How does loving our neighbor as we love ourselves (Matthew 22:39) impact our view on this? How does Jesus’ command to do unto others as would have them do unto us (Matthew 7:12) impact our view on this?

HT: Become Like Children

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A Little Perspective

Image viaMark Shea:

It’s easy as pie to generalize to millions of people the crimes of a few. We Catholics have had it done to us. And we can have it done to us again. So we should be bloody cautious about insane schemes to do it to 18 million fellow citizens.

The grotesque excuse “But the the first amendment is dead, and Islam killed it. There is no ‘freedom of speech’ or ‘freedom of religion’ with the threat of Muslim violence hanging over your head” is rubbish. Cancelling the rights of 307 million people because you are, by your own admission,afraid is neither patriotism, nor courage, nor Christian fortitude. It is cowardice. And it is extra-special cowardice when you are ready to cancel your most precious national heritage because you are afraid of a speck.

[From Chart Of The Day via Islamicate]

Note: Even though the population of American Muslims is probably quite high and there are other Islamist terrorist groups, the point of the diagram remains.

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From ABC News:

A New York City cab driver was attacked Tuesday evening just after 6 p.m. by a passenger who asked him if he was Muslim, says the NYPD. A spokesman for a New York City cabbie group blamed the attack on the proposed construction of an Islamic center near Ground Zero, the site of the 9/11 World Trade Center terrorist attack, but police said they were not aware of any link.

Read the whole thing.

HT: E-baad-e News

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Is America Islamophobic?

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It is Ramadan. Muslims all over the world are fasting from sunrise to sunset. At the end of the month they will celebrate with one of the two most important holidays in Islam: Eid Al Fitr. Because the Islamic calendar is lunar it is possible that this holiday will land on September 11. No one reading this needs to be reminded of the significance of that day.

Unfortunately, Muslims who had nothing to do with 9/11 have had to contend with lots of backlash from that day and no doubt it will be even louder if the holiday lands on 9/11.

I was moved with compassion as I read Haroon Moghul’s thoughtful article about this convergence. I encourage you to read it and see that American Muslims endured loss on 9/11 as well.

It was worrying enough to think about how some people might misinterpret such a convergence, and that was before the rise in Islamophobic rhetoric. Every other day, I’m greeted with someone arguing that Muslims are all evil, that we shouldn’t have any more mosques in America, that we are a dastardly fifth column. The assumption here is always that Muslims are foreigners and intruders, that we are strangers in our own lands, unwelcome in our own homes.

It is easy for us to forget that there were also Muslim victims on 9/11. Moghul lives in New York and was there when the towers came down. Two fears came over him, “How do I explain that I was scared because my city was attacked, but I was also scared because people might blame me?” Not sure of what to do he went to the Muslim prayer room they had on campus and found a Jewish student. When Haroon asked him what he was doing he replied:

“I figured that some Muslims might feel uncomfortable walking home”—people had already begun to blame any number of extremist Muslim groups, and of course the subways had been shut down—“and that, if I walked home with them, maybe people would think twice before trying anything.” (He wore a yarmulke).

This reminds me of when America invaded Iraq in 2003. We were living in Syria at the time and the day of the invasion a Syrian friend called to check on us. She wanted to go to the store and get some groceries so that we wouldn’t have to go out in case we were afraid of any backlash.

The Ground Zero Mosque
I have sought to stay away from politics on this blog. I am stunned to see that what one thinks about whether there should be a mosque built near Ground Zero (not on it) has become political. It shouldn’t be. It seems appropriate at the end of this post to say that I support the building of the mosque and I am saddened to think that Americans who enjoy the greatest religious freedom in the world would be opposed.

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With this law no one will be allowed to wear clothing that covers their faces. Of course, this is geared specifically for Muslim women who wear a burqa. It is an attempt to curb Islamic extremists in the name of equal rights for women.

I don’t doubt that there are Muslim women who wear the burqa, not out of devotion to God, but from fear of their families and society. This is tragic. But I also know that there are women who truly believe that this is how they best serve, honor and obey God. We may think they are wrong or misinformed, but for them it truly is a matter of religious devotion.

Does it not seem ironic that free western societies are limiting religious freedom because they believe that these people’s religion is limiting their freedom? In other words, they are “promoting” freedom by limiting it.

HT: E-baad E-news

Related Post:
Switzerland Moving Away from Peace

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Fighting Fear of Man

From Justin Taylor:

“The fear of man lays a snare,
but whoever trusts in the LORD is safe.”
Proverbs 29:25

“Fear of man is such a part of our human fabric that we should check for pulse if someone denies it.”

—Ed Welch, When People Are Big and God Is Small.

In order to fear God not man, here are the steps Welch sets forth in his book:

Step 1: Recognize that the fear of man is a major theme both in the Bible and in your own life.

Step 2: Identify where your fear of man has been intensified by people in your past.

Step 3: Identify where your fear of man has been intensified by the assumptions of the world.

Step 4: Understand and grow in the fear of the Lord. The person who fears God will fear nothing else.

Step 5: Examine where your desires have been too big. When we fear people, people are big, our desires are even bigger, and God is small.

Step 6: Rejoice that God has covered your shame, protected you from danger, and accepted you. He has filled you with love.

Step 7: Need other people less, love other people more. Out of obedience to Christ, and as a response to his love toward you, pursue others in love.

You can read chapter 1 of the book online for free.

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A church in St Cloud, MN recently put an ad in the paper highlighting the dangers of Islam in America (click on the ad to read the whole thing). I think they misrepresent Jesus Christ in two major ways.

First, they appeal to our fears by making gross misstatements about Muslims. They say, “How do Moslems seek to take control of a nation? Moslems seek to influence a nation by immigration, reproduction, education, the government, illegal drugs, and by supporting the gay agenda.” What are they talking about? Illegal drugs? Muslims don’t even drink alcohol. Perhaps they are talking about the Taliban in Afghanistan who are funded by opium. But what does that have to do with the average American Muslim? Nothing. The gay agenda? Homosexuality is a sin within Islam. Besides, I imagine a lot more supporters of the “gay agenda” would call themselves Christians than Muslims.

Second, the ad seems to imply that the mission of the church is to protect America. Yes, I am an American citizen, but I care much more about the Kingdom of God than I do about the Kingdom of America. Too many Christians in America think that the health and future of the church is tied to the health and future of America. It isn’t. God’s kingdom prevailed before America existed and it will certainly prevail regardless of what happens to America. I love my country and I want it to prosper, but I care much more about the church (the people of God) and most of the church is not American.

This is not the kind of ad that will encourage the people of St Cloud to go and meet their Muslim neighbors.

I read about this on Talk Islam and was encouraged by Abu Noor Al-Irlandee’s comment, “I agree it’s a good reminder about our need to engage with others and get rid of ignorance (including our own ignorance of others.)”

Related Posts:
I Hate This
Our Greatest Enemy

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