Imam Luqman Ahmad

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The Lotus Tree Blog

Islamophobia; Is That Our Only Answer to Criticism?

I wrote this article two years ago. I thought I’d give it another dance…

Confronting Islamophobia, It’s No Dog and Pony Show

By Imam Abu Laith Luqman Ahmad,

Recognition of islamophobia as the irrational and unwarranted fear of Muslims and Islam lingers in lexical incubation. Some accept the term fully while others discount its validity. Whether this neologism will gain currency as a bona fide social pathology, or be viewed simply as a marginally legitimate term, moonlighting as a public relations tool, remains to be seen. Phobias, according to the American Psychiatric Association are mental disorders characterized by persistent and irrational fear of a particular thing, situation, or animal. The word islamophobia, and the operative definition applied to it, is far from clinical recognition. However, I must admit, it is a catchy term; and certainly trendy sounding enough to fuel circulation. Like; “what are you guys doing this weekend? “We’re going to fight islamophobia!” Its etymology insures seamless placement in the “for Islam”, “saving the deen”, “for Allah” category.

Islamophobia has a diabolical, sinister ring to it. You can almost picture a young Muslim mother sending her child off to public school; “Now son, remember to drink your milk, look both ways when you cross the street, don’t forget to say your prayers on time, and be sure to watch out for any islamophobia! We’ve used the term with such frequency and with such self serving overtones that it has started to lose it effectiveness if it even had any. Picture the scenario of a man who utters an anti-Muslim remark causing outrage in the Muslim community; he’s rushed to a licensed islamophobist for diagnosis, after submitting to a few diagnostics, the man turns to the doctor in anxious trepidation and says; “well Doc, tell me! What is it? Racism? Psychomotor agitation? Bipolar disorder? Bird flu? The doctor, clipboard in, hand, gazes solemnly into his eyes and says: “no Pat, what you have is a mild case of islamophobia”. The man wiping the sweat off his brow says: “That’s all? Thank God, for a moment, I thought it was something serious”.

As Muslims, accurate and responsible use of categorical verbiage is a moral obligation, and in this case, a vital tactical adjunct for Muslims in America. This is why it is critical that before we wage jihad against islamophobia, we accurately define the terminology. Perhaps, we can avoid misdirecting our energies in what may very well be another fruitless pursuit, frocked in Islamic trappings that fails to address the root of our problems as Muslims. Sure there is discrimination against Muslims and yes, it should be addressed, but not manipulated. I don’t see crowds of rednecks chasing down Muslims in the streets. (no offense to rednecks).

Let’s set aside American foreign policy for a moment, thats a Read the rest of this entry »

Filed under: American Muslims, Black American Muslims, immgrant muslims, Islam in America, Muslim converts, Muslim Thought, , , , ,

Muslim man, puts on Niqaab, Then Commits Robbery and Murder in Philadelphia. Are we paying attention?

The murder of a Philadelphia police officer by what appears to be Muslims, while dressed in Muslim woman’s clothing, has tragedy all over it. I’m afraid that Muslim women will be subject to more scrutiny from the public, particularly those who wear niqab. It’s easier for brothers to ‘blend in’ but our sisters by their attire are immediately identified as Muslim. As for whether or a not the Muslim brother, can be legitimately denied burial services by an individual imam, or  group of them, is too complex an issue  to summarize without full comprehension of every shariah as well as circumstantial variable, not withstanding knowledge of the facts on the ground in Philadelphia.   There are arguments which support washing and janaaza as well support not giving him the consideration. Janaaza is at best; fard al-kifaaya, and as far as we know, he may have been one of those who believe that we are all part of the ‘global’ Muslim community which would make the Muslims in China as much responsible for his burial as the Muslims in Philly.

This is the call of the Philadelphia Imams and leadership involved in the situation. Read the rest of this entry »

Filed under: American Muslims, Muslim Thought, Trials of the End of Days, , , ,

American Muslims Openly Address Racism in Muslim America

Sacramento California Tuesday, May 6th, 2008 – Masjid Ibrahim Islamic Center, a Northern California American Muslim community, took an unprecedented step towards addressing racial and ethnic division amongst American Muslims by convening the first public community debate that centered on racial, ethnic and religious division. While American Muslims are nationally engaged in efforts to reach out to the non-Muslim community; very little attention is paid to the racial, ethnic and doctrinal divisiveness that exists among American Muslim Communities Nationwide.

On Saturday, April 24th, Imam Luqman Ahmad, a second generation American Muslim whose parent’s converted to Islam in the 1950s, spoke before a packed audience about the issue of racial, ethnic and religious sectarianism amongst Muslims in America. Sectarianism and division along tribal, racial, ethnic, and religious lines has plagued the Muslim world for generations. American Muslims along with their immigrant Muslim brethren, who have settled in the United States from all parts of the Muslim world, have a unique opportunity to candidly address the division, which lies at the root of many of the problems in the Muslim world. Read the rest of this entry »

Filed under: American Muslims, Black American Muslims, Muslim converts, Muslim Disunity, Muslim Thought, Muslim Unity, Muslm Division, Racism, Trials of the End of Days, , , , , ,