Manners of Disagreement, What Muslims lack today

Out of the many shortcomings that we have within the American Muslim community today, one of the most striking is the lack of manners that we have when it comes to disagreements about issues relating to religion.

In the state of hyper-religiousity that many of us have in America, the absolutist mentality is pervasive.  One group will say that their group is the correct one while others are deviants.  The Usooli will call the Sufi a deviant, the Sufi will call the Shi’i a deviant, the Ithna Ashari Shi’i will call a Fatimi/Bohra Shi’i a deviant, etc.   This holds especially true during Muharram and Aashoora.

A person will give commentary on a situation or definition of a word and imply or even outright state that another’s opinion is invalid.  I’m not speaking of baseless opinions, but opinions based upon opinions of what scholars have stated.

There is an old saying that the person who knows truly understands how much he/she really does not truly know.  This person is not an absolutist by any stretch.  G’d knows best frequently rolls of of their tongues and is a part of their written discourse.

Growth comes from analysizing diverse viewpoints.  Correcting people should be gentle and done after contemplation and recognition if errors are blatant.  Disagreements and debates should take place respectfully with use of wisdom and rationale.

And surely G’d knows best.

Walid speaks on Racial, Ethnic Discrimination Panel

Today in Dearborn, Michigan at the Arab-American Museum, the ACLU-MI held a conference entitled “Restoring Our Rights.” 

The audio below is of one of the panel discussions relating to discrimination and constitutional issues.

Mark Fancher of the ACLU is the first speaker.  I’m the second, and Donnell West of the NAACP is the third.

Walid on talk show speaking about Islamophobia in the election season

Mr. Adil James from the Muslim Observer and I were on the “Lynn Rivers Show” today, WEMU 89.1 FM, discussing the Islamophobic rhetoric of candidates during this election season.

 Click below to listen:

Message for Friday – “With Difficulty Comes Easing”

عن الحسن, قال: خرج النّبي (صلّى اللّه عليه و آله و سلّم) يوما مسرورا فرحا و هو يضحك و يقول: لن يغلب عسر يسرين, لن يغلب عسر يسرين. فَاِنَّ مَعَ العُسْرِ يُسْرًا. اِنَّ مَعَ العُسْرِ يُسْرًا
(تفسير عبد الرّزّاق – تفسير الطبري)

Narrated from ِAl-Hasan (RA) that he said that The Prophet (SAAS) come out on a day of gleeful joy and was laughing, and he was saying:
Never shall one difficulty overcome two easings; never shall one difficulty overcome two easings. [Then he read from Al-Qur’an (94:5-6)] Surely with difficulty, there is ease. Surely with difficulty, there is ease.
[Abdur Razzaq – Tafseer, At-Tabari – Tafseer & other sources with a slight variance in wording and chain of narrators]

To know and appreciate joy or victory in this physical life, a person must experience struggles and difficulties. In fact, ease is built into difficulty. When a weightlifter begins with a certain amount, it is initially difficult. As he struggles to lift this weight overtime, it will begin to feel lighter or easier to lift, so he can begin to handle weight that is heavier. This is how the weightlifter grows in mass and muscular strength.

For the people who die during struggle, the difficulty that they faced in this world will not overcome their reward when meeting their Lord. Khadijah (RA), the Mother of the Faithful, died before making the migration to Al-Madinah while the Muslims where being boycotted in Makkah, so she never experienced the joy of the Muslims being victorious in establishing the model city in Al-Madinah. However, the Prophet (SAAS) was informed by Angel Jibreel (AS) that she was promised the paradise.

And surely G’d knows best.

Hamtramck passes Anti-Profiling ordinance last night

Last night, the Hamtramck City Council passed by a 5-1 margin an Anti-Profiling Ordinance, which bars city employees and law enforcement officers from inquiring about a person’s citizenship status based upon their race, ethnicity or religious/ethnic attire. 

The exceptations are if a person is being investigated for a criminal offense or arrested for a non-civil infraction.

As I stated to the Hamtramck City Council last night, how does a person look that is not a citizen or legal resident?  Does he look Latino?  Does he have dark skin?  Does he wear a beard and prayer cap?  Does she wear hijab? 

The answer to the rhetorical question is that there is no way to just look at a person and tell their citizenship status.  Profiling based soley upon physical appearance while searching for random violations always infringes upon the rights of citizens, who are normally minorities. 

The whole DWB (Driving While Black) issue for Black males in certain neighborhoods is a classic example.  I personally loathe driving in Warren, Michigan for this very reason!

Bravo to the Hamtramck City Council regarding this step to make the city even more welcoming and inclusive!


ANN ARBOR, MICH. (2008-01-23) Hamtramck is the second city in Michigan to limit city employees and police from asking people about their immigration status.

The measure is similar to one passed in Detroit last year. It prohibits profiling people based on their race, immigration status, and other factors.

Dawud Walid heads the Michigan branch of the Council on American-Islamic Relations. He says some immigrants don’t cooperate with police investigations, or participate in things like public health campaigns “because they’re fearful that they will be asked to produce [evidence of] their citizenship.”“And it’s not just from people who may not be in legal status or undocumented,” says Walid, “but even a fear of being harassed by people who are legal permanent residents.”(MORE)

Click below to listen to audio of the full story:


Hamtramck passes ordinance against profiling
By Khalil AlHajal

The Hamtramck City Council passed an ordinance Tuesday prohibiting city employees from policing or denying services to people based on their appearance, immigration status or other factors.

Intended to encourage community participation among immigrants and minorities, according to City Attorney Jim Allen, the ordinance has been brought to the council on multiple occasions, failing to pass in the past sesions because of reluctance among council members and confusion about different versions of the measure.

The ordinance, which passed five to one, allows undocumented immigrants to report crimes and seek city services without the fear of inquiries about their immigration status.

It also bans other forms of discrimination or profiling based on appearance, ethnicity, gender, manner of dress, national origin, physical characteristics, race, religious beliefs or sexual orientation.

Allen said that a similar measure passed in Detroit last year has not caused any problems for police, as exceptions have been specifically outlined to allow inquiries on immigration status and physical descriptions for the purposes of conducting criminal investigations.

Several civil rights activists and Hamtramck residents attended Tuesday’s city council meeting to support the ordinance, celebrating its passage after weeks of anticipation.

“It’s a win for the community,” said Dawud Walid, executive director of the Michigan chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR). “And not just for residents of Hamtramck, but for people who work in the city, who drive through Hamtramck.”(MORE)