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Why I Have Hope For American Muslim Equality


#1

Why I Have Hope For American Muslim Equality

Hina Shamsi

President Obama gave a milestone speech in defense of American Muslims and religious freedom at a mosque last week. And I had a hard time listening to it.


#2

"But as we document, what little we know about these programs indicates they are overwhelmingly targeted at Muslims and aim to prevent violence by policing ideas and beliefs: Our government wants to charge teachers and social workers with monitoring and reporting to law enforcement the ideas and beliefs of schoolchildren. It shouldn’t surprise anyone that these kinds of programs are corrosive, divisive, and wrongly stigmatize Muslims as inherently suspicious, despite the fact that a miniscule number of American Muslims have been involved in fatal attacks in this country."

The snitching operations are reminiscent of the Stasi and other odious authoritarian regimes.

While reading this sensitive article, the short story by Shirley Jackson--"The Lottery" came to mind.

In her brilliant satire, Ms. Jackson describes a small pastoral community, a virtual American "every-town" that celebrates an annual ritual. The story begins with all the locals preparing for this ritual, a town tradition.

It's only towards the end of the story that the gruesome nature of this tradition is made known: All of the names of towns' persons are cast into a bucket and whatever name is drawn will serve as "The Necessary Sacrifice."

That individual will be henceforth stoned to death with relatives even joining in "all the fun."

The idea is that the town must make this ritualistic sacrifice in order for all others to enjoy peace and prosperity.

It seems to me that the U.S. military has taken this "Lottery" idea (with lots of help from the German Nazi blueprint) and projected it onto entire Arab nations.

This idea that bombing others can somehow "expiate our nation's own sins" and promise continued prosperity and security is about as SICK as the mindset reflected in Ms. Jackson's timeless tale.

I've noticed how this scapegoat projection operates here in the U.S. Deep South.

It's clear to me that rather than OWNING one's family's racist acts in the past, by maintaining the racism, all of the dark energy stays projected at the target of the violence. That seems to bind the bubbas together.

Perhaps violence is as much an addiction in some as is alcoholism or drug use.

That's why until the same "fearless moral inventory" that Alcoholics Anonymous champions as a key component of therapeutic change must also apply to the Beast, militarism, and those who think their own "sins" and failings can somehow be expiated through the Great Human Sacrifice.

These beliefs run very deeply, and what I find most mortifying of all is that entrenched Traditional Religious Institutions (and their would-be spiritual leaders) reinforce them!


#4

´American Muslim Equality´will never happen, nor should it. The groups loosely named Muslims profess to share a religion. Yet, anyone who reads Arabic can set himself up as an authority, and teaches his own version of mental illness. The goal is how to call them out on built-in misogeny, intolerance, Arabia orientation, and much more, without cultailing religious freedom for all.


#5

A Catholic priest is called as a witness in a trial, and he
appears in his white collar and dark suit. Now some may object that his
testimony will be accorded undue weigh, while others say his garb merely reflects his profession, which is provided by
all witnesses. In a secular state like the U.S., that is, one not ruled by
religious elders, the judge will rule on the objection based on the particulars
of the case. But in the U.S., no one, not the lawyers, nor the judges, nor even
the priests, would want to see white collars sitting on the bench, for obvious
reasons: Justice will be then perceived as biased by some in certain cases, and
in other cases, by everyone. And a democratic society cannot survive for long
without broadly perceived justice.

Yet, just such a tie-in between justice and religion is
demanded by Muslim leaders in another secular state – Bosnia. They want to
allow Muslim judges to wear the hijab, a sort of face-to-heel cover, in court.
Their arguments range from the self- contradictory to the absurd, as all
religion-based arguments tend to end up. Oh no, they protest, the hijab is not
religious; it is a lifestyle, but wearing it is to exercise religious freedom.
Oh no, no one will question the impartiality of a judge wearing a hijab because
the holy text commands it, and also that all true Muslims, and no other, are
brothers. Oh see, any prohibition against religious symbols in court singles
out Muslims since the hijab I made is not as easy to take off as a plastic
collar; proof positive that the world holds women lower than men. To live and,
increasingly, to die by the words of men uttered long before the ‘Age of
Reason’ dawned on mankind, before the discovery of thousands of extra –solar
planets, among likely billions, and before we found that some of our genes were
donated by the non-human Neanderthals in intimate exchanges of body fluids–
such is the sad, myopic, short-lived fate of all organized religiosity.

Bosnia-(Herzegovina) is still a secular society at this
point, perched precariously between two populations of roughly equal size, one
Muslim, one not. Slip even slightly off secularity and blood will flow (again).

A Catholic priest is called as a witness in a trial, and he
appears in his white collar and dark suit. Now some may object that his
testimony will be accorded undue weigh, while others say his garb merely reflects his profession, which is provided by
all witnesses. In a secular state like the U.S., that is, one not ruled by
religious elders, the judge will rule on the objection based on the particulars
of the case. But in the U.S., no one, not the lawyers, nor the judges, nor even
the priests, would want to see white collars sitting on the bench, for obvious
reasons: Justice will be then perceived as biased by some in certain cases, and
in other cases, by everyone. And a democratic society cannot survive for long
without broadly perceived justice.

Yet, just such a tie-in between justice and religion is
demanded by Muslim leaders in another secular state – Bosnia. They want to
allow Muslim judges to wear the hijab, a sort of face-to-heel cover, in court.
Their arguments range from the self- contradictory to the absurd, as all
religion-based arguments tend to end up. Oh no, they protest, the hijab is not
religious; it is a lifestyle, but wearing it is to exercise religious freedom.
Oh no, no one will question the impartiality of a judge wearing a hijab because
the holy text commands it, and also that all true Muslims, and no other, are
brothers. Oh see, any prohibition against religious symbols in court singles
out Muslims since the hijab I made is not as easy to take off as a plastic
collar; proof positive that the world holds women lower than men. To live and,
increasingly, to die by the words of men uttered long before the ‘Age of
Reason’ dawned on mankind, before the discovery of thousands of extra –solar
planets, among likely billions, and before we found that some of our genes were
donated by the non-human Neanderthals in intimate exchanges of body fluids–
such is the sad, myopic, short-lived fate of all organized religiosity.

Bosnia-(Herzegovina) is still a secular society at this
point, perched precariously between two populations of roughly equal size, one
Muslim, one not. Slip even slightly off secularity and blood will flow (again).