Muslims in the West need to unite in order to counter
"A girl like you should take off this burqa and start getting an
education," a middle-aged white woman told a 17-year-old Muslim girl at
the dressing room of a respected health club. The Muslim girl was shocked by
these hostile comments, but chose not to reply. Later, she reported the
harassment incident to the club's manager. The manager apologized and assured
her that this behavior is against their policy, and if it was repeated, he would
take an action against the aggressor. Ironically, this Muslim girl is a
national merit scholar who started her college education at one of the
well-known universities at age sixteen.
In the middle of a friendly conversation, a receptionist at a medical clinic
told a young Muslim mother who came to see a doctor for her baby, "You
don't know how to drive."
In both cases, stereotypes and presumptions were absolutely wrong.
Cashiers at department or grocery stores often assume that Muslim women who
wear scarfs (in accordance with the Islamic dress code) do not speak English.
One Muslim girl put it: "Do I need to wear a shirt with labels saying, I
speak English, I know how to drive, I have an education," so that the
general public don't think otherwise just because I am devoted to my religion
and covering my hair?
Anti-Muslim Hate: Why Da..wah Is Our Top Priority
Cashiers at department stores often assume that Muslim women who wear scarfs do
not speak English.
Since September 11, the damage of planned media campaigns against Islam and
Muslims has been increasing exponentially with time. "Hateful, negative
rhetoric regarding Muslims is on the increase both in tone and frequency. It
has almost become socially acceptable to engage in bigoted and racist speech
about Muslims. More frightening is the reality that the hateful thoughts and
speech can turn into hateful, even violent action, which can ruin an innocent
person's life", Karen J. Dabdoub—the director of the Cincinnati office of
the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR), Ohio, USA—wrote in The
We Must Unite for the Sake of Da..wah
To preserve genuine Islam in the West, every sincere Muslim has an obligation
to educate as many people as he/she can about Islamic beliefs and values.
Islam is a complete way of life. We must adjust our lifestyle to our
religion—not the other way round. That is, we cannot twist the laws of Allah
and His message to fit our convenience or to please a person or group. To
accomplish this noble mission, Muslims need to coordinate and unite their
efforts to withstand the plots that aim at distorting Islamic teachings under
slogans like "Reforming Islam" or "Promoting Liberal
Islam." We need to focus our energy in passing the genuine message of Allah
Muslims in the West need to put aside cultural differences.
In order to do this, we must begin to unite. The Muslim community in the West
is so diverse that Muslims end up getting segregated in clusters. Not only is
this disunity totally against the spirit of Islam, it also makes Muslims much
less effective in pursuing their goals or acting as a powerful minority that
can positively influence the societies they live in.
Muslims in the West need to put aside cultural differences developed from their
ethnicity or original country and consider their Islamic identity as the only
source for a unified Islamic culture. Muslims from every background should
review all their customs and traditions, give up what is national but not
Islamic, and preserve only what is compatible with the Qur'an and Sunnah. Every
Muslim must make learning the Arabic language a high priority. In their golden
days, Muslims used the language of the Qur'an to communicate.
Developing a unified set of customs and social behaviors that is based on
Islamic teachings and communicating in one language will act as strategies to
develop a united Muslim community.
Dr. Salwa Rashad is an Egyptian writer based in Madison , USA . She holds a PhD
in engineering and a master's degree in computer science. A freelance writer
for Aljumah magazine, Rashad also presents Islamic views at schools, colleges,
and churches. She is a peace activist with Beyond Terrorism group and Madison
Area Peace Coalition (MAPC). You can reach her at firstname.lastname@example.org