After California shootings, Muslim American families struggle with identity
American Muslims speak out.
San Francisco – Mirvette Judeh began covering her hijab with a hoodie two weeks ago while in the car with her two young children. †Introductory offers to be billed 4 weekly as per the following – The Australian Digital Subscription $4 per week to be billed as $16 4-weekly; The Australian Digital Subscription + The Weekend Australian (delivered Saturday) $4 per week to be billed as $16 4-weekly; The Australian Digital Subscription + 6 day paper delivery $8 per week to be billed as $32 4-weekly.Christopher Kang is National Director of the National Council of Asian Pacific Americans (NCAPA), a coalition of 35 Asian Pacific American organizations.
When Donald Trump, the Republican presidential candidate, proposed a ban on Muslims entering the US after the deadly San Bernardino shooting, American Muslims felt alarmed and threatened.Tired of the unanswered questions in his faith, Bruce Patterson, a former Christian based in the US, seeks truth in Eastern religions and tribal faiths and finally finds it in Islam. From 2009 to 2015, he served in the White House, as Deputy Counsel and Deputy Assistant to President Barack Obama, Senior Counsel to the President, and Special Assistant to the President for Legislative Affairs. Islam teaches me to care about all human beings, and animals too, but life is short and I can’t even find enough time to worry about all the Muslims. Muslims were the target of another Republican candidate, Ben Carson, whose statements during the campaign were seen as insulting to Islam and American Muslims.
At Tuesday’s Republican debate, the candidates once more took pains to point out that they would speak the dreaded words that President Obama and Hillary Clinton dare not. “We have a president who is unwilling to utter its name,” Ted Cruz said in his opening statement. As an anti-Muslim backlash swells across the United States following the December 2 massacre by a young Muslim couple inspired by Islamic State in San Bernardino, California, many young Muslim families say they fear for their safety and are struggling with their American and Muslim identities.
For more than four years, he was in charge of the selection, vetting, and confirmation of President Obama’s judicial nominees, and during his last year and a half, he also advised the President on commutations and issues of executive clemency. I don’t worry too much about the Muslims who face racial slurs in Europe and America, the ones who are suspected of harboring murderous thoughts at their workplaces or those who are picked out of immigration queues and asked awkward questions about their luggage and their ancestors. She teaches her 8-year-old son, for example, to never utter the words “blow up” at school, regardless of the context, and to never pretend he is playing with guns, even if his friends do.
I tell myself that at the end of their humiliating journeys they can expect privileges like running water, electricity and tainted promises of equality. Al Jazeera asked several American Muslims to address the political environment in the country in light of the statements by Trump and Carson among others, perceived as stoking fear and distrust of the Muslim community. Frankly, that will make people think because they may not care much about their lives, but they do care, believe it or not, about their families’ lives.” From another angle, however, Trump and ISIS are effectively, if not intentionally, helping each other.
Her son has asked if people hate him and his family, Judeh said, a question she can find difficult to answer after receiving hateful comments and threats because of her hijab. He led the legislative outreach and strategy for the confirmations of Supreme Court Justices Sotomayor and Kagan, the Senate’s successful effort to repeal Don’t Ask Don’t Tell, and the reduction of the sentencing disparity between crack and powder cocaine offenses. So, having established my credentials, I can honestly say that it gives absolutely nothing in the way of an answer or strategy to deal with terrorist attacks.
Full offer terms and conditions apply – see www.theaustralian.com.au for full details. * Value calculated as at 24/11/15.Offer includes a free Samsung Galaxy Tab A 8” Tablet Model SM-T350NZAAXSA (WiFi Only).Please be aware introductory offers must be purchased before 18 December 2015 for delivery before Christmas Day. My friend Sabeen Mahmud was murdered earlier this year, probably for not being a good enough Muslim, and it happened in this country, a country so Muslim that you can live your entire life here without shaking hands with a non-Muslim. In context: I feel a sense of relief that America’s consciousness is starting to awake to the reality of institutional racism that has always existed from white supremacy. It caused the mass genocide of indigenous people and has manifested itself in American society in numerous ways – from the way our history books are written to how policies are enacted. We so-called moderate Muslims are urged to take control of the narrative and wrest it away from the radicals — as though we were MFA students in a creative writing class struggling with midterm submissions, rather than 1.6 billion people of maddening diversity.
The anti-Muslim rhetoric used reminds me of how we were treated in the same manner – accused of having a “backwards religion” and being “savages” just because we lived our lives differently. View Archive It’s not just Republicans who have decided that Obama’s and Clinton’s unwillingness to use this phrase is a sign of weakness and strategic incoherence. We will supply your contact details to JB Hi-Fi, who will deliver this tablet only to your registered subscription address and will email you with dispatch details.
The Council on American-Islamic Relations, which tracks such incidents, says the scale of vandalism, damage and intimidation at American mosques this year is the worst in the six years they have kept records. In other words, there’s a global confederation of extremists. “Hardliner” refers to an uncompromising mentality, which lumps enemies together; sees the world in black-and-white, “good-versus-evil” terms; and backs extreme responses to perceived threats. General Assembly focused significantly on that topic: “Today, it is violence within Muslim communities that has become the source of so much human misery. . . . But it takes gumption to wave a dictionary in front of someone who has lost a daughter, a son or a partner, and say: “Here, I have something for you.
It is time for the world — especially Muslim communities — to explicitly, forcefully, and consistently reject the ideology of organizations like al-Qaeda and ISIL [the Islamic State].” In his speech after the San Bernardino, Calif., shootings, Obama again made some of these points, leading late-night comic Seth Meyers to quip: “So he used the words ‘radical,’ ‘Islam,’ and ‘terrorism,’ he just didn’t use them in the right order. I moved on from Christianity, thinking the scriptures of the Jews and the Christians are corrupted, so there is no way that I can find the truth from the false. She likens the predicament to parents wondering when to tell their children Santa Claus does not exist, hoping their innocence will stretch for as long as possible. Look. ‘Islam.’ It means peace.” Saying that Islam is a religion of peace is like saying that Hinduism is about respecting cows and Buddhism is about the lotus position.
Which would be a problem if it was a spell and he was Harry Potter, but he’s not, so it isn’t.” Obama and Clinton have chosen not to describe the enemy as “radical Islam” out of deference to the many Muslim countries and leaders who feel it gives the terrorists legitimacy. The best thing we can do as individuals is take the time to have a conversation with our neighbours, friends, and co-workers and not let the media do the religious education for us.
Jinan Al-Marayati, a 15-year-old Muslim who attends a Catholic school in Los Angeles, said she often feels pressured to defend her religion when the Islamic State comes up in class discussions. It’s an impossible job, explaining Islam, whether you’re an observing Muslim (no alcohol, no bacon, no jihad) or an accidental Muslim (a bit of everything, and surely no jihad) or somewhere in between. She encourages questions from teachers and classmates, she said, but sometimes tries to downplay her Muslim and Palestinian background when she is with her American friends. “With my Muslim friends, I feel like I’m not Muslim enough.
Offers are available to new customers with an Australian residential address who have not held a digital subscription with The Australian in the 6 months preceding subscribing for this offer. Yet if as a good Muslim I started to condemn everything bad that is done by Muslims, I wouldn’t have any time left to say my five daily prayers, let alone make macaroni and cheese for my kids or take them to the park.
I feel Trump is simply the unfiltered version of our American justice system; we’re just used to racism being sugar-coated or cloaked in legal terms and laws. His foreign minister, Laurent Fabius, explained: “I do not recommend using the term Islamic State because it blurs the lines between Islam, Muslims and Islamists. The Arabs call it ‘Daesh,’ and I will be calling them the ‘Daesh cutthroats.’ ” The best proof that calling radical Islam by its name provides no solutions is that the Republican candidates had none at Tuesday’s debate.
I feel that those few also include our representatives in the media who pretend they can save Islam’s reputation by going on TV and writing op-eds to reassure the world that we come in peace. Meanwhile, hawkish Republicans insist on Islamizing terrorism by continually modifying the term with “radical Islamic” or just plain “Islamic,” and pour scorn on Obama for downplaying the religious dimension. I felt confused, I fell to the floor and prayed, “Oh, please God, I am so confused, please guide me to the truth.” This is when I discovered Islam.
Administration sources tell me that a no-fly zone would require at least 200 U.S. aircraft and would do little to stop the violence, which is mostly conducted on land, with some via helicopters). Last week, Trump tweeted: “Well, Obama refused to say (he just can’t say it), that we are at WAR with RADICAL ISLAMIC TERRORISTS.” With a few edits, ISIS might have sent the same tweet. (Worryingly, Trump’s narrative is catching on. They are suggesting that Muslim mass murderers should be treated like non-Muslim mass murderers, like those shooters on American college campuses or the invaders of Iraq.
Arming the Kurds directly would enrage the Iraqi and Turkish governments, as well as many of the Sunni tribes that would have to eventually occupy the lands that are liberated. Despite Trump’s lack of national-security experience, GOP voters trust him more than any other Republican candidate to tackle terrorism.) Second, hardliners represent each other’s meal ticket. The ultras try to defeat the moderates on their own side by forcing them into a binary choice: Either you’re with us, or you’re with the terrorists (or the infidels). In fact, the enemy is radical Islam, an ideology that has spread over the past four decades — for a variety of reasons — and now infects alienated young men and women across the Muslim world. Americans should not blame Muslim or Arab Americans for the actions of terrorist groups like ISIL or al-Qaeda because they have no power to stop them … In fact, if I personally ever get in contact with them, they will probably kill me, too.
Moreover, Republican candidate Donald Trump is exploiting this kind of media coverage to stoke the fears of Americans and convert that into electoral points. One study found that after an Israeli city fell within Hamas’s target sights, that city saw a significant increase in support for right-wing parties.
In turn, radical Israeli settlers launched “price tag” attacks on Palestinians, hitting symbolic targets like mosques to intimidate Palestinians, but also to provoke reprisals, force the Israeli military to send help, and ultimately protect settlements in the West Bank. For Israeli hardliners, Iran’s previous president, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, was a useful enemy who could be relied upon to issue incendiary rhetoric, including Holocaust denial, that only aided the hawkish cause. Trump’s emphasis on the “Islamic” nature of extremism legitimizes the opposing side’s message, and antagonizes Muslim moderates who naturally bristle at the implied association with terrorism. ISIS’s own propaganda spells out its strategy of “polarizing” Muslims by making life impossible for the moderates—a strategy that Trump, through his rhetoric, is abetting. What I see when looking at 2015 America and the rise of Trump is, to be blunt, a movement of racists who long for pre-civil rights era period where they would be free to do as this wish to a minority group under threat.
Personally, it makes me sad, especially because I consider myself an American; I am an educated American, and I am an American in tune with the values of the constitution. To see how impactful fear can be, that it pushes others to completely discard their own core American values – this makes it difficult to use the constitution to fight for civil rights and highlight injustices. Last March, Republican senators attempted to derail the Iran nuclear deal by sending an open letter to Iran’s leaders threatening that a future president could revoke any bargain “with the stroke of a pen.” Obama responded: “It’s somewhat ironic to see some members of Congress wanting to make common cause with the hardliners in Iran.
As a community leader, I am saddened on several levels by the way some mainstream Americans are displaying their support for a bigot and a racist like Donald Trump. We are equally disturbed and concerned that terrorists commit acts of terrorism and violence using our name and tarnishing the reputation of our faith.
Yitzhak Rabin and Yasser Arafat had once been enemies, but during the peace process, the two men saw themselves as companions traveling on a dangerous road together. In Tuesday’s GOP debate, when Senator Rand Paul pushed back against the idea of deliberately killing the families of ISIS members, Trump replied: “So, they can kill us, but we can’t kill them? It is imperative that all community members assert themselves to speak out against all forms of racism, and the collective American society has shown examples of that. Our children and women, especially, are living in fear because of the intense focus on them [that’s] treating them as a “threat” or as dangerous. This will only alienate our community and push it to the edges of society, instead of working to integrate it and make it feel as a part of the American family.
As a Muslim in America today, the headlines I see remind me of things I experienced as a teenager after 9/11: getting yelled at the grocery store, having our garage spray-painted with hate graffiti.
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