Letters to the Editor 8-24

More on Hypocrisy

Dr. Nakadar: I have gone through your article which was remarkable. The way in which it is written emphasizing the double standard in US political diplomacy is highly appreciated. I believe you have a deep knowledge and great sense of international politics. Please accept my best wishes and heartiest congratulation.

Allah Hafiz,
Syed Hyder

More on Halal/Haram

Salam alaikum. This is with reference to on the ongoing debate in your newspaper about halal and haram foods. We all understand that as Muslims we need to stick to halal diet, and avoid haram food. Yet purists (such as the Muslim Consumer Group for Food Products) offer few practical solutions to dealing with this issue in real-world daily life in the US.

In their website they declare that Muslims should not eat out at all unless they are absolutely sure about the halal provisions of the restaurant concerned. Little did they think of the practical challenges posed by their position. For example, like many executives, I am required frequently to travel (when it is difficult for me to cook for myself), and have business meals with customers and colleagues in “normal” restaurants. Even if we have salads in every meal we eat out, there is no guarantee that it is not contaminated by haram ingredients. What are we supposed to do in circumstances such as these?

The real solution is to push for halal awareness in the US food industry (much like the Jewish community has raised kosher awareness — you can demand AND get kosher food in most eateries nowadays) by presenting it as a business imperative.

And be practical at the same time…We do not intentionally eat haram food. We try our best to stick to a halal diet. However, sometimes, the boundary is not clear, particularly when circumstances are not in your control. Isn’t it an Islamic tenet to say “do your best, and leave the rest to Allah”?

In discussing issues such as these I urge leaders of our community to be pragmatic, and present practical SOLUTIONS along with the problems they discuss that would help address the problem of everyday Muslims in the US.

Another case in point: we are happy to denounce Muslims who do not offer their salat, but have we considered whether Muslims in everyday jobs in the US have the right circumstances to offer the zuhr, ‘asr and maghrib prayers at their workplaces during the working hours?

This is not Saudi Arabia where you have a mosque in every street corner, and people are accustomed to leaving everything at the time of prayer.

What practical solutions have we created for this problem as a community?

I have asked many imams this questions and am still waiting for a more practical answer other than “quit your job”

I encourage healthy debate on issues that would make it easier for Muslims `insha-Allah to lead a more Islamic life in the US without having to alienate ourselves.

Walekum salam

—Shamim Ahmed


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