By Dr. Aslam Abdullah
In a theological sense, the Muslim house is divided. The Prophet (s), who taught unity of the `ummah for the welfare and well-being of humanity, must be disturbed with what has been happening in the world now.
Lawlessness has increased in several Muslim countries and the killing of Muslims at the hands of Muslims has become a daily routine. Iraq is the best example of a deformed and contaminated Muslim character. Each in the name of his version of Islam, Shiâ€™a and Sunni are resorting to their tribal instincts and satisying their egos by killing each other in the name of their Prophet (s) and God.
While Muslims are busy killing each other, those who view Islam as a threat to humanity are focussed on organizing themselves for the final assault on the monotheistic faith. In Canada and in the USA, anti-Muslim rhetoric has increased to an alarming degree. Islam is being condemnded almost on a daily basis on radio and on television.
Muslim organizations are focussed on issues that do not tackle the harsh realities the community is faced with. For instance, they are concerned about convincing the government that Islam is good and must be respected, something which it is not the business of our government to comment on. The problem is the perception of people at the grass roots–that is being shaped by the actual behavior of Muslims. In a recent poll posted on the internet, a vast majority of Americans expressed their deepest concerns about Islam. Here are the resuls:
Islam and America Poll Results
Do you consider Islam to be a peaceful religion? Yes-15,441, No-203,596.
Do you consider Islam to be a tolerant religion? Yes-8,849, No-209,751.
Would America be a better country if it were a Muslim country? Yes-1,538, No-216,927.
Should America place equal emphasis on the Qur`an and the Bible? Yes-5,597, No 212,365.
Would it be good for America to have more Muslims in elected offices? Yes-5,548, No-211,760.
Would you vote for a Muslim for president? Yes-4,980, No-212,659
As a general rule, are women treated better in America than in a Muslim country? Yes-199,583, No-18,232.
Is America too dependent on Muslim countries for oil? Yes-209,593, No-8,182.
Do Muslim countries do more than America to help the poor? Yes-5,584, No-210,739.
These figures are alarming, and Muslims in America must focus on that. Here are a few things that we can think of doing.
First we have to demolish the Shiâ€™a-Sunni wall that we have created around us. We have our mosques and communities divided on these lines. The mistrust among both communities is huge. Depsite what they say in public, the reality is that their leadership is hypocritical in its attitude towards the other. For instance, a leading Sunni Muslim figure in California believes, (in private though), that Shiâ€™a are the worst enemies of Islam (although he is involved in Sunni-Shiâ€™a reconciliation). Similarly, a Shiâ€™a leader in private was heard saying that Sunnis cannot be trusted as they are the children of Yazid. This Shiâ€™a leader is also known for his Shiâ€™a-Sunni rhetoric. This hypocritical attitude must come to an end. This will come when people will take a stand against such leaders in public.
Secondly, we must come out from the organizational loyalty trap that we are involved in. The threat that we face internally or externally is not directed against a particular organization but against Islam as a whole. Since most organizations are loyal to their own structures and leadership, often at the cost of their loyalty to God and people, it is hard to imagine a unified approach to rhetorical attacks against Muslims and Islam. Again, the masses have to exert their influence by withhodling donations to organizations that refuse to work with others in a real sense to ward off evil against Islam.
Thirdly, we must get involved in a massive public relations campaign focussed on our neighbors and co-citizens to talk about Islam and to prove through action that they have nothing to fear from Islam.
Obviously, things will change, when someone will take the lead in implementing changes at the grassroots levels. Rather than worrying about problems, it is time that we do something to overcome the problem.