What made them suspect him? He was running—so was everyone…And he was from Saudi Arabia, which is around where the logic stops. Was it just the way he looked, or did he, in the chaos, maybe call for God with a name that someone found strange…And yet, when there was so much to fear that we were so brave about, there was panic about a wounded man barely out of his teens who needed help.
A message of love and compassion to Boston, from Iraq
In the wake of tragedies like the terrifying Boston Marathon bombings, or yesterday’s deadly car bombings in Iraq (where these two boys live), it’s important to reach out and show some love and empathy to those who are suffering.
Someone asked me today to help respond to a comment they received. Written within a more general context of villainizing both religion and Islam, part of it is copied as follows:
“But what we all have a right and a DUTY to protest is ANY faith forced on any person. This is why it is imperative that religion never be involved in law or government. Islam IS religious law and government.”
I haven’t been writing much recently so figured I would share my thoughts here, as I finally got a chance to jot some of them down. The above comment is something I have been hearing in various forms too often, surprising that when even ignoring the biases involved, the (lack of) use of a coherent argument at all doesn’t prevent it from being thrown around as some hard stated fact.
That person is correct, Islam indeed offers broad guidelines for the function of a state (and therefore, government). The treatment of prisoners of war, how to arrange treaties, the concept of social welfare, and the treatment of religious minorities, for example, are explicitly addressed in the Qur’an.
What this person incredibly fails on all accounts in their “point” is to explain how “forcing faith on any person” makes it imperative that “religion never be in involved in law.” How are those possibly one and the same?
Not only is that first jump completely unjustified in their given argument, their comment fails to take into account how incorporating actual Islamic concepts into law would do the exact opposite and protect religious minorities. (They might through around cool words like “jizya tax”, but a basic wikipedia search would should that a tax is paid in some form by all citizens, Muslims paying their annual zakat). Their comment also excludes the basic Quran injunction of “no compulsion in religion.”
Instead of wasting their time attacking religion, it might be a bit more productive if that person and people like them came to use religion to counter the often inappropriate actions taken in the name of Islam or whatever else. The question shouldn’t be stopping Islam from ohmagawd taking over the government. The goal should be making sure it’s not done in some manipulated manner as it so often has been.
Indian women hold placards outside the residence of Delhi Chief Minister Sheila Dikshit during a protest against the growing incidence of rape and its slow and ineffective prosecution following the gang rape of a woman in New Delhi.
But before this becomes a “third world problems” story, let’s not brush our own rape culture under the rug. If we can be outraged, sympathetic, and supportive when we read headlines about a woman gang raped in India who spawned a national movement of women protesting, we should be equally outraged by a gang rape case involving a high school football team in Steubenville, Ohio. Not to mention our congress which just let the Violence Against Women Act expire for the first time since 1994.
Hope everyone had a wonderful Christmas. Thank you all so much for the birthday wishes. Glad I’ve finally caught up with the rest of you and left my teens - though still not yet legal.
And still not yet coming back to the States.
This January, I was planning to return to WashU, after a year away. A semester in Washington. A summer working in Egypt. Another semester in Cairo. I had planned out all of the opportunities WU would allow for studying politics, IR, Arabic, and the rest: that Ervin and Gephardt then allowed me to pursue without concern or inhibition.
I thought after a year I would learn all that I could for now, and then come back to WU.
I thought a year away from my campus and my friends would be terrifying, and I would need to come back to WU.
But I have realized, that I cannot come back - just yet. I will be staying on in Cairo for another semester. And will be returning to WU as a senior next fall.
There is so much I am learning here that I cannot step away from – just yet. It would seem odd to me to study in classrooms with assigned readings from men who have never stepped foot in the Middle East, to learn what I can from simply listening to conversations here in the streets.
It seems odd to me that though I miss my friends back home (yes WU still feels like home), I feel okay managing another semester until I see them. (I do hope they feel the same way).
WU has given me incredible opportunities (being here one of the least); but, WU needs to take a much deeper look at its IAS and PoliSci Depts. We offer a limited scope of the world. We study India, Israel, and sometimes East Asia or Mexico, and we call it a day. The fact is that studying the politics of a region that is the focus of American foreign policy today and the role of a religion that guides over a billion individuals has been unnecessarily difficult on our campus.
And those are the things that I really want to study.
And so for the next semester, I’ll stay to learn tangibly what little more from here I can before finally heading home.
Until then, I promise to do a better job about keeping in touch. Thank you guys for putting up with me (especially you Ayah). I miss you all. And I love you so much more.
In response to the recent commotion about Pamela Gellar’s hate ads placed in the NY Subway, the Muslim Student Association at Washington University in St. Louis joined CAIR Chicago’s campaign to call out what both sides of the debate seem to be missing, namely the blatant misuse of Jihad as if it were synonymous with terrorism.
WUSTL MSA believes the best response to a hateful ad campaign is to convert it into an opportunity to promote awareness and mutual understanding on our campus. An opportunity to take back jihad from anti-Muslim and Muslim extremists one hashtag at a time.
For more about the inspiration behind this campaign visit here.