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Entries from January 2017

Aziz Ansari has a funny suggestion to end Islamophobia. Here’s why it’s important. - The Washington Post

Aziz Ansari has a funny suggestion to end Islamophobia. Here’s why it’s important. - The Washington Post.
The azan is meant to remind the listener of God’s majesty. Revealed to prophet Muhammad, it puts the believer in a state of awe and humility. For every claim that we may understand God, we are reminded that God is greater than anything we may conceive. That moment of being lost in the transcendence of God, in the tradition of prophet Muhammad, is an ecstatic one. It is not about bells or dancing. It is about exercising the gifts God has created in us, the voice, to be reflective and pleased with God’s presence within us. 
 It is also a direct link to our history, and the promise of anti-racism in the Islamic ethos. The first person to have the official role to call people to prayer was Bilal ibn Rabah, who was given the position because of the beauty of his voice and the commitment to his faith. He was a black man, who was held as a slave by the non-Muslims of 7th century Arabia. As a punishment for converting to Islam, his owners did not feed him to the lions, but placed heavy stones on him to crush him to death. As he called out God’s name, and thought, “I can’t breathe,” prophet Muhammad bought his freedom, and elevated him to one of the most important roles in the community.

Letter 4 | Values and Voices

Letter 4 | Values and Voices.
Muslims have been part of this country since its founding. Since nearly a third of all slaves were Muslim, this country literally was built on the backs of Muslims. We have remained important contributors to American history, serving to defend our nation and contributing culturally to what it means to be American. Thomas Jefferson’s copy of the Qur’an sits in the Library of Congress as a testament to how important Muslim thought was to the founding of this country.

Why it’s absurd that a Muslim leader’s presence at the Washington National Cathedral is controversial - The Washington Post

Why it’s absurd that a Muslim leader’s presence at the Washington National Cathedral is controversial - The Washington Post.

The adhan, or call to prayer, is an important aspect of Muslim devotional life. It can be prayerful, but it is not part of a formal prayer. To suggest that Magid is praying, presumably for the success of Trump, is mistaken. When Magid calls out “I bear witness that there is no deity but God, and Muhammad is the messenger of God,” there is no benediction for anyone. There is only the praise of the divine. By framing it simply as a prayer, someone who is unfamiliar with a quarter of the world’s population may think that despite Trump’s hateful rhetoric to his fellow Americans, they are ready to submit to him unconditionally.

Professors grapple with how to address Trump presidency in classroom - Columbia Daily Spectator

Professors grapple with how to address Trump presidency in classroom - Columbia Daily Spectator.

Religion professor Hussein Rashid, who teaches a class on Muslims in diaspora, explained how the effects of Trump’s presidency on Muslim communities could have ripple effects that would present challenges to the entire country.   “My job as a professor is to get students to think about the implications of all of these issues,” Rashid said. “If we talk about, say, a Muslim registry, it’s not just about Muslims in America, but what it means for American society, because these things don’t happen in a vacuum.”