Why Don’t We Follow the Example of the Prophet of Islam?
By Anila Ali
President American Muslim Women’s Empowerment Council
Los Angeles, CA
The New York attack on innocent people from a terrorist within is a grim reminder of the infiltration of the radical extremist Islamic ideologies in our homeland. However, it was somewhat of a relief the terrorist was not a Pakistani. That thought doesn’t absolve us of our duty as citizens of this country and as Muslims, to counter extremism in our religion.
In my recent meeting with Chairman Michael McCaul, House Homeland Security Committee and Chairman Ed Royce, House Foreign Affairs Committee, I shared the work of American Muslim Women’s Empowerment Council (AMWEC) with law enforcement agencies and interfaith groups to counter extremist narratives since 9/11.
In the absence of moderate Muslim voices, extremist narratives will take over. The Prophet of Islam showed the way for all Muslims to lead their lives.
Prophet Muhammad was most trusted by Jewish tribes and they called him “Al-Amin," the most trusted. Extremist Islamic ideologies promote hate and mistrust of Jews through their anti-Israeli propaganda. The Prophet of Islam blessed a prostitute by saying that she is going to the Heavens for her kindness to a stray dog, God’s creation, and many Muslims judge LBGT, Ahmedis, Shia and condemn them to Hellfire already. The Prophet of Islam forgave a woman for throwing trash on her daily, and instead went in to see her the day she didn’t throw trash. Many Muslims kill people for drawing cartoons and blaspheming. Why is it that we do not follow the example of the Prophet of Islam?
Because it is tolerant, forgiving, progressive and inclusive. It does not rile people up because it is a peaceful version of Islam. It doesn’t call Jews and Christians, “infidel” and doesn’t promote violence.
As Americans, living at a critical time for our community, Muslims, Pakistanis, we must reflect on our Islamic values. My ancestors built Pakistan, but didn’t raise us with hate for Hindus. Instead, they raised awareness about the reasons why Pakistan was created- most importantly, to give voice, equality to minorities, and to respect them. Yes, today’s Pakistan has become synonymous with all of the opposite but there is plenty of hope with the youth. If educated, the youth can bring back the harmony and co-existence that was Pakistan in 1947.
As discussed with both the Chairmen named above, who’ve traveled to Pakistan and know the country and its issues well; it’s still possible to turn back the clock on extremism with the most powerful weapon, EDUCATION and women’s empowerment, at least within our own Pakistani community.
Moreover, by understanding that peace in the Middle East should be negotiated diplomatically and politically, and not by turning kids at US college campuses into Jihadists, but by understanding the conflict in Kashmir, and believing that it can be negotiated through dialogue and diplomacy. By promoting peace and conflict mediation programs at schools, we can stop the spread of radical ideas. By challenging hate and hateful narratives against Hindus, Jews, Ahmedis, we can promote a more tolerant Islam, the one practiced by Prophet Muhammad, PBUH.
Editor’s Note: An AMWEC press release issued after the New York attack stated: "AMWEC vehemently condemns the heinous attack in Manhattan, New York on Tuesday, October 31, 2017. Our heart and prayers are with the courageous and resilient people of New York. Terrorism is a fearful menace and must be eradicated. AMWEC promises to continue engaging with the moderate Muslim voice. In a meeting with the Chairman of the Homeland Security, Congressman Michael McCaul, our president, Anila Ali, assured our support and commitment to counter extremism in our homeland and abroad."
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