Do we love Islam more than they hate Islam?
The opinions expressed in this article are the author’s own and do not necessarily reflect the view of The Link Canada publication.
I remember when I first heard of the shooting of our brother Deah, and sisters Yusor and Razan, in Chapel Hill, North Carolina and cried tears of sorrow, pain, and frustration. The pain of their loss was immense and a wakeup call for all of us – that as a community we must work harder to counter Islamophobia and never let this happen again. As we reflect upon the losses of our brother Deah and our sisters Yusor and Razan in Chapel Hill and our brother Abdisamad Sheikh-Hussein in Missouri, and our brother Mustafa Mattan in Fort McMurray we feel pain, frustration, anger, and immense sorrow.
This much is natural for us to feel. In a world that seeks to numb pain and sorrow, we should be grateful for even the feeling of pain and sorrow. We pray to Allah for the brothers and sisters we’ve lost and for our hearts to be healed and the loved ones of the brothers and sisters to be given immense imaan, taqwa, sabr, sakeenah, strength, and peace in their hearts. Ameen.
These tragic events helped mobilize the American-Muslim community and the world around these beautiful souls lost. Over the past decade we’ve seen violence in different parts of the world, but these violent crimes truly woke up the Muslim community – not just nationally within the United States and Canada, but internationally as well. Islamophobia by and large used to be seen as just an ugly word, which meant misinformation and lies about Islam and Muslims.
Unfortunately, we’re seeing this ugly word translate into violence against Muslims. As a community we must be weary of the danger our community is facing, and must do our best to protect our brothers and sisters as much as we can — especially those sisters who wear hijab. If you’re a brother, escort sisters to their classrooms, cars, or errands. Walk in groups, keep in touch with your friends, and update them on where you are and where you’re going. If you can, ensure your masjid or MSA has a crisis response team and crisis response strategy that can respond to various emergencies that your community may face. These tips aren’t to cause fear in us, but to give us ideas of how to protect our community and understand the threat we face as a community.
It has become important now more than ever for the Muslim community to counter Islamophobia and misinformation about Islam and Muslims. We can no longer ignore the danger our community faces when it comes to deliberate misinformation and lies about Islam and Muslims. Islamophobia has claimed the lives of too many of our brothers and sisters within the United States and internationally. We can no longer afford to encourage our youth to pursue careers just to gain financial gain. We must encourage our youth to pursue careers in which they not only benefit financially but are able to serve the Muslim community and counter Islamophobia. The Islamophobia industry is a $42 million industry that places much effort into opposing the views of Islam. The question is: are we putting that same effort, time and energy to counter that misinformation?
Our community truly hasn’t put in enough effort to counter Islamophobia. We think that the extent of helping the community is donating money. While donations are great and important your talent, skills, and energy are needed. We need brothers and sisters working night and day to help educate and clear up misinformation and misunderstandings about Islam and Muslims. The future of our community depends on it and it is incumbent on every one of us to do so.
As long as we neglect dawah and education about Islam to our colleagues, neighbors and friends we will continue to face more ugliness, hate crimes, and violence.
We must remember that every soul lost to hate crimes, war, and violence is one soul too many. We can no longer afford to remain apathetic to the suffering of our Muslim brothers and sisters here in North America and internationally. When we reflect on the many losses of our brothers and sisters here in North America and elsewhere in the world from hate crimes, violence, and war — we must ask ourselves what are we doing for Islam? What are we doing to make the world a better place? What legacy will we leave behind? And lastly, the question posed by my good friend Hassan Shibly: do we love Islam more than they hate Islam?