Beliefnet
Muslim Youth USA

by Adil Khan

I love Jesus. No you won’t see me at Sunday Worship, nor with a cross on my forehead during lent. I don’t believe Jesus is God, and I do not believe that the current state of Christianity is reflective of the beliefs of Jesus Christ. I, like the majority of Christian scholars, do not believe that—as the Biblical evidence suggests—Jesus was born on December 25th of the Gregorian Calendar, nor do I believe that Jesus celebrated birthdays. However I do believe that Christianity does have a most attractive and special allure, beauty and system of values. Who am I? I am a Muslim for Jesus.

 

I am admittedly a bit amused by this new term I have coined: “Muslim for Jesus”. For me it is something so obvious that I cannot help but let out a good-hearted laugh on the inside. If you want to follow Islam, then you must hold on to Jesus, and not let him go. In the same way you have to hold on to Krishna, Buddha, Confucius and so on, the reason being that the Qur’an states “We make no distinction between any of His (God’s) messengers” (2:286). Unfortunately, I am reminded of images and news of so-called “Muslims” attacking churches and killing innocent Christians. The truth is that these perpetrators, whoever they are, are not following Islam. It only reminds me of the falsehoods of the topsy-turvy world we are living in nowadays where our country’s president retweets fake propaganda videos from Britain First, a far right political group, and is roundly condemned by British leaders.

 

The fact is that Islam actually teaches the exact opposite of what these extremist who call themselves “Muslims” do.

 

The Qur’an and The Prophet Muhammad actually taught that Muslims were to defend Churches, even at the costs of their lives. Apart from the Qur’an this is evidenced by the Prophet Muhammad’s letter to the St. Catherine’s Monastery in Sinai which is still preserved there to this day. Further if Muslims were to die in the process of defending a church, then they would be considered martyrs. And martyr in the true sense of course not an extremist.. I only invite my Christian brothers and sisters to look back those great Christians who would not recant their faith, but instead preferred to be fed to the lions by Romans.
Further, though I do not agree—as most Christians also do not agree—that Christmas as such has any meaningful relationship with the faith of Jesus Christ but I welcome all my neighbors who celebrate it. This year Muslim youth from my community, the Ahmadiyya Muslim community, will give out thousands of holiday gifts to Christian and non-Christian neighbors across the US just as we did last year.

 

People of Baltimore! You better watch out, you better not cry. You better not pout. I’m telling you why— An Ahmadi Muslim is coming to town. Admittedly, however, this individual does not see you when you are sleeping, and may not know when you’re awake, nor necessarily know when you’ve been bad or good. So don’t worry about that part. God knows about that. At any rate I, as an American, ask my fellow Americans to see what the teachings of Qur’an are all about, and judge for themselves. Maybe these Muslim Santa Clauses are not so bad.
Merry Christmas.

I am a physician who has worked for the past 5 years to help heal our former servicemen. I have never participated in any protests and would never participate in a violent protest of any sort. I have visited churches on numerous occasions and participated in Bible studies. I have done all these things because this what my religion and my prophet have taught me to do. They have taught me to treat knowledge as my lost property and to respect all beliefs. They have taught me to care for the disabled and to refrain from violence as long as possible. My religion is Islam and my prophet is Muhammad.

I am also a migrant who is deeply grateful for this country which has allowed me to profess and practice all these values. According to our president, however, none of these actions or values can possibly be held by a Muslim or a migrant. He would have you believe that we are likely to cause mob violence, violently disrespect other religions, and attack vulnerable disabled people.
This type of hatred and fear mongering has long been a brand among the fringes in our otherwise open and accepting society that we have worked so hard to build here in America. Weather to build fame or wealth, or simply to stoke hatred, Islamophobia has become the full time obsession (and occupation) of many looking to cash in on the hysteria. With his three re-tweets our President is trying his best to bring this destructive brand into the mainstream.
It was my (clearly naïve) hope that the inflammatory rhetoric of Mr. Trump that we heard all too often last year was just a campaign tactic, but his tweets substantiate the view that this President endorses and promotes hatred. In the twitter universe a re-tweet is considered an endorsement and the original author of these tweets is the public face of an unquestionably Islamophobic and extremist group.  In effect, the man who is often known to be the “leader of the free world” is endorsing extremist bigotry and spreading misinformation against a religion followed by over 3.3 million Americans and nearly a third of the world’s population. The contention that the posts were somehow about immigration and border security are laughable. Everything about them is derogatory in the worst sort of way against Islam.

The first tweet depicts an individual attacking a disabled person. Besides not being a migrant the perpetrator wasn’t even Muslim. This is the very definition of the fake news that this president derides on a daily basis. While the individuals in the other videos were Muslim in name their actions were antithetical to basic Islamic principles of religious tolerance.

The second video is of a man breaking the statue of Virgin Mary. While Islam is against building statues for the purposes of worship, it does not condone intolerance of any sort. The Prophet Muhammad himself was a perfect model of tolerance allowing, indeed inviting, a Christian delegation to pray in the mosque. One wishes that our President would follow this model just a bit.

In addition there is a whole chapter of the Quran narrating the story of Mary and Jesus. The Quran states, “And remember when the angels said, ‘O Mary, God has chosen thee and purified thee. And He has chosen thee above the women of all peoples'”. This verse leaves no room for any irreverence towards this beloved figure in Islam.

The third and perhaps most disturbing video depicts individuals throwing people off of buildings in an act of mob violence. In response to violent actions the world wide head of Ahmadiyya Muslim Community has instructed, “Islam has taught us to respond to curses with prayers; it has taught us to respond to those who grieve us only with love and care it has taught us to respond to arrogance only with humility.” This is true Islam, standing in direct juxtaposition to mob violence of any sort.

Mr. Trump, unfortunately, is unfamiliar with this true Islam. He knows only of the Islam that is depicted in Islamophobic extremist website and social media. This is not the Islam that I have known growing up in a religious Muslim family. This is not the Islam that is taught at any of the dozens of mosques that I have been to in my lifetime. That Islam, the real Islam taught by Muhammad and followed by millions around the world, is what our President should endorse and promote. And while the president may never visit a mosque, know that our fellow Americans are always welcome to come as our neighbors and friends. You can even find a local Muslim meet-up in Dallas at trueislam.com.

Yameen Khalil is currently a physician in primary care working for the Department of Veteran Affairs (VA) in Oklahoma. Prior to working in the VA he has done research in medical genetics and anesthesia. He currently serves as Chairman of the Muslim Writers Guild of America.

by Syed Musawar Ahmad 

As the news on October 16, 2017 came forward, one news took my attention. 
Pakistan elected to UN Human Rights Council, polling 151 votes, and when the question was asked from the Pakistani diplomat about Pakistan’s objective on the council, Ambassador Lodhi said, “We will use our membership to protect our core national interests, uphold universal values , be a bridge builder between polarised positions and expose human rights abuses by India in occupied Kashmir.”
 
This is being deemed as the diplomatic success for Pakistan. In the past, Pakistani diplomats won the council seats and the most prominent one was the first Pakistani foreign minister, Sir Muhammad Zafarullah Khan, who was elected as the president of UN general assembly, a judge at the international court of justice and also served as the vice president of the same body. He was the permanent diplomat representing Pakistan for many years to come. He was also one of the most influential figures in UN, and on his death in 1985, his Majesty King Hussein bin Tallal of Jordan said:
 
“He was indeed a champion of the Arab cause and his ceaseless efforts whether among the Muslim and non-aligned countries or at the International Court of Justice will remain for ever a shining example of a great man truly dedicated to our faith and civilization.”
 
When we look at the religion of Sir Khan, he belonged to the Ahmadiyya Muslim community, a reformation campaign in Islam which was founded back in march, 1889. He was also one of the founders of Pakistan, and drafted the Lahore resolution in 1940 which were the basis of its creation. The founder of Pakistan, Muhammad Ali Jinnah called him his Political Son and offered him the first seat as a foreign minister in the cabinet of Pakistan in 1947. 
 
In his address of August 11, 1947, Muhammad Ali Jinnah effectively gave his vision for the newly born state of Pakistan. Among many things, there was one issue which was clearly stated regarding separation of religion and state. He said,  “You are free; you are free to go to your temples, you are free to go to your mosques or to any other place or worship in this State of Pakistan. You may belong to any religion or caste or creed that has nothing to do with the business of the State. “
 

ijinnah001p1

Muhammad Ali Jinnah

However, just 27 years after the independence of Pakistan, the parliament made its business to decide the religion of its citizens. Ahmadiyya Muslim community, was declared as non-Muslims and an amendment was passed in the constitution to legalize it, giving way to the “fatwa” party to come to power and influence the legislation even today. Merely 10 years after the amendment was passed, another ordinance was passed-298 B and C- which effectively stripped this minority from practicing their faith freely. A brutal violation of human rights. Not just this, but the blasphemy law – article 295 – has been in the constitution which is being misused even today for personal gain. 
 
Ahmadiyya muslim community and other minorities have been persecuted under these articles effectively, as the law protects them. Few days ago, one of the member of the National Assembly suggested to put forward a resolution to remove the name of Noble Laureate Dr Abdus Salam, an Ahmadi Muslim, who won the Nobel prize in Physics in 1979, and was the founder of the Pakistan’s space agency, SUPARCO-from the Physics department of the university named after the founder of Pakistan, ironic? He also added to stop enlisting Ahmadis in the armed forces. 
Ahmadis also served on the prominent positions in the armed services of Pakistan. 
 
General Akthar Hussain Malik, General Abul Ali Malik and General Iftikhar Janjua served prominently in the Indo-Pak wars of 1965 and 1971. In the history of the armed services, General Iftikhar Janjua is the only General who was martyred while fighting on the front lines. This member of National assembely  was a captain in Pakistan army and son in law of the ex-Prime minister of Pakistan, who was disqualified from the office due to the charges of corruption and his name in Panama papers.
 
Current political environment in Pakistan is highly charged when it comes to religion. Just few days ago, 3 Ahmadi Muslims in Pakistan were sentenced to death for blasphemy. There is no basis for persecution or punishment for blasphemy according to the true principles of Islam. These individuals were convicted for tearing down posters carrying anti Ahmadi slogans and baselessly accussed of insulting the Prophet Muhammad (SAW). This is ironic in itself as Holy Prophet (SAW) himself withstood countless abuses with patience and prayer and was a beacon for religious freedom. 
 
Blasphemy law is against the true principles of Islam, and it is being wrongly used by politicians, clerics and terrorists alike to stoke fire and encourage the environment of fear, intolerance and persecution of other minorities. However, when the above mentioned member of National Assembly made his speech, there were some good samaritans who opposed it and media slammed his statements by telling the truth of Ahmadiyya community role in the creation of Pakistan, and upholding the name of Pakistan in the international community. 
 
In his Friday sermon of October 13, 2017, the head and Caliph of Ahmadiyya Muslim community asked the members of the community internationally and to the Pakistani members specially to pray for Pakistan. He said, “It is the duty of the Ahmadis residing in Pakistan to pray for the country in which Ahmadis offered sacrifices from the outset, that may God Almighty protect it, and may He protect us from the oppressive tyrants and the self-indulging clerics. May Pakistan be counted among the liberated and civilized countries of the world.”
 
For UN diplomats of Pakistan, congratulations on being voted into the council. As a Pakistani-American, it is a great deal and matter of pride for me, while America has the distinct history of serving as an advocate for human rights for the oppressed, please start from our own home, abolish these constitutional amendments, separate the business of state and religion of its citizens. Throw out the fatwa factory from the parliament, it has given nothing to Pakistan in the past 40 years but the fear of persecution, intolerance, and terrorism. Jinnah had a great vision and foresightedness for this country, as he knew the strategic value of Pakistan, however, if the insult to his vision continues, it will continue this environment of terror and insult to the rights of its citizens. 

by Nayyar Ahmad

Once again I am forced to write about an issue that has grasped the world’s attention. While it is true that Senator Pauline Hanson from Australia wore a Burqa/face covering to a Parliament proceeding, it is also true that she did it out of malicious intent to disgrace and disrespect this ornament, cherished by millions of Muslim women around the world. I reject her outright bigtory and shameless audacity to pull a stunt like this.

Senator Pauline Hanson

Senator Pauline Hanson

Her blatant disregard of Islamic values and Australian Muslims landed her a schooling lesson by senator George Brandis who said, “..and to ridicule that community, to drive it into a corner, to mock its religious garments, is an appalling thing to do”, and I second his words. You have to be naive to believe that banning the burqa or face covering will end the threat of terrorism or strengthen national security.

This is a mockery of Australian values that encourage inclusiveness. A nation that takes pride in its diversity and pluralism knows better what this blind hate can lead to. I, for one, know this first hand and while Australia was my home for 8 years, I have never witnessed such hate and bigotry except in Pakistan, my country of origin that is known to marginlize minorities with hateful rhetoric. It comes as no surprise that extremists find Pakistan as a safe haven.

This kind of fear-mongering has no place in the world and is nothing short of an abuse of power. In a position of authority, one must exercise caution not to cause division and apartheid against a minority. Australia is a nation that affords freedom and liberty for its people with stringent anti-vilification laws in place. This is the very reason most Muslims have migrated to this beautiful country. Theoretically, Australian values are more in line with Islamic ideology which promotes pluralism and affords freedom at every level of civil character.

I find it quite ironic that the action of senator Hanson to force the removal of the veil can only be described and equated to extremists who force women to wear the veil. Every human being has a right to freedom and while Islam proposes that Muslim women should cover their outer beauty, it rejects coercion in matters of faith and values liberty as a cornerstone to belief. However, such coercion reminds me of a famous quote coined by the 4th Caliph of the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community, Mirza Tahir Ahmad, who said, “Swords can win territories but not hearts, forces can bend heads but not minds”.

As a counter-narrative to the notion that Muslim women are living a life of tyranny and oppression, many Muslim women enjoy the veil and find it empowering to cover and protect themselves against the inevitable gazes of the opposite sex. As an example, when Nobel Peace prize recipient laureate Tawakul Karman was asked about her Hijab by journalists and how it is not proportionate with her level of intellect and education she replied “Man in The early times was almost naked, and as his intellect evolved he started wearing clothes. What I am today and what I’m wearing represents the highest level of thought and civilization that man has achieved, and is not regressive. It’s the removal of clothes again that is regressive back to ancient times.”

To end on a high note, its important to forward the narrative of love and dispel the bigotry of hate. I welcome senator Hanson to study the Quran and understand the true meaning of Islam. A good place to start is by visiting www.trueislam.com and become a Muslim ally.

Advance Australia Fair!