Islam

Town Hall Dialogue on #MuslimBan, #TravelBan, #KnowYouRights

This is a replay of the Live and Online Town Hall Dialogue that took place on February 8th, 2017. The program was sponsored by the California State University, Dominguez Hills Multicultural Affairs. 

Panelists: 
Hassan Shibly is a civil rights attorney, activist, and Executive Director of CAIR Florida. Contact: facebook.com/hshibly or www.cairflorida.org.

Aziza Hasan: Is the Executive Director of NewGround: A Muslim-Jewish Partnership for Change. Contact: www.mjnewground.org.

Host: 
Tom Earl: Musician & Poet, CEO of Tom Earl Artist and Founder of T.H.E. Celebration Academy. 

Special Guest Hassan Shibly - #TravelBan, Know Your Rights, and Islam

Special Guest Hassan Shibly - #TravelBan, Know Your Rights, and Islam

Hassan Shibly is a civil rights attorney and Executive Director of CAIR Florida.  On this episode Hassan answers questions and offers his expertise on the #TravelBan, #MuslimBan,  Debunks Islamophobia Myths, and covers Know Your Rights 101 especially when protesting and while traveling.

A Muslim's reflection on conversations with Trump Supporters.

I keep getting asked: why are you Muslim when Islam hates women and is intolerant of other religions?  It’s a question I’m asked quite often by Trump Supporters.  It baffles me, hearing a Trump supporter ask, "how can you support a movement that demonizes other religions and treats women so horrible?” Because that is my question for them, How can you support a person and a movement that is bigoted towards other religions and sexist towards women?

When I step back and reflect upon it, it blows my mind.  We are both looking at each other asking the same exact question.

I clearly feel like I am right and that they are wrong. I believe people are misinformed about my religion. That they take out of context quotes, or misquotes, or misinformation and form an inaccurate picture about my religion. I feel that people take all of this wrong information and use it to stereotype my entire religion.

And then I hear the same feelings echoed back to me from the other person. They feel that my opinion on Trump comes from out of context quotes, or misinformation, and etc. They share with me that yes, there are extremists who support Trump, but that the everyday Trump supporter is a good person.

The mirror reflection of the conversation just stuns me.

I understand the difference of where we stand in regards to privilege and power. I'm defending my religious identity rather than my political opinion.  Trump is the president of the U.S. and has all the power that goes with that.  Whereas, Islam, in the context of the U.S., does not have systemic power or privilege.

As an individual, I feel massive amounts of fear because of Islamophobia.  The question is heavy on my mind, what will it mean to be a Muslim in a Trump nation? Already I have seen the consequences: People having their hijabs torn off, Muslims being yelled at and attacked in the streets, a man was planning a massive shooting on the Mosque/Masjid I attend, and threats of forced registration.  I feel this fear everyday.  And it must be said, I am an extremely privileged Muslim.  I walk around everyday and people have no idea I’m Muslim.  I can’t even begin to imagine the fraction of what someone feels who is visibly assumed to be Muslim.

I’ve shared this with many Trump supporters over the past few weeks.  And then they tell me, well that’s the way they feel about Islam.  That they live in constant fear of terrorist attacks, or their rights being taken away by sharia law, or of ISIS, and that its unsafe to be a Christian in this world.

I tell them that’s crazy.  All of those things are exaggerated and fear mongered by the media and politicians.  ISIS has nothing to do with Islam.  And then they tell me that I’m crazy.  That I’ve been brainwashed by the media and fear mongers and that all the things I’ve heard about Trump are lies.

This leaves me reflecting, what next? Where do we go from here? What is an effective way forward? When we both are staring at each other feeling the exact same way: "I’m right, you’re wrong. My people suffer because you’re people are crazy.  I am justified in my feelings and correct in my facts."

My intention of this post is to share these thoughts that have been bouncing in my head and then listen. And so I’ll conclude with, what are your thoughts?  What does this mirror conversation mean?  What comes next?

A (white passing) Muslims Reflections Post-Election Day

I woke up today completely committed to creating a world of equity and inclusion.  It pains me to my core to see the election results.  But sadly, I’m also telling myself, “well – what was once the hidden opinion of many is now explicit.” 

I’m going to be honest, I keep fighting down the fear and anxiety that I feel in my stomach, my heart, and pretty much all over. Fear for myself as a (white passing) Muslim and for all those the Trump nation targeted and fear mongered in their campaign. 

And then another part of me keeps saying things like, “Allah is with those whose hearts are torn.” And “Don’t let them grind you down.” And “They gave us lemons and we made lemonade.”

And I think of the thousands and thousands of young people I’ve worked with and how passionate and dedicated they are to being inclusive leaders.   And how change work is a long game, and our future looks bright in that regard.

Whenever I feel myself losing hope, I go back to what I learned from one of the greatest leaders I know – Diane Burbie.  And how she taught me that in moments like this we have to get grounded in our belief in people’s ability to change. 

And so for me, I am renewing that belief.  I believe in the process of diverse groups of people coming together to dialogue and relationship build.  I have seen the process transform someone from being a neo-nazi to an activist for peace.  I have seen students who were once homophobic have a transformation and become active leaders in their Gay Straight Alliance. 

I think of all those who at one time wanted to kill Prophet Muhammad and who later become one of his greatest followers.  I think of Paul on the road to Damascus.  How he was at one time one of the most feared tyrants, becoming an advocate for peace. 

And many, many more big and small examples come to mind.

All that to say, in moments like right now, when despair is right at my front door, I’m getting really grounded in my belief that transformation is possible.  And I’m renewing my commitments.

I commit first and foremost to the journey of self-awareness and personal responsibility.  Of uprooting my own biases and learned behaviors and striving to be inclusive in my beliefs and actions.  Secondly I commit to using my privilege, leadership and influence to challenge and confront bias and bigotry, and work towards making the world a place of inclusion and equity.

In the spirit of complete honesty, writing for me is cathartic.  It is how I process.  And in large part that is what this is.  I appreciate you allowing me the space to do so in a public way.   I know that it can be helpful seeing what folks in our community are thinking right now.  And so I decided to share with you my journal entry for today.

I conclude in prayer.  With two of my favorite verses in the Qur’an,

“They plot and they plot. But Allah plans too.  And Allah is the best of planners.”

And

“Indeed, Allah will not change the condition of people until they change themselves.”