بِسْمِ اللَّهِ الرَّحْمَٰنِ الرَّحِيمِ
In the name of Allah, the most Gracious, the most Merciful.
إِنَّ الْحَمْدَ لِلَّهِ ,نَحْمَدُهُ ,وَنَسْتَعِينُهُ وَنَسْتَغْفِرُهُ , وَنَعُوذُ بِاللهِ مِنْ شُرُور أَنْفُسِنَا وَمِنْسَيِّئَاتِ أَعْمَالِنَا ,مَنْ يَهْدِهِ اللهُ فَلَا مُضِلَّ لَهُ , وَمَنْ يُضْلِلْ فَلَا هَادِيَ لَهُ , وَأَشْهَدُ أَنْ لَا إِلَهَ إِلَّا اللهُ وَحْدَهُ لَا شَرِيكَ لَهُ وَأَنَّ مُحَمَّدًا عَبْدُهُ وَرَسُولُهُ
Verily, all praise is for Allah. We praise Him, we seek His assistance and we ask for His forgiveness. And we seek refuge in Him from the evils of our selves. Whoever Allah guides, none can misguide. Whoever He misguides, none can guide. And I bear witness that there is no deity other than Allah and I bear witness that Muhammad is His slave and messenger.
أعوذُ بِٱللَّهِ مِنَ ٱلشَّيۡطَٰنِ ٱلرَّجِيم
Seek refuge in Allah from Satan, the expelled.
بِسْ مِ اللَّهِ الرَّحْمَٰنِ الرَّحِيمِ
In the name of Allah, the most Gracious, the most Merciful.
ۚيَا أَيُّهَا الَّذِينَ آمَنُوا كُونُوا قَوَّامِينَ بِالْقِسْطِ شُهَدَاءَ لِلَّهِ وَلَوْ عَلَىٰ أَنفُسِكُمْ أَوِ الْوَالِدَيْنِ وَالْأَقْرَبِينَ
Yā ‘Ayyuhā Al-La dh īna’ Āmanū Kūnū Qawwāmīna Bil-Qisţi Sh uhadā’a Lillāhi Wa Law `Alá ‘Anfusikum’ Awi Al-Wālidayni Wa Al-‘Aqrabīna
O you who have believed, be persistently standing firm in justice, witnesses for Allah, even if it be against yourselves or parents and relatives.
(Surah An-Nisa; Quran 4:135 )
My dear brothers and sisters,
All praises are due to Allah (swt), the one that has blessed us so much. The one that has blessed us with everything that we have – every idea, the education, the work, the family that we have, every single blessing…
وَإِن تَعُدُّوا نِعْمَتَ اللَّهِ لَا تُحْصُوهَا
Wa ‘In Ta`uddū Ni`mata Allāhi Lā Tuĥşūhā
And if you should count the favor of Allah, you could not enumerate them.
(Surah Ibrahim; Quran 14:34)
If you were to count the blessings of Allah upon us, we would not be able to count them. And so all praises are due to Allah. For the greatest blessing of them all, which is that of Imaan, which is that faith in Him, which after all else ends, after this whole world ends, the one thing that will matter is our faith and how we acted upon that faith and what we did for that faith and the actions that we took upon our selves in our lives. That is what will matter. And the ummah of the Prophet Muhammad (pbuh), as he said, that all the believers are like one body,
وعن النعمان بن بشير رضي الله عنهما قال: قال رسول الله صلى الله عليه وسلم ” مثل المؤمنين في توادهم وتراحمهم وتعاطفهم، مثل الجسد إذا اشتكى منه عضو تداعى له سائر الجسد بالسهر والحمى” ((متفق عليه))
Nu’man bin Bashir (May Allah be pleased with them) reported: Messenger of Allah (pbuh) said, “The believers in their mutual kindness, compassion and sympathy are just like one body. When one of the limbs suffers, the whole body responds to it with wakefulness and fever”. [Al-Bukhari and Muslim].
(Riyad as-Salihin 224)
That means if any part of that body is in pain, then the whole body is in pain.
So that body is in pain when our brothers and sisters in Palestine are hurt. And our brothers and sisters in Kashmir are hurt and in China, and in Burma, and everywhere else across the world. But in particular, I want to highlight something that happened just this past week. Where a family of three generations – a grandmother, parents, two children – were murdered in cold blood by a 20 year old white man who decided that that’s what he’s going to do.
Where did this happen? This happened right next door, our neighbor Canada, where there’s progressive thinking and liberal thinking. Four years ago, people said they’re going to move to Canada. That’s just the symptom. And so in this incident, three generations of this family were destroyed, leaving one nine year old boy in critical condition in the hospital. And what this should bring to light for us, my brothers and sisters, is that we should not lie in comfort.
The election has passed, we can calm down now, we can do less, we don’t have to worry so much. We are focused on our comfort, focused on what we have, focused on our accounts and our stocks and our crypto and yada, yada, yada. Let’s not forget what is happening. Let us not forget what has happened. Let us be aware, let us take action where it is necessary. Let’s put our money. Let’s put our abilities, our skills, our talents, our ideas, our actions, our words. Let’s put it towards defending this body of believers.
So today, I wanted to share some recent research on Islamophobia. I wanted to share with you all today so that, as a body, we should educate ourselves so that we know how to defend ourselves. We should know what the problems are. A lot of us we can feel the problems. We can see them. But how deep are those problems? I wanted to share some research that was recently released by ISPU – the Institute of Social Policy and understanding – a mostly Muslim led organization that does a lot of research on Muslim issues. And they talked about the biases that exist. Many of you will say I know about these biases. But I wanted to just dig a little deeper with some of these numbers. And this is nothing new to our black brothers and sisters, who have been at the opposite end of this double standard that exists and the biases that have existed for hundreds of years.
I talked about it last year on the occasion of Juneteenth, which is coming up again. Not the drugs that were proliferated because of the federal government’s policies, but the federal government which caused the proliferation of these drugs, drugs that were used more in black and Hispanic communities were punished many times more than the same kind of drugs that were more expensive and used in the suburbs with majority white populations . These kinds of biases still exist. So let’s talk about that. And this is just talking about equal crimes, my brothers and sisters.
Non-Muslims are four times as unlikely to be charged with weapons of mass destruction charges. They’re four times as unlikely to be to be charged with a charge of the T word. This is legal bias for the same actions, or the same plots, entrapments, whatever it may be – media bias. If the identity of a perpetrator is Muslim then they’re getting seven to eight more times more coverage. And this past week’s act is an act of terrorism, but we can’t call a spade a spade. Instead, media talks about mental health and everyone says, “he was a nice guy. And we’d never thought this would happen. And this is shocking to us”. And so this is the media bias that many of us are aware of. But it’s seven to eight times more coverage for Muslim perpetrators in the articles. They never talk about white supremacy that is pervading this country, the very thing which our forefathers dealt with. Colonialism – that’s still here. It’s in Canada, it’s here. I’ll talk about that some more. And so it’s important for us, my brothers and sisters, to be aware of the of these issues and how they’re all interconnected. What is happening and Palestine is connected to this. What happens to our black brothers and sisters is connected to this. And so it’s important for us not to live in a bubble, where we’re just by ourselves, where the only issues that matter to us are the ones that are right in our faces. Rather, we should see what else is going on.
If we look at the Justice Department bias, we find that non-Muslim perpetrators receive 1/3 the sentence for equal crimes. US Department of Justice makes press releases for plots by Muslims at a rate of six times. Six times more press releases from the Department of Justice, and half of those press releases have Muslim or Islam in the headlines or in the first half of the press release. Whereas if it is a non-Muslim, then the press releases never mention identity until later on or the end of the article.
Now about political bias. Many state legislatures in this country have sponsored anti-Islam, anti-Muslim, anti-Sharia legislation that has no actual effect on anyone or anything except to increase fear, except to fill the Islamophobia. In our state in Washington, this kind of Bill was also proposed in 2013. I learned this recently. But Muslims in Washington State organized and were able to defeat that legislation. I just don’t want to talk about the bad things that have happened. But I want to give us some hope here. Us Muslims in Washington, we organized against that. And we defeated that Bill and we were able to get a Bill passed reaffirming religious freedom, reaffirming what’s in the Constitution.
That bill was called faith in our state.
So we have some influence here. We have the ability that other Muslims and other states can look to us as leaders in this. We have some influence and we have some leadership and we should know that we should not feel ill equipped, and we should realize the work that our organizations are doing. And we should help with that as much as we can. And so with all these biases they teach us is not to increase our fear, or to increase our sadness or our depression but rather this is to give us knowledge to inform us. And to hopefully spur us to make changes in how we deal with things.
The next time your child comes to you and says that someone called me something because of my name, or someone said something anti-Muslim to me, then we should not say, “oh, well, forget about it. It’s okay. It happens. Brush it under the rug”. Instead say, “let’s go speak to the teacher, let’s go speak to the principal. Let’s go speak to our organizations”. Let’s not let this keep going. Let’s organize Islamophobia training at the school. Let’s make sure that we are defending our children. And that we’re catching these issues at the root when they’re starting in schools. Let’s make sure we’re catching this. I remember when I first came to this community, and we did a short survey in the community to see what are the issues that people are facing. ‘What’s the biggest challenge that you are facing?‘ we asked people. I still remember one of the responses. A 15 year old boy, four years ago, he said, my biggest challenge is “when I go to school, and someone does something and then shouts Allahu Akbar to make fun of Muslims, the whole class is laughing. The whole class is mocking and I’m there by myself”. Still remember that. And so what are we doing? Already making noise where it counts. And every single small thing matters, my brothers and sisters, nothing is too small of an issue. We should defend ourselves.
Because it starts there and it leads to things like what happened in Canada.
May Allah except this family as shuhada (martyrs). May Allah enter them into paradise. May Allah unite them with the Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) . May Allah give justice to the oppressor. May Allah give patience and strength to this young boy. May Allah grant health to this nine year old boy. May Allah reunite him with his family, one day. May Allah give him strength to keep going. And Allah give him the people in his life who he needs to keep going, and to grow and to become a beacon of hope and truth for our community. Ameen.
So what can we do my brothers and sisters? What are the actions that we can do once we are equipped with this knowledge? And many of us we know all of these things already. You’re like, “I could have told you that yesterday, nothing new”. But the difference is –
- What are the actions that we are going to take individually?
- How are we going to fight Islamophobia?
- How are we going to defend our community and our children in our next generation, so that they don’t feel foreign so that they don’t feel like outsiders, so they don’t feel like they can’t speak up?
Because the confidence there is the same confidence that will lead to their increase in Imaan. We can’t ignore that and say, “Well, no, you have to recall and you have to be a good Muslim and you have to do your prayers and you have to do all of that and you have to do all the things that a good Muslim does”, and then not equip us to challenge when something like these things happens. They’re two sides of the same coin, may Allah help us. So what can we do?
First thing my brothers and sisters is to realize that we are not alone. And this is something that we find even in the Sirah of the Prophet (pbuh). Who was one of the Prophet’s (pbuh) biggest defenders? Who was his greatest defender? Who was the one who was keeping the Quraysh at bay? Who was it ? He was Abu Ta’lib, his uncle. Quraysh would come to Abu Ta’lib and say “stop your nephew”. Only thing stopping Quraysh from hurting the Prophet (pbuh) was Abu Ta’lib. Of course Allah as well. But the means by which was Abu Ta’lib. And the trust that the Prophet (pbuh) has placed in his uncle Abu Ta’lib. And when the boycott happened of the Muslims, then the tribe of the Prophet (pbuh) was with him. Even the non Muslims were included within that boycott. So realize that we are not alone in this fight, and make sure that we build allies, we build coalitions, we talk about these things at work.
A couple years back, one of the young sisters organized a presentation with myself and sister Neela at T-Mobile. We talked about Ramadan. We talked about being an ally for Muslims. These are things that should be organized in every workplace where there are Muslims, and even those where there are not Muslims. These are things that we should be paying attention to. We should not just say, “Well, I’m just comfortable doing my job. And that’s it. I don’t want to make any trouble. I don’t want to make any noise”. That’s the wrong kind of mentality, my brothers and sisters.
So it’ll probably help you to bring these things up in the workplace, make sure that we are building coalitions and seeing where we can get the word out and seeing how we can build bridges that fit with our values and principles, to not compromise our values and principles through the coalition building but to find those coalitions in places where we can agree upon.
Second thing is to respond quickly in a unified way. I see a lot of times someone does a response, someone writes something, someone makes a video, someone is doing something, someone is taking action, speaking out. And then I see the comments. Muslims say, “brother your beard is not long enough. This is not this and that’s wrong”. They comment on all these small details that have nothing to do with the actual thing. They’re armchair critics. They come out of the woodworks to talk about small details that don’t have anything to do with what’s actually happening.
- How can we respond in a unified way?
- How can we support each other? How can we not bring each other down?
- How can we not pull each other down, but instead bring each other up?
- How can we respond like one body? Like one unified body?
- How can we support the work that’s going on?
The third thing we can do is not going at it alone but realizing that we have organizations built around this. We have maps, we have care. We have other organizations that help with these things, and we should want to participate. We should reach out to them.
- What can I do to help?
- What do you need?
- How can I volunteer?
- How can I participate?
Another thing that we can do is to realize that every year is a voting year my brothers and sisters. Voting does not happen once every four years. It happens every single year. So holding politicians to account is a part of this. Making sure that we are participating actively every single year to make sure that our voice as a Muslim community is heard.
Another thing we can do is to fight religious bullying, as I mentioned, as soon as you see something. If your child says something, you don’t need to get angry or mad or upset but just say, “Can you tell me more What happened? Exactly? What did the kids say? What did the teacher do? What else happened? Who got in trouble? Did anyone get in trouble?” Ask some questions, get all the details. If you’re not sure what to do, go to our organizations, tell them what happened to your child. We need to do something about this. We need to make sure the school responds. We need to make sure that it’s going up the ladder to the top and they know what’s going on in their school and they can take action. So I ask Allah that He helps us do that.
I ask Allah that He grants this family of martyrdom Shahada. I ask Allah that He helps us to take action. I ask Allah that He helps us to stand for justice, no matter what? no matter who? I ask Allah that He helps us to fight the oppressors. I ask Allah that He helps us to defend ourselves and it gives us strength. I ask Allah that He helps us to fight Islamophobia. I ask Allah that He helps us to fight the cancer of white supremacy. I ask Allah to helps us to fight racism. And it gives us the strength to do that. I ask Allah for the ability, to act in the way of the Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) and to be raised after our time on this earth ends with the ummah of the Prophet Muhammad (pbuh)
أقول قولي هذا وأستغفر الله لي ولكم ولسائر المسلمين فَاسْتَغْفِرُوهُ إِنَّهُ هُوَ الغَفُورُ الرَّحِيمُ
I say what you have heard and I seek forgiveness from Allah for me and you from every sin.
بِسْ مِ اللَّهِ الرَّحْمَٰنِ الرَّحِيمِ, الحَمْدُ لِلَّهِ, وَالصَّلَاةُ وَالسَّلَامُ عَلَى رَسُولِ اللهِ
In the name of Allah, the most Gracious, the most Merciful. All praise is to Allah, and peace and blessings upon the Messenger of Allah.
So inshaAllah my brothers and sisters we are going to be continuing these conversations and I would like you all to participate. We’re going to be having a conversation on the connections between the different tragedies and atrocities and struggles of our people. For example, the struggle of the Palestinian people and the Black Lives movement, that how those are related. InshaAllah we will be talking about that as well this coming Thursday, so May Allah help us to do that and to have that conversation and to participate. Ameen.
عِبَادَ اللّهِ إِنَّ اللَّهَ يَأْمُرُ بِالْعَدْلِ وَالْإِحْسَانِ وَإِيتَاءِ ذِي الْقُرْبَىٰ وَيَنْهَىٰ عَنِ الْفَحْشَاءِ وَالْمُنكَرِ وَالْبَغْيِ يَعِظُكُمْ لَعَلَّكُمْ تَذَكَّرُونَ
Servants of Allah. Indeed, Allah orders justice and good conduct and giving to relatives and forbids immorality and bad conduct and oppression. He admonishes you that perhaps you will be reminded.
اُذْكُرُوا اللَّهَ الْعَظِيمَ يَذْكُرْكُمْ واشْكُرُوهُ يَزِدْكُمْ واسْتَغْفِرُوهُ يَغْفِرْ لكُمْ واتّقُوهُ يَجْعَلْ لَكُمْ مِنْ أَمْرِكُمْ مَخْرَجًا
Remember Allah, the Great – He will remember you. Thank Him for His favors – He will increase you therein. And seek forgiveness from Him – He will forgive you. And be conscious of Him – He will provide you a way out of difficult matters.
And, establish the prayer.