The desire to be a part of a movement or a community of the likeminded is a deceptive diversion from reality: it obscures what we are really called to, replacing personal ethical responsibility with group-think. In contrast to what is commonly taught amongst Muslims, the Qur’an cautions against following herd instinct: “If you obey most people on earth, they will take you away from the easy path of God.” [6:116] Belonging, really, is not what it is all about.
Sometimes I am surprised how little these friends of mine know me, as they bombard me with the ramblings of men linked to me only by a very generic profession of faith. We are not called upon to embrace what others say out of a sense of pious solidarity. The truth is just truth; it is founded on the argument, not on belonging to a particular group or ethnicity. None of this is new.
I’ve tried writing my own thoughts, but it all comes out as gibberish. Soon, God willing.
and finishes by touching on Reps. Tlaib and Omar’s backgrounds. Even with a cursory understanding of contemporary political Islam, it’s clear these representatives are singled out for being Muslim and willing to question the political status quo vis-à-vis Israel.
Juan Cole is an informed scholar and blogger on Islam and Muslims. If right-wing pundits and politicians refuse good-faith attempts by Muslims to engage in dialogue, the least they can do is listen to non-Muslim experts. Take the short history lesson of Muslim Brotherhood as an example:
In short, the US government has had a complex relationship with Muslim Brotherhood branches, but for the most part has been perfectly willing to cooperate with them, and sometimes has actively promoted them. The outlier is Hamas in Gaza, which has its origins in the Muslim Brotherhood, and which was promoted by Israeli intelligence in the 1980s and after as a way of dividing the Palestinians.
We need to work against these lazy attacks by those who wish to score political points with their base. It’s dangerous.
Note: This is the first time I’ve written anything about me and Islam and shared it. I am hesitant to write this even now, mostly because I’m scatterbrained and a terrible writer. I linked to blog posts from others who are more knowledgeable in certain topics to keep this short. You might not know I’m Muslim. Or you might consider me too recent a convert, not informed enough. It should be obvious, but these are just my thoughts and I speak for myself. In some stricter circles, it might be considered inappropriate to do so without having some type of qualification. I don’t speak Arabic and I wasn’t raised in a Muslim household. But these are blessings and my reality. I am a Muslim by choice. I have unique perspective and a voice. As the Qur’an commands of us, we must come to know one another [49:13]. Here is a part of me.
Sometimes, I have the feeling I’ve lived two separate lifetimes. In some way, I have. It started when I woke up one morning after the doctors pulled a tube out of my throat in the ICU. That tube helped me breathe while my body and a drug cocktail dealt with inflamed membranes in my spine and brain, poisoned blood, and renal failure. It was a year after high school and I was hospitalized with meningococcemia. Before then, I was a very average teenager in the suburban sprawl of the San Gabriel Valley playing in a band, hanging out with friends, and going to shows. I lived in my bubble. But after that morning, something changed. I no longer desired to stay close to home and play video games on my free time. I wanted to use my brain. I needed to see and feel all life.