Thursday, March 8, 2007

Bay Area Muslims Mobilizing for Al-Aqsa

The pressure of following an opening by Huda Shaka is stressful!

Angie had requested that I take the notes included below. However, given it's a topic close to our hearts I thought that instead of sending them to her personally I would use them for my first post here!

I attended a gathering of Bay Area Muslims mobilizing to protect Al-Aqsa and support the Palestinian people, last Saturday. I have posted below an excerpt from the notes I took at the event. They should be up in their entirety on my own blog soon, insh'Allah.

Imam Zaid Shakir

  • Allah (swt) alternates strength amongst groups in order to distinguish the real believers. It is easy to believe when you are winning. It is, however, when you are on the weaker end of the cycle that Allah (swt) tests the strength of your belief
  • Ultimately, Allah (swt) will protect his house
    • This does not mean don’t work and/or don’t mobilize. It means don’t despair!
    • In order to make real change, it is necessary to at least start working with the resources we already have despite their imperfections
Shaikh Mumtaz-ul Haq
  • We need to change ourselves before Allah (swt) will change our condition.
    • Don't blame the Zionists, blame yourselves
  • Yes, Al-Aqsa is the third holiest Muslim shrine BUT it was the first Qibla!
  • Jerusalem indicates the pulse of the Ummah. When Muslims are strong, we have Al-Aqsa BUT when we are weak we don’t.
  • We visit Tokyo and Timbuktu, but never Palestine. Visit Palestine!
Dr. George Bisharat
  • The challenge is that the Palestinian narrative is virtually absent while on the other hand the Israeli story is told eloquently and frequently
  • The Institute for Middle East Understanding
    • Their sole focus = the media
      • Mass media = the gatekeepers of American public opinion
    • We spend hours working on speeches/talks that reach at most a few hundred people BUT the same amount of time spent working on Op-Ed pieces could potentially give us access to thousands of people!
  • For every dollar we invest in direct support of the Palestinian people we should invest an equal amount in strategic campaigns supporting the Palestinian cause here (i.e. the United States). This way, someday insh'Allah we will be able to stop collecting money to rebuild mosques and instead focus on collecting money for new mosques!
Dr. Agha Saed
  • In Lebanon, 6,000 people defeated Israel.
    • Muslims are no longer afraid.
    • You can destroy nation-states, but you cannot destroy the will of the people.
  • The struggle for Palestine is taking a long time. However, in the life of nations this is not a very long struggle
    • Remember, it took over 130 years to free Algeria
Amir Abdel Malik Ali
  • The Zionists are fanning the flames of fitnah in the Ummah
    • It’s not working though because they are simultaneously uniting us behind a common enemy. Al-Aqsa unites Sunnis and Shias!
  • There is a different climate today, mainstream folks are openly using the term “apartheid” to describe the racist state of Israel
  • We have to stop using "their" words and "their" definitions
    • Our brothers and sisters are freedom fighters, not terrorists.
    • Keep in mind, their definition of a good Muslim is one who does not think Islam is the solution.
Dr. Hatem Bazian
  • We need to re-energize ourselves in terms of our work.
    • Silent people never make history. Furthermore, silent people who go with the flow are never remembered.
    • The Prophets (peace be upon them) stood up in the face of adversity, they did not go with the flow. We need to follow in the footsteps of the Prophets.
  • Salahuddin was the product of a society.
    • We need to produce Salahuddins!

My thoughts
  • Mash'Allah it was packed house. There were easily over 350 people there. The fabulous thing about those numbers was that the audience reflected a relatively diverse crew of people - ethnicities, ages, socioeconomic classes. All of the people who you could never imagine showing up at a protest or rally were at this event, and more!
  • There were some fundraising pushes (primarily for Dr. Al-Arian and the IMEU), but nothing very obvious. I'm not sure how I feel about that.
  • The children got involved - the mosque hosted an art contest for kids ages 4-12 (?) with the theme being Al-Aqsa. Fabulous idea - Alhamdulillah, reel them in early!
    • Speaking of children, I came across this today. Sounds like an interesting place to make a donation, so that the youth of Palestine may actually have a childhood!

May Allah (swt) grant the Palestinians and all of the oppressed peoples of the world victory!

1 comment:

Huda Shaka` said...

Alhamdulil Allah, good to know something good came out of the Aqsa situation. Its amazing to have such a diverse group of scholars (and their audience) come together.
By the way, as far as I recall, Dr. Bazian's AMP was the only organization that put out a call calling for the US to intervene with the Aqsa diggings. Kudos to them.