Muslim leadership in America showed it needs redirection when it (literally) shut out discussion of a local political prisoner last weekend while celebrating "One Nation Under God: Striving for the Common Good" inside the Washington Convention Center.
Thousands of Muslims gathered from across North America to gain knowledge, awareness and guidance in an increasingly Islamophobic milieu but their leaders apparently didn't think it relevant to study the plight of Dr. Aafia Siddiqui, an MIT graduate and 13-year resident of the United States who's endured kidnapping (along with her three children, one of whom is feared dead), torture, bullets, rendition and an 86-year jail sentence as a casualty of the perpetual War on Terror.
"Aafia's case has exposed the politics of fear, the politics of self-interest, the politics of tribalism and the politics of capitulation to American imperialism," says Mauri' Saalakhan of the Peace Thru Justice Foundation, which organized a panel discussion with Siddiqi supporter and former U.S. Attorney General Ramsey Clark in a lecture hall across the street from the convention Sunday.
"This is an oppressed and brutally persecuted Muslim woman who Muslims in America, generally speaking, have failed to come to the aid of."
Muslims (and others) world over are suffering injustices daily but most of our leaders--out of fear, ignorance or downright incompetence--are not even acknowledging the problems let alone offering real solutions or direction.
But God is. Through stories in the Quran he urges us to use our faculties and resources to circumvent oppression in the short-term while developing strategies to eventually change the unjust systems.
God relates, for example, how he inspired the mother of Prophet Moses to conspire to save her baby from the brutal Pharaoh, who had ordered the slaughter of all newborn Israeli boys. Pharaoh eventually adopted baby Moses at the behest of his wife Asiya (one of the four perfect women of all times), and Moses grew up to challenge and defeat the Pharaoh.
God: "When We inspired in your mother Our will, saying: 'Put your child in a chest and then set it adrift on the river so that the river may wash it ashore and it gets picked up by the one who is an enemy of mine and an enemy of thine!' And I infused in you My divine love so that you prepare for the task ahead of you according to My will." (Quran 20: 38-39)
Prophet Muhammad (S): “There is no wisdom equal to good planning.”
Muslim leaders struggling to remain steadfast in fulfilling their social obligations can learn from Imam Khamanei, the leader of the Islamic Republic of Iran, a country which continues to progress while fighting oppression despite the continued animosity of imperialist nations.
“If we could read the enemies’ scenarios before their decisions, we will be more successful in the adoption of initiatives,” Imam Khamanei advised his leaders last month.
Imam Abdul Alim Musa of Masjid Al-Islam in Washington, for example, has led activist congregations for over thirty years and even offers courses in "Strategic Management Under Conditions of Repression."
Musa: "The immigrant community doesn't know how valuable we are."