Sunday, April 30, 2006

"Si se peude"

With the current discussion regarding immigrant rights, the appropriate policy for the country's almost 11 million undocumented workers and tomorrow's "National Day of Action on Immigrants' Rights," I remembered a film I watched last year titled "A Day Without a Mexican."

It's premise: "
“How do you make the invisible, visible? You take it away.”

As filmmakers we felt, beginning in 1994 with California’s Prop 187, that the half-truths constantly repeated in immigration discussions needed to be clarified. Using our artistic voice we intended to give form to a strong sentiment of discomfort we perceived in the Latino immigrant community but which up to now had had no clear shape, no loud voice. We believe that immigration reform is the civil rights struggle of our time. It is a struggle that affects all of us with its impact on the economic, social and cultural fabric of our society.

TLC's "Shalom in the Home"

TLC's new series "Shalom in the Home"

Shalom in the Home is a weekly one-hour prime-time program that helps families overcome their thorniest problems. The program is hosted by Rabbi Shmuley Boteach, an Oxford-trained theologian and philosopher who’s written a dozen-plus books on relationships and families and counseled thousands of people through difficulties with marriage, parenting, sex and self-worth.

Will we ever see "Salam in the Home" come to television? Insha'Allah!

Prayer in Gujarat

lighting the lamp of the heart

May God accept his prayer. Ameen.

Thursday, April 27, 2006

Theatre gives hope to children of Jenin

This story from reminded me of one of my last visits to the occupied West Bank to see family in Jenin. During that particular trip, a couple of friends and I ended up watching a theatre production created by the local boy/girl scouts council. It was strange to pass by demolished buildings destroyed in brutal fighting and a few moments later come upon a sort of "normalcy" with the was nice to see in the middle of Jenin's mayhem and the city's anxiety from Israeli occupation people enjoying themselves — kids laughing and proud parents beaming with joy.

Theatre gives hope to children of Jenin

A new theatre is bringing alternative plays to the residents of the Jenin refugee camp in the West Bank to help educate children and adults.

The idea of a theatre and drama workshop might normally sound out of place in the notoriously blighted camp in the northern West Bank.

But these concepts are alive and well after the founding of the Freedom Theatre in February.

Tuesday, April 25, 2006

Globalization's march

We Are Globalized, But Have No Real Intimacy With the Rest of the World

With globalization, most anticipate an inter-connected world with greater understanding of multiple cultures more than ever before. Author Martin Jacques argues that this assumption is at odds with the tone of globalization, based on a “one-size-fits-all” model of western cultural imperialism. Whereas European colonialism included exporting self-defined values of civilization, it did not strive to refashion other cultures in the image of the West. Underlying globalization, on the other hand, is the belief that the world is moving toward a common culture. What is disturbing for Jacques is that the shift is taken to mean the mass export of US, neo-liberal and mass-consumption values at the expense of traditional mores and standards of other societies. Often, self-proclaimed experts on cultural exchange hold but a mere surface understanding of other cultures that are rapidly becoming receptacles for the transfer of western politics, economic models and lifestyles. In an age of connection facilitated by technology, a lack of respect for difference has emerged. Globalization has produced a worldwide intimacy that is, sadly, coupled with intolerance. Ironically, the non-West continues emerging as a world force. Jacques points out that the current hubris of the West hints that future reactions and conflicts will not be so benign. – YaleGlobal

Monday, April 24, 2006

Methodists and Muslims Unite

Methodists and Muslims form pact in Illinois

United Methodists and Muslims in Northern Illinois have officially created a covenant relationship between the two faith groups.

More than 100 leaders of the greater Chicago Islamic community and the United Methodist Northern Illinois Conference celebrated that covenant at an April 6 interfaith banquet at the Islamic Foundation in Villa Park.

Friday, April 21, 2006

Can I get fries with that Banh chung?

From the German magazine Der Spiegel:

Globalization Old and New

Vietnam is preparing to enter the World Trade Organization. The decision is likely to strip Hanoi of much of its charm, as the city's colorful street life will yield to fast food restaurants, supermarkets and shopping malls.

In Terror War, Not All Names Are Equal

From the Inter Press News Service Agency:
In Terror War, Not All Names are Equal

NEW YORK, Apr 20 (IPS) - A major government watchdog group is charging that Muslim charities are being shut down for supposedly backing terrorist causes, while giant firms like Halliburton are receiving the full protection of U.S. law for allegedly breaking government sanctions against doing business with Iran -- a country designated as a sponsor of terrorism.

Also, check out this article from Newsweek:
Terror Watch: Halliburton's Deal With Iran

Halliburton’s CEO says his company is pulling out of Iran. But a corporate subsidiary is still going ahead with a deal to develop Tehran’s natural gas fields

Thursday, April 20, 2006

Requirements of Repentance, its Prescribed Practices, its Etiquette, and its Preferred Observances

From the blog

"Al-Junayd said to Mālik ibn Dīnār (may God be pleased with the both of them): 'Inform me as to the requirements of repentance, its prescribed practices, its etiquette, and its preferred observances.' [Mālik ibn Dīnār] replied: 'There is no capability and no power except through God, the Most High, the Almighty! As for the requirements of repentance, [they consist of] paying back the injustices [one had committed] to those who have suffered them and making up the prayers, fasts, and alms that have been missed.

As for its prescribed practices, [they consist in] avoiding the companions that were befriended during the period of one's disobedience, renouncing [one's past], and weeping for what has gone before. As for its supererogatory acts, [they consist in] continuously reciting invocations and [maintaining] the presence of the heart [with God]. As for its preferred observances, they [consist in] choosing a shaykh who is knowledgeable, God-fearing, scrupulous, and ascetic. As for its etiquette, [it consists of] happiness and excitement in [one's] obedience toward God, the continuous practice [of obedience], visiting other shaykhs, love for the poor and indigent, and the carrying out of [one's] obligations at the first moment that they are due.'"

How to lose your job at a Saudi newspaper

I've done my share of critique on Middle Eastern government autocracy, but never have I been able to articulate it so eloquently as Fawaz Turki, former columnist of the Saudi Arabian newspaper the Arab News, in his Washington Post commentary How to lose your job at a Saudi newspaper

An excerpt:

Democracy may be a political system, but it is also a social ethos. How responsive can a country be to such an ethos when its people have, for generations, existed with an ethic of fear -- fear of originality, fear of innovation, fear of spontaneity, fear of life itself — and have had instilled in them the need to accept orthodoxy, dependence and submission?

Tuesday, April 18, 2006

Rihla Program 2006

Rihla to Mecca & Madina 2006/1427
August 1st – 24th, 2006

The Rihla Program for the summer of 2006 has been scheduled for the dates of August 1st – August 24th, God-willing, in the blessed city of our Prophet Muhammad (God bless him and grant him peace), that is Madina al-Munawarrah. The Deen Intensive Foundation welcomes prospective students to apply to this special enhanced program.

Through a Muslim child's eyes

From the Sacramento Bee:

Young Imran Azam shares his life and dreams with other kids in Tricia Brown's "Salaam: A Muslim American Boy's Story"

Tricia Brown saw him at the mosque, playing with other Muslim children after Sunday prayers. The little boy in the festive clothing was laughing and running with a red balloon.

Later, he told her his name was Imran Azam. She asked the boy, then 6, several questions, including what he wanted to be when he grew up. A rock star, he answered...

A Sacramento kindergarten teacher and award-winning children's book author, Brown continued interviewing Imran over the next year...

In her book, Brown wanted to describe what it's like for a Muslim American child in the post-9/11 world.

Diane Rehm show seeks answers about Qur'an

NPR's Diane Rehm show special series about the Qur'an

Just what does Islam's holy book have to say about the nature of faith?. .. .about Christians and Jews?. . .women?. . .jihad? In two previous shows, Diane put these and other questions to an Islamic scholar and a religious leader. On April 21st, Diane will continue the Koran series. This time she'll ask her guests your unanswered questions.

April 21, 2006 Koran III

In this third installment, Diane would like to hear from you in advance. Please, send us your questions or call 202-885-1231.


A path toward tolerance

3-Part Harmony: Merging Our Histories and Cultures Under Islam

Lecture by Imam Zaid Shakir of the Zaytuna Institute

Women and Islam: What's the deal?

From the Detroit Free Press: Muslim women shatter stereotpyes

She should be one of those red-white-and-blue success stories: An immigrant, she worked her way through med school and now directs the laboratories of two Florida hospitals. She passed her career drive on to her daughters: One just graduated from Thomas M. Cooley Law School in Lansing; the other is an investigator for the Miami-Dade State Attorney's Office.

This feminist vision of a successful family, though, has a flaw: Shahida Shakir and her daughters, Sadia and Sofia, are Muslim.

Monday, April 17, 2006

Junk-Food Jihad

Interesting ... Jihad found in a positive light (even correct in regard to Jihad an-Nafs, or struggle against one's base desires such as the appetite) courtesy of headline writers at Slate Magazine. The lingo's seeping in. I wonder what word is next...

Check the article: Junk-Food Jihad

Muslims in China and the flowering of culture

"Seek knowledge from the cradle to the grave, seek knowledge, even unto China."
— Prophet Muhammad (May God bless him and give him peace)

Check out the book:
Islam in Tibet

And if you have some time, check these:

NY Times audio slideshow on Muslims in China

From the Government of Tibet in Exhile on Muslim-Buddhist exchange:
Muslims of Tibet

"The way things are now, I bet the average American would never think of the image of a covered girl singing our national anthem."

TV images skewing Americans' view of peaceful Islam, Muslim leaders say

DETROIT — It was an image of Islam that might have startled many Americans: a young Muslim woman wearing a traditional head scarf standing in the center of a chandeliered banquet hall singing the U.S. national anthem.

"It saddens me," Denise Hazime, a 25-year-old, Muslim American law student remarked after watching the woman sing to kick off an Arab student fundraiser. "The way things are now, I bet the average American would never think of the image of a covered girl singing our national anthem."

The way things are now is this: American Muslim leaders say they are facing an increasingly tough public relations battle as they fight to portray their faith as non-violent.

Christians Sue for Right Not to Tolerate Policies

Christians Sue for Right Not to Tolerate Policies

ATLANTA — Ruth Malhotra went to court last month for the right to be intolerant.

Malhotra says her Christian faith compels her to speak out against homosexuality. But the Georgia Institute of Technology, where she's a senior, bans speech that puts down others because of their sexual orientation.

Malhotra sees that as an unacceptable infringement on her right to religious expression. So she's demanding that Georgia Tech revoke its tolerance policy.

So, what is freedom?

Sunday, April 16, 2006

Dalai Lama seeks to improve image of Islam in U.S.

Very interesting article from the San Francisco Chronicle

Inter-faith dialogue at its best.

Friday, April 14, 2006

Take notice of these...

Some extra-curricular stimulation...if you have time of course:

Monday, August 17 at 6:30 p.m. in Baker 1804 Lounge

Earth Week Film Series, Day 1: Transportation

The first film of Earth Week is dedicated to transportation efficiency. Film summary: To prove you can take a road trip across the U.S without gasoline, a witty Aussie and his terrier, Sparky, set off on a hilariously wild adventure. By driving a wide range of alternative cool-fuel vehicles, the pair find that a country addicted to oil is, in fact, full of alternatives. From a Hummer powered by solar panels to a hog motorcycle that runs on cow pies and garbage, you'll go along for the ride and discover the possibilities.

Tuesday, August 18 at 7:30 p.m. in Templeton-Blackburn Memorial Auditorium

Kennedy Lecture Series :: Suzan-Lori Parks

The Kennedy Lecture Series is proud to host Suzan-Lori Parks. Suzan-Lori Parks, the 2002 winner of the Pulitzer Prize in theater for her play Topdog/Underdog, was the first African-American woman to be awarded this honor. Her writing addresses social and political issues and raises historical questions, all of which tend to center on marginalized men and women struggling with racial and class prejudice. Ms. Parks will be speaking about the process of becoming a writer, following your creative voice, issues of the day, and her personal journey and body of work.

Friday, August 21 at 6:00 p.m. in Hillel

MSA-Hillel Shabbat Dinner

Enjoy a student led service and a great FREE meal! We'll welcome Shabbat with OU Muslim students. Bring your friends! Dinner provided by Hillel, dessert provided by MSA. Come collaborate and learn about Muslim and Jewish traditions.

Islamic Chivalry

From the humble blog Some Wisdom

“Do not use your energy except for a cause more noble than yourself. Such a cause cannot be found except in Almighty God Himself: to preach the truth, to defend womanhood, to repel humiliation which your Creator has not imposed upon you, to help the oppressed. Anyone who uses his energy for the sake of the vanities of the world is like someone who exchanges gemstones for gravel. There is no nobility in anyone who lacks faith. The wise man knows that the only fitting price for his soul is a place in Paradise..."
— 11th century Andalusian jurist Imam ibn Hazm

Thursday, April 13, 2006

The Future of Newspapers

A wonderful analysis from Radio OpenSource, an important collaborative media resource that combines blogging and radio, and just another reason why I am an online journalism major.

And according to Alan Rusbridger, editor of Britain's The Guardian, there are more online readers of his paper than the print version of the Los Angeles Times. So is "dead tree" media almost dead?

Checke it out: The Future of Newspapers

Wednesday, April 12, 2006

Center for International Studies' Inter-Religious Dialogue Project

Indonesian Media and Conflict Management Delegation

— Program Overview —
Program Dates: April 19 - May 10, 2006

Ohio University’s Center for International Studies will host a delegation of five conflict management specialists from Indonesia between April 19 and May 10, 2006. The group will be on campus from April 19 to 27 in order to finalize production of a series of videos on peer mediation, inter-religious dialogue, and conflict management themes. Participants are involved in a number of initiatives in Indonesia designed to promote harmony between social groups through various education and media initiatives. Their visit to the U.S. is intended to advance international collaboration on conflict management activities and broaden dialogue on issues affecting social cohesion in various national contexts.

This is the fourth delegation of Indonesian civic and religious leaders to visit Ohio University in the past two years in connection with the Center’s Inter-Religious Dialogue Project. These exchanges, as well as an American delegation visit to Indonesia in 2005, are designed to motivate serious efforts to strengthen inter-group harmony by promoting systematic conflict management efforts in areas affected by sectarian strife. They are also intended to build support for civic education and tolerance promotion activities more generally. A key goal is to facilitate long-term relationships between Indonesian and American participants so that dialogue on how to manage differences among religious groups in a pluralistic civil society can be broadened and sustained.

Hadil's story

Her name is Hadil Ghabin. She is, or was, a cheerful 9-year-old girl who loved reading, writing stories, and of most of all, the vast imagination she continuously employed, which led her away from the largest prison in the world that is the Gaza Strip, surrounded by Israeli tanks, soldiers and checkpoints, to a land that looks much like ours, one filled with chiming children, handsome homes, towering trees, and something she always yearned to know — peace.

Peace, however, was nowhere to be found Monday, as incessant tank-shell fire from Israeli gunners filled the sky over Hadil’s home.

Laila al-Haddad, a journalist living in Gaza, described the shelling in her web log, “The shells keep falling. They’ve gotten inside my head, so that it’s not just my house shaking but my brain throbbing. It’s like someone is banging a gong next to my ear every few minutes; sometimes 5 (sic) times a minute, like last night. And just when I savor a few moments of silence, it starts again as if to say ‘you're not going to get away that easily.’”

Overshadowed by gruesome attacks in Iraq and an increasingly chaotic dance between the Bush administration and Iranian government regarding nuclear energy, Hadil died.

Mangled by an Israeli tank shell that hit her home, it was one mortar out of many the Israeli army launched into a city densely populated and teeming with activity. If Hadil were to survive the massive explosion, she would have found the 15 other individuals in her family either bruised and battered, or possibly blind, as her brother is now.

And Hadil is not alone; nor is her family. Over 3,000 Palestinian civilians have been killed or seriously injured since the 2000 popular protest, or intifada, began in the occupied territories led by millions of Palestinians who refuse to live under humiliation as manifest through military occupation.

But it is not merely continued military bombardment that is destroying Palestinian lives; rather it is something seemingly more benign and difficult to document for the purveyors of infotainment; hunger and desperation.

The closing of the Karni Crossing, the main route for humanitarian and commercial goods to and from the Gaza Strip, has resulted in an estimated loss of $10.5 million and reduced Gaza’s main food staples to a bare minimum, according to the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs. Trying to play down the humanitarian disaster that occurred in Gaza, Israeli prime ministerial advisor Dov Weisglass was quoted as saying the closure policy was "to put the Palestinians on a diet but not make them die of hunger."

This closing, coupled with the Bush administration’s decision to punish the Palestinian people for voting for the “wrong” people in fair and free elections has strained the Palestinian Authority creating further chaos throughout the West Bank and Gaza. Because there is no money to pay the wages of employees in the bloated Palestinian public sector or maintain a decrepit social infrastructure made almost inoperable by continued Israeli military damage, the economy is on the verge of collapse, with 65 percent of Gazans and 48 percent of Palestinians in the West Bank unemployed.

But even if bags of flour, rice, cooking oil and sugar make it into the occupied territories to stave off a humanitarian catastrophe, as Hadil knew, Palestinians live under complete military occupation, in isolated Bantustans that offer little but a sure impetus for impressionable youth to join the ranks of militant organizations able to deliver essential social services the crippled Palestinian Authority could only dream of providing.

Commenting on the futility of attempting to cover the crimes of occupation with subsitence level food aid, Israeli columnist Gideon Levy wrote April 4, "Those who have been silent until now can remain enveloped in their silence. Those whose conscience doesn't torture them and whose sleep is uninterrupted by Israel's behavior in the territories can continue resting in peace. There is no "humanitarian disaster." Israel will find a solution to the food crisis, and the stores in Gaza won't lack for flour. But those who regard the Palestinians as only requiring basic food should remember that even in the zoos, where the animals presumably don't lack for a thing, people are often shocked by the conditions of their imprisonment."

Place of the press

Elections cannot and should not be the benchmark for success of democracy in a country. Although it is difficult to secure a free and independent press in a country transitioning from authoritarian and totalitarian rule to democracy, this end goal of rotation of power should not be the first and foremost goal or benchmark, rather maybe two or three.

Elections are meaningless without a free and independent press. Of course, through elections there can be some semblance of a rotation of power, but it does not signal that the People are able to check the government’s powers and eliminate representatives that are not doing their jobs adequately.

Just as capitalism needs fair and accurate information available to consumers, businesses and shareholders alike to allow for intelligent decisions to maximize competition and create vivacious and efficient markets, the Citizenry in a burgeoning and established democracy needs access to free, fair, accurate, and independent journalism to make smart choices and hold the government and politicians accountable. Without a free and independent press, elections are just faux facades of a free and democratic society.

On religious identity in Iraq

All too often, Iraq’s major ethnic groups have been categorized into three distinct groups: Sunnis, Shias and Kurds. The only problem with these groupings, however, is that it obfuscates the intricate, nuanced, and complex reality of Iraq’s varied political landscape. Kurds for one are actually Sunni Muslims, but are the most supportive of the American presence in Iraq. Sunni Arabs on the other hand are the least supportive of America’s continued occupation of Iraq. What can we draw from the aforementioned elucidation? One thing: it’s not religion that is fueling the brutal insurgency — but communal and nationalist interest interests — more importantly, political interests.

Kurds as an ethnic group, and like all Iraqi citizens, suffered immensely under Saddam Hussein’s brutal regime. But they did not suffer for sharing the religious conviction of their ethnic cousins to the South and West of their autonomous region as Sunni Arabs made-off pretty well; they suffered because their nationalist aspirations did not conform to Hussein’s vision of Iraq. Islam cannot be blamed for spurring suicide bombings in the so-called Sunni triangle or attacks on Christian houses of worship. The “Lebanonization” of Iraq — or the continued cementation of the confessional system in Iraq — is turning the country from the secular democracy that Washington wishes to mold into a corrupt and despotic system where ID cards label an individual’s religious identity and denigrates the citizen’s spiritual tradition into a crude political identity.

On the creation of transnational irredentist Muslims

Islam has not been hijacked; rather it has been crudely forced by power-hungry political ideologues away from its deeply profound and enriching spiritual roots into a secular and irredentist political movement that thrives off of anger and degradation. Call it politicized Islam or secular Islam.

Rich legacy

'Alim of the Ottomans:

Mother's family: From left to right: her uncle, her grandfather, her father

"Identity Politics" and its discontents

A letter I sent to the "Columbus Dispatch" March 4, 2006, after it ran a photo that showed a large crowd on the front page of the newspaper with a headline that read, "Indian Muslims rage at America."

Dear Editor,

I found Friday's headline "Indian Muslims rage at America" a great obfuscation of the contemporary political reality not only in India, but across the world. Playing into the identity politics myth that Muslims monolithically subscribe to the same political beliefs regarding U.S. foreign policy not only increasingly casts the identification of Muslim as synonymous with anti-American, it relegates paramount geo-political and socio-economic issues relevant to any critique of international relations to secondary at best.

There was no headline that read "Catholics fury at America" when protesters in Argentina demonstrated against the Bush administration's policies in that region. That's because we all know it's not simply religion that informs political dissent in South American countries, but a vast array of social, political and economic issues. It is no different in countries with large Muslim populations, including India, which has a majority Hindu population that does not in many cases benefit from Bush administration policies. Furthermore, it was reported in the story with the headline in question that not only Muslim, but also leftist parties were involved in mobilizing the large demonstration in Bombay.

Moreover, it's disturbing to see respectable media outlets unable to recognize that billions of people all over the world, including those in South Asia, are able to distinguish between the citizens of the U.S. and their government. By saying Muslims aim their rage at America, it implies that Muslims direct their anger at the all encompassing conception of "America," rather than the government that creates the policies that affect billions of people around the world, regardless of their race, religion, or ethnicity.

Lastly, there should be cause for concern that the headline also included the verb "rage." Not only does the word denotatively involve violent action, it also connotatively implies that Muslims are uncontrollable and uncivilized in expressing their grievances, which is simply not the case. With regard to the cartoon controversy, only .01 percent of the over one billion Muslims in the world reacted violently. Is it interesting to note that neither Christians or Jews, nor even Hindus for that matter "rage" when aggrieved, but rather protest or object. Why the double-standard?

A politics of "unity in diversity"

I guess some things never seem to tire in our weary lives.

There, in our living rooms, we sit, evening after evening, eyes fixed on the television, pondering the flashing images of destruction and chaos caused by either a suicide bomber or a wrought-up mob angry at defamatory and false caricatures of the Prophet Muhammad.

Then, the scenes of havoc cut away and there he is, the man speaking, what he and unfortunately many of his viewers believe, for Islam, giving some tirade on something, but we’re not sure what, because, of course, it’s in Arabic.

Our only hope of understanding what’s in front is a small translation at the bottom of the screen, which reads rather sickeningly: “The West’s War on Islam is a call to arms for those who believe and must be countered by all means possible as our noble fighters have shown. This my brothers is our duty in Islam.”

After reading the scrolling transition, I like many other Muslims roll my eyes. Again, and again, it’s the same type of deranged speaker on television and the same thing to be done, rational or not, for Islam.

Repeated over and over Muslims and people of other faiths alike receive the same message. One spokesperson, one religion, one message. But this problem of one person or group being given the media microphone to speak for over 1.3 billion Muslims is not simply the fault of the media or the government per se. It’s our fault, the fault of we Muslims, all 1.3 billion of us, who passively scorn the television screen, roll our eyes, and let lunatics continue to define not only the Islamic tradition, but also every Muslim who treads the earth.

It seems that Muslim indifference to action regarding the lunatics that claim to share our faith is the result of a collective attempt to look united and uniformly consistent in the sacred sphere by adhering to an Islam that has not been hijacked, but rather forced away from its profound and enriching spiritual roots into a wholly secular and irredentist political movement that thrives off of anger and humiliation. In doing this, we have inadvertently passed this dangerous a-historical and a-contextual spirit into the public sphere allowing fanatics who by-far share more in common with fascists than the Prophet Muhammad to define our views, values and visions without challenge.

This is because we are a group whose recent attempts at political empowerment included the projection of an image and identity that is more akin to a monolithic bloc than a vibrant and dynamic polity, open and accepting, eager to heal the world. And in this process, we have undermined our efforts at coloring the post-9/11 black and white political and social landscapes with shades of gray.

Compelled by almost a century of carrying colonial baggage that packaged neatly domination coupled with predatory cultural imperialism, Muslims still remain steadfast in staying “united” as to not allow another breach of the gates they or their preceding generations faced from whence the likes of the Sykes-Picot agreement and George W. Bush’s invading army came.

I do understand, though. The legacy of Sykes-Picot in the Levant and the discovery of oil in a tiny backwater of Arabia have produced unquantifiable reverberations within the contemporary collective Muslim consciousness. Neither the splitting of the Ottoman Empire nor petrol dollars have produced their promised panaceas, but have actually undermined seemingly universal “Western” standards of secularism that instead of facilitating pluralism, have created some of the most brutal tyrants in recorded Arab history.

And it’s clear that since the beginning of recorded time, Muslims are not alone in this endeavor as minority groups have felt strong impetuses to close ranks in the face of a larger, stronger and more dominant political order. It has been conventional wisdom that being a small polity within a well established larger one requires all in the community to collectively quell the espousal of disagreement for fear that any sign of fracture would send signals that the possibilities of exploitation abound. Divide and conquer was not invented by either the Roman or British Empire in the Middle East, rather, it was perfected there.

In this tense and anxiety-laden era of a global “war on terror” that is increasingly being simplified to mean a war on so-called “Radical Islam,” Muslims must drop the monolithic façade and present a global community that appreciates its members are as diverse in opinion about politics, as in different skin hues and ethnic backgrounds.

Furthermore, as we Muslims open up and share our rich juridical tradition that unambiguously forbids the crimes we see all too often today, ideologues such as Osama bin Laden will look as representative of the Islamic tradition as medieval crusading armies are of the Christian one, which, I pray, will finally end our incessant obligation to denounce heinous crimes we have no part in conceiving or carrying out. The terroristic fringe will become distinct from the sacred sophisticism of our global Muslim ummah, or community, which will allow us to reclaim our brilliant heritage that Islamic scholar Dr. Umar Faruq Abd-Allah writes, “struck a balance between temporal beauty and ageless truth and fanned a brilliant peacock’s tail of unity in diversity from the heart of China to the shores of the Atlantic.”

No longer will the “war on terrorism” be a generational battle that casts ill-defined buzzwords like “Radical Islam” as the catchall enemy. The opponent of humanity, and not exclusively the “free world,” will be once again extremism, no matter the vehicle it takes — either secular or sacred — and Muslims as well as non-Muslims will once and for all be able to declare loud and clear that we “reject the anarchists who claim to speak for Islam.”