Shaping future for Muslims in America

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Shaping future for Muslims in America

  1. 1. SHAPING FUTURE FOR MUSLSIMS IN AMERICA MAJOR PROBLEMS CHALLENGES DIRECTIONS
  2. 2. <ul><li>Peace be upon you all </li></ul>
  3. 4. Surah Nisa 4:135 <ul><li>O you who believe! Stand out firmly for justice, as witnesses to Allah, even though it be against yourselves, or your parents, or your kin, be he rich or poor, Allah is a Better Protector to both (than you). So follow not the lusts (of your hearts), lest you may avoid justice, and if you distort your witness or refuse to give it, verily, Allah is Ever Well Acquainted with what you do. </li></ul>
  4. 5. Future of Muslims depends upon the answers to these 7 questions <ul><li>What is the major problem for Muslims? </li></ul><ul><li>What is the most difficult challenge? </li></ul><ul><li>What is the paradigm of justice? </li></ul><ul><li>What are the principles of Justice? </li></ul><ul><li>Justice in America and the Muslim World? </li></ul><ul><li>Recognize transcendent identity, move from tolerance to acceptance of diversity. </li></ul><ul><li>How can Muslims shape their future in America? </li></ul>
  5. 6. 1-Major Problem for Muslims <ul><li>Growing misperception that Islam has succeeded Communism as a global threat to civilization. </li></ul><ul><li>Misperception that extremism, intolerance and violence are ineluctably bound up with Islam </li></ul><ul><li>World is shaped by ideas by those who can manipulate them to their ends. </li></ul><ul><li>Whoever can best influence the premise of underlying policy will control the political agenda. </li></ul>
  6. 7. Historical sequence in which this misperception developed <ul><li>Cuban Missile Crisis 1962 reinforced the perception that Communism was major threat to America. </li></ul><ul><li>In 1962, Center for Strategic Studies, the first think tank in Washington was founded </li></ul><ul><li>Dr. Robert Crane (of CSS) wrote an article in Orbis(Jan,1963) and outlined grand strategy to address the causes of instability by pursuing justice, because injustice leads to Communism. President Nixon appointed him as director of planning in National Security Council </li></ul>
  7. 8. Historical Development <ul><li>Director of NSC, Dr. Henry Kissinger fired him because his strategy was global stability by imposing military might and imposing a balance of power. </li></ul><ul><li>After the collapse of Communism, Samuel Huntington set the framework for a new grand strategy with his thesis that we were entering the era of “ Clash of Civilizations.” </li></ul><ul><li>In March, 2001, Robert Kaplan in his book “ Coming Anarchy” stated that the world was entering a moral meltdown and America must preserve its power. </li></ul><ul><li>Sept. 11, 2001 event brought the perception that new global enemy was Islam. </li></ul>
  8. 9. Historical Developments <ul><li>Impact of 9/11 brought to power the “ Neo-Conservative” movement. </li></ul><ul><li>It was started in 1957 by Robert Strausz-Hupe’s seminal position paper. It called for a global American empire to save the civilization. </li></ul><ul><li>On 2-19-04 at Nixon Library, VP Cheney called for a new policy of global offense called “ defining struggle of 21 st century. </li></ul>
  9. 10. Historical Developments <ul><li>Robert Kagan’s book “ Warrior Politics: Why Leadership Demands a Pagan Ethos” came out in Feb, 2002. In it he presented idea of scrapping morality and ideals and anything which might interfere with imposing American imperial power. </li></ul><ul><li>In the prologue, Kaplan quotes Thomas Hobbes, “ Before the names of just or unjust can have any place, there must be some coercive power. Physical aggression is part of being human.” </li></ul>
  10. 11. Historical Developments <ul><li>Another book “ Colossus: the Cost of American Empire” came out by Neal Ferguson. He urges American policy makers to learn from 2 mistakes of past empires: </li></ul><ul><li>1- failure to increase the level of force when faced with opposition </li></ul><ul><li>2- their failure to plan occupation of foreign people in terms of not just years but decades. </li></ul>
  11. 12. Civil Democratic Islam: Partners, Resources and Strategies Report by Rand Corp sponsored by Smith Richardson Foundation <ul><li>The United States and its allies need to be more discriminating in the way they perceive and interact with groups who call themselves Islamic </li></ul>Islam's current crisis has two main components: A- Failure to thrive and a loss of connection to the global mainstream. B-The Islamic world has been marked by a long period of backwardness and comparative powerlessness
  12. 13. Four essential groups or positions in Muslim societies to deal with it : <ul><li>Fundamentalists who &quot;reject democratic values and contemporary Western culture” </li></ul><ul><li>Traditionalists who &quot;are suspicious of modernity, innovation and change.“ </li></ul><ul><li>Modernists who &quot;want the Islamic world to become part of global modernity.“ </li></ul><ul><li>Secularists who &quot;want the Islamic world to accept a division of religion and state.&quot; </li></ul>
  13. 14. Strategy suggested by the report First Part <ul><li>The modernists and secularists are closest to the West but are in a weaker position than the other groups, lacking money, infrastructure and a public platform </li></ul><ul><li>Support the modernists first by: 1- publishing and distributing their works at subsidized cost, 2-encouraging them to write for mass audiences and for youth, 3-getting their views into the Islamic curriculum and 4-helping them in the new media world which is dominated by fundamentalist and traditionalists </li></ul>
  14. 15. Strategy suggested by the report 2 nd Part <ul><li>Traditionalists should be supported against the fundamentalists by publicizing the traditionalist criticism of extremism and by&quot; encouraging disagreements&quot; between the two positions. </li></ul><ul><li>In such places as Central Asia, they (traditionalists) may need to be educated and trained in orthodox Islam to be able to stand their ground. </li></ul>
  15. 16. Strategy suggested by the report 3 rd Part <ul><li>A third strategy would be &quot;to confront and oppose the fundamentalists“ by, among other things, challenging their interpretation of Islam and revealing their links with illegal groups and activities. </li></ul><ul><li>Support for the secularists would be cautious and very selective, for example by encouraging &quot;recognition of fundamentalism as a shared enemy.&quot; </li></ul>
  16. 17. Western Orientalist Scholars and Media Propaganda <ul><li>Orientalist scholars and Western media are making concentrated propaganda to claim that Muslims do not believe in pluralism and there is no question of living with them peacefully and no hope of coexistence with them. </li></ul><ul><li>Western orientalist scholars frequently quote from the Quran and the Traditions of the Prophet (SAW)--sometimes out of context to justify their contention </li></ul><ul><li>They repeat the thousand years old ijtihad which had divided the world into Dar al Islam (the abode of peace) and Dar al herb (the abode of war). </li></ul>
  17. 18. Ijtihad of Contemporary Muslim Scholars <ul><li>Contemporary Muslim scholars and jurists (Dr.Taha Jabar Alwani President FCNA) have however divided the world into two realms: </li></ul><ul><li>1-Dar al Ijabah -the land of acceptance, land whose people (Ummah al Ijabah) have accepted Islam and Islamic values are practiced. </li></ul><ul><li>2-Dar al Dawah- the land of invitation, land to which Dawah has been presented and its people ( Ummah ad Dawah) are invited to Islamic values and practices. It is a land of dialogue and interfaith communications. </li></ul><ul><li>This concept is also found in Imam Razi’s work. </li></ul>
  18. 19. 2- Most difficult challenge for Muslims in the World today <ul><li>How to influence the premises which led to this misperception that Islam is a threat. </li></ul><ul><li>Gap in understanding between the neo-cons who call for “freedom and democracy” and the Muslims and most of other people who call for justice. </li></ul><ul><li>Major challenge for all Americans is that their president has lost touch with the American heritage. The first aim in the American Constitution is “ the establishment of justice” before peace, security, prosperity and freedom. </li></ul>
  19. 20. 3-The Paradigm of Justice <ul><li>Teachings of classical Islam and classical America typified by America’s founders Edmund Burke and Thomas Jefferson must be renewed to build new global civilization. </li></ul><ul><li>Duty of Muslims in America is to help build this new global civilization on the spiritual foundations. Failure to do so would end all civilization and bring on the end of time. </li></ul>
  20. 21. Our responsibility is to plant the tree ( of life and civilization) <ul><li>Prophet Mohammad ( SAW) said, “ Even if you would know that the world would end tomorrow, you should go out and plant a tree.” </li></ul><ul><li>This Hadith talks about : </li></ul><ul><li>Our responsibility no matter how bleak the situation may appear. </li></ul><ul><li>It gives optimism in all circumstances and to think positively for the good of all. </li></ul>
  21. 22. Ibadah (worship) of Allah is the root of this tree of life. It has two forms <ul><li>Personal : Its example is Salaah. It has three level- 1- With the fear of Allah </li></ul><ul><li>2- To seek His rewards </li></ul><ul><li>3- With the love of Allah </li></ul><ul><li>Social : It is symbolized in Hajj and its mass movement of millions to the plain of Arafat. It reminds them the gathering of Last Day but also responsibilities to each other. These are the foundations of justice. </li></ul>
  22. 23. Principles of justice have 3 levels of hierarchy <ul><li>Most general ( maqasid or purposes, kulliyat or uinversals, dururiyat or essentials) </li></ul><ul><li>More specific ( hujjiyat) </li></ul><ul><li>Most specific ( tahsinyat) </li></ul>
  23. 24. Sources of knowledge <ul><li>Divine revelation ( haqq al yaqin) </li></ul><ul><li>Study of the signs ( ain al yaqin) </li></ul><ul><li>Derived from above (Ilma al yaqin) </li></ul>
  24. 25. Three level of struggle or Jihad <ul><li>Jihad al akbar ( greatest jihad)- Spiritual jihad of self purification </li></ul><ul><li>Jihad saghir ( lesser jihad)- This calls for the use of force subject to the laws of just war to defend human rights. </li></ul><ul><li>Jihad al kabir ( great jihad)-This calls for application of divine revelation. (Furqan 25:52 </li></ul>
  25. 26. Sources of Justice <ul><li>Sources of Justice </li></ul><ul><li>Revelations from Allah- Justice has meaning if comes from truth which has meaning if it comes from absolute source which is Allah. </li></ul><ul><li>Hadith or the teachings of Prophet . </li></ul><ul><li>Usul al Fiqh-roots of legal reasoning developed by scholars based upon ‘istislah’ or good of both individual and the society. </li></ul>
  26. 27. 7 Principles of Justice (by Abu Ishaq Ibrahim Ibn Musa al Shatibi d 1388 AC/790 AH) <ul><li>Haqq al din- respect for religion </li></ul><ul><li>Haqq al nafs-respect the human person </li></ul><ul><li>Haqq al Usrah </li></ul><ul><li>Haqq al mal- right of private property. </li></ul><ul><li>Haqq al hurriyah- respect of self determination( Khilafah, shura, ijma, judiciary.) </li></ul><ul><li>Haqq al kirama- respect for human dignity including religious freedom and gender equality. </li></ul>
  27. 28. Principles of Justice <ul><li>Haqq al Ilm- respect for knowledge. It requires freedom of thought, press, assembly. </li></ul><ul><li>Justice is at the core of Islam. This paradigm of human responsibilities is being revived. </li></ul><ul><li>Such principles of justice do exist in all world religions in lesser degree. </li></ul>
  28. 29. Principles of justice in secularism <ul><li>They start from the material universe as the ultimate reality. </li></ul><ul><li>Human reason as the only source of truth. </li></ul><ul><li>Such unaided human reasoning has led to the principle of might makes right. </li></ul><ul><li>This leads to totalitarian concepts as stability through unilateral preemption </li></ul><ul><li>Concepts like freedom and democracy can divorce rights from responsibilities and produce worse injustices. </li></ul>
  29. 30. Thomas Jefferson-author of the Declaration of Independence <ul><li>No people can remain free unless they are properly educated. </li></ul><ul><li>Education consists first of all in learning virtue. </li></ul><ul><li>Entire people can be virtuous only if both private and public life are imbued with and guided by truth and justice within a spiritual framework </li></ul>
  30. 31. Advantages of American policy based upon justice <ul><li>It would undercut the appeal of exclusivist and radical elements and promote stability </li></ul><ul><li>It would powerfully restore the image of America as a force for justice in an age of globalization and a true moral leader of the world. </li></ul>
  31. 32. Can Muslims be both Muslims and Americans? <ul><li>Members of the Center for Understanding Islam answered it in their first publication during first 2 years after 9/11 </li></ul><ul><li>Our country is America and our faith is Islam. No need to choose between them. </li></ul><ul><li>Responsibility of a loyal American is to support the government when it governs according to its founding principles and loyal opposition when it does not. </li></ul>
  32. 33. 6- Transcendent Identity <ul><li>We must advance from parochial clash to common vision to transcendent identity. </li></ul><ul><li>Work through intra faith and interfaith dialogue. </li></ul><ul><li>Reach beyond differences with people of all faiths and cultures. </li></ul><ul><li>Exclusivism can lead to factionalism and this leads to extremism. </li></ul><ul><li>We must move from tolerance and peaceful existence to peaceful cooperation. </li></ul>
  33. 34. 7- How can Muslims shape their future? <ul><li>Three potential futures for Muslims in America. </li></ul><ul><li>1-Assimilate into American culture. This is a suicide. </li></ul><ul><li>2-Rejection and confrontation. This is a ghetto mentality and is also suicidal. </li></ul><ul><li>3-Integration by bringing the best of Islamic heritage to reinforce the best of America’s heritage to establish a model order , justice and liberty based on the spiritual nature of all human beings. </li></ul>
  34. 35. 4 Methods of Integration <ul><li>1- Work at the local level. </li></ul><ul><li>To develop a better understanding of Islam. </li></ul><ul><li>To develop practice of Ibadah at personal and social level including Salaah, Zakah and social wok. </li></ul><ul><li>Explain Islam to others for developing better understanding . </li></ul>
  35. 36. Process of Integration <ul><li>2-Found think tanks in order to network with like minded think tanks in Washington. </li></ul><ul><li>Several attempts were made but failed due to > lack of funding </li></ul><ul><li>>failure to recruit top professional staff. </li></ul><ul><li>Top 20 think tanks in the field of foreign policy have budgets in millions of dollars. </li></ul>
  36. 37. Process of Integration <ul><li>3- Lobby the government on specific policies, political participation and to run for office. </li></ul><ul><li>> Lobbying done so far is reactive confrontation against set policies. </li></ul><ul><li>> Little effort to lobby proactively in a professional manner to shape the policy </li></ul><ul><li>>Approach should be not what is good for Muslims but what is good for America. </li></ul>
  37. 38. Process of Integration <ul><li>4- To work within academia. Here the ideas are developed and passed on to the think tanks which influence political agenda. </li></ul><ul><li>> Found a university on the model of Oxford and Cambridge informed by Islamic thoughts. </li></ul><ul><li>> Faculty and students have to be ½ non Muslims to attract the best talent. </li></ul><ul><li>>The greatest challenge for this step is again financial. </li></ul>
  38. 39. Main reasons for our failure <ul><li>Hostile climate for Muslims after 9/11. It has discouraged Muslims from thinking big. Those who do not think big, fail. </li></ul><ul><li>Intellectual basis for such integration. Our thinkers and intellectuals must work upon these ideas consulting primary and secondary sources. </li></ul><ul><li>Lack of funding. Those who could fund such work no longer appreciate this work. We need to revive the institution of endowment. </li></ul>
  39. 40. Conclusion <ul><li>Challenges and opportunities for prosperous future for Muslims in America are enormous. </li></ul><ul><li>Time frame for success must be measured in decades. Work must begin now. </li></ul><ul><li>Urgent need in America is spiritual renewal not just moral reforms. </li></ul><ul><li>Best planner is Allah and we are merely His servants. We must rely upon Allah. </li></ul>
  40. 41. Last Word And if anyone puts his trust in Allah sufficient is (Allah) for him. For Allah will surely accomplish His purpose: verily for all things has Allah appointed a due proportion

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