13 Years Later

September 11, 2014

All of us can remember when 13 years ago President Bush promised to “destroy”, what was then a small and unknown organization known as Al-Qaeda. I for one can admit to having never heard of Al-Qaeda on September 10, 2001. After Bush’s disastrous invasion and “nation building” program in Afghanistan (and attempting the same in Iraq in 2003) we now have Al-Qaeda all over the entire MENA region. And make no mistake, ISIS is an offshoot of Al-Qaeda.

And now President Obama is adopting the exact same policy as Bush which HAS NOT WORKED. More and more war only succeeds in metastasizing the extremist cancer further. Millions of Muslims and other people of faith around the world have paid the price for this broken policy with their lives, death of loved ones, and dislocation. All of this creates the environment for yet another cycle of war and violence.

Only the work on the ground of speaking to youth and coming to common understanding can solve this problem long term. The wars only help to make the weapons contractors richer and makes the work of those of us calling for peace much more difficult.

I pray that someday a just peace will finally be achieved, but if we do not change our policy, we will memorialized 9/11 in the same way each year – wondering why the problem of extremism is spreading and not receding.


Time to “Man Up”!

September 10, 2014

Jonah Goldberg has an interesting article stating that Western ISIS recruits are losers! I have been saying this for years about these young men who join these radical groups

While this is definitely true, simply writing them off as losers will not solve the problem at hand. The larger problem is that we have a generation of young men and boys of all races and faiths that are disenfranchised and are essentially “checking out” of society because we have largely marginalized them. This is especially true as our society has put more emphasis on educating our girls while leaving our boys to the X-box, social media and/or the basketball court.

This manifests itself in different ways in the various ways: from boys entering college less to the decrease in marriage. However, in the Muslim communities it is manifesting itself (albeit in rare cases) in young men reaching out to join radical groups that are (falsely) offering them meaning to their lives.

The problem of these “loser” boys has grown to such an extent that we do not even understand these young men at all and have largely left them to raise themselves. We need to change course and actively engage them and challenge them to grow up! But before we do that, we must talk TO them and stop talking ABOUT them. Before we can challenge them to grow up, we have to show them what “grown up” actually means. We older men must accept our own responsibility in leading these boys and young men to the path of being REAL men. We are going to have to enlarge the sphere of – and I’m sorry to have to say this – manliness.

We need to teach our boys (on a daily basis) that a REAL man takes care of his responsibilities and does not run away on some foolish adventure! A real man recognizes that there is beauty in the world and that it is not all dystopian and doom and gloom.  There are some beautiful things out there. We men are actually going to have to be men in our lives again.  The men have to start putting their foot down and start running their families as a family. (Does it need to be said that I do not mean here a dictator who beats his wife and kids? The fact that some would take it that way shows just how far astray we are on this problem)

We need to become examples that show by word and deed of what a real man is known for and not leave them to the malicious demagogues that yell, scream and hurl names and insist we look at the world through a jaded lens.

Raising men is not all about K-12, SAT scores, and college prep. Although those things are important there’s an awful lot more to be learned about being a man.  A real man does not simply provide for his children (again extremely important) but goes further by spending time teaching them (in word and deed) valuable lessons on financial responsibility, keeping one’s word, facing up to and solving problems, being committed to finishing a project, being considerate, and standing up for the weak. This is what it means to be a REAL man. These boys who join groups like ISIS do the opposite by shirking their responsibilities, lying and stealing money from their parents, and running away from facing the real world. Groups like ISIS are stealing our young men and robbing them of their future.

We need to re-commit to right the ship of our marriages, families and our communities.  If we do this, our communities will be strong and our families will be strong. If we can do this then we will raise children that will see the false message of groups like ISIS (or whoever comes after it) and dismiss it out of hand.

This “man up” challenge extends to each of us to become inspired to do what is needed to own up to OUR OWN responsibility to shape the future by doing a better job of what God put us on this Earth to do: Be good Fathers and lead our wives and children to heaven.

Actionable items:

- Start a mentoring program for boys above the age of 12. This is a good example that should be repeated across the land

- Suggested reading for men and young men to read together: ‘Millionaire Manners’ (visit the website here)


West African Muslim Leaders meet in Washington Mosque to coordinate efforts

September 6, 2014

The Ebola crisis is expanding in West Africa. I know many of you are coordinating efforts with in your own community. Let us gather together to see how we can coordinate and improve all efforts.

Please join us for a gathering of West African Muslim leaders to see how we can be more affective as a community to provide some leadership and relief for those suffering in West Africa.

Topic: Ebola Crisis Response
Day: Monday
Date: Sept 8th 2014
Time: 7:30pm
Location: ISWA
2701 Briggs Chaney Rd
Silver Spring, MD 20905

http://goo.gl/maps/g4fCp


Condemnation Is Not Enough: Confronting ISIS & Groups Like It

September 3, 2014

Once again as MANY other Muslims and Muslim organizations around the world have done before now, I condemn the heinous crimes against humanity that have been committed by ISIS. This includes but is not limited to the recent beheading of journalist Steve Sotloff.

And has been stated many times over, no one person or organization – much less this terrorist organization – has a right to speak for all of the diverse groups of Muslims across the planet. It is outrageous that this groups attempts to do so and we reject such an attempt on its face.

We believe in a world where differences are solved via dialogue and debate. But this group does not live in such a world and has chosen to declare war on the modern world. They have left the world with no other choice but to them confront. With that said, CONDEMNATION is not enough. We must go further and uproot this evil ideology in the arena of ideas. All people of conscience must unite to confront this problem.  We are instructed in the Holy Qur’an in Hujarat verse 9:

 

And if two factions among the believers should fight, then make settlement between the two. But if one of them oppresses the other, then fight against the one that oppresses until it returns to the ordinance of Allah. And if it returns, then make settlement between them in justice and act justly. Indeed, Allah loves those who act justly

 

In the spirit of Sura Hujrat (49), I call upon all legitimate governments of the world to confront and defeat this group and others like it by using all reasonable means possible to make sure that they are defeated.

- I call upon Muslims around the world to join in this confrontation.

- In confronting ISIS we need to be SMART! Therefore I call upon our government – and particularly President Obama – to continue to be deliberate in considering the wisest course of action with regards to Syria and Iraq. These be-headings – as brutal as they are – SHOULD NOT BE USED AS A PRETEXT for more war and occupation! Indeed groups such as ISIS and others use this as a recruiting tool. We should not allow these maniacs cause us to dive into another “nation-building” project where we spend trillions of dollars attempting to “install” democracy.

- We should all be reminded that the original invasion of Iraq in 2003 and other misguided policies (such as Abu Ghraib, collateral damage from drone strikes and GITMO) have created fertile ground for the rise of groups such as ISIS and if we continue to make the same mistakes, then once ISIS is defeated militarily, this will only leave a void for yet another terrorist organization to take its place. We do not desire policies that will blow back on the citizens of the United States and other innocents around the globe.

And finally, I want to send a clear and unambiguous message to our young men that groups like ISIS are handing out passports to the Hell-fire.


Rule of Engagement With Extremists

August 29, 2014


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Rule #1

Don’t help them magnify their message.
“Never pass the megaphone to the Heckler”

megaphone

 

 

 

Rule #2
Deny them dignity
“The “so-called leader” of these fanatics”.

Rule #3

Did not allow the leadership to be identified with the title.
“their “self-appointed president” said…..”

 

 

Rule #4
Never recognize the opposition as an equal.
“if any of you (Extremists) would like to meet/negotiate with us (Establish) we can make an appointment with any individuals”

Rule #5
Degrade their opportunity for recognition
If there are all proposals for change, new policies that need to be employed, or shortcomings that have been identified, they cannot be considered the “province” or “agenda” of the extremist. =/= The extremist makes a good point!!!
Nothing about the Lord Resistance Army is Christian. Call them LRA
Nothing about The Islamic State is Muslim. Refer to them as ISIS
They are not Fundamentalist they are fanatics

Rule #6
Don’t Let Salt mix with Sugar-Look Similar-Taste Different
We both can’t be in the same group.
If this is what you believe, then stop they you are the leader of our group. We don’t believe in what you believe and we are in the majority.

Rule #7
Never use their extremism to justify yours


Do Not Promote Nutters! You’ll Only Possibly Inspire Copy Cats

August 27, 2014

I call upon the media to NOT go too far in promoting the person (and any others) who went over to Syria and joined the terror group the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS). I fear that the notoriety the media is giving this man will inspire other attention seekers that will similarly throw away their lives by joining terror groups like ISIS or any other group like it. PLEASE avoid sensationalizing this story


End of Life is Hard: Faith and Family Make A Difference

August 19, 2014

Inna lillahi wa inna ilayhi rajioon-from Allah we come To Allah we Return

My eldest cousin, Michael Seale (67), who was like an uncle to me, passed away peacefully last night in home hospice at his home in Foster City (outside San Francisco) due to complications of renal failure with his wife and daughter by his side.

I was blessed to spend time with him earlier that day, talking, joking, reminiscing about our grandmother (Hertha Seale-who raised him in Barbados), food and faith. There is a famous photo of him as a child dressed in tuxedo before his violin recital (him smiled). Although, he could not speak many words other than “No”, “yes” or nodding, speaking with his features, his eyes or his brow….with spoke. It was a blessing to share some of his last hours of his life with him.

Al-Hamdulillah, his daugther, was there by his bedside. She is the first of my relatives to embrace Islam and she now has a good Muslim husband from Senegal and three children who are being raised Muslim.

End of life is hard. But being together as a family and having your faith together is helping us through. Keep our family in your prayers.

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