Fighting Fire with Fire: Radicalization vs. Popular Muslim Culture in the West

Notes to Tara Bahrampour, Washington Post

There is a growing concern about the radicalization of converts to Islam in the US and Europe and what is the response of the Muslim community.

We need to find a way to speak truth to power!

The anti-social elements of the society will be drawn to any movement, religion or activity that can provide a vehicle to meet out their misguided agenda.

Those of us who are conscious and committed to living in a civil society must work together rather than seeing each other as the adversary.

We need a  partnership between government, media, the faith-based and community organizations to address this challenge.  The media asks, “What is being done to help converts and young Muslims from anti-social behavior’.  My answer is simply, not enough.  But we are not asleep at the switch either.  There is a significant amount of “It’s not us” going around.  The masjid are on board with the campaign “If you see something – say something”.  The statistics support the notion that Muslims are calling into law enforcement when they something that doesn’t look sound right or look right and they should know.  Beyond this there are efforts.

The national organizations and masjid (mosques) are stepping up their youth programs and seeking programs to confront the violent narrative.  Until this week there no programs that say “Counter Radicalization Meeting in the after prayer”.  It took place at  the ADAMS Center in the Washington, DC metro area.  The discussion was led by Imam Magid and Zaid Shakir, who gave me a shout out! 🙂

Unfortunately, many of the young people who are at risk are not connected to the masjid.  They may or may not frequent the Muslim community rather they are secretly dancing to the beat of a different drummer.  The drums of a fools jihad.  At the base of the rhythm is a pain, frustration, alienation and feeling of powerlessness that holds their faith in contempt.  This population finds a comforting voice on the web, in the chat and on the violent-extremist cyber-Imam’s blogs.

One solution that is taking hold, reaching beyond the masjid to touch the soul of young people whether converts or descendants of recent immigrants.  It is the new Muslim new culture in the West.  It must have authenticity and a call to activism.  Art, music, poetry, song; that gives voice to their pain and feelings powerlessness.  Art gives the safe space to speak out.

Many these efforts are being led by young cultural-religious warriors who are willing to take the chance and seek support from authentic Islamic scholarship.  The following is a short list of such efforts in Europe and the US.

Fighting Radicalization with Popular Culture in the West

UK:  Radical Middle Way:  Spoken-Word “Dangerous Ideas” Tour.

Amir Sulaiman, Poet Pilgrimage, Muhammad Yahya, Masika and more….

Graffiti Artists

Scholarship/Imams:  Al-Azhar Shiekh M. Mumisa and Imam Johari Abdul-Malik

Chicago:  IMAN – InnerCity Muslim Action Network

‘Takin’ It to the Streets’: Concert

Washington, DC  Metro Area:  Nur CAFE: The NÜR Center for Art, Fitness, and Enrichment

3420 Carlin Springs Rd, Falls Church, VA 22241

Washington, DC Metro Area:  Crescent Moon Nights

Crescent Moon Nights is a monthly open mic featuring some of the hottest talent in the DC Metro Area. Come out and witness creativity at its finest. Experience the Open Mic. Join our online community in which we will serve as a creative spring board for poetry and dialogue. Feel free to post poems lyrics, add video clips, thoughts and comments. Please do not use any explicit language or subject matter.


Domestic Crusaders – Play by Wajahat Ali

Moozlum: The Movie

An independent film looking at the pressures on an American Muslim youth in post 911.

In the history of African-Americans struggle for equal rights and to resist oppression we used the instruments of culture to speak truth to power.  The same has be done in many struggles whether in the deep south or South America.

One Response to Fighting Fire with Fire: Radicalization vs. Popular Muslim Culture in the West

  1. Soraya Deen says:

    It is crucial that we educate and empower the younger generation to Show Up and Speak Up.
    “Some are guilty, all are responsible.”

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