Director of the Civil Rights Division of the Muslim American Society
Pro to the question “Is It Appropriate to Build a Muslim Community Center (aka the ”Ground Zero Mosque”) near the World Trade Center site?”
“Muslims, like other people in America, have first amendment rights in terms of freedom of religion, but the more important thing is that we reject the notion of collective guilt. We are not collectively guilty for actions that are taken by some people in the name of Islam…
…Muslims have a legitimate role to play in the social fabric of this country and are a part of the interfaith mosaic of the United States. But more than that, I think that this particular group in the Cordoba Institute can do a huge amount of good, not only for Muslims in New York, but also for interfaith relations around the country.”
CNN debate with Pamela Geller of Stop the Islamization of America, July 15, 2010
Theoretical Expertise Ranking:
Individuals and organizations that do not fit into the other star categories.
Involvement and Affiliations:
Director, Civil Rights Division, Muslim American Society, 2006-present
Board member, Muslim Women’s Institute
Board member, Temple of Understanding
Board member, the Climate Crisis Coalition
Vice President, Steering Committees, Religious NGO Community at the United Nations
Associate, Fellowship of Reconciliation, 2006
BA, University of Pennsylvania, 1972
Fax: None found
“A Response to the ADL’s ‘Anti-Israel’ Tag,” http://www.iamramey.blogspot.com, Oct. 18, 2010
“Is the Anti-Shar’ia Hysteria Just a Smokescreen for Islamophobia?,” http://www.iamramey.blogspot.com, Oct. 12, 2010
“It’s September 12th, and Islamophobia Is Still Alive and Un-well in America,” http://www.iamramey.blogspot.com, Sep. 15, 2010
“On August 6th, We Should Take One Small Step to Abolish Nuclear Weapons,” http://www.iamramey.blogspot.com, Aug. 6, 2010
“A New Victory in a Long Struggle: Lower Manhattan Mosque Gets Green Light for Construction!,” http://www.iamramey.blogspot.com, Aug. 5, 2010
“Propaganda May Rage, But It Still Isn’t Truth,” http://www.iamramey.blogspot.com, July 19, 2010
“Is True Religious Freedom in America in Danger?,” http://www.iamramey.blogspot.com, July 15, 2010
“Has President Obama Sold Out the People of Palestine,” http://www.iamramey.blogspot.com, July 7, 2010
“Is the War in Afghanistan About Protecting Democracy or Protecting Capital?,” http://www.iamramey.blogspot.com, July 1, 2010
Recipient, Distinguished International Service Award, National Association of Negro Business and Professional Women’s Clubs, 2004
Recipient, Better World Activist Award, Muslim American Society, 2000
• 1. Is It Appropriate to Build a Muslim Community Center (aka the ”Ground Zero Mosque”) near the World Trade Center site?
Dar Al-Hijrah food bank packages food for needy families on Wednesdays. Our thrift store is in need of volunteers to sort clothing and other donated items. Please contact: (703) 459-4196
In Washington DC with support the homeless women’s dinner program at http://www.ThriveDC,org volunteer shifts off from 4 to 6pm daily.
DEBORAH POTTER, guest host: During Ramadan, Muslims fast from sunrise to sunset and then break their fast with a meal called the iftar. At one mosque in the Washington, DC suburb of Falls Church, Virginia, several hundred people usually attend the nightly iftar, according to one of the imams, and this year they are welcoming even more, not all of whom are Muslim. The Dar Al-Hijrah mosque has announced a policy to allow in anyone who wants a meal. There are only two requirements: those who show up must be dressed appropriately and must be sober. Imam Johari Abdul-Malik is the outreach director at Dar Al-Hijrah. He says he can’t tell who comes to break the Ramadan fast and who comes simply because of hunger. For him, it doesn’t matter.
IMAM JOHARI ABDUL-MALIK (Director of Outreach, Dar al-Hijrah Islamic Center): The Prophet Muhammad said none of you are a believer if you go to bed with your stomach full and your neighbor’s hungry. So your belief, all this praying and all of your devotion is invalid if you can sleep at night knowing your neighbor is hungry. And in Ramadan this mosque feeds maybe 800 to 1,000 people every night, so I said, you know, if we are feeding that many people at night, will it matter if we feed an extra 100 people? One of the beautiful parts being in a very large and diverse mosque—I mean we speak over 37 different languages, have people come from every ethnic group. So when you look out across the community you see every complexion and style of dress and face, and so it is not possible to tell who is a Muslim and who is not a Muslim, and I have experienced it, and it is a good experience to know that you’re table is open, that your neighbor has gotten over the fear of you to join you to break bread. The Qur’an says that the food of the Muslim is lawful for the Jews and the Christians and that food of the Christians and the Jews are lawful to Muslims. This way we can all sit at the same table to break bread from the same God who has provided for all of us.
Thanksgiving has become our national day of “Thanks” in America, being thankful for what we have been blessed with. But it should also be a time of forgiving and seeking forgiveness. If we wish to be forgiven in the greater transcendent sense, whether you think of forgiveness from God, Allah or whatever you perceive the “Higher Power” to be, you must first seek forgiveness from people.
In America today we should all seek forgiveness from the first nations of this land for whatever role we continue to play in their oppression and genocide, whether by commission or omission. Our nation must seek forgiveness as a collective and we as individuals must do what we can to help the ‘first nations’ peoples in whatever way we can.
The founders my country drove the native peoples to the western and southern parts of the continent. Let us now consider that the closest people to the original inhabitants of this continent are our Hispanic neighbors. Perhaps granting them some honor in this land and giving thanks to them can help make up for what the founding fathers and slave masters did to the original people of this land.
As a Black American, I am thankful for my freedom from slavery and for the freedom to practice my faith, Islam, the religion that was taken away from many enslaved Africans. While I remember, I am not bitter. America is evolving as a nation, yet the work of healing this land must continue….i pray.
While many of us enjoy this national family day of feasting, let us recommit ourselves to service for the advancement of the powerful and universal ideals of “Thanks” and “Forgiveness”.