Inshallah, Texas Muslims Organize
June 6th, 2008 at 4:13 pm
Today, a variety of caucuses met at the Democratic state convention in Austin to discuss issues, strategy, and hear a little politicking from candidates up and down the ballot. You’ve got your Gun Owners Caucus and your Progressive Populist Caucus, Texas Stonewall Caucus and Motorcycle Caucus, Native American Caucus and Tejano Democrats Caucus. That’s the Democratic Party in all its messy glory - diverse interests trying to fit under a Big Tent.
One of the more interesting active Dem organizations here is the Texas Muslim Democratic Caucus, the first of its kind in the nation, according to one of the organizers. The caucus started about four years ago and represents Muslim Ds across the state. It has at least 70 delegates attending the convention - 60 from Dallas alone as well as folks from Beaumont, San Antonio, Houston, and even unlikely locales like Marshall and East Bernard.
Caucus president Sarwat Husain said the caucus is important in encouraging Muslims, still reeling from the post-9/11 backlash, to come out of the shadows and become politically engaged. Muslim women, in particular, are fearful of speaking out. “I cannot tell you what courage wearing this [hijab] takes in the United States after 9/11,” Husain said. “The stares that go right through you.”
Husain rattled off the statistics: 7-10.5 million Muslims in the U.S. with close to two million registered voters, 83 percent of which are Democrats. There are some half-a-million Muslims in Texas. That’s not an insignificant cache of potential voters but Democrats need to do more to reach out, she said.
“This is one market you’re losing,” Husain said, addressing the gathered pols. “They are waiting for you out there.” The caucus heard from about ten candidates for offices ranging from the State Board of Education to Congress. In courting votes, the candidates pledged to support freedom of religion, tolerance, and to push back against the zealotry of the religious right in Texas.
State Rep. Donna Howard (D-Austin) asked the caucus members to come educate the not-terribly enlightened members of the Texas Legislature. “The way we are approaching things is very exclusive, not inclusive,” Howard said, referring to the Bible class bill passed in the Texas Legislature this year.
Board of Education candidate Laura Ewing, a former Friendswood City Council member, discussed the urgency of electing moderates to the board in light of an upcoming overhaul of social studies curriculum standards. Texas students urgently need to learn about the Muslim world as part of their education, Ewing said. “Otherwise we’ll only study dead white men… and that’s not our world, is it?,” she asked.
Someone in the audience brought up the recent kerfuffle in Friendswood during which a junior high school principal was reassigned for inviting two Muslim women to speak to students following an attack on a Muslim student. That prompted Cindy Steffens, a Muslim delegate from Houston, to tell a story about how her young son’s teacher asked the boy to accept Jesus Christ as his Lord and Savior. Interviewed later, Steffens said she and the school handled the incident quietly. Confrontation is not what American Muslims seek, Steffens said, but rather acceptance.
“The Muslim community in America almost has to do what Barack Obama did,” said Yusuf Mohammed, Steffens’ husband. “He’s black but he transcended race.”
SUCCESSFUL NAATIA MUSHAERA ON 2.21.14
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August 19, 2013| Dallas, Texas
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Mirza A Beg
PLANNED MUSLIMS RESPONSE TO QUR'AN BURNING BY PASTOR JONES ON 9/11/13 IN MULBERRY, FLORIDA
We as Muslims plan to respond to pastor Terry Jones' planned burning of 3000 copies of Quran on September 11, 2013 in positive terms.
Our response - we will reclaim the standard of behavior practiced by the Prophet concerning “scurrilous and hostile criticism of the Qur’an” (Muhammad Asad Translation Note 31, verse 41:34). It was "To overcome evil with good is good, and to resist evil by evil is evil." It is also strongly enjoined in the Qur’an in the same verse 41:34, “Good and evil deeds are not equal. Repel evil with what is better; then you will see that one who was once your enemy has become your dearest friend.”
God willing Muslims will follow the divine guidance and pray for the restoration of Goodwill, and on that day many Muslim organizations will go on a “blood drive” to save lives and serve humanity with kindness.
We invite fellow Americans of all faiths, races, and ethnicities to join us to rededicate the pledge, “One nation under God”, and to build a cohesive America where no American has to live in apprehension, discomfort or fear of fellow Americans. This event is a substitute for our 10th Annual Unity Day Celebration (www.UnitydayUSA.com) held in Dallas, but now it will be at Mulberry, Florida.
Unwittingly Pastor Jones has done us a favor by invigorating us by his decision to burn nearly 3000 copies Quran on September 11, 2013. Obviously he is not satisfied by the notoriety he garnered by burning one Qur'an last year.
As Muslims and citizens we honor the free speech guaranteed in our constitution. We have no intentions to criticize, condemn or oppose Pastor Terry Jones' freedom of expression. Instead, we will be donating blood and praying for goodness to permeate in our society.
We plan to follow Jesus Christ (pbuh), a revered prophet in Islam as well as Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) – that of mitigating the conflicts and nurturing good will for the common good of the society.
We hope, this event and the message will remind Muslims elsewhere in the world as well, that violence is not the way. Muslims, who react violently to senseless provocation, should realize that, violence causes more violence, and besmirches the name of the religion that we hold so dear. We believe that Prophet Muhammad was a mercy to the mankind, and we ought to practice what we believe and preach. We must not insult Islam by the negative reactions of a few.
We can only hope it will bring about a change in the attitude of the followers of Pastor Jones, and in the behavior of those Muslims who reacted violently the last time Pastor sought notoriety – We hope this small step towards a bridge to peaceful coexistence would propel us towards building a cohesive society.
Like most Americans a majority of Muslims quietly go about their own business, but it is time to speak up and take positive action instead of negative reaction. May this message of peace and goodwill reverberate and reach many shores.
Lastly, we appreciate the Citizens of Mulberry, Florida, Honorable Mayor George Hatch, City Commissioners, police and Fire Chiefs for handing this situation very well. This will add a ‘feather of peace’ in the City’s reputation. We hope Mulberry will be a catalyst in showing the way in handling conflict with dignity and peace.
We thank the Media for giving value to the work towards peace rather than conflict.
The people in Dallas are making an effort to understand and clean their own hearts first, when we are free from bias, it would be easy to share that with others. Islam teaches us in so many ways to "respect the otherness of others" and it is time we find simple practical ways of doing it.