Here’s the second part of this two part series. I’m posting these because I feel our discussion is relevant for contemporary Muslims, regardless of the position of your stance.
Again, I’ve left the surnames of the interlocutors to protect their identities. Also, anything in brackets  is something I’ve added for clarification.
Anthony: I’ve never been to Hajj. Perchance, I’ll be granted with a chance to go. However, I’ve always had this suspicion, which I reckon has been vindicated.
[I made this post in response to the above article from the Huffington Post]
Dan: Sorry Anthony, the point is well taken, but the article sucks.
Muslims unfortunately don’t having the ability to even stop the mass killings that are happening in Muslims countries. Muslims are oppressed all over. Asking where is the Muslim outrage on a topic like this is like asking/blaming a dying cancer patient why he/she doesn’t recycle plastics more than he/she currently does.
“Where is the outrage from Muslims and their scholars?”
Obviously Muslims don’t like what’s going on. The point of view in the article is really a slap in the face as it suggests Muslim are just being quiet, because they are fine with the way things are.
Living in Egypt has been such a blessing. Subhan’Allah. I have seen how oppressed Muslims are, and have tasted some the oppression myself. Tastes horrid, but the bitter pill has immunized me, so I can sniff out BS like what’s purported in that article.
Some more anti-Islam propaganda with the sugary coating of wanting to promote change. Yeah right. I think you should take down this article in all honesty.
Justin: What’s the excuse for the comfortable Muslims living in the West, Dan? There is none. And they have the same problem, generally. And I think that’s who the author was primarily addressing anyhow.
Dan: My point still is Muslims are dealing with bigger issues. No one is making excuses for what the article is denouncing.
What do you suggest the comfortable Muslims living in the West do, Justin? Protest the Saudi government? I guess that might console some out there. But what real effect will that have?
No doubt some Muslims are classists, but any upstanding, marginally conscious Muslim will know and believe that that stuff is wrong. But the point still remains what are they supposed to do about it? If the author wants a condemnation, then I’m sure if he spoke to any of the scholars — who he implies are totally impervious to the reality — will give him one.
That’s an educated law-professor right there. He should have researched the socio-political standing of Muslims in America before writing a piece like that. But his intention probably wasn’t to give an accurate portrayal of Muslims thought in the first place.
Propaganda the way I see it.
Dan: And notice how the Americans don’t get to ride the fancy trains either. Weak article, man.
Anthony: I was just posting the article to get word out there, not to try to engage in Muslim bashing. I didn’t know what the article stated was going on during Hajj, though I had my suspicions; that’s why I put it up. And anyway, regardless of what the author’s intentions are, and only Allah knows best as to what those are, the points he raises are nonetheless legitimate: if there’s indeed injustice occurring during the Hajj, then we should speak out against it, simple as that.
Anthony: Man! Maybe I should just avoid posting stuff on Facebook altogether for fear of fomenting the ire of my fellow Muslims!
Justin: I can think of a particular event that sums the state of Western Muslims up quite nicely. When the Sheikh Al-Azhar [he’s referring to Muhammad Sayyid Tantawi] said the niqab should be banned, quite a few people had a lot to say about it even on the gainesvillebrothers list serve. Regardless of how you feel about it, or what you think of the now deceased Sheikh al-Azhar, the point is, most Western Muslims love love love to talk about things like that…or the incident when that Egyptian woman was stabbed in a German courtroom…things like that…but no one wants to talk about honor killings, or the fact that women are FORCED to cover up in other countries (in fact I recall someone saying women being forced to wear the niqab is not the same as women being not allowed to wear it…REALLY?!)…the point is that Muslims love to talk about anything when they feel they are discriminated against, but refuse to discuss problems in their societies which inevitably find their way to the West, despite the increased levels of freedom and standards of living…it’s pretty disgusting.
Justin: And they ignore completely situations where Muslims take on the role of oppressor.
Justin: Or worse, justify them.
Harry: Your complaints of our community stand for every community, and assumes we identify and are responsible for the actions of governments worldwide. Everyone complains about ills done to them, and nobody protests en masse about things governments sharing their religious/ethnic backgrounds do to other people. We set our own standards too high, and the fact is we’re not in a position to do much of anything. The fact that we come from a slew of different dictatorships and have different cultures, practices, and languages, means it’s impossible to expect any major international effort on our part.
Nobody wants to talk about Honor killings because it’s a cultural phenomenon that nobody seems to have any control over, and the only effect of discussing it is drawing negative attention. Christians in the US may discuss spousal abuse and alcoholism here, because that’s beneficial. But Christian communities in the Middle-East probably don’t discuss American Southern Baptist social problems. It would just be another thing for the majority to sneer down at them for.
Justin: You’re acting like those problems don’t exist here. But they do, in fact, and such things result from the fact that we tolerate the behaviors which create those incidents in our communities, even if we don’t engage in those same behaviors ourselves. When we don’t give a rat’s ass about them (but we care about banning the niqab in faraway lands) that says a lot.
Harry: Who’s going to address these problems? No otherwise well-to-do, educated, but despised minority is going to magnify their problems for scrutiny, when everyone else shares the same problems. Anti-Islam evangelicals are actually branding us homophobic racist wife-beaters; pots calling the kettle black. And it’s because we’re so well assimilated that we can’t be bothered to do anything ‘as Muslims’. These excited college students are just college students, and as soon as they have a degree they’ll forget about Palestine and the Niqab.
It’s just young people focusing on TV drama struggles. People leave actual change to organizations, and we have a handful of those. If we have any real problem- it’s that our nations of origin teach us not to take initiative, and the 2nd generation is too distant from these problems to take initiative. Those that do, join our organizations. Find out what they’re doing about it. I’m also often frustrated by our community of assimilated/disenfranchised desis, arabs, and blacks, but I realize everyone is going through the same thing. Nobody has their stuff together, and all other groups are far more organized and monolithic than we are.
Justin: I don’t think I (nor would Anthony, I assume) ask for people to go on television or whatever and “address” these problems in such a way that it will solve them…I think we kind of just expect people to at least discuss them amongst themselves with the same anger or sadness that they do other these other things, and to stop accusing people who do discuss them of creating “propaganda” or in some circles, of being a traitor.
Anthony: I’m curious as to why we even should care what the Evangelicals, or anyone else for that matter, thinks of us. Even if we didn’t have problems associated with Old World cultural practices, those who despise Islam and Muslims would simply just concoct other reasons to slander us, be they lies or truths. It’s really a lose-lose situation on our part since it means we can’t have an open discussion that the issues that afflict our community.
As for cultural phenomena, I hear American Muslims talking all the time about “uncontrollable” American cultural phenomena (like dating) in derisive fashions, including yourself Harry. Why can’t they discuss their own cultural idiosyncrasies with the same fervor? What prevents them from discussing their own problems in such a manner? I happen to agree with Justin here: I don’t expect perfection on our part but I do expect honest dialogue. Nobody has to go on TV and spill our beans to the world, but we should at least have the courage to speak about our afflictions amongst ourselves. And disenfranchisement and assimilation, in my opinion, are no excuses for the lack of honest dialogue.
Harry: I think the difference is that premarital sex is something that affects us here and will affect our children, and is something dialog might ameliorate. Honor killings, genital mutilation, persecution of Christians, terrorism, sex slavery, institutionalized racism, forced marriages, child labor, and torture of political opponents are not occurring in our communities, and to emphasize those topics as if they’re as prevalent at the Ocala mosque as premarital sex is in the West, is nothing but masochistic self-loathing. If you want to crap on the 3rd world, you’ll never run out of reasons to. And you won’t feel any better afterwards, and nothing will change.
Adam: frankly – muslims by and large are quite comfortable with the problems that exist in their countries. If they weren’t – something would have been done about it. Not blaming anybody, just stating a fact.
Adam: ”Unfortunately, there is a conspicuous lack of looking inwards to practices within Muslim countries.” [from the article]
I find nothing wrong with that statement. It’s generally true. I would be surprised if you found an Imam giving a khutba where he legitimately criticized practices in muslim countries *cough* Arab countries.
Adam: “Man! Maybe I should just avoid posting stuff on Facebook altogether for fear of fomenting the ire of my fellow Muslims!” [quoting me]
Welcome to the club. Unfortunately for us we find ourselves in the darkest abyss of the Islamic epic. We can only hope and pray that several hundred years from now, a better group of people will have inherited the Qur’an.
Nathan:  More often than not I am less that serious about everything – that’s a formula that has worked without fail in my life story. However, over the course of time, I’ve seen some cogent thoughts from Loutfi across a spectra of topics, though ironically, he routinely ridicules and doodles over my tongue-in-cheek inputs. And some censorship and denial from JB, in ideas that wrestle with his inner psyche. I’d say more, but if anything I’ve learned from WikiLeaks … reveal less than you know, if you wish to play again :->
Justin: You’re pretty spot on Naheen, I do censor myself (though many people who don’t like *what appears to be* my candidness might be surprised to hear that). But the people who know me well enough know my views on pretty much everything. Harry has the distinction of being one of them, and while we disagree on some things, and have different approaches towards them, I probably share more common ground with him than anyone else.
Arthur: This article is very harmful especially because of what Hajj means to us. I am the first to say no doubt the Saudis are racist, but the government does spend billions of dollars into the holy places. Regarding luxurious accommodations you get what you pay. The train thing was ridiculous but it’s just in the test run, not operating at full capacity. They found a cruel method to implement crowd control. On a less serious note they used their own as test subjects. If you ever go for Hajj just remember every year it gets easier compared to 1400 years ago and if you want to complain you can start even before you make your intention to go. I just feel so mug disgust towards hajjis who, after Hajj complain about trivial things such as food and such. Hajj is not a vacation and you aren’t doing it for fun. Suck it up for a week and enjoy the experience.
Dan: I respect most of what’s been posted here, but I take issue stuff like this:
“I think we kind of just expect people to at least discuss them amongst themselves with the same anger or sadness that they do other these other things, and to stop accusing people who do discuss them of creating “propaganda” or in some circles, of being a traitor.”
“When we don’t give a rat’s ass about them”
It would seem to me Justin that you are constantly assuming that if someone disagrees with your particular, distinct view point, this means that they don’t care about the topic or they are not willing to discuss it in any constructive manner. I have seen you do this repeatedly on GvilleBrothers, and I am quite bothered/offended by it; I don’t like being stereotyped or branded to any particular group or view that you might think I’m attached to. I pretty sure others don’t like it either.
I care about these issues as well. Just because I disagree in how we should go about solving them doesn’t mean that I think having constructive dialogue about our issues is forbidden.
Justin: Dan I don’t care if you’re offended. We all see it on the listserve…”OMG NO NIQABS!!!!!!!!!!
I don’t care if people disagree with me on how these things should be solved. No one even discusses them on the same level. Some people even justify such things. As I said, I distinctly remember someone invoking the notion of “religious freedom” to say why women should be able to wear the niqab in France, while saying Saudia Arabia has the right to impose it on people who go there…and that’s how most people think. I wasn’t singling you out…it’s a pretty big problem overall. But yes, labeling it as “propaganda” is pretty offensive. The guy [the author of the article] is Muslim, and upset at what he sees, but you immediately labeled it “propaganda” without even knowing him. He’s not Nonie Darwish, Dan. That’s such a reactionary thing to say. And yes, most Muslims who discuss these things immediately respond that way. Any kind of criticism that takes place in the public sphere is automatically dismissed.
Amanda: Allah knows his intentions… but I kinda wanna slap the fella responsible for writing this… I agree our deen is all about perfecting ourselves first… however I find it extremely unnecessary that he should post such an article likening …the hajj experience to apartheid (astaghfirullah) …maybe what he’s saying is not completely wrong but to bring forth such an opinion for the entire international community to see …is a little humiliating and unnecessary… we build our reputation collectively as muslims …especially at a time like this…=)
Anthony: Okay! For now on, I won’t post anything regarding Muslim issues on Facebook, insha’Allah. EVER! I don’t want to be a source of fitna [tribulation] for an already troubled community…
Anthony: @ Harry: No one is suggesting anyone “crap on the 3rd world,” at least not intentionally. What I’m (and I would assume Justin as well) are talking about has nothing to do with casting First World aspersions on Third World idiosyncrasies or sensibilities, as if we in the First World are somehow better than them. In fact, some of those “Third World issues” you mentioned–child sex labor, institutionalized racism, to name but a few–DO afflict our communities in the so-called First World; you just don’t hear about them as much. This is precisely my (and I would assume Justin’s) point. MAYBE those things aren’t as prevalent here, but that doesn’t mean we should turn a blind eye to them just because they don’t affect our communities directly. We should at least speak out against them as Muslims, per the instructions of the Prophet.
You also don’t hear too often about the issues which blatantly affect our community, like male hegemony, staggering divorce rates, and domestic violence. Where’s the excuse for stuff like this? Perhaps a bit of masochistic self-loathing is in order.
Like I said, no more posts on Muslim issues from me. I’ve caused enough fitna it seems…
Justin: LOL keep posting but disable the comment function…I’m about to do that as well!
Each interlocutor made some decent points I think. As I said in Part 1, in hindsight, it probably wasn’t a good idea to post the link to the article. Nathan’s words will henceforth reverberate in my mind for the rest of my life: “More often than not I am less that serious about everything – that’s a formula that has worked without fail in my life story…I’d say more, but if anything I’ve learned from WikiLeaks … reveal less than you know, if you wish to play again.”
…perhaps silence would have better served me…
Peace Itself and Peace to all.