Lamin Sabally, Minneapolis, Minn. – American Muslims are better educated, mostly work as professionals and are among top income earners compared to Muslims is Europe, especially France, Germany and Great Britain.
The unsurprising revelation was made during National Public Radio’s talkshow “Fighting Extremism” in a town hall town discussion held a couple a days ago and passionately monitored by this author. The program discussions heavily concentrated on the theme directed at fighting extremism and the panelists that composed of both Muslims and non-Muslims did an excellent job.
On a separate occasion but related issue, Prime Minister David Cameroun has asserted that “UK Muslims are the biggest charity donors than any other faith group.” So, because of the importance of the encouraging revelations to me as a Muslim living in the West, I promptly scoured deeper and got some additional exciting findings.
Make no mistake, Muslims in the US comprise both Muslim Americans-that is those who were born and raised here and included Black, White, Asians, Arabs , etc., and those who came are here as immigrants, but became naturalized after completely satisfying all the required procedures under Immigration path to legalization and naturalization.
Recent statistics from the Pew Research estimate that there are about 2.5million Muslims in America in both categories identified above, and the number is expected to double in 15 years. Research also shows that American Muslims are highly educated, and majority of them work as professionals in various areas of specialization including but not limited to Engineering, Medical, Academics and the long list goes on.
These Muslims also reportedly earn more than average Americans, according to Pew Research findings, are often better integrated Americans, while at the same time practicing their religion according to the Qur’an and the Sunnah.
In the twin cities in Minnesota alone, authentic observations show that there is steady mushrooming of mosques and religious centers as result of remarkable growth in the number of Muslim populations.
Some unconfirmed reports put the number of mosques to 65 across Minnesota, while the suggested Muslim population is estimated to be over Two Hundred Thousand (200,000) coming from all continents in the World.
Most of these communities have also established their mosques and Islamic centers where they regularly gather to worship and socialize. The list includes various Somali mosques, the Oromo mosque and Islamic Center, the Gambian Islamic and Education Center that runs both a mosque and weekly children Islamic class as amongst examples that also included Fridley-based Islamic center of Minnesota, Masjid Al Huda Islamic Cultural Community Center, among a host of others. Link
The Muslim world appeared to be increasingly bedeviled with chronic armed conflicts being perpetrated by a few disgruntled but astute lethal elements in the name of Jihadists. These groups that are labelled extremists and terrorists by the western powers have occasioned untold devastations in the form of carnage even in Muslim countries such as Iraq, Syria, Libya, Yemen and countries with huge Muslim concentrations like and Nigeria-home to Boka Haram group and Kenya that is infiltrated by elements of Somali-based Al-Shabab movement.
Their biased and selective interpretations of words of Allah are largely blamed for these avoidable human sufferings. Allah has completely dismissed any form of coercion in Islam. In Surat Al-Baqarah HE reveals “Let there be no compulsion in religion. Truth has been made clear from error, whoever rejects false worship and believes in God has grasped the most trustworthy handhold that never breaks. And God hears and knows all things.”
Proposed Strategies for fighting Extremism
National Radio discussion proposed many strategies to fight extremism, and among some recommendations given included community voluntarism and education of non-Muslims about true Islam as examples. From my personal perspective, these are very germane suggestions that Muslim groups need to add to their arsenal of strategies to fight this chronic menace, which is the equivalence of تطرفية in Arabic.
In the areas of education, we need to overly communicate the Quran’s status as the resolute constitution for all Muslims which was unquestionably ordained by our creator Allah through Angel Gabriel to the Prophet Muhammad (SAW).
The Qur’an as Muslim Constitution
I cannot think of any nation without a constitution, neither can I think of any social nor business organization without a working document whether in written or unwritten form. A constitution in essence is an embodiment of set of rules and regulations that ensures the smooth and effective functioning of a nation, society and organization. Its absence or blatant violation triggers chaos, anarchy and lawlessness.
In the context of politics, we often hear in countries that experience a military coup, the first thing the junta characteristically does is to suspend the constitution and replace it with military decree. The latest example of this scenario was the recent overthrow of the Morsi government in Egypt by the military followed by an announcement that the constitution was suspended. In the intervening period, and before the election that ushered in former military chief Abdel Fattah el-Sisi as President, the country was governed by litany military decrees. There was a promised for a constitutional review and its eventual validation through a national referendum.
The above analogy is ostensibly meant to showcase the importance and supremacy of a constitution. In the event that it is adulterated or flouted, eye-brows are immediately raised to correct a defective error or behavior especially by public officials.
Equally when someone’s rights are violated, it is the constitution that is used to adjudicate crimes of all nature through the observance of due process before any punishment can be prescribed to law breakers and crime perpetrators by a competent court of law.
In Islam too, the constitution of all Muslims is the Holy Quran. Its revelation to an illiterate prophet (An-Nabil Umeyuu) clearly underpins one of the many important miracles of the Holy Prophet. The Noble Qur’an in many of its consolidated verses comprehensively defends its self as an embodiment of words of our creator, Allah.
A Few Selected Attributes of the Qur’an
The attributes of the Qur’an have been sufficiently addressed in many incontrovertible verses of the Holy Book. A few of the selected attributes picked from assortment of Surahs include: 1.What we taught him (the messenger) was not poetry, nor is he (a poet). This is but a formidable proof, and a profound Quran. (Quran Mubeen in Arabic text.)
2. Absolutely, (I swear) by the moon. And the night as it passes; And the morning as it shines. This is one of the great miracles. A warning to the human race. For those among you who wish to advance, or regress. 3.
This scripture is infallible; a beacon for the righteous. 4. We thus revealed it, an Arabic Quran, and we cited in it all kinds of prophecies, that they may be saved, or it may cause them to take heed. 5. The word of your Lord is complete, in truth and justice. Nothing shall abrogate His words. He is the Hearer, the Omniscient.
6. This Quran guides to the best path, and brings good news to the believers who lead a righteous life, that they have deserved a great recompense. 7. Why do they not study the Quran carefully? If it were from other than God, they would have found in it numerous contradictions
2014 Ramadan Message from Prime Minster Cameroun and 2015 from President Obama
In his 2014 yearly Ramadan greetings obtained from a YouTube video, Prime Minister Dave Cameroun affirmed that Ramadan for Muslims constitutes a very special time for “charity, for contemplation and community.
For charity, he noted with satisfaction that Muslims are the biggest donors in United Kingdom, adding “they give more to charity than any other faith group”. To contribute to community building that Ramadan is credited for in the daily Iftars (Fast breaking); the Mr. Cameroun announced that his government was to sponsor the biggest Ifar gathering to encourage all Persons of faith and even those without religious identification to get to know each other.
In a White House Ramadan greeting video message released to the public, President Obama rightly observed that Muslims believed that the Holy Qur’an was revealed to Prophet Muhammad (SAW) during Ramadan, and pointed out that fasting represents “intense devotion and reflection”.
Muslims, he correctly pointed out, fast the whole day and attend Taraweeh (night prayers) during which worshippers to the mosques listen to the entire text of the Quran during each night prayers. President Obama also alluded to the importance of community building that Ramadan fosters, and announced a new engagement plan by his administration with Muslims and majority Muslim nations on the “basis of mutual interests and respects”.
The ongoing Islam phobia in the world can be surmounted with both education on proper Islam to people who are being inadvertently or intentionally fed with distorted information about Islam by some media outlets and clandestine anti-Islam groups. The spirit of community building and engagement can be used to the fullest to bring about the desire results.
The notion in the West that Islam is synonymous with violence and terrorism often perpetuated by renegaded groups like ISIS, Al-Qaida, Boko Haram, Al-Shabab , etc., needs to be completely rejected. These are groups that are attempting to hijack the deen known for peace and brotherhood, and they kill more Muslims than non-Muslims. These are murderers and the Qur’an fully condemns such a barbaric act. Assassination is strictly prohibited in the Qur’an.
The verse clearly says, “And do not kill a soul that God has made sacrosanct, save lawfully.” (I.e. murder is forbidden but the death penalty imposed by the state for a crime is permitted). 5:53 says, “… Whosoever kills a soul, unless it be for murder or for wreaking corruption in the land, it shall be as if he had killed all mankind; and he who saves a life, it shall be as if he had given life to all mankind.” Additionally, if the motivation for terrorism is religious, it is impermissible in Islamic law. It is forbidden to attempt to impose Islam on other people. The Qur’an says, “There is no compulsion in religion. The right way has become distinct from error.” (-The Cow, 2:256). Note that this verse was revealed in Medina in 622 AD or after and was never abrogated by any other verse of the Quran. Islam’s holy book forbids coercing people into adopting any religion. They have to willingly choose it.”