Friday, March 09, 2007

Bay Area Muslims Mobilizing for Al-Aqsa

I attended a gathering of Bay Area Muslims mobilizing to protect Al-Aqsa and support the Palestinian people, last Saturday, March 3rd. I have posted below, my notes in their entirety. If you're looking for a condensed version, check this out.

Imam Zaid Shakir

  • Reminder: as Muslims, our religion is under attack. That attack is assuming many forms: intellectual, psychological and physical)
    • Psychological: transforming us into materialistic beings. If we compare our material resources to those of our oppressors we will fall into despair.
    • Allah (swt) declares war against those who transgress on those who have befriended him. What then should we be afraid of? Let us befriend Allah (swt)!
  • Allah (swt) alternates strength amongst groups in order to distinguish the real believers. It is easy to believe when you are winning. It is, however, when you are on the weaker end of the cycle that Allah (swt) tests the strength of your belief
  • We cannot solve these problems over night. This is a long-term struggle.
  • Ultimately, Allah (swt) will protect his house
    • This does not mean don’t work and/or don’t mobilize. It means don’t despair!
    • In order to make real change, it is necessary to at least start working with the resources we already have despite their imperfections
      • Support the Presbyterian Church's decision to divest!
      • Buy Jimmy Carter's book!
      • Support the Palestinian people: they need our moral support, our money and our voices!
Shaikh Mumtaz-ul Haq
  • He doesn't normally address mixed-gender gatherings.
    • However, because Palestine is so close to his heart he is sacrificing his principles for just one night.
  • We need to change ourselves before Allah (swt) will change our condition.
    • Don't blame the Zionists, blame yourselves
      • It is as though your mother is being raped and you are busy watching TV and playing games
  • Yes, Al-Aqsa is the third holiest Muslim shrine BUT it was the first Qibla!
  • Jerusalem indicates the pulse of the Ummah. When Muslims are strong, we have Al-Aqsa BUT when we are weak we don’t.
  • What can we do?
    • We visit Tokyo and Timbuktu, but never Palestine. Visit Palestine!
    • Make dua! Why are we afraid to ask Allah (swt) for help? It's a free resource!
Dr. George Bisharat
  • The challenge is that the Palestinian narrative is virtually absent while on the other hand the Israeli story is told eloquently and frequently
  • The Bad News
    • The media is biased
    • We are facing a concerted effort to denigrate the Palestinian people
  • The Good News
    • While there is lots of work to be done, it is doable
    • The media wants to hear from us, we simply have to step up to the plate
  • The Institute for Middle East Understanding
    • Their sole focus = the media
      • Mass media = the gatekeepers of American public opinion
    • We spend hours working on speeches/talks that reach at most a few hundred people BUT the same amount of time spent working on Op-Ed pieces could potentially give us access to thousands of people!
  • For every dollar we invest in direct support of the Palestinian people we should invest an equal amount in strategic campaigns supporting the Palestinian cause here (i.e. the United States). This way, someday insh'Allah we will be able to stop collecting money to rebuild mosques and instead focus on collecting money for new mosques!
  • Remember: the other side has to keep the public convinced that the sky is red. All we have to do is get the word out that it is in fact blue.
    • And also remember, we have God's justice on our side.
Dr. Agha Saed
  • There is a pattern:
    • Provoke, use overwhelming military power, humiliate and then consolidate your newest acquisitions
  • Zionists are attempting to undermine the unity of Muslims and Christians
  • In Lebanon, 6,000 people defeated Israel
    • Muslims are no longer afraid
  • You can purchase the governments in Muslim countries, but when you do that you create non-state actions which are not bound by any law
    • You can destroy nation-states, but you cannot destroy the will of the people.
  • The struggle for Palestine is taking a long time. However, in the life of nations this is not a very long struggle
    • Remember, it took over 130 years to free Algeria
  • Dr. Sami Al-Arian
    • An amount equivalent to almost 1/3 of the money spent on Katrina relief has been spent on investing him
    • Of the 51 charges the government brought against him, the jury did not convict on a single one
    • He is on the 41st day of his hunger strike and he has lost 43 pounds already
    • We need to advocate for him!
Amir Abdel Malik Ali
  • The Zionists are fanning the flames of fitnah in the Ummah
    • It’s not working though because they are simultaneously uniting us behind a common enemy. Al-Aqsa unites Sunnis and Shias!
  • There is a different climate today, mainstream folks are openly using the term “apartheid” to describe the racist state of Israel
  • We have to stop using "their" words and "their" definitions
    • Our brothers and sisters are freedom fighters, not terrorists.
    • Keep in mind, their definition of a good Muslim is one who does not think Islam is the solution
  • Stop pacifying the youth
    • Unleash them! Stop taking the fire out of them. It is their fitrah to have this fire - this fire will protect them from Jahiliyah
Dr. Hatem Bazian
  • We need to re-energize ourselves in terms of our work.
    • Silent people never make history. Furthermore, silent people who go with the flow are never remembered.
    • The Prophets (peace be upon them) stood up in the face of adversity, they did not go with the flow. We need to follow in the footsteps of the Prophets.
  • Salahuddin was the product of a society.
    • We need to produce Salahuddins!

My thoughts
  • Mash'Allah it was packed house. There were easily over 350 people there. The fabulous thing about those numbers was that the audience reflected a relatively diverse crew of people - ethnicities, ages, socioeconomic classes. All of the people who you could never imagine showing up at a protest or rally were at this event, and more!
  • There were some fundraising pushes (primarily for Dr. Al-Arian and the IMEU), but nothing very obvious. I'm not sure how I feel about that.
  • The children got involved - the mosque hosted an art contest for kids ages 4-12 (?) with the theme being Al-Aqsa. Fabulous idea - Alhamdulillah, reel them in early!
    • Speaking of children, I came across this today. Sounds like an interesting place to make a donation, so that the youth of Palestine may actually have a childhood!

May Allah (swt) grant the Palestinians and all of the oppressed peoples of the world victory!

1 comment:

Sarah said...

Ameen thuma Ameen thuma Ameen..

Jazaky Allah'u khayran for posting this.. InshaAllah this is the start for a great ending.. one day.. Palestine will be free InshaAllah..