By Hana Alasry from Detroit
Estimated Reading Time: 4 minutes
1/29/17 12:23 AM: EDIT: ALTHOUGH THE ACLU HAS BLOCKED THE MUSLIM BAN IN COURT (ALHAMDULILLAH), THE CONTENT OF THIS POST IS STILL ASTONISHINGLY RELEVANT. WE HAVE 4 YEARS TO GO. I’M GLAD TO SEE THAT WITHIN A SINGLE COURSE OF WRITING, SO MUCH PROGRESS HAS BEEN MADE.
I’m swallowing anxiety as I write this. Part of the difficulty of truly being a writer is that you have to deliver, no matter how much it pains you to. The other part (for me) is striking a balance between being transparent and being collected. But that is hard to do at vulnerable times like this.
Vulnerable times make stronger people and if I take the title of a writer, then I’ll take it with all that it brings. So here are my reflections and practical advice on post-inauguration and mainly the #MuslimBan.
The #MuslimBan reflects an executive order signed by Trump (#notmypresident) that bans Muslim entry into the United States from seven Muslim-majority countries: Iran, Iraq, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria and Yemen (the birthplace of my parents and ancestors).
[If you’re just here for the practical steps, feel free to skip my reflections in the next two paragraphs]
I’m both numbed and angry. I’m furious at the very Muslims who voted for Trump “as a joke,” playing around with what was people’s lives. I’m furious at the Trump supporters who ignored the underlying truth of every civics class: that although checks & balances are pretty on paper… they’re still theoretical. And devils won’t “check and balance” devils. I’m numbed because I know there are parents who will feel like they’ve failed after doing all they can to get their children to “land of the free” only to be turned away at its doorstep. I’m numb because the only other alternative is anxiety for what this Muslim ban has the potential to become.
But… I sit here after beginning the study of the seerah with my usra. I sit here after reflecting on the privilege I have as an American born and educated Muslim citizen. And with those thoughts in mind, here’s a compilation of advice on what we can do. It’s a humble attempt because this world is moving too fast for me to document it all. Note: In just a few hours, the content of this post had to change. Necessary information has been hyperlinked for your convenience.
1) Don’t normalize what is happening.
Stay awe-struck, concerned, angry because the moment you stop is the moment you become complacent. And we can’t afford that. I know it’s not fair, but to the Muslims reading this, WE CAN’T AFFORD THAT. If you not to say it, write it or sing it for all I care, don’t let the feelings of recognizing injustice fade to the background.
2) Stay informed.
Simply googling ‘Trump’ may be enough for a day. But for the more nuanced look at how the Muslim community is affected, I suggest following Khaled Beydoun (Twitter and Facebook) and Dawud Walid (Twitter and Facebook) and other CAIR representatives and folks who focus specifically on advocacy for the Muslim community. I’m sure there are several who can be added to the list, MAS folks included, alhamdulillah.
3) Stand in solidarity.
Right now is a scary moment for Muslims, but know that these policies that are coming into play via executive orders are not just affecting Muslims. They affect all vulnerable minorities like low income individuals, women, people of color (and remember you can be more than one of these minorities at once). We can’t afford to be selfish or divided in our causes. Remember that “injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere” and that is the same way our prophet SAW viewed it.
4) Start jumping into action.
Assess what you can do. Attend the protests (there is power in numbers). Donate to the organizations doing *major work* on the ground like the ACLU and specific to the Muslim community, CAIR and ADC. I’m sure there are several others and more local organizations; these are just the national ones I’m familiar with. Offer your skills to your schools, your masajid and/or your community organizations. Have conversations with your family members to inform them of what they might not understand. Specific to the #MuslimBan, inform those who have green card status to NOT LEAVE the United States. Call, email and mail letters to your state representatives. If you’re an attorney, a teacher, a counselor, a community organizer or what it may be, offer your time. If your local MAS chapter has a MAS PACE branch, get involved there. Do what you can.
5) Don’t lose hope.
So much easier said than done but as long as there are good-hearted people who resist oppression, we will make it to better places and better times in God’s place and in God’s time. To highlight this, I’ll say that within a few hours of me beginning this blog, several advances were made. Protests have erupted across the nation at different airports, the ACLU has sued the White House, and a federal judge lifted the ban for refugees with visas in New York. Lawyers are volunteering their efforts to defend the rights of immigrants and with the help of all those invested in justice and ultimately the help of Allah, more advances can be made.
6) Start taking notes.
2017 Muslims, we are facing our very own Quraiysh. And everything we need to know about how to conquer these difficult times has been documented in the life of the Prophet Muhammad SAW. His home was vandalized, his supporters were boycotted, his sahaba were refugees, his community was abused by the political elite of the time. And the Muslims of that time prayed and resisted and took action and showed gratitude. And we have to study and learn to do the same. Not sure where to start? Well, a seerah book is always good. Also, Sheikh Omar Suleiman has a series on 40 Hadith on Social Justice that can be extremely helpful.
This is by no means an exhaustive list. It’s what I’ve noticed in my circles and so I wanted to make sure it gets to those who might not have that access. Stay strong, Muslims. No one promised life as a believer was easy.
155. “And We will surely test you (all) with something of fear and hunger and loss of property, lives and fruits; but give glad tidings to the (steadfast) patient.” 156. “Who, when a calamity befalls them, (by showing perseverance), say: ‘Verily we belong to Allah, and certainly unto Him shall we return’.” 157. “Those are they on whom are blessings and Mercy from their Lord, and they are the ones that are guided (aright).” [Quran 2:155-157]
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