HUG A MUZZY: HUMANISING DEHUMANISED MUSLIMS

We Muslims live in troubling times, times where we face external threats of rising Islamophobia from the likes of The Trump, as well as internal threats of sectarianism such as the fighting in Yemen, Iraq, Pakistan, and Syria.

Trump and his supporters see Islam and all Muslims as a major problem, which is why they are happy to continue making negative comments that dehumanise Muslims, pouncing on any excuse for further anti-Islamic abuse.

trump-f-islam

So bad is the overall situation that the Channel 4 news presenter Fatima Manji said, in light of her recent altercation with the Sun columnist Kelvin MacKenzie, that “it is open season on minorities, and Muslims in particular.”

A simple way to counteract this tidal wave of stories dehumanising Muslims, a wave shaped like Trump’s hair, is to try and humanise the 1.5 billion plus Muslims who are, after all, human like the rest of us.

The media can certainly help in this endeavour, but the simplest way for Muslims to appear more human is for non-Muslims to meet them, to talk to them, to understand that they have more in common than they could have ever possibly realised.

In light of this please find below a few quotes and links that may not make you go out and hug a Muzzy, but they will hopefully show Muslims in a more humane light:


Humanising people is at the core of what the Prophet was all about…

When the Prophet (S) came with this deen, one of the central components of this religion was to try to humanize people, to make the already difficult circumstances of the world more tolerable. And one of the central ways of doing that was to help people get outside there egocentricity. This is because not only is there a benefit for yourself when you are less egocentric, but it makes life a lot easier for other people. And so the more people that do that, the better life becomes. – adapted from a speech by Shaykh Hamza Yusuf

Shaykh Hamza Yusuf


Comedian Adil Ray (aka Citizen Khan) thinks comedy can help to humanise Muslims more…

Comedy has the ability to humanise communities, as you are constantly looking for common traits, you are looking for universality. So when you are writing a comedy, I think, especially on BBC One, if you can get to the point where people can connect with a British Muslim Pakistani father, that’s a good thing, so that you in a sense laugh at the same things, the same concerns. – Adil Ray


Khizr Khan and his wife put a human face to Muslims in America at the Democratic National Convention…

When Mr. Khan spoke at the DNC last week, it was a pivotal moment. Not only did he eloquently shut down Trump’s unconstitutional and appalling statements/proposals, he AND Mrs. Khan did something even more profound: they humanized Muslims to a national (and arguably international) audience perhaps better than anyone ever has during our modern era. They, in their genuine presence, their immense patriotism, their still-present grief, their non-pretentious mannerisms, their heart-warming appeal and their conviction put a human face to Muslims in America and the American Muslim family. In a brief speech on the convention stage, they showed the American people that Muslims serve in the U.S. army (there are actually thousands), that they have made sacrifices, that being Muslim and American aren’t mutually exclusive and that they are indeed a fabric of society through and through. I was on the convention floor Thursday evening and seeing them on such a national platform was remarkable, as was the resounding, momentous response in that arena. It was something that I never thought I would witness – especially in this climate. – Nida Khan


Actor Aasif Mandvi asks us to beware the trickle-down effects of dehumanising Muslims…

I’m not afraid that Trump is going to kick out all of the Muslims. What makes me afraid is the trickle-down effect of that kind of rhetoric and that now, suddenly, it has become O.K. to be racist. We’re normalizing it, and therefore you see more violence against people of color and L.G.B.T. people. The culture has been given permission to exorcise all of its darkest fears and can now blame immigrants or minorities for whatever problems white people are facing. Whether or not Trump wins, we’ve already been infused with this. This camp has already shown itself. – Aasif Mandvi

Aasif

This is a point that Peter Jacob has also highlighted:

The hateful rhetoric we hear on national level is now trickling down to the local level. – Peter Jacob


The majority needs to realise that the minority are more than just about race and violence…

It’s disappointing for those of us who come from minority communities if the only conversation you’re having about minority communities and race is about violence. I mean, if you come from a minority community, you care about small businesses, you care about economic opportunity, you care about public education. We weren’t talking about those things. We were only talking about blacks and Latinos in the context of violence, and that seems already like a problematic framework. – Alicia Menendez, in an interview with Trevor Noah on The Daily Show, Sep 2016, shortly after the first presidential debate between Trump and Clinton


Comedian Maz Jobrani wants non-Muslims to make friends in different places…

I’ve been telling people the best thing you can do is try to make a friend from those backgrounds. Go to a Persian restaurant and eat food there and talk to the people that work there and get to know those people. And you will see that most people in this world are just trying to live their lives, they’re just trying to put food on the table, and make a living and keep their family happy. – Maz Jobrani


Imam Omar Suleiman really wants Americans to encounter Muslims at a human level…

There is no doubt in my mind, the more Americans that encounter Muslims at a human level, the more this bigotry is going to disappear, because statistic after statistic has shown that Americans that have actually sat with Muslims and known them on a human level are very unlikely to hold these types of views about Muslims and things of that sort. So it’s a united fight. We have to come together to fight against all forms of violence, and we have to form alliances, like-minded people that want to see a world of peace. – Imam Omar Suleiman, from the BBC documentary United States Of Hate


American student Marwa Balker wants Trump to walk in her footsteps…

Dear @realdonaldtrump, My name is Marwa, and I am a Muslim. I heard you wanted us to start wearing ID badges, so I decided to choose one for myself. I am not easily identifiable as a #Muslim just by looking at me, so my new badge will let me display proudly who I am. I chose the peace sign because it represents my #Islam. The one that taught me to oppose #injustice and yearn for #unity. The one that taught me that killing one innocent life is equivalent to killing humanity. I heard you want to track us as well. Great! You can come with me on my Cancer Awareness walks at the local middle school, or you can follow me to work where it’s my job to create happiness. You can also see how my local mosque makes PB&J sandwiches for the homeless and hosts interfaith dinners where everyone is welcome. Maybe then you’ll see that me being Muslim doesn’t make me any less American than you are. Maybe if you walk in my footsteps, you can see that I am not any less human than you are. Salaamu alaikum #NOTINMYNAME #FightWithPeace #CanYouHearUsNow. – Marwa Balker, from her now viral Facebook post


06-Nov-2016…

A few days after writing the above blog, I came across this excellent short video called Meet A Muslim:

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One thought on “HUG A MUZZY: HUMANISING DEHUMANISED MUSLIMS

  1. Thanks Imran, This resonated with me

    “I’ve been telling people the best thing you can do is try to make a friend from those backgrounds. Go to a Persian restaurant and eat food there and talk to the people that work there and get to know those people. And you will see that most people in this world are just trying to live their lives, they’re just trying to put food on the table, and make a living and keep their family happy.”

    I have always thought and tried to live along these lines and encourage it in my children. Learn and be interested in others. Accept invitations to other peoples events even if they are not what you would normally do. Ask about them and their families, Learn a bit about their religion, their culture and their ways of life. And if some food is involved all the better. IT made more friends over the samosas they shared
    than any of the other PR they undertook.

    Hope you and yours are well. Rich G.

    Liked by 1 person

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