I’m just gonna say it…

Today I received a comment from a blogger. She was admonishing the two Muslim sisters who were denied jobs at McDonald’s for applying there. The blogger was upset that these sisters would even want to work for a company like McDonald’s which she says supports Israel. (And I don’t want to argue about whether it does or not- that is not the point of this post). The blogger went on to suggest that Muslims in the United States should not pay taxes to the United States government who, in turn, uses the money to support Zionists. She said it was preferable for Muslims to go to jail than to have their money spent in that way. Right now I’m still shaking my head…WTH? I asked the blogger, what good would it do Palestinians if all the Muslims were in jail for tax evasion? I mean, seriously, how can anyone suggest something so ridiculous? But you know what, that is not what I’m “just gonna say.” I have another bone to pick with you…us…

Let me preface my statement by saying, I have full sympathy for the Palestinian people. I make du’a for them and I hope Allah will grant them ease. Ameen. I don’t wish their suffering on anyone. At the same time, I want to know why is that the Muslim community can raise tons of money, awareness, issue statements of condemnation, put together rallies, and do so much for this particular cause but as a community we have not make as much noise about the plight of Darfuris,  the human rights violations in several predominately Muslim countries, or for our brothers and sisters starving in Niger, Mali, and Chad. Why aren’t we outraged by the slaughter of the Congolese people, the countless women and children who suffer as a result of domestic violence (often called ‘honor killings’) in predominately Muslim countries, the unjust applications of Shariah in so-called “Islamic countries”, child brides etc? (I don’t think I’ve even seen as much outrage about the situation on Guantanamo Bay).

One person went as far as to tell me that I would be questioned by Allah on judgment day if I did not devote my full time and attention to our brothers and sisters in Palestine. I guess nothing else should really matter right now… especially national and local issues. Not police brutality, disparities in health care, economics, home ownership or education, or unemployment, homelessness and starvation in the United States. No, my friend, these are not “Muslim issues.” Some of us won’t admit the truth to ourselves. We won’t dare utter the words. But let’s be real: images of injured or dead Arab Muslim men, women and children tug on our heart strings more than the images of dead, “kaafir”, Africans in the Congo. We deny the reality of those dark-skinned people in Darfur. We blame the media for exaggerating the situation…

Many people are calling for a boycott of various companies that support Israel. They say it is our duty as Muslims. It is the least we can do. I want to know where those same voices were (are?) when African-Americans, Latinos and other ethnic groups have spoken about Muslim immigrants (many of whom are Palestinians) selling haram, destructive products in poor, oppressed Black and Latino communities. As I recall there were several reactions: (1) the people who spoke out were accused of being racists (2) we were accused of trying to divide the ummah (3) our words were met with silence, denial or both (4) people made excuses for the perpetrators. Where were the calls for boycotts then? Oh, right, many of us live in comfortable suburbs, away from the plight of the poor and working poor. We don’t dare venture into areas with “those people” so we don’t see what damage some of our own Muslims brothers and sisters are doing in these communities. The sad part is, some of us KNOW these Muslim perpetrators. We see them in the masajid, we pray next to them, we know how they make their money, some masajid even accept their donations…but we want people to have sympathy for us?

I know what I’m saying may be painful. Some people might tell me now is not the time for this discussion. (Just as they did with a sister on one of my yahoo groups). But I want to know when will the time be right? Because it seems like there’s never a good time. Before anyone takes me the wrong way. Again, I am not saying I do not have full sympathy for the Palestinian people. I think Muslims should stand up for the rights of Palestinians. We should protest, we should speak out, we should help.  I just want everyone’s suffering to be acknowledged, to be given as much attention as the next one. Furthermore, I don’t want other people deciding what I need to focus my time and energy on. Especially when those very same people refuse to acknowledge the oppression that exists right here in the United States…or how they’re complicit in the oppression. I’m just sayin’…

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27 responses to “I’m just gonna say it…

  1. I think you bring up great points. Especially about the fact that your going to jail for tax evasion isn’t going to help Palestinians at all, and about the fact that similar concern is not shown to those in Darfur, for example, or our communities. Great post, barikallah!

  2. Salaam Alaikum,

    Uff! What is it about Palestine that makes people talk such rubbish? Go to jail for tax evasion? Yeah, that’ll save the Ummah.

    Palestine just becomes another way of showing what a good Muslim you are, rather then being about the Palestinian people themselves. I mean, we flash pictures of their dead bodies (even when their awrah is uncovered), but do we ever talk about solutions? Or do we just cheer on the Palestinian fighters like it’s a football match.

    As for victims of conflict elsewhere, well that’s not a holy war we can wring our hands over, so who cares? Other people don’t suffer like Muslims do, because they’re not quite as human.

    P.S Yes, I’m being sarcastic

  3. sistafromanotherplanet

    I am glad you had the courage to say it. I have thought about this for a while. Big ups to you Jamerican for speaking out! Excellent post!

  4. i am so glad someone came out and said this!!! i tell people all the time yes the Palestinians are suffering but man what about the people eating mud and having to decide which child gets to live due to lack of food in haiti? what about the people in africa? its like if they arent muslim or dare i say light skinned muslims the majority doesnt care

  5. Thank you for this post sister! I agree with you. I myself have written about the haram going on in our neighborhoods and of course I got branded as a racist, but whatever. To suggest that I as an Afro American am personally responsible for what’s going on in Gaza is ridiculous. And for someone to tell me to not pay my taxes and go to jail? LOL, not gonna happen. Aside from being ridiculous, that doesn’t even solve anything. I told the sister to practice what she preaches…I told her to go to jail and not pay her taxes (which support the wrong going on in Afghanistan)…I told her to lead the way. Anyways, she called me a “silly little racist brat” so I have no desire to argue with fools anymore. This isn’t the first time I have had a beef with the girl, and as far as I’m concerned she can keep on writing ignorance. I refuse to entertain it any longer. Excellent post JAM!

  6. Assalaamualaikum-
    What you said is honest and I commend you for that. I think there are numerous factors that contribute to our selective use of our empathy and time in regards to what we (Muslims) will condemn.

    I have met some wonderful Palestinians who I have talked to about politics and race. Interestingly they were more willing to talk about corruption within in addition to Israel’s actions. Like you I hate the double standard that values Israeli life over Palestinian.

    But I also hate the way in which Muslims opportunistically care more about what Israel does over what we do to each other or what we do to non-Muslims.

    The same logic that tells us that we need to make hijrah to Islamic countries in order to be authentically Muslim is the same logic that finds no problem in killing Muslims in America because we’re “sleeping with the enemy.” So I guess we need to go to Saudia Arabia (oh wait they’re way in bed with the U.S.) Okay let’s go to Egypt (hmm, can’t do that either because they won’t even let Gazans out and they’re closer to them than us). Oh I know let’ s go to the Emirates they have great clothes (can’t do that either didn’t they just allow another American military base to be built?).

    I am no blind patriot but my history as Both an American and Muslim runs deep in this land. To deny the complexity of that existence is extremely dishonest.

    And on our another note, as an African-American I’ve seen what incarceration is up close-from neo-Nazi prison guards to neglected AIDS. I’m not willing to sign up for that.

  7. I cannot add anything to that. Thank you so much, sister, for saying that. I have been thinking about this a lot lately and wondering why there’s no outpouring of donations for other issues and other places.

    Also, I think I may know what Yahoo Group you are talking about…

  8. Woo-whee! Thank you sis for speaking the words that are in the hearts of many. Couldn’t have said it better.

  9. I didn’t mention this in my prev. comment…but I soo agree with you that we hear and read so many bloggers, muslim bloggers, who are openly talking about how wrong Israel is for attacking Gaza, and they are right in saying this of course…but our issues are not addressed and are certainly not given this much attention. The horrific atrocities that we, Black people, face are taking place in Africa and in America and our problems are still very much alive. I remember reading an article a while back about a Black man who was murdered by two White men…he was run over by a machine, a car I think. I read about how they said that even days after the murder occurred, pieces of this brother’s skull could still be found on the road…he was young, in his teens and his mother was soo sad, hurt, and upset…subhanallah! I don’t think I have to say that the White boys who did this got off easy, and people said it wasn’t a “race issue”. People do not even pay attention and do not address the wars we as Black people are in today. It’s sickening really, but that’s why I, to the best of my ability, have made a blog where I talk about all the wrong that is happening to us. The truth’s gotta get out somehow, and we can make a difference.

  10. I can’t really add much to what has already been said but thank you once again for keeping it real. It’s so frustrating to talk about the oppression and injustice that is happening in Palestine but then take a “hear no evil, see no evil approach” when Palestinians and other Arabs come into Black neighborhoods, sell beer and wine and then to top it off, call their customers “abid” and look down upon them. I’ll be so happy when Muslims as a whole stop acting like Palestine is the be all, end all for Muslim causes, while issues that affect American Muslims are not worth thinking about.

  11. ASA, Thank you all. I am so happy I’m not the only one feeling this way. I must admit I was little hesitant about posting these thoughts. I was so sure people would take it the wrong way. Then again, my hesitance only goes to show much Muslims have been guilted into supporting the Palestine issue without any critical thought or examination. To do so is considered sacrilegious.

    • Salam alaikum Jamerican,

      It’s already been a year since you originally posted this, but I’m glad to finally have come accross your blog.
      I FEEL YOU 100%!!!!!!!!!!!!!
      It’s about time we started speaking out on this issue. May Allah (swt) continue to bless you with wisdom and integrity.

  12. ASA,

    This piece is a fine example of work when you are at the top of your game! I myself have completely distanced myself from the whole Palestinian issue. I know most of your readers haven’t, but I have. Most people couldn’t bear what I really feel about HAMAS and their evil.

    These people put weapons in hospitals, schools, nurseries, and even ambulances, with women and children on the roofs of their weapons facilities, in order to insure massive civilian casulties! And for what purpose? To win a military conflict? No, to win a propaganda victory, parading dead babies around for hours so the cameras can get good pictures. And I’m suppose to feel sympathy for this?

    We are suppose to drop everything we’re doing because HAMAS (and by extention the Palestinian people) decided to fire missles on Israeli civilians? Oh that right, they’re only Jews so that’s suppose to be OK. Or how about this one, “the reason HAMAS fires missles at CIVILIANS is because they are being blockaded”, without ever mentioning that when Israel lifts the blockade they enter restaurants and buses and explode suicide bombers in order to drive the Jews into the sea.

    The reason American Muslims feel guilty about discussing this issue as frankly as you have above is because a powerful Immigrant Muslim Syndicate, which I have written extensively about, has completely colonized almost every Muslim effort in this country. Both you and I have already discuused in our writings the proliferation of dirty Palistianian owned businesses that target the Black community, selling blunts, wrapping paper, porn, lotto, dice, pork, beer, wine, and almost everything else that Islam prohibits! How these shop owners sexually explode Black girls in the stock room. But say anything about that and your against “the poor suffering Palistinian people”. Bottom line is, Palistinians don’t give a damn about Black people and EVERYONE knows that! Consequently, I don’t devote anymore of my time or energy to their crap.

    Or how about these crazy pro-Hamas demonstrations in this country, which are parading nazi swastikas and calling for Jews to return to the ovens. No! You have no reason to feel fear of being misunderstood. What it really shows is that your moral conscience is taking a stand.

    I’m afraid I’m way past you Jamerica, in the sense that I don’t care one iota what people think about me concerning this issue. However let me warn you, once you go down this road you have to expose the lies and propaganda of people like Sami Al Arian, his daughter Laila, the deception of the so-called Holy Land Foundation, CAIR, MAS, MPAC, and all the rest of that syndicate. If you feel trepidation about anything its due their incessant propagandizing of Muslim converts like you and I. I haven’t even written one word on the latest outbreak of madness over there, and don’t intend to because it has nothing to do with religion ,and even if it did, I have to direct my attention to the suffering within my own African American community.

    Many of the courageous points you have proffered above are also mirrored and supported at my blog, especially the five part series “Why Blackamerican Muslims Don’t Stand for Justice”, the “Immigrant Muslim Syndicate”, and ‘Hamas Admits to Human Shields”

    http://singularvoice.wordpress.com/2007/11/14/why-blackamerican-muslims-dont-stand-for-justice-pt1/

    http://singularvoice.wordpress.com/2008/03/14/hamas-leader-admits-use-of-human-shields/

    http://singularvoice.wordpress.com/2008/04/11/immigrant-muslim-syndicate-the-evidence/

  13. Superb. But the same thing can be said of central asia. My suggestion is expanding the “horizons” to those areas as well. (i am not central Asian btw)

    PS. Abdur-Rahman Muhammad
    Memri has been totally discredited as a source on anything (non jewish) in the middle east. Also Remember what we are told to do with rumors….

  14. Pepe

    Who said anything about Memri? Man take your conspiritorial garbage and go somewhere and leave me alone! So all one has to do interject some red herring like Memri (a straw man since I never even mentioned them) and sound, rational arguments immediately become invalid.

    Rumors?! For the record, I read, speak, and understand Arabic well enough to translate the Memri clips myself, and don’t rely on any damn “rumors”. But again, who said anything about Memri anyway. This kinda of crap doesn’t fly anymore, so get a life.

  15. asa
    excellent post. let’s keep it even realer and note that the lack of concern about darfur or anything else that affects people of african descent has nothing to do with religion (or lack thereof) and everyting to do with color.

  16. Well written, Jamerican. 🙂

  17. ASA, I think you said what alot of people REALLY THINK but are to scared to say. While I feel for these people and the suffering they are going through; I have no intention on going to jail for them. WTFufruckers is that all about? I mean like you said what good will it do, and do you really think they would do the same for me a non arab Dark skin Muslimah……….NOPE.

    Maybe someone should point out to that sister that even if you live in a Muslim country and pay taxes to them they do not use it in all Halal ways either. NO, they may not support Israel but they are sure not using thier money to STOP THEM.

    These Gulf countries have a stronger and better economy than the states. They have more money than they know what to do with……BUT YOU KNOW What they wont do………..HELP thier Muslims sisters and brothers in Palinstine or any other place onthis earth. If they put their resourses together and REALLY wanted to do somethign this whole mess would be over……..BUT they are too much in love with the relationship and MONEY they get from the states. They may talk about how horrible the west is but the money they get from the west is AOK. People that live is glass houses should not throw stones. The life here is not better than the states…….different but NOT BETTER.

    She should Find out where the money from Muslim countries go.
    They use their money to invest in the US. They use it to make more money with Riba, they use it to keep alive the crazy caste system overhere that is unreal. If you think racsim is alivein thestates you have not seen anything until you move here. They use it to take the manhood a way from a man , to make a woman feel less than a women. To take away peoples rights that Allah gave them. Slavery is alive and well in these countries but it iis just a different name.

    Wrong is wrong….it does not matter who is doing the wrong. Its wrong in a kuffie and a thobe and its wrong in a suit and tie.

    Find me a country that is really promoting a true Islamic way of life and I will be on the next flight there….BU there is none so you cant just go around breakin laws ….if she dosnt like whats going on in the USA MOVE!!!!!!!!!!

  18. WA A GWAN sis, Assalamu Allikum,

    I agree with what you have said. We can’t address one issue and ignore others, everything has to be equally addressed. So, I donno how we call ourselves Muslims yet ignore other issues. Is there any website or anything out there that stands for all these issues. Otherwise, I may have got an idea to address all these issues to Muslims and non-Muslims around the world show them the facts a atrocities everywhere and locally. Whats going on in Palestine is important for us to be aware of and it is also important to be aware of other issues as well and do something about it.

  19. I agree with every single word you have written here. I’ve noticed that anytime atrocities occur in Palestine it is basically mandatory to write a post about it otherwise people will say you’re a bad muslim and don’t care. While I was perusing the blogosphere I came across a post that seems rather related to what you wrote. Initially didn’t know which blog(ger) was being referenced but after reading your post later on I can only assume it was written in response to your post. Needless to say, many people think that if someone cares about things happening in America when Palestinians are being killed, that than someone is being selfish. Weird is all I can say.

    http://revertmuslimah.blogspot.com/2009/01/dissapointing.html

  20. May I just say, that the sister who wrote a response to your post was just way out of line, subhanallah…

  21. Abdur-Rahman Muhammad

    I checked your link, and you cited memri as the source.
    If you don’t believe it go to http://singularvoice.wordpress.com/2008/03/14/hamas-leader-admits-use-of-human-shields/

    and check the link “this excerpt”. Your reaction speaks volumes.

  22. As a person who actually has participated in a rally for Palestine I totally agree with your post. I, as a Muslim and a woman of color, cannot afford to be myopic in which cause “deserves” our support. It saddens me when I mention Darfur, Congo and other places of great injustice and suffering to people who are hardcore supporters of Palestine a hush seems to fall over the room. Subhanallah.

  23. @ Muslimah Mami – I think so too, but as she said, she can write what she wants if it’s her blog I guess. It kind of bothers me when people say they’re not American, but they’re Muslim just “happening” to live in the US (I’m referring to part of her posting)… I mean, to me you’re just denying that you were born and raised here, it’ll always be part of who you are even if you try to throw away that part of your identity.
    Many people are very narrow minded, unfortunately.

    @ HijabiApprentice – Yes, or people will justify what’s happening in places like Darfur saying “well they’re just Africans, what do you expect” (yes, I’ve heard that before). 😦

  24. I have been lurking on your blog for a least a month now and although I’m commenting on this waaay late lol, I have to give you a round of applause. Finally, I know that there are other people who feel similar sentiments about this issue.

  25. Salam alaikum everyone,

    I would recommend that you read Farid Esack’s ” Qur’an Liberation and Pluralism “. He is a South-African scholar (and formerly a professor at Harvard Divinity School) and was one of the main Anti-Apartheid activist in the South-African muslim community back in the days. The book that I’m recommending to you is based on his experience as an activist, in a community that was split between those who were telling Muslims not to participate in the anti-apartheid struggle on the pretext that it was a struggle between “kafirs”, and the other side of the community that was pushing Muslims to get involved in the struggle because oppression should always be combatted, whether the oppressed are muslims or not. So the whole book is pretty about how/why muslims (should)engage in struggles that seem, at first, not to be “muslim issues”, and since oppression is by definition unislamic, the muslim response should always be to combat it. When someone is beaten and agonizing, you shouldn’t ask them whether they’re muslim, you’re supposed to assist them, regardless.

  26. I agree with and may Allah reward for calling out there blantant hypocrisy concerning people of Africian descent.I was riding just this past Thursday night with a south asian and a arab going to a lecture in Queens.The south Asian,had study in a madrasah in South Africia.The brother bragged about the indian wealth there and all the other groups were doing well except the Africians.He went on to say they were lazy and this was the reason for there lack of wealth.Who in the hell worked from sun up to sun down but the indengious people of South Africia.The wealth that came from mining gold .zinc.copperore.was incrediable expropalated by black folks.Black women took care of and raised the opressors bad behaving racist inheritors white children.The white ruling class still control things in that country.The indians muslims and hindus were a buffer class .For yrs .islam was look at a indian din by the indengious people.Same bullacrap went on a Trinidad.By the way when is our Imams and daee’s going to speak out more forcefully on these issues.The common people get shunned and made in being extremist and labled a angry black person.But on the real side Jamerica we need to kick some there asses.That the only thing some of them understand.If you ever see Planet Islam your see Imam Ramey Muhammad who you to be Imam in Chicago before he went abroad dealing with them in there haram stores.Start really talking about this and these speaking engagements some of these brothers get will start being cancelled.Personally I’m tired of the crap and I wish we the Africian Americians brothersd and sisters pull together and the freak with the ones what treat us like Third class in the land we were born in.The muslims who want true brotherhood and sisterhood know problem.Allah tells to have this and its benefits so not me and anybody else can abrogate this.Bottom line sister this crap has went uncheaked to long.

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