The Diversity Deal

unity

Diversity and inclusion are wonderful when they work in your favour. In the last week, Muslims like myself have been the beneficiaries of the world’s love and understanding. At airports around the United States people with open, liberal minds have acknowledged that most of us are just ordinary folk. We only want to live and work in peace and free from fear. Owing no allegiance other than our shared humanity these generous and passionate people stood up for our rights and our cause.

I’ll admit that I am conflicted. There are so many sides to what has happened that I am not sure how to reconcile them all. Let me lay them out for you.

Perhaps easiest to understand is that I have been overwhelmed by the outpouring of love in the face of an act of hate. It is a bright light in a time of encroaching darkness. I salute all those who have given of their time and skill and energy in the cause of humanity. May whatever powers you believe in uplift you.

But this has also left me with a sense of dread. I fear many Muslims do not understand that this is a two-way deal. We may be heartened by the efforts of others on our behalf, but what will we do when it is time for us to stand up and be counted? I have no doubt that the Trumpists are coming for us all. So, answer me this my Muslim brethren:

You want to live in peace, free from fear, with equal rights to your neighbour, and to practice your beliefs without interference. But if that neighbour is from the LGBT community and will not be served in a local store will you campaign on their behalf? That neighbour’s right to live without molestation is the same as yours.

What if that neighbour is a woman exercising her right to choose, and finds herself denied medical care; will you step forward and raise your voice? Her right to choose what to do with her body is the same as yours.

When emboldened fascists daub swastikas on the local synagogue will you be there to wash the walls and help protect your fearful neighbours? Their right to religious freedom is the same as yours.

All the things you want for yourself you have to be willing to offer to others, without stinting or reservation. If you’re unwilling to do that then you are unworthy of any shred of what has been put on the line for you this week.

That deal has embedded in it the Islamic concept of Adl – justice. What you want for yourself you must want for others, irrespective of what they believe and how they want to live. Freedom for Muslims means freedom for non-Muslims. If you aren’t able to sign up that then sign up to Trump or ISIS, they both believe in one law for them, and one law for everyone else. You think I am exaggerating? See if you can read beyond the first few lines of this from Breitbart without vomiting. I couldn’t. The Alt-Right would restrict women’s education in an echo of the Taliban, and it is their poison being whispered into Trump’s ear.

So how do you reconcile the freedoms you are morally bound to protect, if they war with your own beliefs? That, my friends is a test of faith. If you believe that the message we bear is the Truth then trust in it. Welcome everyone and let your capacity to love and accept bring them closer to you. Or maybe you and I just aren’t the same kind of Muslims. Maybe you are a Muslim that takes pride in the bloody history of Islam of the sword. If so, ISIS is waiting for you, what are you waiting for? My Islam is the one of mercy for mankind.

And in that internal argument of faith lies another source of discomfort. There are countries that export terrorism. Decades of Saudi money peddling the spiritually bereft Wahabi / Salafist ideology has created a generation of emotionally and mentally damaged people, willing to believe violence is an answer. In places this monstrosity has replaced mainstream Islamic thinking. My real dissension with the Trump ban is not its existence, every nation has the right to protect its borders and vet those entering for potential threats. But when that ban specifically excludes the nation that provided the 9/11 hijackers I am left aghast. If the ban had been properly consulted on, discerningly targeted and professionally implemented, it might have been a valid policy. Instead it is an act of naked racism, spiced with a toxic dose of Trump’s personal commercial interests.

And that last leaves me with a sense of fear. I live in London. I only have to contend with the backwash of Brexit and Theresa May trying to sell the country to the highest bidder. But I have friends and loved ones in the US. They are people who cling fiercely to liberal ideals, and carry a deep respect for their fellow humans, irrespective of creed or colour. I fear for them, because their chief executive is trampling on every concept of value in pursuit of his own limited interests. The coming battle for America’s soul is one in which there will be casualties, and my friends are people of conscience who will stand and make their presence felt. I fear for them almost as much as I fear for family in Pakistan who live in the shadow of lawlessness and Salafist terrorists.

The Trumpists are coming for us all, and that brings me back to my initial sense of dread. My challenge is to the Muslims – when they have had enough of you and bully the gay man two doors down from you, will you stand watch so he can sleep safely? Will you escort the woman past the baying mob to the health centre, will you link arms with the Rabbi to keep the fascists from the synagogue? If you want these people to stand up for you, you need to stand up for them. That’s the diversity deal.

END

picture credit Nuccio DiNuzzo

My author site

If you want to read more in a similar vein:

Remember, The White Folks Won

The Gates to Common Ground

J’accuse… the Muslims

 

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48 thoughts on “The Diversity Deal

  1. Excellent post – as always. I love the photo from Chicago (where our daughter and son-in-law live). I can only agree with everything you say. As a person with no religion at all, I have always thought that the only commandment any religion needed was ‘be kind to others’ and everything that mattered would follow from this behaviour.

    Liked by 9 people

    • I’ve always thought the first question I’ll be asked on the other side is “did you hurt anyone?” I have, there’s a list, and they all deserved better, but I try to minimise it.

      And to your point about career choice – I think you’ll be an inspiration to my daughters. The elder one recently wanted to be an artist and an inventor, selling her inventions in her own shop, alongside her art works. Why not?

      Liked by 4 people

  2. I am at work reading this (during my morning break) and have tears in my eyes. You have so eloquently and beautifully written this, and I will most definitely share your post link on both of my facebook pages. THIS is the Muslim I try to tell reticent friends EXISTS and is the TRUE religion. I am no follower of a named religion but believe in a God above us all. I have meant to check the Quaran (sorry for my misspelling) out of the library so that I can quote the same ideas of violence and love, the same way the old and new testaments have different sides (that I know of from scanning). Too many here in the US are being taught to fear Muslims. I agree, this Executive Order is racism, buddied up to capitalism. For the executive order to pretend that 9/11 is the foundation, where the terrorists hailed from Saudi Arabia, then NOT include that country b/c pseudo-President Trump has a business there? That tells all the tale I needed to see. Hugs to you, for the conviction and courage to help rally your Muslim friends to see beyond bigotry of any form.

    Liked by 5 people

    • Thanks Shari, although honesty compels me to admit I’m not doing any marching or demos at the moment, as my back injury persists. My wife did take the elder daughter to the women’s march a couple of weeks ago. Teach ’em to make their voices heard early!

      Like

    • Meybe sometime this kind of racism ends forever like some of the other types in the past. There is not much thing for a muslim to do for someone from a muslim country to tell people not to fear muslim people. I can only thank you for writing a comment under this post. I am happy to read there is smo in world who drop tears like me while reading it

      Liked by 3 people

  3. Nicely written and heartfelt plea. Re Saudi money spreading Walafi/Salafi thinking – spot on. Sadly 20-30% of UK Muslims seem to have swallowed it, according to surveys. The consequent self-segregation and terrorism-denial/justification provokes racism, widely hidden but openly expressed by Trumpoids. If I may puff my own post, readers might like to check out ‘Colour me racist – blame my genes’, in which I address this, and many other aspects of racism from the point of view of a white liberal. (https://soothfairy.wordpress.com/2016/11/10/racism)

    Liked by 5 people

  4. I’m a muslim from Indonesia the biggest country of Islam, We’ll respect any judgements ’cause Islam doesn’t recognize revenge. a leader should know about justice and always be smart in making decisions no single country that wanted to war but see what “the best president of US” as triggering an explosion that would destroy himself. Peace out

    Liked by 3 people

  5. Reblogged this on Whirling Mind & Wondering Thoughts Bounding Free and commented:
    I read this blog and felt moved to reblog it! The Author is asking Muslims – when Trumpets have had enough of harassing them, (Muslims), and turn from them and turn to bullying the gay man two doors down will they stand watch so they can sleep safely, or will they stand up for the gay man? Will the Muslim escort the woman past the baying mob to the health center, will s/he link arms with the Rabbi to keep the fascists from the synagogue? That is the challenge this Muslim author is putting out there to other Muslims in the face of Trumpets and their threat to diversity. However, it is the same challenge I put out to all Americans. This is a land of diversity, land of the free. Will you stand up with the person next to you? Be they a different sexuality, different race, different religion, etc? If you want people to stand up for you, you need to stand up for them. That’s the diversity deal. – Go read the article I reblogged and you won’t be disappointed. Plus, please – take the diversity challenge – stand up for your fellow American no matter how different they are and see them stand up for you!

    Liked by 2 people

  6. Very insightful and well-written. As a white woman, a Jewish woman, and a woman with a mental illness, I try my hardest to stick up for other people who are targeted by discrimination or oppression. I think everyone can benefit from looking out for each other. Thanks for this!

    Liked by 4 people

  7. Hugs to you, dear–these were great words to read. There’s enough friggin’ hate in the world, and nowhere and in no time that I know of have I heard of hate creating peace and love. There’s no place for it. We all need to stand up for each other and see each other as human beings.

    Liked by 4 people

  8. I have always found Muslims the kindest people, and even here when you ask these hard questions to not only Muslims but to everyone as we all will be facing a similar circumstance someday, I can feel the politeness and kindness in those questions (best way I can describe this feeling)

    I hope things get better, in US and all of the war ridden countries. Religion is the never meant to wage wars

    Liked by 3 people

  9. I love your post! I am so inspired by all the people around the world, who realize, that an intersectional perspective is important! There is no black-and-white, people suffer from multiple forms of oppression and the marginalized have to work together to fight against injustice! Have you seen the British movie ‘Pride’? It’s based on a real story of the LGBTQI community and miners from a small town in Wales, who help each other to fight against the Thatcher regime. I am going to write a post about this soon.
    Lots of love!

    Liked by 5 people

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  11. I’m thinking alot about everything that you wrote in this post.
    It’s not like i’ve never thinking about it, questioning the same thing
    Reading this making everything more real. Like somebody finally bringing up an unconciously avoided topic.

    It’s like thinking out loud..

    Liked by 2 people

  12. Agree with the exception of the “choice” issue. You cannot compare supporting the right of a gay man to live as he wishes without harming anyone else to supporting the denial of the basic human right of breathing to a child. One is standing up for human rights and the other is working against the human rights of the most vulnerable members of society. One is loving your neighbor and the other is helping your neighbor to kill her child. To a person who believes this way, walking a woman past a picket line so she can murder her baby because the law says she can is as bad or worse than protecting a man as he publicly beats his wife to death because he is practicing his freedom of religion.

    Liked by 2 people

  13. I love your post so much.. I’m a Muslim from Indonesia and now stay in Japan. Every day I see the news, but don’t know what happened today. In here, I just feel blessed that the peoples around me give me to much tolerance. And, I wish the another Muslim and peoples in the world too can feel the same feeling. I ask a permission to share your post in my facebook, thank you.

    Liked by 2 people

  14. As an ethnically Christian Lebanese American, I deeply appreciate your point that “they’re coming for all.” I had an argument with a Cptic Egyptian coworker who voted for DJT. Her point was she was going to be ok bc she was Coptic. I couldn’t get her to see that it doesn’t matter if she’s ok while others suffer, and in all likelihood, none of us are going to be ok. Christians, green card holders, babies and grandmas were caught up in the last ban. If it goes unchecked, as you say, we will all be swept up. Christians need to stand up for Muslims, Egyptians and Lebanese need to stand up for Syrians etc. For too long Middle Eastern people have been otherizing each other. In Trump’s eyes, we’ll all be seen as foreigners and unwelcome.

    Liked by 1 person

  15. Excellent post, as a non-Muslim I will defend the rights of all, as a heterosexual I stand with the LGBT to protect everyone’s rights. As a human being and homo-sapien I respect my neighbours and would die to protect their right to live freely, worship in the way they choose and keep them free from persecution. I have long said that Islam is not a religion of violence, just as Christianity is not. Extremists don’t follow religion they use it to promote their own ends. Trump is no different from Baghdadi he is using his position to promote his interests.

    Liked by 2 people

  16. Ali! This was lovely. I have a few similar posts on my site about Christians over here in the U.S. I don’t feel like this is political at all (though I’m sure others might). This is about seeing every person as created and loved by a wise God. Thank you for sharing.

    Liked by 1 person

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