Monday, March 14, 2011

Thoughts on the King hearings

It was a good weekend. Grandparents and cousins. A barbecue in the park taking in the sunny seventy-four degree weather and Ben & Jerry ice-cream. An ordinary day in the life of just another American.

Except- I'm not just another American.

At least not according to King. I generally avoid discussing my faith here. Mainly because its a personal and spiritual connection between me and my Maker- but also because I speak here only for me, not my entire faith- and as most minorities can attest to- every good or bad I do lends itself to generalizations for everyone who looks like me. Every single interaction I have I'm aware that I'm not just imparting an impression of me, Aisha- but an impression of over a billion people. And this is a heavy burden I'm neither knowledgeable nor capable enough to carry. While this is inevitable even in the purchasing of a pack of bubble-gum or a doctor's office visit, I do my best to minimize this burden and speak seldom on topics of faith.

But my silence on this topic does not mean I can escape that burden like during my Masters when the teacher asked me to explain exactly why all Muslims shouldn't be sent to internment camps if a few pose risks with the majority of the class nodding in agreement, or five years ago, asked by my professor to explain terrorism and the perceived silence of Muslims with every eye trained on me as though I was a learned sheikh, not a fledgling law student like them. I wrote this post then, but my thoughts from then apply just as well today to the King Hearings and to a man who wants to put a religion on trial for the actions of some of its adherents. Most relevant:
People from professors to friends have said that if Muslims are not speaking out in droves against terrorism than our silence equals complicity. There are over one billion Muslims in the world. Almost four times the size of the United States population. Most Americans don't feel the actions of a stranger in South Dakota or New York or even our next door neighbor speak for us, but as Muslims we must go out in throngs to disavow the actions of a stranger who happens to be one of 1.6 billion people who call themselves Muslim. David Koresh was Christian. The BTK killer went to Church faithfully. Should I assume Christians love the actions of these men because they did not make a public announcement ("We as Christians do not condone murder. We are peaceful as a faith. These people do not represent us")? Baraka wrote a fantastic post where she included a quote from Anne Frank's diary: " Oh it is very, very sad that for the umpteenth time, what one Christian does is his own responsibility; what one Jew does is thrown back at all Jews.'" Such is it now a days for Muslims. . .
. . . For the record, I am against violence. period. You call yourself Muslim, Jewish, Christian, Buddhist, WHATEVER I am against violence as a means to resolve issues. Call it cheesy, idealistic, unrealistic but I am for peace, and love and harmony and tolerance and patience and kindness. That is my stance.
It's still my stance.

As much as the vitriol spoken at these hearings leave me feeling bruised and terrified for my son- and what the future may entail I remind myself of what I know to be true: the actions of a few of my fellow Americans do not speak for all my fellow Americans. This is the same nation that elected Barack Obama as its President, and Keith Ellison as Congressman and doesn't blink an eye when thanking my decidedly brown husband for his military service.Yes that's my country. And every time I feel that ache of worry swell inside, fears of internment camps of our relatively recent past haunting my dreams, I remind myself of this.

[For other perspectives on the King hearings you can also read Jamila's take. And Cecily's. And Keith Ellison's. And CAIR's [Council for American Islamic Relations].

*As an aside, its been a while since I've touched on a topic on my faith- if you have something against this I respect your right to hate but please, just click away- I'm not in any place to have an argument or hear bigoted statements in the comment section- and if I see them- I'll simply click delete*

13 comments:

Anonymous said...

I think Keith Ellison is a Congressman, not a Senator.

You can delete this if you want, but I wanted to just point that out.

Rasha

Aisha said...

Thanks Rasha- yes you're right! Thanks for correcting me!

Sprogblogger said...

What's going on with the King hearings is insanity, pure and simple. Denouncing a religion for the activities of crazy people is, well, insane - and I'm sorry you're feeling the pressure and the fallout from this creep's scariness.

Please do rest assured that he doesn't speak for me or mine or millions of other Americans. It's purely shameful that these hearings are even taking place in our country.

Thinking of you & your wonderful family tonight, and hoping that your BBQ & B&Js was delicious and fun and (seventy-four degrees??? I'm so jealous!) wonderful.

Anonymous said...

Just as an FYI there were a lot of who came out against the hearings i.e. the "shoulder to shoulder" campaign. http://www.umc-gbcs.org/site/apps/nlnet/content2.aspx?c=frLJK2PKLqF&b=4909851&ct=9170053

C said...

Aisha, I don't know what's the scenr like in US, but what I do know that the hate against Islam GOT TO STOP. Everywhere. period. I feel so strongly about this issue, its not healthy. just last week I got into an argument with a shopkeeper on this issue. She passed a comment thinking no Muslim was around . She obviously hadn't counted on me, the "pseudo secular' (thts wot ppl call me!) Just stop the hate already ppl!!!!!!!!

BTW, can you read hindi? I would like to share something if you do.

Anonymous said...

Wow your husband is in the military?!
I love this post :)

Tracy said...

Well spoken, as always.

Anonymous said...

FYI There were a lot of people against this thing. There was that rally "I am Muslim too", among the attendees Kim Kardashian, Khloe Kardashian, Lamar Odom, Puff Daddt, Russel Summons ect.

Aisha said...

Susan, thank you for your words- I know we've discussed this before and I appreciate you sharing your perspective here- its sickening that these hearings were federally funded. . . but in good stuff, yes 74 degrees! It was unreal! :)

Anons, I heard about that- there has been a lot of public outcry from the community about these hearings- I'd say the people in support of them were certainly in the minority. This gives me no small measure of comfort. And yes, my husband is in the military :)

C, I am so curious what it is like in India because I've heard so many different things. Thanks for sharing your unique perspective. Are you in India?? I can read phonetic hindi [i.e. americanized] but not the actual hindi script- so I can understand hindi, and I can speak it [since urdu and hindi are very similar in speaking] but I cannot read hindi though I can read urdu.

Thanks Tracy :)

kmina said...

It's incredible how this kind of things can happen in our so called modern and tolerant times. And when one such troll comes back from the dark ages and has the 'courage' to 'stand up for what he believes', a flock of sheep finds it wise to follow him. It was never truer that the sleep of reason brings forth monsters.
I am sorry you had to go through so many awkward moments because of your religion. Intolerance can touch anyone, and narrowness of sight and mind is the same no matter which eyes or mind is behind it. I was called a nazi by a group of Roma youngsters because I 'dared' tell them to step aside and let me use the elevator in a subway station. And in Germany, to say this to a white, blond, blue eyed person is apparently the worse insult. It is not similar to what you have experienced, but I just wanted to point out that no one is safe from stupid and judgemental things that people say or do.

rickshawdiaries said...

Great post, love!

The King hearings were a circus. I can't believe that he wasn't laughed out of town with the lack of facts or credible witnesses.

xo,
B

PS- Kauai!!!! *sigh*

Aisha said...

Kmina, that is shocking to me- I never would have thought that would happen in Germany- wow. You said it beautifully- that is why this man horrifies me- ecause while right now most people are against him, some people are listening- and it makes me worried abotu who else may start listening soon especially since this was funded by federal funds. Sigh. Thank you for weighing in with your own unique perspectives.

Baraka!!!! I know. That is the most disturbing part- that he wasn't laughed out of town. In brighter news, so jealous of you in Hawaii. [And yes- Kauai. Sigh.]

luckyfatima said...

It boils my blood that these experiences happened to you in class/with professors. We are in very difficult times.

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