SHAFAQNA (Shia International News Association) — Dr Jerald F. Dirks (Abu Yahya) was born in 1950 in Kansas, USA. Born into a religious Methodist family, Jerald became active in the Methodist youth fellowship, and eventually served as a district and conference officer in his church. He also became a regular preacher during the annual youth Sunday service. He obtained the License to Preach from the United Methodist Church after graduating from Harvard College in 1971. He went on to graduate with a Master's degree in Divinity and holds a Doctorate in Psychology from the University of Denver. He worked as a youth minister at a United Methodist Church and as a hospital chaplain at Peter Bent Brigham Hospital in Boston.
Dr Dirks Journey to Islam
As the years passed by, Dr Dirks became increasingly concerned about the loss of religiousness in American society at large as he explained “Two out of every three marriages ended in divorce; violence was becoming an increasingly inherent part of our schools and our roads; self-responsibility was on the wane; self-discipline was being submerged by a ‘if it feels good, do it’ morality; various Christian leaders and institutions were being swamped by sexual and financial scandals; and emotions justified behavior, however odious it might be. American culture was becoming a morally bankrupt institution, and I was feeling quite alone in my personal religious vigil.”
Jerald and his wife were interested in Arabian horses and this led them to have contacts with Arab Muslims to help them through the history of horses in the Middle East. Gradually they met more Muslim families and became more and more familiar with Islam and its values. In 1993 they went for a holiday in the Middle East. It was the Islamic month of Ramadan, when Muslims fast from day break until sunset; they decided to fast, for no other reason than common courtesy. During this time they also started to perform daily prayers of Islam with their newfound, Middle Eastern, Muslim friends. Late in their Middle Eastern trip Dr Dirks and his wife converted to Islam.
Dr. Dirks has lectured widely throughout the United States and Canada on comparative religion and has been interviewed about Islam by several American newspapers and by American, Canadian, and Arabic television stations. He has published several works on Islam and other religions in recent years some of which are listed below.
The Cross and the Crescent (ISBN 1590080025)
The Abrahamic Faiths: Judaism, Christianity, Islam: Similarities & Contrasts (ISBN 1590080319)
Muslims in American History: A Forgotten Legacy (ISBN 1590080440)
Understanding Islam: A Guide for the Judaeo-Christian Reader (ISBN 1590080211)
Letters to My Elders in Islam: Advice to the Muslim Community of America (ISBN 9781590080542)
Abraham: The Friend of God (ISBN 1590080092)
Dr Dirk’s publisher described briefly one of his books, ‘Muslims in American History’. “A Forgotten Legacy confronts the prevalent myth that Islam in America is a relatively recent phenomenon. In reality, there is a century’s long history of the Muslim presence in America, which is all too often overlooked or misidentified. Written documentation, linguistic evidence, and reports of early Spanish explorers of the New World suggest Muslim contact with the Americas prior to Columbus. Muslims and Moriscos sailed with Columbus and were part of many of the Spanish explorations of the New World.
Muslims comprised a significant percentage of the enslaved Africans who were brought to the Americas, and many Islamic residuals have found their way into contemporary African-American life and culture. At least one Muslim fought for American independence during the Revolutionary War, and many other Muslims were prepared to fight to keep American independence during the War of 1812. Another prominent Muslim was part of the taming! Of the Wild West.
Beginning in the late 19th century, successive waves of Muslim immigrants enriched America, and the phenomenon of Americans converting to Islam became increasingly widespread. In reviewing this history, the author presents a series of brief biographies of individual Muslims to illustrate the Muslim presence at each stage in American history. These biographies provide valuable role models with which Muslim youth in America can identify as they search for their identities as both Americans and Muslims.” www.shafaqna.com/english
Source: The Islamic Bulletin
SHAFAQNA (Shia International News Association) - Top Shia cleric Ayatollah Sayyed Ali Al-Hussaini Al-Sistani, emphasised that there are no real differences between Shia and Sunnis and that he is a servant to all the people in Iraq.
His eminence also added, in a speech that was read on his behalf on the opening ceremony of the first Shia and Sunni Scholars Forum in the holy city of Najaf, “I love everybody and religion is love. I am shocked how enemies can divide the Islamic sects.”
He also mentioned that “these gatherings and meetings are important and fruitful, from which people can know that there are no disputes between them (referring to Islamic sects). Differences between Shia and Sunnis are in jurisprudence (Fiqh) issues, which also exist between the people of the same sect.”
In addition, he said that “Shia have to defend the social and political rights of the Sunnis before the Sunnis themselves. Our call is for unity; and I said that before, but still say it, do not say our Sunni brothers, but say ourselves. I listen to the Sunni Friday prayer leaders more than I listen to Shia Friday prayer leaders. We do not distinguish Arabs and Kurds. Islam is what unites us.”
He clarified that he mentions the Sunni fatwas, in his jurisprudence researches. “We are united towards one Ka’ba, one Prayer and one Fasting. Whenever a Sunni comes and tells me that they be became Shia, in the time of the previous regime, I ask him why? He responds to me that it is for the obedience of Ahlulbayt (A.S.) (Wilaya). So I tell him that the Sunni scholars always defended and supported the obedience of the Holy Household (A.S.).”
Ayatollah Al-Sistani concluded by saying that “the mass burials (graves where many people used to be buried together at the time of Saddam Hussein’s regime) affected the Sunnis as equally as the Shia. I support everyone who demands their rights.”
SHAFAQNA (Shia International News Association) - The progress of any nation has always been strongly associated with knowledge and learning. King Saud University, the premier institution of higher education in Saudi Arabia, was established in 1957 to enhance the nation’s growth and well-being.
Through strong government support and many highly-qualified professionals and administrators, KSU has supplied the Saudi people and market with years of invaluable service, and served as a traditional source of skilled professionals and academics needed to meet the nation’s growing needs in the areas of medicine, engineering, agriculture, science and development, the humanities and language.
On top of teaching and research, the University extends its practical and vital academic functions to the development of Saudi health care and the needs of the private sector.
Universities around the world are always the leading institutions to condemn human rights abuses and violations of justice. It is normal to see these institutions releasing reports to counter any violations happening around the world.
Considering KSU as being one of the leading Universities in Saudi Arabia and the first ranked Arab University, the question is why it never released a human rights condemnation reports about abuses happening in Saudi Arabia or elsewhere around the world?
That is believed to be a hard question to answer by educational institutions and authorities in Saudi Arabia.
SHAFAQNA (Shia International News Association) - This is what the fake "Syrian Revolution" and the war that is being presently waged on Syria is all about. Make no mistake: It is a war that is being waged against Syria and against the people of Syria. There is no massive, popularly supported uprising or indigenous "revolution" taking place in Syria against the Syrian government either by or on behalf of the Syrian people. The instigators of this fake "revolution" don't give a damn about the Syrian people.
What is taking place in the region is a Zionist/imperialist attack on Syria and on the Syrian people by foreign mercenary forces that have entered into Syria from the outside. These are outsiders. These are invaders. And the purpose of this invasion, this attempted destabilization and overthrow of Syria is really quite simple and is clearly illustrated in this photo.
Here, a member of the Syrian opposition, the FSA or so-called "Free Syrian Army," is burning a flag. Note that it isn't an Israeli flag that he's burning, but a Hezbollah flag, a flag representing the Lebanese resistance to Israel.
So there you have it. It is clearly visible. The true purpose of the bogus "Syrian Revolution" is not to uphold or defend the "human rights" of the Syrian people as the massive propaganda campaign would have us believe. Its true purpose is to destroy Syrian support for the Lebanese Resistance and to pave the way for full-scale Israeli hegemony and control over the entire Middle East region.
by Michael Langston
SHAFAQNA (Shia International News Association) — Chinese President Hu Jintao is maneuvering to promote one of his closest allies to the Communist Party's inner sanctum, two independent sources said, in a bid to retain clout and preserve his legacy after retiring as party chief.
Hu Chunhua, party boss of the northern region of Inner Mongolia, is a rising political star of the party's next generation of senior leaders. He is seen as a reformer and a close ally of Hu Jintao, although the two are not related.
Under the constitution, the president, 69, has to stand down early next year in a once-in-a-decade leadership transition.
"Hu Jintao regards Hu Chunhua highly and is determined to promote him," a source with ties to the leadership said.
He wants "Little Hu", as the younger man is popularly known in China, to be either catapulted straight into the party's supreme-decision making body - the Politburo Standing Committee - or at least promoted to the prestigious post of party chief in Shanghai, China's fast-growing financial capital.
"It's a political tradition in China to ensure that unfinished work and wishes will be carried out," said a Chinese political analyst, referring to the practice of retiring leaders promoting allies to ensure their influence remains.
"After leaving the (political) stage, the retiring leader hopes that the show will go on," added the analyst, who asked not to be identified, citing the sensitivity of discussing elite politics.
It will also help ensure there is no political retribution carried out against Hu Jintao or his family by other factions who will remain in power once he is gone, the analyst said.
Hu Jintao is widely expected to hand the top job in the party to Vice President Xi Jinping and look to promote other allies to important roles. He has been pushing to shrink the standing committee to seven from the current nine members to retain influence. Sources have said membership could be increased to 11.
A new leadership line-up, including the new standing committee, is expected to be announced at a party congress, to be held in October at the earliest. The new lineup will formally take over the reins of power in March.
"Hu Chunhua is a dark horse," a second source with ties to the top leadership told Reuters, referring to his chances of joining the standing committee.
What happens to Hu Chunhua will hinge on horse-trading between Hu Jintao and other senior figures, including former president Jiang Zemin, in the run-up to the leadership change at the party's 18th congress later this year, the sources said.
These and other potential promotions are at the heart of the Communist Party's secretive deliberations ahead of the congress. There are signs the deliberations have moved to the seaside resort of Beidaihe, a traditional summer retreat 160 miles from Beijing.
"This is to solicit opinions but it won't reach any final decisions on the new collective leadership. It's too early for that," said a source, who spoke on condition of anonymity, due to potential repercussions for discussing elite politics.
If elevated, Hu Chunhua, 49, would be the youngest member of the standing committee and as an ally of an outgoing president would be seen as someone destined for bigger things, possibly the party leadership.
He gained some international exposure earlier this year, when he accompanied Xi on a trip to the United States, along with a smattering of other provincial leaders.
President Hu became a member of the Politburo Standing Committee in 1992 and he became China's leader a decade later.
If Hu Chunhua does not make it, he is the front-runner to become party boss of Shanghai and a member of the party's elite Politburo, a bigger grouping of top leaders, sources said.
Shanghai, alongside major cities Beijing, Tianjin and Chongqing, enjoy a higher political status, giving their party bosses greater clout.
The Politburo has 24 members after the ousting of Bo Xilai, the charismatic but controversial party boss of the southwestern metropolis of Chongqing. He fell from power after his police chief sought asylum at a nearby U.S. consulate and his wife was named as a suspect in the murder of British businessman Neil Heywood. She will be tried this week.
Other candidates in the running to succeed Yu Zhengsheng as Shanghai party boss are China's Commerce Minister Chen Deming, incumbent mayor Han Zheng, who survived a corruption scandal that ensnared his former boss, and the party's top researcher Wang Huning, the sources said.
Yu is also a candidate to be promoted to the standing committee, the sources said.
Hu Chunhua could also become party boss of Beijing, replacing Guo Jinlong. Sources said Guo could lose his job after a bungled rescue response following floods in which 79 died.
After graduating from the elite Peking University, Hu Chunhua cut his teeth in the Communist Youth League -- President Hu's power base. Almost immediately, he was posted to restive Tibet.
Hu Jintao was Tibet party boss for four years until 1992 and like the president, Hu Chunhua has made a name for himself serving in difficult locations.
In total, he spent 23 years in Tibet, overlapping for some of that period with Hu Jintao.
"Little Hu" was named the Youth League's chief in 2006. He served as governor and eventually party boss of the northern province of Hebei before moving to Inner Mongolia in 2009.
"What is special about Hu Chunhua is that he volunteered to go to Tibet after graduating from Peking University with top honors," said Kou Chien-wen, an expert on the Youth League and director of the East Asian Institute of Taiwan's National Chengchi University.
"He speaks fluent Tibetan which is rare among Han Chinese cadres in Tibet," Kou said. "It's difficult to tell whether he is liberal or conservative, but he is very close to Hu Jintao."
Hu Chunhua won plaudits from the government, diplomats and analysts say, after successfully dealing with rare protests by ethnic Mongols last year in Inner Mongolia, who took to the streets angered by the destruction of traditional grazing land by coal miners and a lack of respect for their culture.
"In the development process, it is necessary that safeguarding the interests of the masses must be the fundamental starting point," Hu told some of the students who had organized the demonstrations, a rare and brave move by a senior leader.
"If people's interests are not protected properly, then development cannot be sustainable," Hu said, the official Inner Mongolia Daily.
However, he has also shown a tougher side, locking up China's most famous Mongol dissident, Hada, shortly after his 2010 release from a 15-year jail term for separatism. Hada's wife and son are also believed to be in prison.—www.shafaqna.com/english
SHAFAQNA (Shia International News Association) - Since SHAFAQNA was always present in all religious and cultural activities, it did not miss what took place recently in the heart of the capital Baghdad and under the blessings of our masters Imam Kazim (A.S.) and Imam Jawad (A.S.). Al-Mustafa International University held intensive cultural lessons and hosted many professors, religious figures, and intellectuals of all backgrounds. On that event, SHAFAQNA reporter had this interview with Sayyed Abul Hassan Al-Nawab, president of the Religion and Sects Approximation Organization.
Sayyed Al-Nawab said: The world is hungry to know about Ahlulbayt (A.S.) school of thought and for all its knowledge. I went once to Algeria, Tunisia and Egypt before their revolutions and I was with them at their houses and Mosques where I saw their interest to keep contact with us, because their governments did not let them contact or meet us. This interest is not only in Arab countries, but even in the heart of America. The normal American citizen is directed towards Islam. It is important to mention that in the year of 9/11 (2001), the best seller book was the Holy Quran. They did this (9/11) to keep people away from the Holy Quran, but the opposite actually happened, where people turned even more towards Islam. Therefore, all mankind is oriented towards our religion and Ahlulbayt’s (A.S.) school of thought.
About the goal and mission of their organization, he stated to SHAFAQNA reporter that:
The most important role of this foundation is the approximation between religions and sects, but how is that done?
All mankind is oriented towards our religion, but we have to represent the verse of the Quran that says: (Invite to the way of your Lord with wisdom and good instruction) Ch. 16 verse 125.
Our role should be known, because our enemies are instructed to invite us to a war with our Sunni brothers and ignite it between us, but by our ethics from the Holy Quran, the Prophet (P) and Ahlulbayt (A.S.), we call for unity and not repulsion. We should know our duties and be careful not to let our enemies drag us into was with our Sunni brothers. However, when we call for unity, it does not mean that we will let our noble beliefs behind us or allow this to happen what so ever. We stand firm for our beliefs.
SHAFAQNA (Shia News Association) — Iran is in an "open war" with Israel, President Shimon Peres said Monday, as he pointed the finger at Iran and Hezbollah for last week's bombing in Bulgaria that killed five Israelis.
In an exclusive interview with CNN, Peres said Israel will act to prevent further attacks.
Peres said Israel has "enough" hard intelligence to link the Bulgaria attack to Iran and its proxy Hezbollah, and believes more attacks are being planned as part of what he called an "open war against Israel."
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has said that Iran and the Lebanon-based Hezbollah movement were responsible for a number of attacks and attempted attacks against Israeli targets in Thailand, Georgia, India, Greece, Cyprus and other countries.
Asked whether the Bulgaria bombing and the other attempted attacks were revenge for the assassination of Iranian nuclear scientists, which Iran blames on Israel, Peres said that Israel has never claimed responsibility for the killings. But he noted that Israel has a right to prevent the killing of its citizens.
Security Clearance: Your source for national security news and analysis
We don't have an initiative of terror," Peres said. "We don't do it. But self-defense is the right and the must of every people."
He said Israel's policy is one of "prevention," rather than "retaliation."
"If you have enough information about a certain person which is a ticking clock that can explode a bomb that can endanger civilian life, clearly you have to prevent him from doing so," Peres said. He cited reports that the United States has killed as many as 3,000 people in drone strikes aimed at terrorist enclaves.
With neighboring Syria in a spiral of violence, Peres said Israel will be forced to seize Syria's chemical weapons if there is a risk President Bashar al-Assad would use them against Israel or that the arsenal could fall into terrorist hands.
RECOMMENDED: U.S. talking to Israel, others about Syria's chemical weapons
Over the weekend, Defense Minister Ehud Barak said he ordered the military to prepare contingency plans to attack Syria's chemical weapons arsenals, should the need arise.
"The use of chemical weapons is internationally forbidden ... and what do you do when somebody violates the law? You fight against it," Peres said. "You stop them. We shall not remain indifferent and tell them, 'Do what you want.'"
Asked how far Israel would go to secure Syria's chemical arsenal, Peres simply said: "Until it will stop being a danger."
The conflict in Syria has already led to nearly 80,000 Syrians fleeing to neighboring Jordan, Lebanon, Turkey and Iraq, according to U.N. relief agencies. So far, none have sought refuge in Israel - and Peres said Israel wants to keep control of its borders amid the crisis wracking its longtime foe.
"What will happen if Syrian refugees try to cross the Israeli border? Will you help them?" CNN asked Peres.
"No," he replied.
"Will you shoot them?"
"We will prevent them. I mean, you don't go straight to the rifle. There are other means to prevent them. We should prevent it. Because it will be a double tragedy for them and for us. They will become homeless and we shall become defenseless."
"If the Syrians start to come over the border, will you stop them by force?"
"First of all, until now none of them asked to come in," Peres said. "If they will come by force, we shall stop them by force. If they shall come in without force, we shall stop them the way any country defended her border with civilian means."
When CNN noted that the potential refugees are trying to escape bloodshed in their own country, not invade Israel, Peres said, "If they want to escape, they first of all have to appeal, ask for permission. None of them did it."
With Israel facing a potential influx of refugees, Peres said although no Syrians have tried to enter the country, Israel would not help any refugees who want to cross the border and would use force against any armed individuals.
"If they will come by force, we shall stop them by force," Peres said. "If they shall come in without force, we shall stop them the way any country defended her border with civilian means."
Peres spoke a day after Israel marked the 40th anniversary of the 1972 Olympic Games in Munich, Germany, where 11 Israeli athletes and coaches were killed.
While he wouldn't go into details, Peres said Israel was taking precautions to ensure Israeli athletes would not be targeted at the London Olympic Games, which start later this week. He argued, however, that if Israeli intelligence services been at Munich, they would probably have been able to prevent the attack.—www.shafaqna.com/english
SHAFAQNA (Shia News Association) – In an exclusive interview with SHAFAQNA reporter, Mr. Zeljko Milicevic, president of Justice for Bosnia Task Force, talks about the participation of Canada in the Bosnia and Herzegovina’s genocide in the past decade. What follows is the first part of the interview with Mr. Zeljko Milicevic.
In the year of 1992 in Bosnia, genocide was started primarily against Bosnian Muslims. It was performed by Christians of primarily Roman in East Orthodox Church and as well as Roman catholic church. The conflict was based on religious hatred that dominated from Zagreb. It happened at a time when the Geneva genocide convention was already a mature document. So for instance there was no Geneva Convention during the Second World War and during the extermination of Jews by the Nazis. When the extermination of Muslims in Bosnia started, Geneva genocide Convention was a valid document. All signatories and the countries who have acceded to Geneva Genocide Convention had obligation to prevent them from punish the criminal genocide; and they didn’t. So whoever let those countries in that time between specially 1992 and 1995, all those people are guilty of complicity to crime genocide as simple as that.
Canada for instance had its troops on the ground throughout the genocide which lasted from February 1992 to November 1995. Over forty thousand soldiers went to Bosnia and they all had in their back pocket, sort to speak, Geneva Genocide Convention and nobody prevented and punished genocide. Also, Canada is guilty as seen, and I know that because I lived in Ottawa, Canada for thirty one years now and I know how the politics are.
Together with Canada and the countries that were at that time members of the Security Council of the United Nations are primarily accomplices to the crown genocide as long as all other countries who have their troops on ground. As a matter of fact whether they did or they did not, they were guilty of complicity, because they did not prevent and punish especially those who had their troops on ground and those are numbers of countries; Russia, United States, Britain, France and so on and so on.
It is unacceptable that in today’s age such crime would be done and it was not just done for the night, it went on for years.
Genocide is still going on today and this is done, for example, by not allowing people to return to their homes; and not allowing people to feel about the genocide that they have gone through. Genocide is continuous today not punishing those who have conducted genocide. Genocide is, also, an establishment of the court of the former Yugoslavia. Establishing the court for former Yugoslavia was nothing but an attempt to take away the sovereignty of the Republic of Bosnia and Herzegovina, it’s as simple as that.
Republic of Bosnia and Herzegovina was not allowed to defend itself and its population regardless of their religion. So the international community did, at that time, unimaginable things, completely inexcusable and that condition continues even today. Genocide was committed throughout Bosnia and Herzegovina and especially Muslims and comminuted on July the 11th in 1995.
That act shock the whole community, because orderly people became disgusted with the fact that genocide was allowed to continue which created pressure especially for the Western countries. So they acted in stopping genocide at the time when the army of Republic of Bosnia was on its marshal victory of evicting Serbian forces out of Bosnia, so the stoppage of genocide was cosmetic.
It was done to finish off the taking away the sovereignty of the Republic of Bosnia and Herzegovina and it was done to save the Serbian side in particular. Serbia, Montenegro as well as Croatia, those three countries decided to cut off Bosnia and Herzegovina, and if it was possible either eliminate Muslims or make them leave. Today we have almost a million refugees still living outside their homes and that is not acceptable, that it genocide itself. Those people live elsewhere for one reason: because they are Muslims. Today, we witness here in North America an elevation of hatred against Muslims and Muslim countries.
Prime Minister Harper has recently declared that word Islamism, that Islamism is the biggest threat to Canada, to national security of Canada. So he has named every single Muslim in Canada and by extension in the United States, a terrorist. What can we question is whether the Prime Minister Harper and his ministers have been elected by Canadians in Canada or by people living in or by people living in Tel Aviv?
So there are things that in out of proportions, there are things that have been done absolutely illegally. One has to question: Why is it that we have all those rights, all those charts of rights and why we have all those laws, why do we have international laws and why the Geneva Genocide convention? Why do we have United Nations and their committees with respect to the rights of children, the right of women, why do we have all that when we are not honoring our own commitments?
When I come to that I know the reason why, because I have lived here in Ottawa thirty one years and I believe in witness that successive governments of Canada have been routinely dishonoring their commitments. It is normal for the government of Canada to say one thing and do another and disregard all rules and regulations.
SHAFAQNA (Shia News Association) – In an exclusive interview with SHAFAQNA, Sayed Ahmed Qazwini, gave his views and opinions about the challenges that Shia communities or Muslim communities in general face in the west. He stated to SHAFAQNA reporter that these challenes can be can be divided into these categories:
1. Individual challenges – Amongst the primary challenges that Muslims face in the west is preserving and practicing their faith. One reason behind that is due to Assimilation. Islam states that faith should be given the priority in life while society in the west is a very liberal and materialistic society and religion is usually not a priority. Many Muslims in the west begin to assimilate into the western culture and hence they adapt the teachings, behaviors, ideas and lifestyles of the western culture—whether good or not. The problem that rises is that some habits and behaviors of the western culture may conflict with the Islamic faith, leaving the Muslim struggling to find his way out of this dilemma. Should he favor faith then he may appear as an outcast in society or that may prevent him from “fitting in” society. Should he favor the society then that may mean relinquishing his religious tasks. Another reason to this is due to the nature of people’s lives in the west in that great concentration is placed on work and study leaving little time for faith. Many Muslims have a hard time in balancing between work and faith. If you were to ask many Muslims “why do you not pray” or “why don’t you come to the Masjid” the typical answer would be “I have no time”.
The solution to this obstacle relies on one’s will and determination and to never steer away from faith. The more one forgets his faith, prayer, Islamic teachings, the more he drowns in the materialistic life and the more difficult it becomes to return to God. For this reason Islam stresses the importance of always remembering God, death and the hereafter, so that one does not steer away. Thus it is important that a Muslim always keeps a link with his faith and makes time for his faith. In times of conflict, the priority should always be given to faith. One of the best ways in succeeding in this task is by holding weekly programs at Islamic Centers and Masjids through congregational prayer and lectures about Islamic morals and values.
2. Family challenges – Establishing and maintaining a faithful and pious family is very difficult in itself. In the west it becomes especially more difficult. The main difficulty is raising children. A child needs a lot of care and attention in order to meet his physical needs. Likewise, a child has spiritual needs and must be guided by his parents in order to grow up as pious believer. Many Muslim parents are too busy with work and neglect their children’s need for faith and discipline. Moreover, the western society not only does not provide the necessary discipline but may complicate the disciplinary process more. Immoral and un-Islamic habits and customs are taught to children in western society through the affect of friends, peer pressure, public schools, television, and internet. These factors play an important role in forming a child’s character, and sometimes negatively impact a child. For example, a child in the west grows up learning a set of immoral behavoirs and beliefs such as disrespect towards parents, lack of morals and ethics, no sense of responsibility, inappropriate role models such as actors, singers, and athletes, excessive mixing with opposite gender, etc. So it becomes difficult for Muslim parents to properly raise children in the west.
The solution to this challenge is by making time to raise our children ourselves. Parents must teach their children about Islam and morals while they are still young. Many parents wait too long until they start teaching their children about faith. The hadith says that learning while young is like carving into stone, meaning that a child is much more bound to accept and learn while young. When they grow it becomes more difficult to teach them and discipline them as they build their own personality and opinions. Taking our children to Islamic lectures or classes is also vital.
3. Social challenges – Having a Muslim Identity in the west is not easy. Muslims are usually discriminated against and looked down upon in the west. The religion of Islam is seen as a violent inhumane religion and Muslims as terrorists. Many non-Muslims don’t understand Muslims well and have many misconceptions about them. Keeping a public Muslim identity requires courage and perseverance.
Imam Ali says that people are enemies of what they are ignorant of. The main problem behind the Islamophobia that exists in the west is ignorance. Most westerners are ignorant about Islam and Muslims. They have an incorrect perception of Islam due to actions of some radical minorities or false propaganda against Islam. The solution is obvious—spreading awareness. Educating people about Islam is the cure to Islamophobia. Portraying the true Islam will remove all the negative perceptions, opinions and misconceptions of Islam. Most non-Muslims in the west are broad-minded and good-hearted. If the true Islam is portrayed to them they accept. The problem is that they are misled. Hence it our responsibility to teach them about our faith. Amongst the most effective ways in doing so is to teach through our actions. Through our actions we can prove that Muslims are peaceful, tolerant and successful.
4. Political challenges – Most Muslims have no incentive on participating in or affecting politics. They stand to look desperately from the outside and oppose the “evil” politics of the west while they can directly affect politics from the inside. From the smallest posts such as city council, to mayor to governor to House Representative to senator and finally the President, Muslims have little interest in participation in voting and running for a post. Therefore, reciprocally politicians give little attention to Muslims communities in the West. Muslims have not worked on establishing lobbying groups that advocate for their rights and interests. The result of this neglect towards the political system is the undermining of Muslims and their rights and roles in the west.