From The Editor’s Desk – November 2015 Salaamu Alaikum wa Rahmatullahi Wa Barakatuh, Shifa Clinic ....................................................................... 05 Our community needs healing. Many people within walking distance of our mosques across this great Justice Or Else ......................................................... 06,07,08 nation are struggling. They need what we have. They Electable Muslim ........................................................ 10,11 need our medical expertise, they need our Islam and they need our compassion. Are we doing enough to reach out to them? November -2015, Volume 1, Issue 11 Within our communities there are sicknesses that must be healed and some are taking action to heal them. On the next page you’ll read about AIOF’s free health clinic. After that you’ll read how the Nation of Islam All content Copyright © 2015 Muslim American, Inc. except is trying to break through religious boundaries to heal where otherwise noted. Please contact the editor or publisher the injustice in our society. A few pages after that you’ll read about how Muslims are trying to heal the chaos in directly to obtain reprint permission and guidelines. our government by getting politically involved. ISSN 2377 - 9624 Publisher & Editor-in-Chief: Mohamed Haroon Sait Editor: Duston Barto Design & Layout: Mubin M.K.
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What will you do? What skills has Allah (SWT) blessed you with? Every one of us has been granted a favor by Allah. For some it is wealth, and we will be tested with This magazine is published monthly. that. For others it is poverty, and we will be tested with that. The wealthy and impoverished NEED each other Article submissions are welcome, email: Editor@MuslimAmerican.com to fulfill their test from Allah. The poor, to be patient and for the wealthy, to be generous. In what way are Advertising inquiries should email: Ads@MuslimAmerican.com you wealthy? Muslim American Phone: (704) 597-5424 400 Arrowhead Dr East Charlotte, NC 28213
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Perhaps you are wealthy in skill to build or to counsel. Perhaps your wealth is strategy and community planning. Perhaps your wealth is in communication and connections with others. Allah has favored you with some sort of wealth and then reminds you over and over in Surah 55 of the Qur’an “Which of the favors of your lord will you deny?”
Surah Ar-Rahman reminds us that Allah is most merciful in very powerful ways, but it stands as a challenge to all who read it. The challenge is to use that which Allah has given you for the betterment of society. It is the obligation of those who have skill to use that skill to benefit themselves and to benefit others. It is a sacred trust between Allah and His creation to grant such favors upon his people. So think, reflect, consider, and determine what it is that Allah has favored you with. Then, rather than denying it, grab onto it and get involved. Join community programs or start your own. Be ready to answer “Which of the favors of your Lord will you deny?” as we must all answer for what we did with our wealth in this life.
May Allah’s peace, mercy and blessings be upon you all,
Editor, Muslim American magazine
For Questions, Article Submissions, and General Communication. Please write to: Editor@MuslimAmerican.com 4
Healing the Gap in Community Healthcare: The Shifa Clinic Additionally, we are trying to show the reality of Islam by acting on its teachings.” RPh Ulhaq says that he feels that the clinic must maintain strong responsibility Physician volunteers prepare to care for the clients of Shifa clinic. for the care of its clients and “And when I am ill, it is He (Allah) who expressed deep sincerity that the cures me” Qur’an 26:80 clinic will be a permanent fixture in Muslims have a long history of Charlotte. providing medical care to anyone in Currently there are over 30 such free need. In the 8th century, the great clinics established across the United public hospital of Baghdad was States and Canada by Muslims who established by Caliph Haroun al- have taken the charge to help people Rashid. At the Baghdad hospital, in our communities that fall through people from all walks of life were the cracks of healthcare. In spite cared for without any test of religion, of our society’s attempts to make ethnicity or political allegiance. It is in healthcare accessible to the masses, this centuries old tradition that Shifa many people are still left without Clinic was established by American access to the medical care they need. Islamic Outreach Foundation (AIOF) This is why area physicians rallied under the call from American Islamic in Charlotte, NC. Outreach to create the Shifa Clinic in On Saturday, the 17th of October, Charlotte Shifa clinic opened for the first time with a staff of four physicians and a pharmacist along with several other volunteers. In six hours the clinic was able to serve 53 patients, more than 20 of whom were non-Muslim. Raza Ulhaq, Registered Pharmacist (RPh), has done much of the background work in creating AIOF’s Shifa Clinic and he expressed great joy at being able to benefit so many people on the first day and anticipates that the Organizers and volunteers coordinate to November clinic will see over 100 as make sure patients are handled properly. word spreads. Raza Ulhaq precisely expresses the need for Charlotte’s Shifa Clinic “This is a noble effort to help poor people, irrespective of race or religion. 704-597-5424
A patient being served at the clinic will be immediately informed regarding the next clinic date so he or she can be prepared for a follow-up visit. Proper recordkeeping is being employed to ensure quality consultative care and patient privacy in accordance with HIPAA requirements.
Raza Ulhaq, Executive Director of Shifa Free Health Clinic.
By springtime, remote mobile clinics will be set up at different times to increase accessibility to more communities. These remote clinic opportunities will not take the place of the fixed clinic operation; clients who visit the MAS center clinic can rely on their monthly check ups. RPh Ulhaq says that they are planning to set up the mobile clinic in a way that it can be packed into AIOF’s QuranMobile in order to be deployed for disaster relief scenarios and other emergency situations.
The next clinic date is Saturday, November the 21st; more volunteers have come onboard, including a Spanish speaking physician. Share the information with anyone in need; Shifa clinic is here to fill the gap in Shifa Clinic is currently being operated community healthcare. out of MAS-Charlotte’s facility at 4301 Shamrock Drive and plans to For more information on Shifa Clinic or to continue with MAS as its permanent sign up as a volunteer, please call 704-706-7856 location for the free monthly services. 5
Not Merely a Moment, But a Movement For Justice … Or Else Duston Barto
For many years I’ve been watching ripples across the surface of our society as isolated events became connected causes and grew into an overwhelming feeling of unrest and dissatisfaction with the apparent injustices of our society. I have seen racism’s ugly head rise out of the ashes again like a perverse phoenix, then merge with xenophobia, Islamophobia, and other systems of oppression. This has caused people in minority groups of ethnicity, faith and political view to become consistently steam-rolled by an engine of hate and malcontent. Therefore, when I first heard the call from Minister Louis Farrakhan for a gathering on America’s front lawn in Washington, DC; I kept my eyes and ears open. In order to mark the 20th anniversary of the famous Million Man March; The Nation of Islam leader had declared a gathering to raise the call for justice in our society. Under the banner, Justice … Or Else, people from all walks of life responded to the announcement. Christians, Muslims, Black, Latino, Native American, and White activists all agreed that a large gathering was needed to show the hatemongers that the will of people to live free from oppression will not be broken. Imam Khalil Akbar from Masjid Ash-Shaheed shared his thoughts with me, “Twenty years ago I didn’t see the benefit of calling a million people together just to voice a concern, I thought that the energy should be spent going to clean up the community. This time, however, I feel that the objectives of the march are good.” He also felt the rising tide of hate as he said, “Racism, police brutality and many other issues that we faced in the 1950s and 1960s have 6
Marking the 20th Anniversary of the Million Man March with a diverse gathering of hundreds of thousands people from across America, Minister Louis Farrakhan fulfilled a promise while setting groundwork for a new plan. (Photo by Getty Images)
reared their ugly heads again and it’s of three boys and a girl, when I think time for Muslims to wake up and join of their future and their sense of pride in themselves; it was important for me the call for justice.” to go and address the concerns of the Activist Kimberly Khalimah Black community and the community Songstress also voiced some as a whole.” Jonathan referenced the frustration regarding Muslim recent high-profile police violence activism, she expressed, “I attended and concluded, “As a father, I’ve got Jummuah on Capitol Hill, an event to be concerned with my children’s that has been held annually since 2009 safety. This whole system has to be to bring awareness to the concerns of re-evaluated.” Jonathan feels that the Muslim community as a whole.” the issues of injustice should hit However, she was amazed to find everyone, “This wasn’t a Nation of mostly members of the Nation Islam event, even though the call of Islam present, “What struck came out from Minister Farrakhan, me the greatest was the absence the organizational committee was of “Orthodox” Muslims. We were filled with Christians.” virtually nowhere to be seen.” In fact, some of the primary Afzal Syed, board member of organizers included Dr. Jamal Bryant MAS Charlotte answered the call from the AME Zion Church, Willie because, “There has been a rise in Wilson who is pastor of the Union exaggerated fear and hate of Islam Temple Church in Washtington DC, and Muslims that has increased the and Tamika Mallory who is the former racial and religious discrimination. All Executive Director of the National communities and faiths should come Action Network. “Justice or Else is together to fight any discrimination not just for African Americans,” says against any human being.” Afzal Syed, “this could be related to Jonathan Nazeer, also active with the Muslim community, the Hispanic Masjid Ash-Shaheed, said “As a father community or any other community or group.” www.MuslimAmerican.com
“There can be no freedom, no justice, and no equity without the willingness of some to sacrifice for the rest. What good is life if we are not free? What good is it to be alive and every day that you live you see your people suffering? What good is it to continue in life under tyranny? So there must come a time when we say, “Enough is enough.” It must change and I am willing to do whatever it takes to bring about that change.” – Minister Loius Farrakhan (AP Photo)
Student Minister Corey Muhammad of Muhammad Mosque 36 in Charlotte said “Even if I wasn’t a student minister in the Nation, when I see the injustice presented by the police and the court system, I have to stand up.” Corey agrees that the demand for justice is universal, “Justice doesn’t have a religion or a creed, standing for justice is essential as a human being.”
played in this event, Student Minister Corey said, “In 1995, Minister Louis Farrakhan made a call for a million black men to come, this challenge was a reconciliation to help change men and make them better fathers, brothers, sons and overall better men. It was to enhance the view of Black men by media which did, and does, depict Black men in a negative way.” Corey Muhammaed explained that things haven’t really improved much, “Now, 20 years later, we see gross injustice being met by Black men, Latinos, Native Americans, poor White people, etc.” As a response to this injustice, Corey Muhammad informed me that the Nation of Islam set up local organizing committees nationwide to integrate with the interfaith communities of oppressed peoples and motivate people to not only move to Washington on the 10th of October, but to continue the work at the community level nationwide. The goal of The Nation of Islam for establishing these committees was to integrate people from different races, political views and economic levels toward the betterment of society. A Mission for the American Community
Of course, much of the speeches made were directed toward African Americans, Student Minster Corey I asked Student Minister Corey about said “There was a call for 10,000 his sense of justice in society and he fearless men and 10,000 fearless explained in detail, “Justice, according to the honorable Elijah Muhammad, is a principle of fair dealing with one another. There is a cry coming out for justice from many ends of global society, not just in the Black community. Even veterans are crying out for justice because they can’t even get adequate healthcare after serving. The universal cry for justice is heard overseas in events like the Arab Spring.” I wanted to know more about the part that the Nation of Islam directly 704-597-5424
women that was specifically directed to the African American community in order to stand between the guns and the violence in our community, to set up conflict resolution centers and to drive down overall violence and the Black-on-Black crime.” Imam Khalil said “The OR ELSE part of the gathering was not a call to violence; it was a call for the community to rise up and create a solution.” Jonathan Nazeer explained, “Sometimes in our own communities we feel isolated and feel like we’re the only ones trying to make a change. By going [to Justice or Else], you really get a sense that you are part of a large community that wants to see our society and the Black community as a whole, flourish.” Another solution expressed was the use of economic withdrawal, a tool that Dr. Martin Luther King used. The concept, as explained to me by Student Minister Corey Muhammad, is to completely eliminate all nonessential spending from Black Friday until the end of the year. The idea is to remove money from the economy during a period when large companies usually make half of their annual income. This sort of behavior draws money out of oppressed communities and feeds into the parts of society which are most likely to be the source of oppression.
Attendees carried signs memorializing young, often unarmed, Black men who have been killed by police in the last year. (AP Photo)
immigrant Why Should We Join with Minister our brothers and Farrakhan? sisters had no Many Muslims that I talked with in the interest in civil weeks leading up to Justice Or Else, rights, social justice expressed that they were skeptical or even interfaith of joining with the Nation of Islam meetings. But for such an event. These thoughts when everything were echoed from the lay person up changed then to leaders of national organizations. it pushed these After seeing the crowds of hundreds needs into Hundreds of thousands gathered from across the country to be of thousands of people gathered for the forefront! motivated, inspired and then to take that inspiration back to reclaim the single voice of shutting down Now we have their communities from corruption, crime, and violence. (AP Photo) injustice I couldn’t help but feel that, CAIR and other on a national level, we missed out on organizations encouraging people matter who brought it to the table? being a part of something grand. So I to stand up and fight for their rights If I’m hungry and someone brings a asked everyone I met to express why to assert the position of justice and meal, am I going to ask whose hands they felt Muslims should have been equality.” He then expressed that the prepared the meal?” People should not get hung up on the person of involved. cause is not new, “We aren’t joining a Minister Farrakhan according to Kimberly Kalimah says “As Muslims bandwagon when we join with these Jonathan, “The message is justice we are told to speak against injustices. groups, we are joining the sunnah of for all people. Everyone deserves an We are encouraged to be a good the Prophet Muhammad (SAWS) as equal playing ground.” example. Sure, we are not to be he joined with others to advocate for Jonathan shared wisdom given by misled in issues of aqeedah; but justice and equality.” in missions of respect and fair Afzal Syed shared, “Every human Imam W. D. Muhammad many years treatment of humanity as a whole, being has rights. Islam is against ago as he said, “There are certain just having speeches and lectures any form of racism and bigotry. aspects of the Nation of Islam with no follow-up or action places There may be differences in religious that the new community [meaning us in the realm of being a backseat aspects and some may find some the community he guided in 1975 driver.” She concluded, “If we don’t things controversial in Minister toward Sunni Islam] should never feel compelled to join their efforts, Farrakhan but he is on point and have abandoned and these two we should start our own or support has been outspoken on social issues communities should remain close.” the many that already exist.” She then to bring everyone to unity. Muslims Student Minister Corey Muhammad cited 4:95 from the Holy Qur’an. should develop a relationship with closed our conversation by saying “Those believers who sit at home and receive friends from all faiths on a persona “The most powerful weapon in our no hurt are not equal to those who strive level and work towards social needs. arsenal is our unity backed by the and fight in the cause of Allah with their Racism is ugly and it divides people. might of almighty Allah / God. Justice goods and their persons. Allah has granted The Prophet Muhammad (SAWS) is a great principle of fair dealing; a grade higher to those who strive and fight mentioned in his final sermon ‘All justice is what distinguishes between with their goods and persons, than to those mankind is from Adam and Eve, right and wrong. As Muslims, when who sit at home. To all has God promised an Arab has no superiority over a we see injustice, we are obligated to good, but He favors those who strive and non-Arab nor a non-Arab has any do something about it; whether it is fight, above those who sit at home, with a superiority over an Arab; White has speaking out against it, writing against no superiority over Black nor does it, but doing anything other than special reward.” – Holy Qur’an 4:95 Black have any superiority over White sitting idly by.” except by piety and good action.” Imam Khalil Akbar said “Listen, Muslims in general suffer from issues of injustice. Since 9/11 many of us have awakened to the reality of injustice. Before that, many of 8
Jonathan Nazeer echoed the sentiment when he said, “No one is asking anyone to follow Minister Farrakhan; the Minister has a good starting point, and if it is for good then does it really
For further information, visit the website www.justiceorelse.com Please read this article on our website for more information about the individuals that were interviewed. www.MuslimAmerican.com
The Incredible, Electable Muslim Since September 11th, 2001 Muslims have been expressing the fact that Muslim-Americans are an integral part of the American fabric. We usually refer to historical figures, medical, and scientific contributions as evidence. The political sphere, however, is something that is usually avoided in conversation. Across America we have many Muslim Americans serving in political offices, people like Keith Ellison and Andre Carson are obvious picks as they serve in the US House of Representatives; however we also have people like Ako Abdul-Samad in Iowa, Rashida Tlaib in Michigan, and Jamilah Nasheed in Missouri all serving in their respective state congress. There are also many Muslim Americans active in local politics from city council to county commission and other communitydriven positions.
In addition to being a business owner and former City Councilman, Nasif Majeed serves as an associate Imam and volunteers frequently in community activities. He intends to run for NC State Senate for district 40 in 2016, this district covers the Plaza-Eastway community of NE Charlotte which encompasses the area of ISGC.
“People are always judging you based on where you’re from, where you went to school, how you look, how you talk. But at the end of the day, you’re going to have to look into the mirror and accept who you are. It’s all about being authentic.” – US Rep. Andre Carson (photo by Michael Conroy, with AP)
Still, the anti-Muslim bigots are able to rattle their sabers and wave their banners claiming that Muslims don’t belong. In spite of being over 14 million strong, the Muslim American population still doesn’t have a loud enough voice in public affairs. This is why it is very important for Muslims to be involved in the political sphere. A 2007 fatwa out of Mecca stated, in part, that Muslims should be involved in local elections in order to bring benefit to the Muslim community. Muslim American asked former Charlotte city councilman Nasif Majeed about his motivation to run for office, “As a local business owner, I was already involved in the community and over time I started noticing problems not being addressed. I was displeased with the behavior of a local political figure and ran against him.” When asked how being Muslim guided him, he explained, “Religion guides us in addressing the needs of people and ensuring that people are served properly. On the city council, we made sure that people had safe
communities and that services were provided in a fair manner.” Aside from his own, Politics is a family tradition for Councilman Majeed whose grandfather, Calvin, ran for office in Raleigh, NC back in the 1920s. In pre-civil rights area south, of course Calvin Leightner was threatened with death for having the audacity to run for office against a white candidate; but he did it anyway saying, “Well, I guess you’re gonna have to kill me then because I’m running for this office!” Later in the 1970s, Nasif ’s uncle Clarence Leightner became mayor of Raleigh, NC after a career on city council. Nasif Majeed says that in 1987 when he originally ran for County Commission that his religion came up in a big way “It actually split the city apart. There were Muslims telling that it was unIslamic to run for public office and that was hard for me to understand because I felt it was un-Islamic NOT to be involved in governance.” Nasif continues “We made decisions in city affairs that directly affect the people, www.MuslimAmerican.com
of the area. In this multi-religious state, each group was allowed to govern by their own laws with the appointment of an intermediary for instances which crossed religious lines. Muslim political activists say that this precedent exists to show that Muslims can hold office and fight for the equal legal rights of all people, even if those people’s lifestyles or beliefs run counter to those of Islam.
so once I was elected, even those who told me not to run were quick to ask for things to get accomplished that could benefit and serve them!” “We broke the ice in a lot of ways back then,” Nasif recollects, “I remember when JFK ran for office as a Catholic and there was such a huge controversy and I experienced a lot of the same situations.” But things changed, since 95% of the constituency in Charlotte is Christian, Nasif Majeed relied on bridging the gap to make sure that everyone in the community was served well without regard to religion, ethnicity or class. “My contribution to the city didn’t have to do with my religious background, but rather to deliver services and solve problems as it relates to community growth and development” affirms Nasif.
Keith Ellison was the first openly Muslim candidate to be elected to a federal position.
where they have been responsible and have a good track record. This hasn’t happened anywhere else in the country.” As for any Islamophobes he meets on the campaign trail? “They’re We contacted Umar Lee who recently not voting for me anyway, so I’ll announced his campaign to run for spend my energy elsewhere.” mayor of St. Louis, MO in 2017. He seemed to echo the same sentiment Don’t Muslims have to compromise that Nasif stated “The city is making their religion in order to hold office? headlines for all the wrong reasons. This was my question to both We’ve got riots in the streets, we’re Nasif Majeed and to Mo Idlibby losing the Rams and we’ve got who recently ran for an at-large city increasing debt on the city that council seat in Charlotte, NC. They exposes decades of mismanagement. both disagreed with such a sentiment. St. Louis really couldn’t get any The consensus view that I got from worse in the media’s eyes.” Umar has both them and my discussions with decided to run for mayor in order other politically active Muslims is to directly expose and address the clear. Everyone in society deserves to social issues that he sees not being be treated equally in legal and social properly addressed. He cited a back- matters of that society. As a leader, and-forth power struggle between you don’t have to agree with their two sides of the Democrat party as lifestyle, their religious perspectives or another problem “My initial idea is to their method of thinking. However, run as a Republican because it’ll be unless what they do is violating the easy to get the nomination since there law or causing harm to someone else are virtually no Republicans in the then it is your duty to ensure their area.” In the city of St. Louis there equal treatment. are over 100,000 Muslims, a majority of which are Bosnian and as a whole The example that many politically the ummah is respected “There’s not active Muslims give is that of the much Islamophobia in St. Louis,” says Constitution of Medina which was Umar, “Muslims have already been drafted by Muhammad (SAWS) in active in the area, we’ve had three order to ensure justice among the [Muslims] elected to the state house different faith traditions and tribes 704-597-5424
How can other Muslims get involved? Nasif Majeed encourages people to start with helping people, “Get involved in grassroots organizations and build a base of community work. Help people by serving on committees and boards that you can contribute to. That integration in the community is essential for people who wish to serve at a higher level. Being involved in these community organizations will provide a much greater education than college courses as it gives on the job training for serving in political office.” Activism comes easy for Muslim Americans because it is the first reaction to oppression. However, in order to make a real change in society there must be pro-active steps. Keith Ellison once stated, “If you can make a movie, make one. If you can sing a song, sing it. If you can write a play, write it. If you want to run for office, run. But do something to make this world a better place.” Ultimately the goals of the Muslims in political office appear to be righteous, everyone has gotten involved to fix an injustice in society with their hands and speak out with their voices because they grew tired of only hating it in their hearts. Getting involved in politics for these Muslims was the logical leap from merely having faith to putting faith in action.
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