Yet the depth of hostility towards Muslims has left some educators in despair. For Hussein Rashid, Trump’s rhetoric is profoundly disturbing: “His desire to ban immigrants from a country of immigrants; his comparison of dying children to poison; and his use of anti-Semitic imagery should all be called out during the debates. It is not just Islamophobia, but racism writ large”. He admits that he is losing hope. “What we’ve seen in New York this year is men being shot, women being stabbed, and women being lit on fire. I am not sure that if someone has it in their heart to try to burn another human being alive, that education will help”.
Muslims are New Yorkers and they live in Chelsea. A couple whose marriage I officiated at lived in that area. We are as likely to be victims of these attacks as other New Yorkers. We are more likely to be victims of racist assaults than white New Yorkers.
We can never tell our own stories. We always have to perform to someone else’s definition of a “good American” and are still told that our citizenship is conditional. We have to show we are not perpetrators, and we can never talk about how we are victims.
That Muslims are subject to a double threat is not a plea to feel sorry for Muslims, but a lament for the city.
“Aproximadamente el 70% de las personas en los Estados Unidos no conoce a ningún musulmán”, explica Hussein Rashid, fundador de una empresa de consultoría centrada en conocimiento cultural. Oriente Medio sigue siendo también una región desconocida.
Sin embargo, la profundidad de la hostilidad hacia los musulmanes ha dejado a algunos educadores en estado de desesperación. Para Hussein Rashid, la retórica de Trump es profundamente perturbadora: "En los debates presidenciales, tiene que salir a relucir su intención de prohibir la entrada de inmigrantes a un país fundado por inmigrantes. No se trata sólo de islamofobia, sino de racismo con mayúsculas". Rashid admite que él está perdiendo la esperanza. "Lo que hemos visto este año en Nueva York son hombres asesinados, mujeres apuñaladas, otras mujeres quemadas con fuego. No estoy seguro de que si alguien tiene en su corazón intentar quemar vivo a otro ser humano, la formación pueda servir de algo".
I'll be speaking at BU's Pardee School with their Mizan Project in a conference called "Activism, Advocacy, and Scholarship on Islam in the Digital Realm: Prospects, Progress, and Challenges." My session is labeled "Wild Card," which suits me just fine.
But Hussein Rashid, an adjunct professor at Barnard College who frequently writes and consults about Islam in the U.S., said the jump in anti-Islamic sentiment the study pinpoints is reflected in the current political rhetoric.
“The data from this survey shows that there is an increasing pull away from the promise of America,” he said in an email. “In 10 years, people have a more negative perception of Muslims, Jews, gays, Latinos, and Blacks. As a new America is taking shape, with all its diversity, there is a reactionary response that wants a mythic America of everyone being exactly the same.”
“Our obligations as American Muslims have not changed, they have just become more difficult,” acknowledges Hussein Rashid, a scholar of Islamic studies. He still believes Muslims should rise above hate and try to be the best version of themselves, not for the sake of appearing moderate, but to uphold and mirror their honorable religious values.
I was blessed to be invited to a conference at the Vatican on Laudato Si, the Papal Encyclical on creation care. Called Our Common Home, I presented a reflection on Laudato Si using the teachings of Imam Jafar as-Sadiq (AS). The conference ended with an audience with the Pope.
Amjad Sabri was gunned down on Wednesday in Karachi, Pakistan. He was famous for Qawwali tradition and came from one of South Asia's most celebrated singing families.
Shortly after the attack on Pulse nightclub in Orlando, Florida, Muhammad Musri, president and senior imam of the Islamic Society of Central Florida, held a press conference to offer the support of the Muslim community. He also cautioned the media and Americans around the country from rushing to judgment.
But in this tense political environment, have American Muslims also become victims of such tragedies? For answers, we turn to Hussein Rashid, a professor of religion at Hofstra University. Click on the 'Listen' button above to hear our full conversation.
All temple members and their guests are invited to join us for an evening celebrating our commitment to our friends in the Muslim American community. First, Muslim scholar and educator Dr. Hussein Rashid will address the congregation at Sabbath services about his experience of being Muslim in America. Then, at 8 PM in I.M. Wise Hall, we will host a festive Iftar, the break-fast meal during the Muslim holy month of Ramadan. (Please note: The Iftar begins later in the evening because break-fast occurs after sundown. Programming to be held after services and before the Iftar will be announced soon.)
Ali defined more than a generation. His religious identity was new to the American public, but he did with it what many believers have done — offered a voice of moral clarity and urgency to the issues of the day.
Traditionally, Muslims read the Qur'an in its entirety over this time, in a section a day. The Qur'an is split into thirty sections, called juz', and one section is read each night.
This year is the 8th year I am inviting people to tweet the Qur’an for Ramadan. I will be tweeting @islamoyankee.
To see how the call has (not) evolved, here are the six call outs:
2010 (despite the title, which says 2011)
The Background [from the 2009 post]
This year, I have been thinking it would be fun to tweet the Qur'an for Ramadan. Coincidentally, Shavuot came, and several people I follow on Twitter tweeted the Torah. Since that experience seemed to be successful, it further cemented my belief that this would be a good idea.
I remain grateful to Aziz Poonawala (@azizhp), who helps me refine our guidelines and provide technical feedback every year.
Our guidelines from last year:
If there are are other guidelines you believe should be included, please leave them in comments and I'll move up some to the main post.
This year, I plan on using the new translation of the Qur’an called The Study Qur’an.
NYC Council Speaker Melissa Mark Viverito, NYC Council Majority Leader Jimmy Van Bramer, NYC Council Members I. Daneek Miller and Helen Rosenthal toured the America to Zanzibar: Muslim Cultures Near and Far exhibit at the Children’s Museum of Manhattan earlier this week with the museum’s executive director Andy Ackerman, the museum’s honorary board chair Laurie M. Tisch, museum board member Judith Hannan, the exhibit’s academic advisor Hussein Rashid and others. America to Zanzibar: Muslim Cultures Near and Far is a groundbreaking new interactive exhibit for children and families that explores the diversity of Muslim cultures in New York City, the U.S. and abroad. The exhibit showcases the cultural expressions of various Muslim communities around the world through age-appropriate experiences with art, architecture, travel, trade, design and more.
Dr. Hussein Rashid, a Muslim American who teaches religious studies and consults on religious literacy, has also experienced a form of selective inattention even when the message is constructive. After the bombing attempt in Times Square in 2010, Dr. Rashid—who was born and raised in New York—and two Muslim colleagues were on every major network and cable TV outlet all day condemning the action. That night he gave a talk to 200 people and asked how many had seen the coverage. “Of the 190 people who claimed to be watching TV that day, how many of them remembered seeing us? Zero,” he said. “The narrative had already been set.”
I'll be speaking at a rally to counter the hate emerging out of this year's Presidential Election Cycle. Please join if you can on Sunday, April 30, 2016 at 2PM in New York City, by New York University.
The official letter about the program is here.
As the co-founder of the Project for the Advancement of Our Common Humanity (PACH; pach.org), I am writing to let you know that PACH and 20 other NYC organizations are having a love rally in Washington Square Park on April 10th from 2-4. Please join us! We have over 35 world leaders, activists, interfaith leaders, youth groups, a gospel choir, musical groups, spoken word poets, and many others joining us to celebrate love for our common humanity. The rally is in response to the radical hate that is consuming our political conversations and our daily lives. We want to show the world, as Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau is doing, that there is another way to respond to hate and violence than simply more hate and violence. Join us as we come together as a community of New Yorkers to fight radical hate with radical love.
Here is a link for a promo video by Sweet Honey in the Rock for the Rally. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KCnWKnHUcP0&feature=youtu.be Carol Maillard, from Sweet Honey in the Rock, will be welcoming the crowd and their songs, recorded for the Love Rally, will be aired on the video screen. Below are the links for our facebook page, articles about why we are having the rally, and attached is the press release and the flyer for the event.
Huffington Post Article on why we are having the rally:
Steindhardt Page from February
Hope to see you there!
p.s. We had originally scheduled this for February 14th but it was postponed due to freezing weather.
Friday, April 15 – Sunday, April 17 in New York City
Our nation is in a crisis. Though there is only one race — the human race — racism is a construct with lethal consequences. People die while in its custody. Racism has annihilated the souls of citizens and ripped out the heart of our nation. Recent surveys show that 60% of the people in our nation think race relations are in a significant decline, that our dream for justice and equality is dying on the vine.
At the 10th annual Leading Edge Conference and the 6th annual Transform Network Gathering, we will learn and teach each other the best practical wisdom for movement-making, mingled with theoretical underpinnings and theological reflection. Join thought leaders like Chris Crass, Melissa Harris-Perry, Jim Wallis, Jacqui Lewis, Huseein Rashid, and Miguel De La Torre; and activists like Linda Sarsour, Micky ScottBey Jones and Valarie Kaur. In plenaries, short talks, and small group conversations surrounded by music and art, we will create strategies for change.
Activists, analysts, preachers, poets, prophets, teachers, trainers, writers, queer, and straight folk of all faiths ready to make a change: Come and bring your hopes, disappointments, and dreams. We must disrupt the narrative of white supremacy if we are to be free. We need tools, tactics, and truth-telling to dismantle racism.
Ours is #PropheticGrief. Even in our anger and tears, we are ready to do something, to organize. This is a multi-faith, multi-racial movement. Those of us who are disgusted with the status quo are called to join the movement if we are to save our nation, save our world, and save our souls.
Powered by the Middle Project, Transform Network, The Unitarian Universalist Association, and Auburn Seminary
To register, visit middleproject.org.
The loud discourse on Islam in the United States today marks Muslims as a threat, embroiled in pre-modern sensibilities, and unable to participate in democratic societies. These articulations are often made by recycling colonial and oriental images of Muslim women as oppressed and Muslim men as violent, with objects such as the hijab and the figure of the terrorist at the center. This rise of Islamophobic commentary has resulted in myriad incidences of bullying, teasing, and direct violence against teachers and students who identify, or are read by others, as Muslims. All this points to the lack of understanding about Islam and Muslims in the United States. This panel will argue for the urgent need for religious literacy and introduce the Cultural Studies method to understand Islam and Muslims.
Dr. Ali Asani, Professor of Indo-Muslim Religion and Cultures; Director of Prince Alwaleed bin Talal Islamic Studies Program, Harvard University
Dr. Diane Moore, Director, Religious Literacy Project; Senior Lecturer on Religious Studies and Education; Senior Fellow at the Center for the Study of World Religions, Harvard University
Dr. Hussein Rashid, Founder of islamicate, L3C, a consultancy focusing on religious literacy and cultural competency
Shenila Khoja-Moolji, Research Fellow, Teachers College; Education Affiliate, Religious Literacy Project, Harvard University
Date: April 21, 2016
Time: 7 to 9pm
Teachers College, Columbia University
Vice President's Office for Diversity & Community Affairs
Teachers College Student Senate
Meanwhile, Hussein Rashid, a research fellow from the Truman National Security Project, a non-profit that works towards principled solutions for global challenges like terrorism, applauded the commissioner’s statement that underlines that Muslims are a part of New York’s diverse community. “The New York Police Department has really publically understood where they went wrong in a lot of their surveillances, [and] really spoken out against people who want to replicate this at a national level,” said Rashid.
Here is a Newsday article on the exhibit America to Zanzibar: Muslim Cultures Near and Far, at The Children’s Museum of Manhattan, for which I was the lead academic advisor. It's a good chance to shout out my friends from high school.
“Our goal is to have children deal with differences in a healthy, positive way and encourage them to be inquisitive while exploring the world instead of running away from its differences,” Rashid said, an experience not so different from his years growing up in Elmont.
Here is a Reuter’s video on the exhibit America to Zanzibar: Muslim Cultures Near and Far, at The Children’s Museum of Manhattan, for which I was the lead academic advisor. I had no idea the tie was rakishly crooked.
The Muslim Culture Exhibition on TRT Showcase
For the last few years, I got paid to play with toys. I was able to put a philosophy of Star Trek’s Vulcans into practice, and live as a Jedi. Comics littered my work space, and Dr. Who’s TARDIS traveled with me through space and time. All I was missing was a Buffy or Firefly fix. All of this was possible because I was working on religious literacy and global citizenship.
Here is a Wall Street Journal article on the exhibit America to Zanzibar: Muslim Cultures Near and Far, at The Children’s Museum of Manhattan, for which I was the lead academic advisor. Alas, the piece is behind a paywall.
The show is the fourth in the Upper West Side museum's Global Cultural Exhibition Series, intended -- as the name suggests -- to create global citizens. And I can attest, from both observation and ancient personal experience, that the best way to broaden horizons isn't by lecturing kids about being better people but by letting them climb into, over and through things.
I am proud to announce the opening of the exhibit America to Zanzibar: Muslim Cultures Near and Far at the Children's Museum of Manhattan. I served as the lead academic advisor the exhibit, and it is stunning. Below is a link to my Flickr album of the space, which I will continue update as the exhibit goes on for the year.
Islamophobia is yet another ongoing manifestation of our inability as a nation to recognize that Black Lives Matter. We accept that there are, in practice, gradations of being American, and as long as we can easily penalize a people based on the color of their skin, we can do so to anyone we find different than what we perceive as American.
Love is a nice sentiment. Real love, though, is work. I can have love in my heart, but to love someone is to know that person. It means having compassion and empathy, and being engaged. You and the person you love have to commit to each other.
But I do not know you enough to love you, and I do not want to have to get to know you that well. It is too much work.
I do appreciate the idea. I know it is coming from a good place. It just makes me carry the pressure of fixing someone else’s problem. It tires me.
Hoodwinked is a riveting exploration of Islamist extremism sparked by the 2009 mass shooting on the Army base in Fort Hood, Texas. Created by the multi-award-winning playwright, Emily Mann (McCarter Theatre Artistic Director), the play asks us: how do we make sense of the questions, confusion, and misinformation surrounding one of the most pressing issues of our time, namely global Jihadism.
Be a part of the conversation: join us immediately following each intimately-staged presentation for moderated discussions with Emily Mann and expert panelists, who will engage with the play’s themes, debate cultural shifts in the Middle East, Europe, Africa, and America; address current public policy; and answer audience questions about the crisis gripping our world.
In January 2016, I was blessed to be invited to share the pulpit at two Collegiate churches in New York City.
The first was Marble Collegiate Church, as part of their annual Trialogue amongst the Abrahamic traditions.
Hosted by Dr. Michael B. Brown
Rabbi Ayelet Cohen, Rev. Robert Chase and Dr. Hussein Rashid
On Martin Luther King, Jr. Day, I was hosted by Middle Collegiate Church, where I spoke about Islamophobia and #BlackLivesMatter
Jacqui Lewis and Hussein Rashid