Wednesday, February 14, 2007

The Struggle of Muslims

Experience with Two Genuine Imams: Imam Musa and Imam al-'Asi
The Struggle of Muslims in Washington, DC

by Br. Bilal Siraj ul-Diin
(published in New Trend)

When I came into the diin I made shahadah under Imam Musa. For Jumuah, I listened to the khutbah at either Masjid al-Islam or masjid al-Sidewalk, and my direction came mainly from Imam al-Asi or Imam Musa. Before I embraced Islam, I was influenced by the teachings of Malcolm X (r.a.a) and Che Guevara, men who truly and wholeheartedly worked for the betterment of humanity, no matter the personal cost.

So, to hear of leaders lacking Imam Musa's courage is strange. People who cow down, are scared and would rather assimilate than stand strong is something foreign to me. As each day passes, I become increasingly disgusted at the behavior and inaction of the organizations which represent themselves as the spokespersons of Muslims. The same people who speak loudly about equal rights for Muslims in the West are quick to disassociate from their brother who is stricken by government attack.

To hear Imam Musa speak is to hear truth bursting out of the concrete of lies laid over and over daily. To hear him speak of Imam Jamil al-Amin is a sobering reminder of the fact that when you speak for the voiceless, and take an uncompromising stand for what is right, you will be abandoned by those who hypocritically portray themselves as the protectors and defenders of the Ummah in the West. Imam Jamil spoke truth to power; he was framed by yanqui sam and abandoned by his so-called brethren. Imam Musa speaks truth to power and he's abandoned, isolated, not allowed to make hajj. Imam al-Asi speaks truth and is thrown out illegally from the Islamic Center in Washington, D.C. on Massachusetts Avenue, forced to give khutbahs on the sidewalk in the cold, heat, snow, rain, and sleet of the city. He is isolated and abandoned by his so-called brethren and is also prohibited from making hajj.

The fundraiser for Imam Jamil on Benning Road in SE D.C. was a sad reminder of the abandonment faced by one of the most prominent and perhaps most important Muslim figures in the world today.

As the sister stated, the majority of those who came to the fundraiser were working class individuals. Though their incomes were not high they still managed to donate what was possible, their unselfish attitudes pushed by the fact that their brother was unfairly incarcerated. The working class ummah was there, but where were the heads of families who owned businesses? Where were the Muslim lawyers, doctors, and other highly paid, so-called influential individuals? Nowhere. They were nowhere to be found. Imam Musa put out the call to help an innocent Muslim who is wrongly suffering with 23 (sometimes 24) hour lockdown in solitary confinement. Imam Musa put out the call and asked for nothing for himself. The fundraiser was held in the Masjid, no fancy food except what members of the Masjid made themselves. No food servers except the Imam, all the money was to go directly to help Imam Jamil--but the call was unheeded by many. Those who say they support the Imam, support people who are wrongly incarcerated, support political prisoners, these people should throw all their energies into a collective effort. We have been let down by the suits in offices who promote assimilation and loss of identity. Those at the top have been discredited by their hypocrisy and inactivity and now must be forcefully removed from the forefront and stuffed in the background. It is now time for the grassroots to take charge of this situation. If not, all we have to rely on will be the suits and where will they be? Al-Shaheed Malik El-Shabazz said it best: "Why they are where they always are. In the pool hall twiddling their fingers away."

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