Only U.S. Muslims as a community (200 protested in Philadelphia) have not launched a large protest against these cartoons. American Muslims continue with deft diplomacy that will have no bearing or impact upon the national intellect or psyche shaped by media portrayals and Islamophobes. We all know this nation thrives and is spoon-fed by politicians who are in turn spoon-fed by activists and lobbyists, in particular the Pro-Israel lobby, who in turn use the media to turn up the heat.
This tragic episode is the perfect opportunity for our community to become organized with strong savvy leadership that can unite a large number of American Muslims for a national demonstration on the mall to declare that our faith is peaceful, pluralistic, democratic, respectful, with a mission to do good and prevent evil. American Muslims can outline the root causes of their conflict with the west and demand their Congress pass laws akin to the anti-Semitic laws to protect ‘hate speech" against Allah (swt), the Qur’an, and their Prophet.
Delegation of knowledgeable Muslims must span across the major cities in this country or in local communities to do the following:
- Congressmen/Senators: on cartoons, political conflicts, NSA Spying etc, plus need to permit Muslim scholars to enter the U.S. and not be denied Visas if we seek not only true free speech but the continued education of our community on the proper Islamic Tenets and Approach to various issues.
- Media Publishers/Editors/Reporters covering Middle East or Religion. Raise Funds for Full Page Ads in major papers, or even ads on TV
- Meet with religious leaders of others faiths and hold Press Conferences or Local Interfaith Meetings on the Issue.
- Meet with Arab/European/Asian/Latin American Ambassadors to discuss and educate on the issue of Islam.
- Meet with Pro-Peace groups both Jewish/Christians/Others and hold Press Conferences on a Pro-Peace Message regarding Islam and Palestine/Iraq/Iran/Afghanistan etc.
- National Campaign of Letters/Opeds/Call ins/E-mails/internet sites to Politicians and Media.
- Hold a National Muslim Conference in Washington D.C. to discuss the issue, importance of organizing, funding, activism, unity, and educate on ways to deal with Politicians/Media, and Fundraising. Muslims must work on improving trust, cooperation, and communication and avoid turf wars, egos, or who’ll seek the media photo-popularity contest.
If Muslims truly will do this and do it well for the immediate need and for future issues, count me in as the first donor of one thousand dollars.
Abba Eban said of the Palestinians: "they never miss an opportunity to miss an opportunity" – let that not be our demise motto as well.
Our government and media are now more aware and sensitive of potential Muslim issues and reactions, let us take advantage of this opportunity and reinforce that with our activism and not mere hidden diplomacy unknown to our community.
There are many caring, smart, and dedicated Muslims in this country who mainly toil for Islam on their own. Imagine if we combined the energy, love, and passion we all have for Allah (swt) and our beloved Prophet Muhammad (p), then surely with Allah’s (swt) aid and guidance defend and spread our faith in this country. Americans are looking for internal peace, security, foundation and meaning in their lives. Dialogue with Islam is the answer, but are Muslims up to the task? I believe we are.
If we as Americans can not unify ourselves and can not be the flag bearers and activists in this nation for Islam, then truly there is no hope in our native lands. Our silence guarantees Islam and Muslims will continue to suffer at the hands of the vocal minorities.
Napoleon once said: "one loud voice is more powerful than ten silent ones"