USA: Ahmadiyya Muslim community canvases Cleveland so people can “Meet a Muslim” and get their questions answered



A woman walks towards the Islamic Center of Cleveland mosque in Parma in this August 2011 file photo. Labeeb Ahmad writes that members of the Ahmadiyya Muslim community will be in downtown Cleveland Saturday so people can “Meet a Muslim” and get their questions answered. (Tim Harrison, Special to The Plain Dealer, File, 2011)

NORTH CANTON, Ohio — It’s easier to blur the lines about what is and what isn’t acceptable speech about a certain group of people if they are just an abstract concept. This situation prevails in America, in which, when some individuals refer to Muslims, they are speaking not about real people but ideas. Hateful sentiments and labels regarding this group are easier to promulgate if they are thought of as an inanimate category, not a living reality.

This has existential consequences, as the number of hate crimes in America has exploded since President Donald Trump was sworn into office, be it anti-Semitism, anti-LGBT, or Islamophobia. And overall, the response of the administration has been extremely weak, with little and slow communication to the affected communities.

So how can we bring Islam to life? How can the never-ending conversation about Islamic terrorism be changed for the better? How can we address the implications of a Pew Research poll from 2016 that found that more than 60 percent of Americans do not actually know a Muslim?

The solution is actually quite simple. Meet a Muslim.

Don’t know how?

This Saturday, members of the Ahmadiyya Muslim community in their 70 chapters will head to their respective cities in order to bring Islam to life. This nationwide initiative is there for the sole purpose of narrowing the gap in intimacy that exists between too many Americans and Muslims.

Members of the Cleveland chapter will also be participating by spreading out in various locations in downtown Cleveland and holding up signs that say, “Meet A Muslim! Ask Me Anything!”

I implore you to ask one of us, “Does Islam actually denigrate women to a lower status than men?”

You are likely to hear about a number of Quranic verses recited to you that exhort the equity of women and men such as, “Whoso acts righteously, whether male or female … We will surely bestow on such their reward according to the best of their works” (16:98).

Or you might listen to a number of recorded Ahadith (sayings of the Prophet Muhammad) like:

The best among you is the one who is best in the treatment of his wife” or “Paradise lies at the feet of the mother.”

You might learn that it was actually a Muslim woman who founded the world’s first university (Al-Qarawiyyin in Fez, Morocco, in 859 AD).

A Muslim woman founded the world’s first university (Al-Qarawiyyin in Fez, Morocco, in 859 AD).

Regarding certain practices and policies towards women in some Muslim-majority countries, you are likely to have it explained that there is a stark difference between culture and religion. A patriarchal culture may exist in some of those places, but the actions of some Muslims does not define Islam whatsoever. Instead, it is the scripture that does so, and the Muslims who live up to these ideals should be regarded as the true models for Islam… read more at source.

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