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Nuri Madina

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October 2016

Imam Ibrahim Pasha passes but the Spirit never dies

 

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We are saddened to hear of the passing of our beloved elder statesman and pioneer of the Muslim community in America, Imam Ibrahim Pasha. Inna lillahi wa inna ilayhi raji’un is a part of a verse from the Qur’an which translates to “We surely belong to Allah and to Him we shall return”

Imam Pasha in the past decades has been a leader of the Muslim community in Atlanta, Georgia, but we will always remember his pioneering work here in Chicago also. I personally remember him as an inspiration and a mentor and the one who allowed me to serve the community in many capacities. He was my supervisor and structured my duties to allow me to continue my education.

Samuel Bilal, an early writer for Muhammad Speaks Newspaper also remembers Imam Pasha. Pasha, along with Brothers Douglas X (former Paper Captain preceding Bashir Asad), and Roosevelt (4X) Sabree, picking him up at the Greyhound bus station, after he was encouraged to come to Chicago by Henry Omar (founder of Omar on the Nile beverages).

Bilal also recounted how he, Imam Pasha, Eugene Majied, John Ali (National Secretary), Charlie Lee (Muhammad Ali), Gene X Walton, and John 62X were sent by Honorable Elijah Muhammad to the Rochester Institute of Technology, in preparation for the operation of Muhammad Speaks Newspaper plant at 26th & Federal where we all worked together.

Under the new leadership of Imam W. Deen Mohammed, Imam Pasha, as Chief of Staff to Assistant Supreme Captain, Elijah Muhammad II, helped to facilitate the transition nationally to the new leader and the new language and from that time on he never faltered in trying to establish the religion of Islam and this Muslim community here in America.

May Allah (G-d) forgive his sins, mistakes, and shortcomings and may Almighty Allah grant mercy on his family.

 

 

 

 

Believe in Something; Speak Up or Do Something

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I had a great Saturday on a bus trip to Iowa to canvass with Clinton supporters and met new friends—on left, Bill Gluba, the long-time mayor of Davenport, Iowa until January, 2016 and Elesha Gayman on the right, former Iowa State Representative from the 84th District. Both were instrumental in the historic victory in 2008 of President Barack Obama in the Iowa’s first in the nation primary election caucus.

I’ll be on the bus again this Saturday because despite all of polls forecasting a resounding Clinton victory, I think it important also to help in Iowa where the race is very close and one can make a difference and because I think it is not just enough to defeat Donald Trump this November. It is important to show that his vision of America, as a bigoted, xenophobic, misogynist, nationalistic and racist cesspool of fear and anxiety, is not the future we want ourselves or our children.

The trip was an opportunity to knock on many doors and meet many other people. One of them, a 22-year-old African American, offered that he had no intention of voting. He felt like it would not make any difference in his life and shockingly he acknowledged that he did not expect to live long enough to worry about a future. I explained to him that his future was in his own hands; that he has to do everything he can to make it better. There are no perfect solutions but we make small decisions every day to make things better.

I talk to young people often who have similar, albeit not so pessimistic attitudes. Many of them ask, “What has Obama done for us?” I ask them: “What have you done for yourself in the last eight years.?” We must stop looking for saviors and take care of our own destinies.

Allah (G-d) says He will not change the condition of the person until they change what is in their heart (soul). His Messenger, our Prophet Muhammad, the prayers and the peace be upon him, said “whoever of you sees an evil must then change it with his hand. If he is not able to do so, then [he must change it] with his tongue. And if he is not able to do so, then [he must change it] with his heart. And that is the slightest [effect of] faith.” This tells us that it is possible for any person, with any capacity, of any amount of resources, to do something.

From “Yes, I Am Your Brother”

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The heart is the seat of belief. We know things through the mind, but even without cognitive process and even without facts, we still feel. We can still believe. And we still have an obligation to at least feel something.

Politics and Business today is so obscured by money and the quest for power that it is almost impossible to know what is going on. Millennials sense this and because of a natural impulsiveness of youth, their instinct is to discard the whole system instead of trying to sort it out. Even if we can’t change a problem right away we’re obligated to speak out against it or at least detest it. We can’t however remain indifferent. No one who will not vote or work in the cause of making society better has a right to complain.

 

Evangelical Christians Are Under Assault and They Brought It On Themselves

 

         Collin Hansen, the editorial director for the Gospel Coalition in a book he’s writing on the Religious Right said, “This is the last spastic breath from the Religious Right before its overdue death.” He’s not the only one pointing this out. Michael Gerson wrote in the Washington Post, in reference to their unwavering support of Donald Trump, “Now some evangelical Christians are…playing down the importance of integrity, morality and character in leadership…And so, it turns out, some are making a graven image — of a figure who deserves contempt.”

It is indeed baffling how nothing Trump has done or said, including unrepentant lying and cheating, has affected his support in the polls and particularly among a core group of evangelical voters. His top evangelical supporters have even stood by him during the fallout from recent admissions on tape of sexual assault and a consistent stream of women victims reporting his assaults of them. These supporters include Jerry Falwell Jr., Faith and Freedom Coalition Chairman, Ralph Reed and Family Research Council President Tony Perkins. Falwell, a lawyer and chancellor of Liberty University, said he would still vote for Trump even if the allegations against him are true. He and others have attacked the New York Times for even reporting the charges. Women for centuries have decried the society’s blaming the victim in these assaults, and here again the Trump camp, supported by these Evangelical “leaders” mount an all-out attack against the victims. You would think that at least Christian women would desert him in droves. Students of Falwell’s Liberty University are now protesting their school’s association with Trump and Falwell’s support for the GOP nominee.

When questioned, these Religious Right supporters tend to dismiss the importance of what Trump himself believes in but Hansen, in his piece, goes straight to the point: “(the) businessman (is) beholden to the unholy trinity of money, sex and power.”

For years Evangelical Christians have complained that they are under assault—from non-Christian believers and immigrants, from changing values, and from secular leanings in society. I have finally come to agree with them. Yes, they are under assault but they did it to themselves. Not just through the hypocrisy of their social and religious intolerance, not just from their embrace of a nostalgic return to a “Great (White) America.” Consider also that they’ve undone themselves by holding onto a theology that life, science and their own souls have undermined.

The late Muslim leader, Imam W. Deen Mohammed issued a “A Message of Concern” many years ago and asked the question: “What would happen if people would sit in churches throughout the world for centuries with the image of an African American man as savior of the world before them? What would this do to the mind of the world’s children? What would happen to the world’s children put under a figure of a particular race presented, pitiable, and in pain “the Savior of all men”?

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We are seeing the answer to that question today. The Religious Right, Evangelical Christians have seized upon a “pseudo-savior” in white flesh, Donald Trump, who exemplifies the vilest principles of demagoguery, bigotry and xenophobia. It is the centuries of worship of an image of divinity, incarnate in white flesh, that has made this possible. I understand how they have gotten to this point. If ‘god’ (Jesus) is incarnate in white, male flesh, then that’s making me, other African Americans, other Muslims, Mexicans, immigrants and yes, women, inferior.

The history of African Americans in this country, from slavery, Jim Crow laws, Civil Right and now Black Lives Matter, all demonstrate the consequences of that theology and the underlying philosophy of this country. But the drivers of this ship end up at the same destination as the passengers. Perpetrators need a victim, and now since African Americans have come out from under the burden of inferiority, the perpetrators now have to find a new victim, someone new to blame. If you question these people, you’ll find that their core attitude is blaming—everybody other than themselves for their condition.

Most Christians are sincere, but extremism in any form, in any religion, is wrong and the Religious Right prides itself in its own extremism, its own fundamentalism. The worship of the image of divine, in white flesh, is the root of America’s racial problems. As sincere as they might be, G-d has forbidden beliefs that violate truth and reason. Imam Mohammed further noted, “Civilized nations should want that their religions be also civilized. False worship is the worst form of oppression. We are no gods. We are only men, “mortals from the mortals, He (Allah) created.”

The Evangelical Christians are now responding only to appeals to their most primal instincts-their anger, their frustration, their anxieties and fears-and not to their rational or moral nature. I call this new found embrace of the demagogue Trump a degeneration. Their aversion to truth and facts is proof of this degeneration. They don’t even ask the question anymore, “What Would Jesus Do.” They’ve shamed themselves and whatever oppression or assault they feel they are under, they’ve brought it upon themselves.

 

 

 

 

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