Married in Morocco ,Killed in the Streets of Philly

Sorry, know I am late on this one. I just caught this story, but it has all the ingredients for this blog; a Muslim brother living in America  goes to Morocco and gets married like the hundreds or thousands of brothers doing so only to find that he cannot escape the violence of the streets in America and is gunned down after fajir and Allah knows best as to why this happened. Inna Lillahi wa Inna raji’u

 

PHILADELPHIA (CBS 3) ― Police have made an arrest in a shocking murder that left a newlywed dead outside a Philadelphia Mosque.

CBS 3 has learned 19-year-old Joel McClearly, of North Philadelphia, was taken into custody shortly after the fatal shooting of Quadii Soulmani.McClearly and another suspect who remains on the lam are believed to be responsible for Soulmani’s murder as well as a string of recent robberies.

Soulmani, of West Deptford N.J., was shot to death outside the Al-Aqsa Islamic Society Mosque on Germantown Avenue early Sunday morning.

“It is a real tragedy, (he) was coming to do morning prayers which starts at 5:30 and he seems to have been ambushed, two men came and killed him,” Marwan Kreidie of the Mosque said.

Soulmani was married just over a week ago and had just returned from his honeymoon.

“He had just gotten married, he brought his fiancé over from Morocco, he was a hard-working guy,” Kreidie said.

The search for the second suspect continues. Anyone with information is urged to contact Philadelphia police.

And on another note for all of those who claim that the criminal justice system in America is so fair and can do no wrong read this story of a man in Texas freed after 27 years thanks to DNA evidence and the work of the Innocence Project.  

 

City Journal and the Porn Pledge

There are some pressing matters that I have to tend to and I have not been able to complete my take on something that has upset me for a long time. If you want to find a living embodiment of everything that is wrong with the American psyche, new urbanism, American policies of war, and race just go and read City Journal. As a matter of fact Rev. Jeremiah Wright should have presented this publication as exhibit A in his speech yesterday at the National Press Club. Insha’Allah I want to tie in their views on race, urbanism, criminal justice, masculinity, class, and their visceral hatred for Muslims and a call for an all out war with the ummah ( while finding more Muslims than right-wing urbanists in the armed forces). Insha’Allah this is what I am working on.

 

Now, to a completely unrelated topic (unless you take into account the fondness for S&M and fetish sex that the above described group tends to have) a brother by the name of Ed Abd Al-Ghafur has sent me this link for an “accountability” website that helps Muslims struggling with porn. This is a big issue in the American-Muslim community and in the Muslim World ( Hizb-ut-Tahrir aside) where there is a lot of gender separation. My guess is that the problem is not as bad amongst American Muslim converts or their children as we are more comfortable in our approach to the opposite sex so Allah has spared us from that fitnah of porn ( even if brothers do email me the latest from Bossip). This is a good effort and I encourage brothers to support it.

The Muslim Test Given to Wright

Are Muslims divorced from anything these days? In watching Rev. Jeremiah Wright repeatedly use Islamic phrases in his speech last night to the NAACP in Detroit in order to show his familiarity with Islam I must say I was kind of impressed. The Arabic pronunciation of Rev. Wright was better than that of a lot of American converts I know (but of course their struggling with the luga with imaan is better than his mastery without).  He even made the point that “Arabic is not a religion” and there are “Arabic speaking Christians, Jews, Muslims and atheists” and you can’t use an Arabic name, like Hussein, to attack people.

Today, at the National Press Club in DC, Rev. Wright was asked the question that if Jesus said he” is the way, the truth and the light and no one comes to the Father but through me” can one find salvation in Islam? This was a question clearly asked by an Evangelical who believes in eternal damnation for anyone not being born-again in Christ who makes takfir on professed Christians who believe people can attain salvation, or at least avoid Hell, without the born-again experience.  Wright responded with a verse I do not know and can’t remember; but the point I took away is that there is now a “Muslim test” that people can give out to those they feel may be too closely tied to Islam and Muslims. This question could have been “if a Jew rejects Jesus as the Messiah and is not born-again will he go to Hell” (which is the classical position) but the political envionment does not dictate that.

Imported from Old Blog

I have imported my old blog which readers who have been around a while will remember and for newer readers it will give you a chance to look at some of my older posts.  I have linked below some I will recommend.

Different Kinds of Iftar at Different Masjids

Conversations with My Grandparents

The Progressive 5th Column in the Ummah

How the Muslim Convert is Perceived Within the Community

New York Stories: Boricua Girl, Uncle Omar and Yiddish Muslim

The White Masjid of the Future

Marrying the Immigrant Sister

You Might Be a Progressive Muslim If…

The Nuts Amongst Us

An HIV Story: Brother From the Hood Marries the Immigrant Girl

Rules from Not Getting Banned from the Masjid

When the Convert and the Old Muslim Meet

The Weak White Muslim Brother Getting Hitched

Muslim Culture and My Evolution

The White Muslim

 

 

 

 

Rev. Jeremiah Wright Tells His Side on Bill Moyer’s Show

For those of you who did not get a chance to watch the hour long interview with Rev. Jeremiah Wright  on  Bill Moyers Journal on PBS you missed an excellent show. Wright, whose sermons at his south side Chicago church Trinity United Church of Christ where Sen. Barack Obamais a member have been used as a wedge-issue against Obama. Obama has had to distance himself from his minister of over 20 years and Wright has become a vilified figure in the corporate media and a favorite target of the right-wing.

 

In this interview the public got to see a lot more of Rev. Wright which is a lot bigger than the limited version that Americans have seen on cable news shows and Youtube. They saw the story of a man who grew up the son and grandson of Christian ministers in Philadelphia, studied the ministry at Virginia Christian Union, went to Vietnam as a marine, prepared President Lyndon Baines Johnsonfor surgery in his capacities as a cardio tech, graduated from Howard University in DC, and then went to Chicago to  study religious history at the University of Chicago.

 

It was in Chicago that he took over pastoral duties at a small church of 87 members that and built it into a 5000 member church. What was the message that led to such growth? It was a message of community service; soup kitchens, job training, counseling, youth mentoring, tutoring kids, an HIV/AIDS ministry, and other things. On the south side of Chicago, which in the 1980′s (and even today) was decimated by drugs, gangs and violence the vision Rev. Wright had for the church was one that extended beyond the four walls of a building.

 

The Rev. Wright also addressed the issue of whether his message was exclusionary and was not inclusive of white people. Now, for one, I found this allegation that his church excluded whites to be somewhat comical because it assumes that whites were lining up in the south side of Chicago to come to his church. But, in case the jury is still out, Rev. Wright said he has a multi-racial and multi-ethnic congregation.

 

What Rev. Wright made clear was the following; his church was in the black community and addressed the unique needs of the people it served, he sought to give his congregation a positive view of their African roots and connect it to their Christian faith, and the Black Value System was developed to address the problems that existed amongst the people.

 

In addressing his “God damn America” statement he said what a lot of people have said in that white America does not know or understand the black church; because if they did they would know that the kind of sermons that Rev. Wright gave are par for the course in many black churches.

 

When he made this statement on the Sunday after 9-11 which he has been electronically lynched for what did he mean? He meant that in a nation that was built on the Trans-Atlantic Slave Trade, practiced genocide against the Native American people, practiced legalized apartheid, bombed Hiroshima and Nagasaki, burned Vietnamese alive, bloodily occupied the Philippines, supported apartheid South Africa, blindly stood with Israel even to her own determent, how should it come as a surprise when one day the “chickens come home to roost.” Rev. Wright, like myself and a lot of other people, love America but we recognize her sins and that these sins have consequences.

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NYPD Walks In Sean Bell Case

 

With the acquittal of all of the police officers today in the Sean Bell case we see once again that when the police are the ones on trial and their victim a black male it is OK to shoot an unarmed man 50 times if he is in the wrong neighborhood with the wrong color of skin. For many of our Muslim brothers and sisters in America it is this threat of violence that is far more pressing in their lives than the violence of the American occupation of Iraq, the Israeli occupation of Palestine, or the disputes in Chechnya and Kashmir. If we are going to have real “American” Muslim organizations these are the kind of issues that we must start to take on as a community and it is this threat that has brothers on edge on the way to fajr in the morning and not some issue 5000 miles away.

Obama Campaign, Muslims, and a Race of Demographics

In researching the results from the Pennsylvania Democratic Primary I came across this article from al-Jazeera on Pennsylvania Muslims and the Obama campaign.

 

I agree with the fundamental argument of the article that Muslims in America have coalesced around the candidacy of Barack Obama. Personally I don’t have any friend that I know, who votes, Muslim or non-Muslim that is not supporting Obama and every Muslim I talk to who is voting not only is supporting Obama but has a seething hostility towards both Hillary Clinton and John McCain. Even in my family everyone is voting for Obama with the excpetion of my grandparents who are for Hillary ( and this fits a pattern).

 

In this Muslims are a part of a trend that is becoming clearer by the day in this election and that is the fact that this is an election of demographics. PA was a state that Clinton could win because demographically it favored her and, just as this happens on the local level in every election cycle, the Democratic Party is divided by race, class, and now even religion on a national level. As I have mentioned before this is why in New York City the Republican Party has carried the last 4 elections for mayor in an overwhelmingly Democratic city because the Party is so divided by race and ethnicity.  In St. Louis there are two Democratic Parties and one is white based on the south side and the other is black based on the north side, in DC where I am now there is a very liberal globo white Democratic Party and there is the African-American faction of Marion Barry,  and I could name 50 other cities at least with similar racial divisions in Democratic politics and today this is playing out on the national level for all of those in maybe Utah and Maine who didn’t know that the progressive Democratic Party is often divided by the regressive issue of race and ethnicity.

 

Demographically, despite his huge advantage in Philadelphia amongst black voters, Pennsylvania was not a good fit for Obama. The groups that are consistently voting against Obama; old white people, white blue-collar voters, Asians, white women, Mexican-Americans and increasingly Jews made up a big percentage of the population in the state.

 

PA, like a lot of other states in the rustbelt and Midwest, when you leave the urban areas that may themselves be suffering from urban decay, is full of small towns that have been hit hard by globalization and the new economy. These voters yearn for a better time in America and see Clinton as the person that can usher the old days back in and see Obama as a candidate of change and change has not been good for them.

 

African-Americans needed change to emerge form segregation and state-repression, Latinos needed change to be accepted into mainstream American society, Muslims need change today to restore our full rights as American citizens; but that is not the case for blue-collar and older white Americans. They did not need change as the status-quo benefited them and every time a change has come in their lifetime their status has been lessened.  They are trying to preserve as much of their cherished old way of life as they can and the last thing they want is a black man with a funny name coming in town talking about more change.

Obama, in my mind, has almost no chance at all of winning the white blue-collar vote in November against McCain who will be pimping his service and captivity in Vietnam to the fullest. If he can’t beat a liberal-elitist woman with no roots in anything who supported NAFTA and free-trade and the war then what chance does he have at winning this vote over GI Johnny?

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Peace…Before This

I am taking the advice of my brothers and elders in Islam Imam Mahdi Bray and Sheikh Abu Usamah and offering an olive branch to Abdur-Rahman ( may Allah guide us all) while standing by the essential truth of my argument and my defense of Sami al-Arian, the mainstream Muslim organizations, and our brothers in Islam and standing by the fact that these were my words alone and I meant what I said, but it has been said and there is no point in bringing  further anonymity amongst Muslims and as Abu Usamah pointed out the same people cheering you on today will be your detractors tomorrow so kalas let us love all of our brothers and pray for their success and freedom while praying for the defeat of the enemies of Islam and give them no aid and comfort. 

Besides, we should stop before it comes to this

That is what old school NWA wrestling looked like not this sissy stuff you see now and that was Chief Wahoo McDaniel ( a real Native American) and the “Mad Man from Sudan” Abdullah the Butcher ( not from as -Sudan)

Help Support IMAN

Support Our Efforts!
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Vote Before 11:59pm Tuesday April 22nd

Assalamu Alaikum,

I pray this reaches you all in the best of health. As many of you may know IMAN’s programming in the areas of Direct Services, Social Justice Organizing and Arts and Culture have increased and strengthened exponentially over the last several years. Among the things IMAN is doing to financially sustain this level of programming is aggressively pursuing foundation support and grant opportunities. Our talented and extraordinarily committed staff is becoming more and more proficient in this area.

One shining example of all this can be seen through the work and commitment of Asad Jafri, IMAN’s Arts and Culture Director. Asad just recently wrote and submitted a proposal to the Case Foundation for youth programming entitled “Leaders of the New School.” The proposal advanced to the final round by being among only 20 projects selected from a field of 5,000. For this IMAN secured $10,000 to support the project.

Now we have another opportunity to secure an additional $25,000 if we can become one of the four final proposals selected through an online voting process that ends tomorrow, Tuesday April 22nd, at 11:59pm.

It’s simple; whoever gets the most online votes wins. Take two minutes to click on the link below to select the “Leaders of the New School” project along with three other projects of your choice and submit your selection along with an email address. One vote per email address. Please make sure your vote counts by clicking the link in the confirmation e-mail that will be sent to you.

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Philly Town Hall Meeting, A Muslim Watcher, and Getting Home

The Muslim Town Hall event at Masjid al- Jamia in Philadelphia attracted a lot of attention and a big crowd masha’Allah. The religious outreach coordinator for the Democratic National Committee was on hand, along with representatives of the campaigns of Senators Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton with Clinton campaign chair Terry McAuliffe calling in.

A number of imams from throughout Philly were on hand and the event was broadcast live on 900 AM WURD by the Threshold Media Group and host Nafis Bouie. After the event we were entertained by Muslim comedian Preacher Moss. Also interested in the event was a character we could have done without and that is an investigator from an Islamophobic group who follows Muslim events nationwide. Alhamdudilah, I showed him the door before the event began and snapped a picture of him for the benefit of the community.

This is a new step in the political enfranchisement of American-Muslims as led by MAS Freedom, Imam Mahdi Bray the Muslim League of Voters of Philly and others. Yesterday this event was at a masjid; but in the years to come these events will be held in sports arenas as our community becomes more politically savvy. The eyes of the nation will be on Pennsylvania on Tuesday and North Carolina afterwards. In both states, MAS Freedom is organizing the Muslim vote. So, I encourage all Muslims to make your voices heard.

Allah is the best of planners and I went to a brother’s house to watch the Hopkins-Calzaghe fight after the event ( I know, I know Brits) and the brother gave me a mini-tour of Philly, which I greatly appreciated, before dropping me off at the Amtrak station. Unfortunately for me, the ticket counter was closed and all I had was cash and was told by a cop that I could not buy a ticket, so I jumped into a cab and headed to the Greyhound bus station.

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Philly Muslim Thoughts: Alarms Going Off, Young Muslim Love, and Event This Saturday

Over the last several weeks I have had to go to Philly a number of times. As I have written a number of times before, Philly is a city that I love and have a lot of personal history with.

Last week while in Philly I had a chance to visit the MAS Youth Center. This is an excellent addition to the already vibrant Muslim community of the area. The center will go a long way to address some of the problems our youth are facing. It deserves the support from those of us who are interested in preserving Islam for the future generations in this country.

Muslims have a strong presence in Philly. As I’ve mentioned before, the “Muslim look” is both common and well-known here. No one mistakes the brother with a big beard and his pants above his ankles for a vagrant or a brother with ill-fitting clothing. People know what they are looking at. This is refreshing given the fact that we have many Muslims who themselves shy away from a “Muslim look” (albeit there is no agreement on what this look is). The clothing and beard are symbolic of the fact that Muslims are comfortable in their skin in Philly whether they be on the bus, working on the assembly line, or grabbing a bite at Halal Bilals.

With the advancements of Muslims in Philly there have been setbacks. Philly is a tough city with a tough culture. It is not a city of metrosexuals and girlish men (outside of a few pockets of yuppies mostly not from Philly); but rather it is a city of hard-working men who are often in your face. It is the city of Joe Frazier, Bernard Hopkins, and many other prizefighters in history, and home to sports fans who regularly boo their own teams. The city is diverse, vibrant, and home to some of the best architecture, parks and cultural institutions in America. But at the same time, it is home to some of the most depressed ghettos and mean streets in the world.

The enormous African-American Muslim population of the city is now in it’s third-generation. Its roots are in the mean streets of Philly, even while a large percentage of that community is no longer in poverty or in the ghettos. As the community has its roots in those areas mostly of North and West Philly. The problems that affect those communities affect the Muslim community. There is high crime in these areas thus we have a lot of Muslim criminals. The family has been destroyed and out of wedlock birth the norm thus we have Muslims marrying 20 and 30 times. Violence is a common language on the streets, thus disagreements between Muslims often are resolved in a language that all parties in Philly understand. This is the community as it as, as it exists. It is not the upper-class Muslim community that some writers have recently created out of their imagination while looking down their noses at the masses of Muslims. They lack any real cultural connection to the community, which cannot be purchased in credits from say, Howard University.

Walking the streets of Philly, even Germantown, where I am supposed to be hated, I get nothing but love from the Muslims. Muslims in Philly are quick with the greeting and don’t look around and see who is listening before they return yours. The good by far outweighs the bad. Yet, having said that, the bad is out there and it should not be ignored.

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