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Op-ed by: Mohammed Khaku
This year’s Hajj comes at a time when the debate over race is most heated since the civil rights era. Recent tweets against the four congresswomen and the Chairman Elijah E. Cummings is racism at its best coming from the President of USA
On Aug 11th, approximately two billion Muslims, or more than a quarter of world’s population will celebrate Eid al-Adha, which commemorates Prophets Abraham’s test of sacrifice. Over 3 million of pilgrims from every corner of the world will be converging on Mecca for a life long journey known as Hajj to re-enact the drama that was first performed by Prophet Abraham and his wife Hajra.
However, here in 2019, we are debating racist Presidential tweets. The squad, as they are collectively known, should “go back” to the countries they came from, Trump tweeted.
But, what does this have to do with Eid al-Adha?
There are many lessons of Hajj specially during this divisive time where many feel we live in a racist society. While Hajj and the Islamic traditions reaffirms that humanity is descended from Adam. There is only one race – the humane race.
People are not born racist. It is taught. It is learned. The crux of racism has to do with refusal to accept pluralism. Eradicating racism lies in education and self-respect. We must revolutionize within ourselves whether we are conscious or subconsciously ware of it. The reality is through interracial marriages the blue eyes, blonde hair and white skin color will be a minority population. Adolf Hitler ran a White supremacist state in Germany, he was interested in having a pure Aryan population in Germany as well as rest of Europe.
The reflection of Hajj is that it represents a universal gathering were millions of Muslims converge in unison on Mecca, which transcends their economic status, culture, language, geography, ethnicity and color in the rituals and celebrations to the diversity, pluralism and common humanity.
Regardless of your status, beauty, fame, power or wealth, everyone on the Hajj must wear a simple shroud of unstitch white cloth to signify the equality. The biggest lessons of Hajj are to eliminate prejudice and racism from the hearts and minds of the pilgrims and makes one to ponder – why we were created, why we are here and where we are going, it was Hajj that transforms the ideology of famous person Malcolm X. When he was in Makkah, Al-Hajj Malik El-Shabazz wrote a letter to his loyal assistants in Harlem.
“Never have I witnessed such sincere hospitality of brotherhood as is practiced by people of all colors and races here in this ancient Holy Land, the home of Abraham. There were tens of thousands of pilgrims, from all over the world. They were of all colors, from blue-eyed blondes to black-skinned Africans. But we were all participating in the same ritual, displaying a spirit of unity and brotherhood that my experiences in America had led me to believe never could exist between the white and non-white.”
Holy Quran says:
“O mankind, indeed we have created you from male and female and made you people and tribes that you may know one another. Indeed, the most noble of you in the sight of Allah is the most righteous of you. Indeed, Allah is Knowing…” (49:13)
While in his final sermon, Prophet Muhammad repeated this message, reminding his followers to treat women equally and not to distinguish between race, skin color or nationality, as the only that distinguish us is our piety- God consciousness.
How can Muslims win the hearts of their fellow human beings to fight the disease of racism, nationalism, prejudice and stereotyping?
Muslims should initiate a personal Jihad for tolerance and pluralism with interfaith dialogues and assimilations with other cultures and faith. History has taught us that it was only when women demanded the right to vote that this country got better. It was only when Black leaders demanded equal rights that the county got better. It is all because people stood up for what is right in spite of the fact they were branded as “enemies of the state”, “unpatriotic”, coming from ___ countries” or “the dark underbelly of America” or “go back to their own country”.
We must look back in history and remember that all evil; Nazism and genocide around the world came about because of the population’s silence. I say Speak Up! Silent No More! while Dr, Martin Luther King would say:
“There comes a time when silence is betrayal.” “Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about things that matter.” “In the end, we will remember not the words of our enemies, but the silence of our friends.” “Only in the darkness can you see the stars.” Jan 18, 2016
A humble request to all lawmakers in the Lehigh Valley on the record to condemn the tweets against the four lawmakers,