Imam Wasif, with other Sunni and Shia Muslim leaders in Louisville, called a press conference on August 25, 2014 to condemn the actions of ISIS. Afterwards we sat in his mosque and I asked some clarifying questions. In this video Imam Wasif says that press statements are necessary because people are not sufficiently informed about Islam. He references respected Islamic scholars that oppose ISIS and explains how orthodox Islam opposes groups like ISIS. Dr. Muhammad Babar also wrote an editorial for the Courier-Journal on this same topic.
If you were to ask Muslims about the events in Iraq and Syria, you would get many different answers as to why these things are happening, which implies there is no single grand conspiracy that all Muslims have to “take over the world.” Sure, there are some who have grand designs to rule the world under a single caliphate, but most Muslims would never follow the radical leader of ISIS. The deeper question is, “Why would anyone follow a self-proclaimed spiritual and political leader who advocates such violence as God’s will?” Imam Wasif Iqbal asked the same question in a recent video interview that I did with him. According to the imam, this “caliph” has no appeal or legitimacy to most Muslims.
Many Muslims would like to see the world submitted to God. Christians would say the same thing. This world would be better off if we were submitted to God, but that should lead us to a neglected conversation between Muslims and Christians about what it means to submit to God and just how are we supposed to get to that point.
1 John 4:18 Perfect love casts out fear. As long as we are fearful, we are not loving perfectly.
With people’s heads getting sawed off with knives, it is easy to become fearful and/or angry. That is what the terrorists want. I’ve watched the news reports calling for war. Now, on this 13th anniversary of 9/11, the President vows to “destroy” the militants known as ISIS. Seems like we have been here before. Trying to bomb our way to peace seems misguided without a longer-range plan or asking ourselves, “How did we get here in the first place?”
Following the collective “we,” the masses, the majority, frequently get us into trouble. As Brian Zahnd recently wrote in his book, A Farewell to Mars, “the crowd is nearly always wrong,” or at least suspect. The crowd wanted to return to Egypt. The crowd wanted to crucify Jesus. The crowd has elected and followed some terrible leaders throughout history.
September 12, 2001
“Can we just have 10 seconds of silence, please?” a Kurdish man asked.
It was our Kurdish Peace Feast. Three of his relatives had been killed by the ISIS group last week. He wanted us to honor their memory.
The feelings were raw in the room. Some were emotional and passionate.
“The US spent six million dollars for a tank that ISIS took from the Iraqi army and is now using against my people.”
Just days ago, this man had returned from a village caught between ISIS forces and the Yazidi people trapped on Mount Sinjar.
Imam Wasif shares how you might approach your Muslim neighbor. In the video he mentions food being “halal.” This word means “permitted.” As a general rule this means avoiding all forms of pork and alcohol including gelatin and some types of vanilla that are made with alcohol abstracts. I have been with Muslim friends who meticulously read the ingredient labels in the grocery store. Other Muslim friends want to go to restaurants that serve halal food. Usually though, if no halal meat is available, our Muslim friends will opt for a vegetation dish. Here is a site that gives some more information on halal foods.
I have been working on setting up an opportunity to get to know your Kurdish neighbors for several months. Long before this ISIS group came into the mainstream news, I was talking with local Kurdish people about a Peace Feast. I would thin with all the news coming from Iraq and Syria, you might want to hear what the local Kurds have to say. As a special treat, we will have Kurdish musicians performing for us.
This event will be at Little Jerusalem Cafe. Sami always does such a wonderful job preparing our meals. The buffet meal will cost $10. Please make reservation now to help us plan for the event. We will need to limit this event to about 80 people. I hope you can join us!
|Date:||September 6, 2014|
|Event:||Kurdish Peace Feast|
|Topic:||Our Kurdish Neighbors|
Peace Catalyst International
Little Jerusalem Cafe
|Location:||5312 South Third Street
Louisville, KY 40214
|Registration:||Click here to register.|
|More Info:||Click here for more information.|
Imam Wasif Iqbal and I have been friends for a couple of years. He agreed to help me answer your questions about Islam. This video talks about how we can get beyond surface level conversations and ask the questions that truly help us understand each other.
Ruqayyah is nearly three. She is named after a daughter of Muhammad. She has dark eyes, long straight hair and a pretty smile. She loves her daddy, imam Wasif. We sat on the floor of the mosque with a Muslim heart doctor.
“Can you say,’hello’?” Wasif asked his daughter. She seemed shy but curious as she stayed close to her father’s side.
The afternoon prayers were about to start. The doctor spoke of patients who had died that week and the suddenness of death. “We had just finished examining her. She was getting her things together, had a heart attack and died.” He spoke of another young friend who had stomach cancer and had been given two months to live. “We just don’t know.” He paused. “I see death all the time. I don’t want to get so used to it that I don’t feel it anymore.” Wasif nodded as he considered what the doctor had said.
The purpose of Peace Catalyst International entries here are to create a greater understanding and respect among various cultures. How many conflicts could be minimized or totally avoided if we just understood each other an little better. In that spirit, these posting try to shed light on things often misunderstood.