September 15, 2019
  • 9:12 am The 6 Questions That Led Me to Christianity
  • 9:12 am Christianity and Humanism – Stefan Gustavsson (Part 2)
  • 9:12 am Jagmeet Singh on the campaign trail | Day 2
  • 9:12 am Amrit Vela
  • 9:12 am The Differences Between The Major Branches Of Islam
Part 5 • Dalia Mogahed Interview on Intra-Muslim Relationships

SAHIL: You’ve said that while Muslims in the
West, especially America, have been keen towards building interfaith bridges, they’ve unfortunately
even amongst themselves, have not been as effective in working with Blacks and Latinos. Why is that? DALIA: One of our weak blind spots, I think,
in our community among Arab and Asian American Muslims, is that we have framed our outreach
in terms of interfaith. What interfaith often means, especially in
suburban community where a lot of Arab and Asian Americans live, is white churches and
synagogues. That’s how people understand interfaith. Where they haven’t done as much work or any
work is in interfaith among people of color, in intercultural alliances. And it’s incredibly important that targeted
communities, which are now people of color across religious backgrounds, work together. Muslim communities, especially Arab and Asian
forge those relationships and expand what it means to work with other communities of
faith to finish off. I think, there once a sense among many people,
whether conscious or unconscious, in the Arab and Asian American communities, where they
had this aspirational whiteness. That is if worked hard enough, they made enough
money, had a nice enough house, good enough job, that they would be white. They would enter the hierarchy of racial-
ascend the racial hierarchy and be honorary whites. 9-11 kind of disabused people that or should
have. Then, Trump really disabuse people of that. So I hope that the people gotten the memo
that that is, a) not going to happen, and b) should not even be a goal. Recognize that in our faith and in our Prophet’s
example; he relinquished privilege in order to stand for truth and to be aligned with
the vulnerable. That’s exactly what Muslim should always do
rather than run after privilege and turn away from both truth and the vulnerable. In some ways, Trump is a blessing because
it forces– he forces and his phenomenon. The wave that brought him forces the reality
on Muslims that our faith and just reality on the ground should make it clear that we
need to align with the marginalized, the vulnerable and stand with justice, and truth rather than
run after an aspiration that really will never happen. SAHIL: Like you said, speaking about intra-Muslim,
Muslim-to-Muslim relationships, in these times, how can Muslims better support each other? DALIA This is such an important issue. I think one of the biggest challenges Muslims
are facing today is internal fragmentation. I think, if we can overcome that, we’d be
so much stronger. So how should communities overcome fragmentation? It’s like its own field of study. I think that learning about each other’s history
is essential. I think that working together to meet a common
goal is essential. I actually think collaboration, on a local
level, needs to be built into how regional organizations operate. I’ve actually recommended to umbrella organizations
that serve the needs of Muslims in all of Chicago or all of northern California to have
each major mosque appoint a chief collaboration officer, whose only job is to find ways to
collaborate with other mosque and other communities. And to set up a fund where you can only get
the money for grant, for project, if you’re working across communities. We have to incentivize collaboration. We have to value collaboration. We need to award collaboration if we want
it to happen. We can’t just passively hope that one day
will happen. We have to work proactively to make sure that
it does happen. I think that maybe some of these practical
nudges in the right direction will eventually bring about a stronger community, but a lot
of these is deep. It’s going to take generations because it’s
baggage. It’s baggage from American culture. It’s baggage from cultures from other parts
of the world that have been impacted by white supremist thinking. We have to overcome that. SAHIL: Turning to the future now, what guidance
would you give to help Americans and the world, generally, move beyond just advisory and consulting-based
faith partnerships to more participatory and action-oriented faith leadership? DALIA: Well, I think the first step in becoming
faith based leaders is to recognize the moment we’re in in our country’s history. We are not victims. We are, in fact, people who are being called
on by their faith to play an incredibly important role to save our country from itself. And while we may be the first to feel it,
like canaries on a coal mine, the toxic climate of fear and disinformation is up to everyone. We have to think of ourselves in a different
way, first of all, as people who have something to offer, have something to give, have an
important role to play, because we are inheritors of an ethical framework that calls us to stand
for justice. So that’s the first step. The second step is to do the introspection,
the self-purification, and the self-resistance to be in the right spiritual space to be able
to play that role, to divorce ourselves of ego, to free ourselves of the wrong kind of
ambition, to find that psychological space of being a true servant leader. The third step is to organize across coloring
and creed. This just extremely important. We have to never allow ourselves to feel isolated
and to reach out to other impacted communities, and work together. Then, we have to start to become involved
politically. That’s starts with voting but it’s so much
more than that. Running for office, working on campaigns,
all these things are now really necessities. We have to take our country back. But it requires the homework, the foundational
pieces that I explain, to begin with.

Jean Kelley