Blood Spilled at Richmond Law – Fortunately into Blood Bags
By: Qasim Rashid
My Dear Friends:
Congratulations to you for your compassion and love!
On 9/11/01, terrorists not only hijacked our nation, America, but hijacked my faith, Islam. On 9/11/11, Richmond Law School hosted The Muslims for Life 9/11 Remembrance Blood Drive to honor the nearly 3000 innocent souls lost 10 years ago, and to demonstrate what Islam truly stands for – peace and humanity.
And the results were simply beautiful.
You came as students, as professors, and as blue collar workers. You came as men and as women, as mothers and fathers, sons and daughters. You came as Muslims, Jews, Christians, and from many more faith traditions, or from no faith tradition. You were Black, White, Latino and Asian. You were human beings, being humanitarians. You all joined together, over 100 of you, for a singular purpose – to honor the victims of 9/11 by donating blood and saving lives.
You demonstrated by your actions that in this great country, love and compassion will always supersede those who hate. This blood drive united people of different faiths and backgrounds for a common cause – to save lives.
This is what America stands for. This is what Islam stands for.
So congratulations to you my dear friends. Ten years ago, terrorists shed our blood to take life. This year, we united together, and shed our own blood to save life.
Qasim Rashid is a 3L at Richmond Law, and President of the Muslim Law Students Association. Connect with him at Twitter.com/MuslimIQ. Submit comments and letters to the editor at firstname.lastname@example.org.
P.S. If you missed the blood drive and still want to contribute, go to any Virginia Blood Services location and give them the code “5020.” They will count your donation to the 9/11 Remembrance blood drive.
Re: Christians Attacked in Baghdad
Baghdad Attacks Bring Condemnation
On November first in Baghdad, Iraq, Al Qaeda militants killed 58 innocent Christians as they peacefully worshiped. As a member of the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community, I condemn this attack as inhumane, cowardly, and completely un-Islamic. To call the perpetrators filthy animals would rather be an insult to animals.
Contrary to the behavior of these despicable individuals, Prophet Muhammad championed complete religious freedom while emphatically condemning violence. In a letter that survives to this day, Muhammad wrote to the St. Catherine’s Monastery in Mount Sinai, “Verily I, the servants, the helpers, and my followers defend [Christians], because Christians are my citizens; and by God I hold out against anything that displeases them. No compulsion is to be on them….Their churches are to be respected…No one of the [Muslims] is to disobey the covenant till the [end of the world].”
I sincerely hope the Iraqi government is swift in bringing the responsible party to justice. My prayers are for the departed and their families. May God give them strength and comfort in this time of great trial.
American Muslims Need To Reflect On Their Patriotism
By: Qasim Rashid
As an American Muslim myself, I laud Imran Hayee for his excellent opinion piece on the importance of patriotism (Local View: “American Muslims need to reflect on their patriotism,” May 26). Hayee expressed clearly the struggle some American Muslims face, and he offered a practical and realistic solution to resolve those issues.
I’m thrilled to see more American Muslims standing up and speaking out against the atrocious behaviors of those like Faisal Shahzad, the American Muslim man accused of attempting to blow up Times Square in New York City. It’s about time Muslims made clear that Islam stands for peace and pluralism. My hope is Hayee’s commentary reaches the ears of our fellow Americans — and the hearts of our fellow American Muslims. Both deserve to know where Muslims in America stand. Hayee’s column was a great start to showing them that a true American Muslim stands with this great nation.
Terrorism Didn’t Cause These Twisted Acts–
Editor, Times-Dispatch: In response to my Correspondent of the Day letter, “This Airplane Wasn’t a Terror Attack,” at least two letters have been printed telling me I am wrong. I cannot express my joy at reading these letters, for they struck at the underlying issue I sought to address. The fact is, I hope I am wrong.
When Fox News, Time, and Vanity Fair labeled Major Nidal Hasan a terrorist while Joseph Stack received a “True American Hero” Facebook group, I admit I was perturbed. After all, both Stack and Hasan acted alone in a twisted and violent approach to resolve their issues. Yet, the former received outright condemnation, and rightfully so, while the latter sacrificed for all of us (as some held). However, to see a pronounced response from my fellow citizens telling me the two are one and the same provides reassurance that our nation does not equate Islam with terrorism.
As Linda J. Staples so eloquently concluded her letter, “Muslim or non-Muslim is not the issue.” She could not be more right. Few people recall that convicted domestic terrorist Timothy McVeigh, a Catholic, requested a Catholic priest to read him his last rites upon execution. Correctly, no one ascribes McVeigh’s actions to Christian teachings. The terrorist actions of the KKK, a group composed entirely of Christians, have never once been considered justified as Christian teachings, thankfully. Likewise, the 9/11 attackers were vile terrorists and nothing more. To ascribe their actions to Islam promotes only misunderstanding, discord, and is flat out wrong.
I encourage Staples and those like her to continue to clarify the difference between Islam and terrorism for such clarifications truly benefit our great nation. After all, she is certainly correct. Muslim or non-Muslim is not the issue.
Insane? No, an American Terrorist
ON FEB. 18, a suicidal terrorist attacked our federal government in a plane. Unlike the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorists who killed nearly 3,000 innocent Americans, Joseph Stack killed only one innocent American. Like the 9/11 terrorists, Stack felt violence was “the only answer,’’ and lashed out against a government he hated. But don’t worry. The national terror alert arrow has not moved from yellow to orange.Why? Because it seems that even now, Stack is not a terrorist. Instead, he is simply insane. Of course, this makes perfect sense. Only a completely insane person would fly a plane into a building, regardless of his background, right? Or is it possible that insanity only counts if you’re not Muslim?
Qasim Rashid, Richmond, Va.
Robertson’s Haiti Comment Proves Religious Extremism
We already knew that evangelist Pat Robertson hates Muslims, Jews, Catholics, liberals and Democrats (“Earthquake-rocked Haiti ‘cursed’ by a pact with devil: Pat Robertson,” Faith & Reason, USATODAY.com, Wednesday).
It now seems that even victims of a catastrophic earthquake are not exempt from his wrath. In his declaration that Haitians made a “pact to the devil,” Robertson has succeeded only in proving the existence of religious extremism in America, and nothing else.
I can’t think of a way to not be hated by Robertson, which is actually a good thing. I would sooner join the camp of those Robertson hates, than be mistaken as his friend. Robertson may not realize it, but he seems to have a lot in common with his nemesis the devil. They both hate everyone but themselves.
Minaret Ban in Switzerland Could Backfire
Switzerland has banned the building of new minarets. Critics argue that this ban is a violation of the United Nation’s Universal Declaration of Human Rights that guarantees religious freedom in faith and in practice for its members. Proponents argue that such a ban will curb the rise of extremist factions, even though the minaret is not theologically required in Islam (“Swiss voters ban mosque minarets,” News, Monday).
A similar situation has existed in Pakistan. The country banned religious literature of Ahmadi Muslims, who were declared non-Muslim in a 1974 constitutional amendment. In 1986, severe restrictions were placed on this community, so someone practicing the Ahmadi understanding of Islam could be punished by death.
Over the years extremists, such as those who proposed the original ban, had gained power. In an attempt to rid Switzerland of extremism, the voters might have allowed it in through the back door.
The Swiss might have agreed to more than what they bargained for by passing the ban. History is not on their side.
Anti-blasphemy laws are anti-Islam
Your recent article “Islamic countries seeking treaty to ban blasphemy” (Nov. 20) correctly states that the tenets of freedom of speech directly conflict with anti-blasphemy laws.
What Americans may not know, and Muslims proposing anti-blasphemy laws fail to understand, is that the tenets of Islam directly conflict with anti-blasphemy laws.
The Quran states, “There is no compulsion in religion” (2:256), categorically rejecting any attempts to coerce a person’s beliefs by law or threat.
The holy founder of Islam, Muhammad, championed freedom of religion, even for those who vehemently rejected Islam. He and his companions endured 13 years of brutal verbal and physical persecution in Mecca before migrating to Medina, a city some 240 miles away.
Even upon Muhammad’s peaceful victory as the de facto ruler of Mecca some 10 years later, he absolutely forbade that any person of any faith should be restricted in their practice, even if that practice should offend Muslims and Islam.
Rather than blame the West, Muslims should reflect within and reform themselves. A true reformation will be the best retort to those who insult Islam.
Anti-blasphemy laws simply reaffirm every critic’s point when they question Islam’s stability.
QASIM RASHID Richmond
Commend the Heroes For Their Bravery
Editor, Times-Dispatch: Every soldier in our military takes a solemn oath to protect our nation against all attacks, foreign and domestic. Nov. 5 will be remembered as a day when, sadly, our military was forced to protect our nation from a domestic attack.
As we mourn the passing of 13 of our departed, we celebrate the soldiers who took action to resolve this crisis to the best of their abilities. In stark contrast to the Oct. 22 attacks in Pakistan where 20 Pakistani soldiers were killed during a 22-hour attack, our military responded swiftly and with precision, ending the attack in less than an hour. While we remember the fallen who lived in constant readiness to sacrifice their lives for our country, let us not forget the heroes who stopped this massacre — they too are to be commended for their bravery.
That the shooter’s intentions have been tied to his faith is disappointing. It would be a dire mistake to believe his motivation had anything to do with the teachings of Islam. Just as Timothy McVeighhad nothing to do with Christianity, so does Maj. Nidal Malik Hasan have nothing to do with Islam. Rather than pointing the finger at any religion for the actions of a disturbed individual, I prefer to take a moment and sincerely thank those heroes of Fort Hood who readily put their lives in harm’s way so that I and my children can remain in safety.
Every soldier in our military takes a solemn oath to protect our nation against attacks, foreign and domestic. Nov. 5, 2009, will be remembered as a day when, sadly, our military was forced to protect our nation from a domestic attack. As we mourn the passing of 13 of our departed, we celebrate the soldiers and civilians who took action to resolve this crisis.
That the accused gunman’s intentions have been tied to his faith is disappointing. It would be a dire mistake to believe his motivation had anything to do with the teachings of Islam. Just as Timothy J. McVeigh had nothing to do with Christianity, so does Nidal Malik Hasan have nothing to do with Islam.
Rather than pointing the finger at any religion for the actions of a disturbed individual, I prefer to take the moment and sincerely thank those heroes of Fort Hood who readily put their lives in harm’s way so that I and my children can live in safety.
Qasim Rashid, Richmond