The first is an interview with Imam Zaid Shakir by Asma Nemati, from Southern California InFocus:
InFocus: Do you have any specific advice to American Muslim and Muslims around the world?
ImamZaid: My advice to American Muslims would be to really think deeply on the opportunities that we have here and to take advantage of them, not to squander them with ignorance or short-sighted thinking; to really realize that we have tremendous opportunities in that our community is very wealthy, talented and highly educated. We should take advantage of those realities to try to organize ourselves and galvanize our energy and the potential we have to do something significant for the Muslim and non-Muslim people of the world.
In terms of advice for Muslims of the world, I would just say to look at the fullness of the religion and never lose touch with the heart of the religion, which is purification of the heart. If we have a deep relationship with Allah, it becomes very easy to keep all of the trials and tribulations of the world in perspective, and not to be overwhelmed by them.
The second is an interview with Keith Ellison, by Wajahat Ali, from altmuslim. Along with questions on race and politics, the 2008 presidential campaigns, and Muslim political participation, Ali asks Rep. Ellison about the inspiration (or the ‘niyyah’) behind his work:
altmuslim: It sounds like you’re very passionate, Congressman…So, what inspired you to run, to take this leap, to be a trailblazer knowing you’re a Black man and a Muslim running for Congress?
KE: Well, you know, part of my involvement in politics is really rooted in my desire to try to promote unity among people, trying to promote unity with the Earth and creation, and trying to promote justice. That’s really the origin of my activism. We are also, as Muslims, urged to engage in shura, consultation, with what the community should do. So, I think my involvement is just to sort of try to help them do what’s best for the community and the world at large.
“A list of the town’s biggest water wasters, and the only non-laundromat on here is… hold on to your turbans…Mercy Mosque!”
My friend, let’s call him M. Rafique, or maybe Muizz R. is less obvious, got me started on watching “Little Mosque on the Prairie,” the widely publicized Canadian Muslim sitcom. After watching a few episodes here and there, a few questions came to mind. Namely: Are Muslims or Canadians cornier? And what about Muslim Canadians?
But there are some moments which offer a unique window into Muslim communities in the West which are worth viewing. One episode in particular I thought was relevant to post here. The movement to create a uniquely (North) American Muslim culture is an organic and ever developing process. Same too for the burgeoning Muslim environmental movement. In the episode pasted above, the two intersect for a TV experience that some would say is before its time. But for most of us, its long overdue.
While “Little Mosque” may have all the trappings of a Muslim camp skit, it has done a decent job of tackling a variety of issues related to the still growing Muslim community. Here, the issue of abusive wudu practices will hit home for anyone who has waded through damp, mildewy wudu areas before. By the time the end credits roll, the mosque is greened, and made handicapped accessible to boot.
If only all Muslim issues could be dealt with so effectively in half an hour time slots…