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‘Ramadan in times of Islamophobia’

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Asian Lite marks Holy Month of Ramadan with a special series of Ramadan Musings with Masarat Daud

People hold candles to pay tribute to Orlando nightclub shooting victims in Vancouver, Canada, June 12, 2016. At least 50 people were killed and 53 others wounded, including a police officer, early Sunday in the shooting at the popular gay nightclub Pulse in Orlando, Florida, the United States
People hold candles to pay tribute to Orlando nightclub shooting victims in Vancouver, Canada, June 12, 2016. At least 50 people were killed and 53 others wounded, including a police officer, early Sunday in the shooting at the popular gay nightclub Pulse in Orlando, Florida, the United States

Almost every year, in the middle of the quest to calibrate our sanity through prayers and charity, there comes an event that rattles us all. The shootings in Orlando have refreshed the wound that never gets a chance to heal. Even if we were to shout from the rooftops, it doesn’t seem to make an ounce of difference to people’s views on Islam. It is no easy task to be an understanding person. Sometimes the ones who defend us also find themselves on thin ice. So what can we do to make our voices heard and more importantly, to make us believable?

There is a tendency for this soul-searching to delve into the past and ask: how did we get here? The problem is that there is no single person or event to be blamed for this. What has happened to the Muslim communities is the erosion, wave after wave, hitting us and chipping it away. At the root, however, is the loss of the importance and value towards knowledge.

Ramadan MusingsThis, in turn, can also be seen in the relegation of women towards the backbenches of society and the banning of education and knowledge-seeking for women. It has turned our communities into those centered on power and profit, precisely what the Prophet Mohammed (Peace Be Upon Him) had warned us against in the last sermon before his passing.

When incidents like Orlando happen where the direct blame is borne by the entire global Muslim community, we must not stop at condemning the events. We must also think about how can we bridge this gap in understanding and reduce misunderstandings. It is the part of the problem that we have control over unlike the media orchestrated scare mongering. To do this, we need to learn, to read and to understand our holy book and our texts instead of following others blindly. The more we read, the more we distance ourselves from a narrow interpretation. If killing is all you can deduce, then the problem is with what you are seeking. What we seek, we find.

The rituals need meaning. We need to understand what we are reading and praying for. Instead of collecting bitterness because of these events, let us look inwards and see what we can change or perhaps, address better. Persecution of LGBT as a minority group is the same as the persecution of Muslims as a minority. We are all in the same boat and it is foolish to shoot bullets in it, because eventually all of us will sink.

(Masarat Daud is many things. A girl’s education campaigner, a TED speaker, a TEDx curator, a recent SOAS MA graduate and a politically-incorrect humourist currently based in London.)