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Maricopa County Muslim ‘Leaders’ FAILED us on the Women’s March

20,000 people marched for women in downtown Phoenix. Where were the Muslim leaders?

January 23, 2017 0 comments

I posted a video on social media pointing out that Muslim leaders in Maricopa County let the Muslim community down on the day of the Women’s March.

Muslim leaders and Muslim organizations were not only present at marches in other cities throughout the country, some were even organizers of the March.

That was not the case in Maricopa County.

Of all the Mosques and Muslim organizations in the Valley, only one member of leadership showed up. No other religious leader or board member.

And no organization announced it to the community at all.

My perspective is that Muslims have been expressing feelings of fear and being under attack for the past 15 years. In that time one would think that the Muslim community leaders would have created strategies and social connections enough to have known about the second largest march in recent U.S. history.

Phoenix alone had 20,000 people gather at the State Capitol.

Phoenix didn’t even have that many people for the peace rallies and marches before the Iraq invasion.

It’s not like I just made a social media video making our dirty laundry public.

I also spoke to local leaders and let them know my perspective. Interestingly, the leaders I spoke to agreed with my assessment and asked that I personally keep them informed of future major events rather than rely on others to keep them informed.

Interestingly, the leaders I spoke to agreed with my assessment and asked that I personally keep them informed of future major events rather than rely on others to keep them informed.

Though I received a lot of high-fives for publicly talking about a subject on many people’s minds, I got some backlash as well.

I found the backlash especially interesting. It was small but passionate.

Comments mainly focused on my lack of authority to point out any errors of religious leaders.

First, Islam allows for discourse and religious leaders are not prophets or considered perfect humans. Community members do have the right and responsibility to question our leaders, even our religious leaders, and hold them accountable. Their religious knowledge enables them to explain their position to us, educate us, or even agree with our critique.

Second, Muslim leaders are not just religious leaders but any member of the Muslim community holding a position of ‘leadership,’ such as a board member or director. Religious scholarship is not a requirement to be on any Muslim organization board, not even the Mosques.

But the really interesting comments were defending the Muslim leaders’ lack of knowledge about the Women’s March in totality.

However, the defense by Muslims on the behalf of the uninformed religious leaders was slightly misplaced.

Though it is true the majority of them only knew about the DC march and didn’t know about the Phoenix march even days after it was over, that is not something anyone should be proud about – and the leaders I spoke to weren’t.

This demonstrates an extreme disconnect with the society in which you live, in which your community lives. 

I mean, God forbid the Muslim start getting interned. Our leaders might not even know about it!

Okay. That’s an exaggeration. If something happens to Muslims, every Muslim knows within hours.

The majority of Muslims in the Valley didn’t know about the Women’s March either.

Most Muslims didn’t think the Women’s March had anything to do with them, so they either decided not to go or the event never made it on their radar.

That could be partly the fault of the organizers of the local Women’s March not being more clear about the diverse reasons for the march – the diverse communities affected by the recent political rhetoric, for example.

It could also be partly the fault of the local march organizers for not reaching out to diverse communities enough to let them know they were welcome.

But it is also a reality that Muslims aren’t paying enough attention to the struggles of others. A reality is also that too many Muslims have failed to make real connections with people not like them. Connections that would have resulted in casual conversations about the upcoming march.

And the one organization that did have a representative at the march?

They made a conscious decision not to share the information with the Muslim community or the other Muslim organizations.

My entire intention was to bring awareness to the Muslim community that it’s time our leaders do better… and let our Muslim leaders know we deserve better.

 

 

 

 

 

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