Archive for December, 2010
6. Strengthen our community centers. One of the most important things we must do is strengthen our community centers, but this is not possible without wise leadership in our centers. A major problem is that, notwithstanding their sincerity, unqualified people too often take the helm. Our centers need a level of professionalism that is grossly lacking today. Albeit, a change is in the air. Many young people who have grown up in this environment and learned the ways of more astute institutes are emerging, but they must be empowered, and those of a previous generation need to stand aside and let these young and talented Muslims do their work, unimpeded by the antiquated ways of a bygone era.
For example, when the media comes to interview someone from one of our centers, we need to put forth active spokespeople who don’t have foreign accents. Studies show that one-fourth of American viewers stop paying attention when they hear a person speaking with a strong foreign accent. I know this from first-hand experience, as my own father has a very hard time understanding South-Asian and Arab accents.
When we put forth Muslims with strong foreign accents as our spokespeople, people often assume all Muslims are foreign-born nationals and that our allegiances lie elsewhere, whereas in actuality, we are comprised of a largely diverse community that includes American-born natives as well as immigrants. American Muslims are indigenous and have always been indigenous, and in that way, WE ARE AMERICANS, so let Rush, Bill, Ann, and all those other bigots put that in their pipe and smoke it. We have never been a recent immigrant community, as there are now third and fourth-generation immigrant Muslims here in large numbers, not to mention native American converts as well as African and Euro-Americans. Moreover, African-American and Euro-American converts and their offspring are an excellent resource for immigrant Muslims to better understanding the mainstream population.