N.A.S.A. – Jihad Love Squad (feat. KRS-One) – Tell Us What You Think!

After watching this video and listening to the music, consider these questions and share your thoughts!

Do you think this music video achieved what it set out to achieve? What do you think the artists were trying to say?

Do you think this was an effective way to challenge stereotypes about Muslims, Islam, and jihad?

What did you think about the definition of jihad in the video?

After reading the artist’s statement, does this change how you perceive the video? Does the artist’s background, purpose, etc. affect the message in this video and how it will/has been received?

Rabia Terri Harris Speaking at 2015 Lake Junaluska Peace Conference

Longing for Peace/Exploring the Heart of God

Lake Junaluska Conference and Retreat Center, Lake Junaluska, NC

November 12-15, 2015

Advance the work of reconciliation and peace by learning peace making and contemplative practices from the Abrahamic traditions. The 2015 Lake Junaluska Peace Conference leadership includes Dr. Sam Wells, Rabia Terri Harris, Rabbi Or Rose, and Yuval Ron.

The Lake Junaluska Peace Conference is an ongoing response to God’s call to peacemaking and reconciliation. Affirming the community of Abrahamic faiths, the Peace Conference seeks to work in partnership with Christians, Jews, Muslims, and members of other religious traditions to advance the work of reconciliation and peace.

Program Fee:

$120 / person (on or before September 1, 2015);
$145 / person (after September 1, 2015);
$60 / student

Lodging and Meal Packages: (Includes 3 nights lodging; dinner on Thursday through breakfast on Sunday.)

Single Occupancy-$348 / person
Double Occupancy-$219 / person
Student Lodging/Meal Package-$90 / person Double Occupancy at Lambuth Inn

Cancellation Policy: Program cancellations made before October 29, 2015 will receive a full refund minus $15 per person processing fee. Cancellations after October 29, 2015 will forfeit 50% of the total program fee. No refund for cancellations 0 to 1 day before event begins. Lodging cancellations made 15 days prior to the event receive a full refund less $35 per person processing fee. No Refunds for Cancellations made less than 15 days prior to arrival.

Program Questions: Jennifer Martin, Director of Program Ministries, 828.454.6716, jmartin@lakejunaluska.com

Register for the Program: Anna King, Registrar, 828.454.6682, registrar@lakejunaluska.com

Reserve Lodging: Reservations, 800.222.4930, reservations@lakejunaluska.com

Muslim Peace Fellowship Makes a Comeback!

Salam MPF family! While there haven’t been very many updates recently, we’re looking to fix that very soon. We are now on Twitter, so follow us and tell all your friends! Keep an eye on our website for more opportunities to get involved, blog posts, and essays. Our website will also be getting a makeover very soon (it looks a little different now, but think of this like a hairdresser giving your hair a wash before giving you a new ‘do).

You can always email Rabia at mpfrth[at]gmail[dot]com for more information about the organization and Islamic nonviolence.

P.S. If you have yet to like our Facebook page, do it now!

An Essay On Evil

By Rabia Terri Harris

Presented at “Mayhem in the Middle East: Cultural and Religious Destruction and Persecution of Minorities,” a program of the Al-Khoei Benevolent Foundation, Queens, NY.

July 26, 2014 / 29 Ramadan 1435.

A`udhu biLlahi min ash-shaytan ir-rajim

BismiLlah ir-rahman ir-rahim

as-salamu `alaykum wa rahmatu Llahi wa barakatuhu.

 

Thank you friends who have gathered here this afternoon, despite the difficulties, for this important moment, and special thanks to the people of the al-Khoei Foundation, one of the great Islamic institutions, who have opened their doors and their hearts to all of us. Whatever our background or religious persuasion, those of us gathered here tonight, and millions like us, are people of common concern. We are taking a stand against evil.

Evil is an unfashionable word, but I would argue that without it, we can make no real sense of the world, nor gather the strength to act, nor gain clarity about how, indeed, we should act. Now, my understanding of evil is an Islamic one, formed by what is, in my estimation, the key parable in the Qur’an. While the Bible begins its consideration of evil with the episode often referred to the Fall of Man, the Qur’an directs our attention to its prequel: the Revolt of Satan.

In several places in the Qur’anic text we are told that the angels were called upon to prostrate themselves to the newly-created human being, but that one member of the high assembly refused to do so. This is Satan, the personification and origin of evil, and the first thing we can learn from this parable about the nature and identifying features of evil is that it refuses to honor the dignity of humanity. When questioned about motives, Satan said, “You have created me of fire, and that of clay. I am better.” So the second thing we learn about identifying evil is that it claims intrinsic superiority to the object of its hate. And the third thing we learn is that is has contempt for clay, for the common ground from which we all are made.

Translated into modern terms, this parable suggests that evil may be diagnosed wherever we find dehumanization, domination, and radical disrespect for the earth. These traits are not in short supply. Neither can we conveniently locate them in the acts of any one group. We are beset from every side.

I use the word “diagnosed” quite intentionally. For the most provocative implication of the Qur’anic parable is that evil is not intrinsic to the human being, something built into us that we can do nothing about. It is more like a spiritual infection, highly contagious, often lethal, that any of us, at any moment, might catch. But there are preventatives for it, and there are even cures, though cure is not easy. It is toward these preventatives, and cures, that all of our spiritual traditions are directed. For people do recover from evil, and it is to that potential recovery that those of us who are wary, who have taqwa, and who are not presently infected, would do well to devote ourselves.

We will never be able to eliminate evil from the earth. But we may be able to rescue our brothers and sisters from its effects, and perhaps even vaccinate against it. In this enterprise, nonviolence is crucial.

One of the commonest weaknesses of the human spiritual immune system that allows evil to enter is the belief that violence can bring about peace and justice. Violence never brings about peace or justice. Violence brings about evil. The best it can accomplish, in the best of cases, is exhaustion, which sometimes allows for the sorts of negotiations that should have been undertaken in the first place. Violence mostly accomplishes forcible silencing – which means the life of lies – bitterness, vengefulness, and simmering resentment which call the curse of God down on any victory attainable through its means. And violence produces the heart of stone, which is the fuel of Hell. If Hell is not our objective, then violence cannot be our road. The Qur’an tells us unequivocally la ikraha fid-deen: there can be no compulsion in religion. Muslims in particular need to be absolutely committed to this divine command.

The other common weakness that betrays us to evil is the terrible need to be right. If we want to be of service in the world, then we must train ourselves in humility. Naturally we all believe that our positions are correct: that is why we hold them. But there is no necessity that other people agree with us! Indeed, it is part of the generosity of God that they do not: according to hadith, differences of opinion in the community are a mercy. The great Sunni legal scholar Abu Hanifa sets a fine example for people of strong views. “I believe my opinions are correct, but I am willing to consider that they might be wrong,” he famously remarked. “I believe my opponent’s opinions are wrong, but I am willing to consider that they might be correct.” If we cannot do this, then the people who differ from us may begin to appear monstrous, rather than human, to us…and this is a symptom showing that we have been infected with monstrosity ourselves.

We are not obligated to be right. God does not demand that we be right, but that we be sincere, and that we seek an ever-closer approach to truth. Rightness belongs to God, not to human beings, and the issue of our actual rightness waits to be settled in the next life: “The return of you all is to Allah,” the Qur’an tells us, “and it is Allah who will inform you about those matters wherein you differed.” This really is – and therefore ought to be! – the last word on the matter.

However, we persist in wanting to demonstrate our own rightness. The Qur’an speaks to this weakness, too. It tells us that the question of who is right can only be answered approximately in this world, and that the measure that counts is, Who is doing the most good? “If Allah had so willed, he would have made you all one community, but He wishes to test you in that which he has given you. So compete with each other in good works.” Violence is not a good work. Cruelty is not a good work. Wanton destruction of what is precious is not a good work. Such acts may be intoxicating, but intoxication means the presence of poison. The human heart knows the difference – and it is upon the heart of flesh and spirit, the seat of God’s grace amidst of the horrors of the world, that we must ultimately rely. The last fatwa, as the hadith goes, belongs to the heart.

I would like to suggest to you that – whoever we are – until we have recognized and neutralized our own propensities toward violence and arrogance, we will be unable to intervene productively in other people’s cases of evil. We will simply contract it ourselves. In this way the cycle goes on. Our whole business – our whole urgent business – is to break that cycle, God willing. It is to breaking that cycle that we are committing ourselves here today.

Allah gives us the advice we need in the Qur’an. (I will leave it to my brothers and sisters of other faiths to locate that advice in their own sources.) We read: “The good deed and the evil deed are not alike. Repel evil with that which is better: then the one between whom and you was hatred will become like an intimate friend.” To set out to win friendship rather than inflict destruction: this is the strategy for transformation, and, I believe, the only way out of the terrible mess we are in.

In closing, I would like to call your attention to the many good deeds, the many acts of friendship, the many refusals of evil, that are already arising among us. And in particular let me point out to you my young colleague Fu`ad AbulAmeer, who fled Baghdad, spent years as a refugee in Syria, and is now, from the United States, turning back with compassion to other young people left behind with his Hamada Initiative. Make sure to take his flyer, and support his effort. It is through supporting each other’s efforts that we will find the way forward.

May Allah accept our best intentions and protect us from the enemy of us all. Amin.

Upcoming Event: Interfaith Panel Discussion on the Middle East… This Saturday, July 26th– Join us!

Mayhem in the Middle East

Cultural and Religious Destruction and Persecution of Minorities
You are Invited!
 
Guest Speakers:

Father Guirguist S. Tadros, Egyptian Coptic Priest, St. Mary’s Coptic Orthodox Center in Woodbury New York.

Mark Johnson Phd., Executive Director, The Center and Library for the Biblical and Social Justice, Former Executive Director, the Fellowship of Reconciliation.

Rabbi Arthur Waskow, Founder and Director, the Shalom Center.

Dr. Mohamed Al-Hakim, Iraqi Ambassador to the United Nations.

Sr. Rabia Terri Harris, Chaplain and Scholar on Islamic Nonviolence.

Sheikh Fadhel Al-Sahlani, Director of the Al-Khoei Foundation, New York and North American Representative of Grand Ayatollah Sayyid Ali Al-Sistani.

Saturday, July 26, 2014 @ 6:30 pm
IMAM AL-KHOEI FOUNDATION,
8989 Van Wyck Expway, Jamaica, NY 11435, U.S.A.
1.718.297.6520

New Muslim Peace Fellowship phone conference Sunday!

Allah never changes the condition of a people until they change it themselves”

Coming! Reserve a space now!

Evening of November 4, 2012

MPF Phone Conference with Abdelnasser Rashid

Program Director, New Americans Democracy Project

Illinois Coalition for Immigrant and Refugee Rights

Member of Fellowship of Reconciliation National Council for MPF

“Elections as a Tool of Nonviolent Resistance”

Why vote? Find out!

Q & A moderated by MPF Program Coordinator Sahar Alsahlani

info at sahar_alsahlani@hotmail.com

Introducing Sahar Alsahlani

Salams my Brothers and`Sisters of the Muslim Ummah,

I am honored and humbled to join the Muslim Peace Fellowship Family.

I look forward to this blessing and opportunity to help continue the mission of  peace, reconciliation, and multi-religious solidarity for social justice, insha’allah.

Looking forward to posting more soon.

Sahar Alsahlani

NEW FUTURES FOR ISRAEL AND PALESTINE PRESENTS:

ABOUT EVENT:

My Life as an Israeli Soldier: The Realities of Israeli Occupation

With Yoav Litvin

Sunday July 22 at 3 PM
at The Fellowship of Reconciliation 521 N Broadway, Nyack NY

Yoav Litvin is a doctor of Psychology/ Behavioral Neuroscience, currently conducting his postdoctoral research at The Rockefeller University, NYC. Born in Jerusalem, Israel, Yoav moved with his family to the United States where he spent his elementary school years. Yoav moved back to Israel for his high school years and subsequent military service in the Israel Defense Force where he served as a paratrooper and medic for three years. During those years he spent long months in the Occupied Palestinian Territories and in South Lebanon. Yoav will speak of his personal experiences and the realities of the Occupation.

For more info contact: rabbilynn@earthlink.net