Umm Muhammed Umar
On the America Report, Radio Islam spoke to the Council on American Islamic Relations’ brother Ibrahim Hooper.
CAIR has welcomed a UN report on China’s modern form of slavery concerning the Uighur Muslim population in Eastern Turkistan. Brother Ibrahim said the report was a good step. He said, “We need to see action. We recently had the law in the United States that bars imports from forced labour in this in this region. But the international community really has to take action, and particularly Muslim majority countries.” He added that Muslim majority countries have been sorely lacking in speaking out against the Uyghur genocide, because they have arms deals, amongst other arrangements, with China. He said that they had relinquished their principles for military and economic benefit.
Meanwhile, Oklahoma has seen a large influx of Afghan refugees. There are, in fact, refugees from all over the world that already are in states like Oklahoma, the northern part of Texas, Minneapolis, the central states of the US. Oklahomans have now come together to help children with their back-to-school needs for the new academic year. Brother Ibrahim said that the aid was for all children but mainly for the children of refugees from Afghanistan. He said, “in August and beginning of September, we go back to school, and a lot of families just can’t afford to buy the paper and the pencils and the backpacks and all the things that go along with going back to school, and that’s why we helped out in these kinds of situations.”
Moving to art related matters, the ‘Divine Beauty’ is an art display taking place in Dallas, hosted by the Muslims of North Texas. There are a number of very interesting art displays, including jewellery and calligraphy. The display aims to break stereotypes and to introduce people to the rich Muslim art, and to the diversity that exists within the Muslim population of North America. There is calligraphy from the Moroccan population, but also other types of artwork, synonymous with Muslims from Kashmir and so on. Brother Ibrahim said that artists, particularly the young, didn’t always have a venue for their art. He said, “It may be something that’s different than the mainstream, and they need to have a venue somewhere where they can have exposure to the public…. and that’s what we hope to do in this case.” He added, “The young artists really have talent and we need to see it.”
Separately, a template had been requested for accommodations for Muslim student’s daily, and Friday, prayers. Many Muslim communities have already had their accommodation for prayer established. In areas such as Dearborn, Michigan, where there is a significant Muslim population Friday, or Jummah prayers are allowed on the campus itself. There is, however, still a challenge in many of the newer communities, or communities where people don’t know about the accommodation of Muslims for prayer. Brother Ibrahim said, “often school officials want something in writing so that they can offer the accommodation. So, we just give a template that parents can use to get prayer accommodations, whether it’s allowing students to take some time to go off campus for Jummah, holding Jummah on campus, or the individual prayers.” He said, “it just kind of standardizes the language; a lot of parents may or may not have the best language skills, and this just gives them something that they can fill in the blanks and give to their school official.”