Monday, March 24, 2008

I am a green muslim, part 2

"Never doubt that a small group of committed people can change the world; indeed, it is the only thing that ever has." - Margaret Mead

"Do good works, engage politically, and get involved: can’t change anything sitting on the sidelines." - Keith Ellison

I wanted to share two recent interviews with two people I admire greatly, one as a religious scholar, the other political, but both for their efforts in articulating an authentic American Muslim voice and serving their community. Not particularly "green-related" but they answer perfectly the "why I do this" question.

The first is an interview with Imam Zaid Shakir by Asma Nemati, from Southern California InFocus:
InFocus: Do you have any specific advice to American Muslim and Muslims around the world?

ImamZaid: My advice to American Muslims would be to really think deeply on the opportunities that we have here and to take advantage of them, not to squander them with ignorance or short-sighted thinking; to really realize that we have tremendous opportunities in that our community is very wealthy, talented and highly educated. We should take advantage of those realities to try to organize ourselves and galvanize our energy and the potential we have to do something significant for the Muslim and non-Muslim people of the world.

In terms of advice for Muslims of the world, I would just say to look at the fullness of the religion and never lose touch with the heart of the religion, which is purification of the heart. If we have a deep relationship with Allah, it becomes very easy to keep all of the trials and tribulations of the world in perspective, and not to be overwhelmed by them.
(Via In the Land of Sand and Time.)

The second is an interview with Keith Ellison, by Wajahat Ali, from altmuslim. Along with questions on race and politics, the 2008 presidential campaigns, and Muslim political participation, Ali asks Rep. Ellison about the inspiration (or the 'niyyah') behind his work:
altmuslim: It sounds like you’re very passionate, Congressman...So, what inspired you to run, to take this leap, to be a trailblazer knowing you’re a Black man and a Muslim running for Congress?

KE: Well, you know, part of my involvement in politics is really rooted in my desire to try to promote unity among people, trying to promote unity with the Earth and creation, and trying to promote justice. That’s really the origin of my activism. We are also, as Muslims, urged to engage in shura, consultation, with what the community should do. So, I think my involvement is just to sort of try to help them do what’s best for the community and the world at large.

(And more on civic involvement from Islamica Magazine.)

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