MahaMonday: Islamophobia Is The New Black

chapelhillAt Chai Latte Diaries, I am asked how to deal with the recent hate-driven executions of Yusor Mohammad, Deah Shaddy Barakat, Razan Mohammad Abu-Salha, and Mustafa Mattan:

The answers to your challenges are simply to face every single act of hatred, with bigger love. Kinder love. All-encompassing love that crushes anything in its way.

It is to see the binary misunderstanding of the bigot and meet it with a nuanced and compassionate understanding that their bigotry is almost always rooted in their own fears, insecurities, and pains. Because none of us are born hating, and none of us are created by Him to hate. (Naturally, there are actual agent provocateurs of hate and discord, their names are loud and clear, but they are not your average neighbor, with whom you will interact.)

Your role, my friend, it is to do the exact opposite of what the stereotypes expect, what the caricatures deride, to which the ignorant would point as proof of ‘Other’ realities and ‘Muslim’ truths. What it is, is to live Islam as we are taught. Live the goodness of your religion and let you, as representative, speak for it. We are at an extremely critical juncture and the last thing anyone in the Muslim Ummah should be doing is insulating themselves from others, and isolating to only the like-minded. This is the way to ensure your stagnation, and your stop-evolution; it is also a way to ensure that the story of what is Islam and who are Muslims is written by those other than ourselves. Isolating yourself means allowing others to tell your story and speak for you. (This in mind, don’t engage those whose only intention in engaging is to hate. Do not engage over social media. Trolls are not interested in conversation, negotiation, understanding. Engage intelligently and not in ad-hoc manner.)

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