In the last over nine years since the awful 9/11 terrorist attack on US by a bunch of terrorists who said that they perpetrated that montrosity to protest injustice to Muslims, Islamophobia has mushroomed in the US population. And with that major organizations of American Muslims, ISNA, MPAC, CAIR etc have tried hard to protest against Islamophobia as a means of defending the 5 million strong American Muslim community. But the attacks of Islamophobes against the Muslims of America are continuing unabated.
The adversaries of American Muslims are misusing all available means to malign the basic tenets of Islam, Islam’s holy book Quran and the Islamic sharia laws to demonstrate that Islam condones violence to non-Muslims, suppresses Muslim women and propagates harsh punishment for everyday social offenses. Unfortunately the Muslim community and their organizations are conducting very little advocacy to debunk these wild allegations in the public American forums. Some efforts are being made by American Muslim groups like ISNA, MPAC, CAIR etc. But those efforts are at a very low key since all these organizations are busy running protest campaigns against the aggressive anti-Muslim groups.
The result is that most American people receive hardly any authentic picture of what Islam is, and what laws, guidance to the community the prophet of Islam preached. It is a historical fact that as Islam spread out in some countries where a tribal culture still prevails, where modern education is at low level, and where some extremist Muslim groups hold sway, they have codified their obscurantist way of life as parts of the Islamic way of life. Thus some of these countries practice a obscurantist version of Islamic Sharia. More than anything that has caused much suppression of Muslim women reducing them to second class status. But the genuine Islamic Sharia is very nuanced and incorporates a lot of conditions in the application of the criminal laws of Sharia and in allowing polygamy to Muslim men and in a man’s ability to divorce his wife. These facts are totally hidden from non-Muslims because the anti-Muslim media regularly picks up the instances of obscurantist applications of Sharia and heralds it as the real Sharia. Obvioiusly that has greatly maligned Sharia and the Islamic code of conduct, presenting it as cult-like..
For instance in North America and Europe a very large number of non-Muslims think of the Sharia law as draconian. Thus in quite a few states in US the anti-Muslim politicians are propagating that Sharia is inherently oppressive of human rights. This fact came to light in the recent CNN documentary, “ Unwelcome: Muslims Next Door”,that talked about the intense opposition of the general American population in Murfesboro, Tennesse, a town with a population of 100,000, to the local Muslim community and their plan to build a mosque. Most non-Muslims in most cities in North America, other than the about a dozen largest cities, know very little about Islam and fall prey to the anti-Sharia and anti-Islam propaganda.
It becomes the responsibility of the major organizations of American Muslims that they organize a large scale and wide campaign throughout North America, including relatively smaller cities to educate non-Muslims about the real nature of Sharia and the basic tenets of Islam. Their campaign should also disseminate information about the many contributions of Muslims over the centuries in the arenas of architecture, fine arts, science, literature etc. Of course they should speak up when someone maligns Islam, but that should not be their top priority. Once non-Muslims learn about the real nature of Islam and Sharia they will not pay attention to the hate campaigns of the enemies of Muslims.
Another thing the major American Muslim organizations should do is to hold their conventions in cities throughout north America including the southern and midwestern states in US, and not just in the about dozen cities that have concentration of Muslim population. That will help enlighten a wide range of non-Muslim Americans about the realities of Islam and Sharia. They should understand that repeated full house conventions in a dozen cities has become like “singing to the choir” with decreasing benefit for spreading a positive image of Islam in North America.