We have come a long way in intellectually challenging the isolationist thinking that once blanketed the Muslim community. MAS Youth workers and activists of all backgrounds, whether immigrants or indigenous, are helping to reformulate the American Muslim identity as one that is rooted and invested in society.
When a tragedy strikes, like the horrific shootings at Virgina Tech this week, and America rallies together, at least on the newscasts, it's a good time to study our reactions as a community, to see how well this identity is rooted.
Do we feel the sorrow and grief so deeply, that it aches as if our own child or brother had been shot?
Do we instead place ourselves outside of the chaos, evaluating the situation, wondering how the Muslim element comes to play in all of this? Maybe breathe a sigh of relief that Muslims are neither victims nor targets of media attention?
Or do we blurt, "See how messed up this country is!"
There's not a right or wrong way to react to this incident, but reflecting on our thinking is a good way of knowing where we are as individuals and a movement in establishing a strong American Muslim identity. And perhaps none of these responses is bad—we should strive for a balance between all of them, as did all Prophets when calling their people to Allah.
We feel the deepest sorrow, one that reaches beyond religious identity, acquaintance, and locality. We join our community in grieving the lost lives and shattered families.
We contemplate and think deeply about this tragedy, with the mind of one who has the only solution and the heart of one who is concerned for a beloved unaware.
We realize the disaster of a community without belief, recognize the side-effects of a system that extends no hope to the suffering and no protection for the innocent. We resolve to work harder to demonstrate and work for the message of Islam.
What are your thoughts about Virginia Tech?