WISE WORDS FROM JAMAICA IMAM ON ISLAM IN FOREST HILLS

It is ironic that for how diverse NYC is and how political leaders like Katz love to brag about how diverse we are in Queens, the one thing that never really gets mentioned is that, yes, we have a lot of diversity, but at the same time, people still tend to stay within in the own groups (for the most part, especially in Queens), frequent businesses run by their own kind and live in neighborhoods or areas of their own kind, hence not truly mixing and getting to know others, otherwise staying segregated. I mean just look at places like Flushing (Chinese), Corona (Mexican), parts of Williamsburg (Orthodox Jews), parts of Jamaica (black), Hillside Ave section (Bangladeshi) to name a few. I mean it is understandable. When new immigrants come to the USA and are not Americanized, they tend to seek out communities with others like them, it is a comfort thing.  It is only as generations pass and our youth mix with others of different backgrounds do we see less segregation, sometimes. But I digress.

Imam Shamsi Ali of the Jamaica Muslim Center (which is the largest Islamic Center in NYC) spoke at the Central Queens Y in Forest Hills and he made some very interesting and astute points on the Islam religion.

“One of the main characteristics of Islam is that there is no central authority, like a pope or a central organization,” Ali said. “We are very diverse so the understanding of Islam is influenced by the local circumstances that you live in.” Which would explain how certain areas can be radicalized and others not.

This statement was an interesting one and really explains how our political environment can change and how some folks are kept down.

Ali explained difficult Islamic terms such as dhimmi, which was used for non-Muslim citizens, and jihad. He said dhimmi arose because there had been malpractices in the Muslim community, particularly among the rulers in the Middle Ages. He said Muslim rulers used religion for political purposes and to empower themselves further. “They were worried the minorities would be empowered,” Ali said.

Another interesting statement made.

Jihad is mentioned several times in the Koran, Ali said, “to represent struggle, strife. Each community must strive for betterment. Initially, it’s spiritual in nature.” “Jihad translated into fight, which is the translation of war, is wrong and misleading,” he said, stating that Jihad does not mean holy war in Arabic. “There is a different word for that in the Koran.

Interesting how organized religion can be twisted and turn to suit one’s agenda as opposed to the original meaning, you know, like the teachings of Jesus, which some Christians twist and turn into hatred.

Most interesting. The more you know. Knowledge, is a good thing, something that ISIS, AL-Quadea and other terrorist organizations don’t want, especially with women. Hell, we did the same thing with women (and other groups) in this country. It was not that long ago, that women could not vote and even less that blacks were not able to vote.

Doesn’t change my views on organized religion (but makes me a little more knowing) or make me want to be religious, but for those out there who are, FOOD FOR THOUGHT.

STOP TWISTING YOUR RELIGION.

Still a PROUD ATHEIST.

————————————————————

 

From Queens Times Ledger:

Jamaica Imam to speak in Forest Hills

Leader of Jamaica Muslim Center to discuss Islam at Central Queens Y

Posted: Thursday, May 19, 2016 10:30 am | Updated: 11:51 am, Thu May 19, 2016.

Imam Shamsi Ali, spiritual leader of the Jamaica Muslim Center, will answer questions about Islam at the Central Queens Y in Forest Hills on May 22.

The JMC is the largest Islamic center in the city. Ali will discuss the basic teachings and practices of Islam, with a special emphasis on how Islam differs from and is similar to Judaism.

He has been to Forest Hills for an interfaith dinner and to discuss the book he wrote with Rabbi Marc Schneier, “Sons of Abraham: A Candid Conversation About the Issues That Divide and Unite Jews and Muslims.”

He also serves on the board of the Tanenbaum Center for Interreligious Understanding in Manhattan.

“One of the main characteristics of Islam is that there is no central authority, like a pope or a central organization,” Ali said. “Individual communities have [their] own leadership to deepen the understanding of Islam to lead the community.” In that way, he said, it is similar to the Jewish community.

“We are very diverse so the understanding of Islam is influenced by the local circumstances that you live in,” Ali added. “Judaism and Christianity are our faith and a part of Islam. Moses, Jesus and Mohammed are our prophets,” Ali said.

“Hopefully, one day we will have Jewish friends come to our mosque to talk about Judaism,” he added. “It is no problem, in my view, to educate one another.”

Ali explained difficult Islamic terms such as dhimmi, which was used for non-Muslim citizens, and jihad.

He said dhimmi arose because there had been malpractices in the Muslim community, particularly among the rulers in the Middle Ages.

He said Muslim rulers used religion for political purposes and to empower themselves further.

“They were worried the minorities would be empowered,” Ali said. “It’s a Middle Ages term that is not truly an Islamic term.”

Jihad is mentioned several times in the Koran, Ali said, “to represent struggle, strife. Each community must strive for betterment. Initially, it’s spiritual in nature.”

“Jihad translated into fight, which is the translation of war, is wrong and misleading,” he said, stating that Jihad does not mean holy war in Arabic. “There is a different word for that in the Koran.

According to Muhammad Razvi, public relation spokesperson for the Imam Al-Khoei Foundation in Jamaica, Jihad is a holy word for defense of self.

“In the Koran, the Holy Prophet said, ‘Don’t start a war by yourself,’” Razvi said. “‘Don’t go after the one who is already fleeing, don’t chase him. If someone doesn’t want to fight with you, don’t fight them. Don’t disrespect those fighters who are on the ground because we are fighting only those who are fighting us.’”

Razvi said dhimmi was used during the early era of Islam when the faith started progressing.

“They used to live within the domain of the Muslim government and the Muslim government was responsible for their safety and protection.”

Dhimmi basically means nonbeliever. Razvi said it was not in the Koran and it isn’t used now.

 

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