Article Op-Ed

Making a Name for the Muslim Community

Making a Name for the Muslim Community

Author Karima Muhammad by

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The following is not a representation of Atlanta Muslim

Kicking and screaming, the struggle continues as Muslims try to survive the currents waves of negative press, violence, and poverty. Are you really satisfied with what is happening around you? How long are you going to allow this to go on? Today is the day to stop and do something!

In America, we are told to get a good education and you will get a good job. I don't know about you, but I don't see many opportunities for practicing Muslims with secular businesses. It is increasingly difficult to find businesses that hire Muslims and even harder to find halal jobs. Many Muslims are pressured to compromise or face unemployment and homelessness. I am urging Muslims to stop and let’s start taking responsibility for our own communities.

I urge Muslims to educate themselves and create opportunities for employment for our communities. I urge Muslims to shop and buy goods and services from their Muslim brothers and sisters. There is a new bill in Georgia that if it becomes the law, will give businesses the right to discriminate based on religious beliefs called "The Religious Liberty Act". Fortunately, the bill is endangered of not being passed.

The Religious Liberty Act would give businesses the power to deny goods or services to anyone or group based on what they deem is their religious right to do so. For example, a Christian business owner would be able to legally deny service to a Muslim and well as a Muslim to a Christian, based on opposing religious ideas. I have been receiving calls from sisters who have been denied services at retail stores because they wore niqab. In addition, sisters are being harassed and mocked as they are out running errands, on the way to work, at work, and attending school. As a niqabi, I myself, have been mocked by a truck driver, customers at stores, and yes potential employers as well.

It is becoming a fitnah to buy groceries, use public transportation, and walk down the street. I am always looking behind my back or in fear that some crazy person's hatred will run me over; as some cars seem to speed up as I am crossing the street. Inshallah, we need Muslim schools, social services systems, health and wellness systems, businesses and trade platforms. The foundation of all these systems has already been laid out in the Quran and Hadith. All that is needed is for us to get serious and work together. A good start, inshAllah, is to encourage our children to become future employers, not employees. As major employers, we could help sustain the jamaat.

We need to support the Masjids at all cost. It is sad to hear the announcement after Jummah, “the masjid cannot afford to pay rent or utilities this month, please help”. We should re-educate brothers and sisters on marketable skills and business ownership. We need to be better role models. As mentioned before, we need to patronize Muslim businesses often; which does not mean to take advantage of each other in our transactions by expecting free or discounted services based on your relationship as Muslims. Businesses need paying customers. Want for your brother and sister, what you want for yourself.

Let's put our best foot forward. Let's do something and make positive changes in how we interact with each other. We are a nation of strong people. We are better than what they say about us in the world. Let's prove it. Please contact me if you have any ideas that will help us excel and be a benefit to each other. Inshallah. Barakallahu Feekum

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