I participated in a live Q&A session with IslamInSpanish, which is an educational non-profit organization that offers Latinos education about Islam in Spanish language. I find it interesting that this organization—founded by Mujahid Fletcher—was created after 9/11 because some of my work including some upcoming poetry is also created in an effort to combat an increase in Islamophobia that occurred after 9/11. I was introduced to Dr. Craig Considine in year 2018—I had a lucid dream about this encounter in 2017. Since this event was preceded by a lucid dream, I realized that our meeting was important somehow. So I kept reviewing the online content provided by Dr. Considine and eventually came across IslamInSpanish. When I reviewed this organization, I felt particularly impressed by the fact that Latinos are one of the fastest growing Islamic groups in America.
To answer some of my curiosity about Latino Muslims, I ended up joining one of their live Q&A sessions; the two speakers for this session were Isa Parada and Mujahid Fletcher. During this event, I learned of a story about how a woman failed to convert because of mixed messages: she was told by someone that she is not required to cover herself in order to convert; but, when she ended up at the place where she was going to convert, they asked her to cover herself. After hearing this, I recalled how due to mixed messages even born Muslims are leaving the masjids and Islam. There are plenty of these mixed messages in our lives nowadays and the human brain is simply not designed to handle the distortions offered to it through structures and norms that are embedded inside our societies. Read article “Our world outsmarts us”. So I posed this question to the speakers: “I feel what was said to her (the woman who chose to not convert to Islam) was too extreme. This is what I am noticing in Canada as well. Islam teaches one thing but we don’t see it in practice. People are leaving Islam due to mixed messages. How do we combat mixed messages that are being conveyed to us especially when these relate to something as personal as one’s choice of clothing?”
So here is a bit of the reply that was given by Mujahid Fletcher. He explained that the above mentioned misunderstanding took place because the people who are running the masjid are predominantly from an area of the world where it is natural to expect someone who is coming inside to be covered. However, he further noted that God does not expect perfection and that it would have been better to engage this lady differently than to attempt to ask her to do something that she does not know about. See full conversation on this topic starting at instance 1:32:11 of video of this live event.
I really like brother Mujahid’s answer. He discussed the importance of moderation while teaching Islam or interacting with people. I feel that more we try to hack into parallel lives (living next to each other without communicating properly) in order to promote effective Interfaith Dialogue, more moderate we need to be. A good therapist will tell you that acknowledging something like an emotion or incidence is the first step of healing. Asking this question and then receiving a proper answer caused an acknowledgement, which will help the world around us heal gradually.
Many thanks to IslamInSpanish for creating and sharing this interesting event!
Copyright © by Arzoo Zaheer. All Rights Reserved.