Certainly in addition to the many crises impacting us overseas we are still in the middle of a civil liberties crisis here at home and there seems to be no escape from nasty public and political talk about us Muslim Americans. I moderate a facebook page called New York Muslims and contribute to another called Interfaith New York, with our recent activities including the Weep for Gaza interfaith vigil on July 30, 2014.
During the last few years I have continued with organizing a range of community workshops (see Burma workshops) and others (See 2011 Workshops) and continuing to co-host the radio show On Immigration Issues. Our diverse faith community community must contend with and perhaps absorb many social forces– not always an easy task, as I tried to explain in this 2010 paper Selflessness and Self-Promotion in Muslim Civil Society: Questions of Identity in a Community Under Stress.
I continue my work to raise awareness about the persecution of Rohingya Muslims in Burma; here is an article I wrote this August about the current situation there.
The Muslim Progressive Tradiitionalist Alliance remains afloat but with only intermittant paid work, my thoughts go towards some of the travels of last year and visits to holy places. May God guide us all on our journeys in thought and in the world. As global citizens and fellow humans, we must care about the situation in Syria and Burma and many other places, along with the continued despoiling of the natural order.
Like many colleagues I have joined events to show solidarity with the Sikh community following the tragic attack in Wisconsin: See our photos and also video at: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=h-v9PI4qgY0&feature=share. After the tragic terror attack in Boston last year, the Gaza bombings, and the ongoing insanity of ISIS, the community is feeling especially vulnerable. But it is an opportunity to affirm our deepest social and human values.
We continue our interfaith work in Flushing and elsewhere in Queens. Meanwhile we are happy to write papers on social justice issues important to us, such as this May 2014 paper PAPER FOR ISTANBUL and accompanying Powerpoint images.
As my old Poems of Love & Loss tried to indicate, Love of God is both simple and complicated. Each year Ramadan is a reminder to increase attention to reflection and to avoid reactive and mechanical thinking and behavior. At the same time, there have been occasions to build bridges (and hopeful not indulge in too much political posturing) at community iftars. Last year our iftar planning committee once again partnered with the Queens Borough President’s office to organize a successful for community service but this year the effort became independent and involved other local partners: see http://queensiftar.wordpress.com/.
Disaster recovery takes many forms. To build resilience we affirm our values, including opposition to injustice and human rights abuse around the world. Here at home, the December 2011 Boycott of Mayor Bloomberg’s Breakfast also marked the beginning of an important new civil liberties campaign to protect NYC Muslims from profiling and surveillance, with MACLC members playing a leading role in sustaining this important policy critique during the last several months. Until the next update!