Raveled & Unraveling

16 Mar

It’s true I don’t update this page often enough. I am rather dispersed. But the challenges we face have not changed so much since the last post in 2017. 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. Reflecting on such challenges, I moderate a facebook page called New York Muslims and contribute to another called Interfaith New York,

At Burma Task Force I have been the New York and UN Programs Director since 2013. During the last few years I have continued with organizing a range of community workshops  (see Burma workshops) and others (See 2011 Workshops) among other partnership building, organizing  and media related activities.

I try to raise awareness about the persecution of Rohingya Muslims in Burma in different ways; for example seeking to make UN presentations on links between economic, geopolitical and ideological causes of the current crisis. Our collective efforts over the years were unfortunately not able to prevent the current genocide. Here is a talk I gave at the ICERM conference in 2016. Here is a 2015 article on the struggle and brave leadership of the Rohingya scattered across the USA. Regarding the situation they are fleeing from, here is an introductory 2014 article I wrote about the situation there.

The Muslim Progressive Tradiitionalist Alliance remains afloat though I am no longer  co-hosting 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.

Like many colleagues I have joined events to show solidarity with the Sikh community following hate crimes: See our photos and also video at: this link. After the tragic terror attack in Boston last year, the Gaza bombings, we have tried to speak out, for example at the Weep for Gaza interfaith vigil on July 30, 2014, and with speeches on the ongoing insanity of ISIS,  but the community is feeling especially vulnerable.  Still, such actions offer 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.

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.

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 honor diverse public servants at community iftars over many years. Our iftar planning committee once  partnered with the Queens Borough President’s office to organize a successful for community service but in recent years 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 a period of several years.  Such collective efforts may and often do eventually unravel, and then the effort of knitting must start up again. Until the next update!

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