Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Speaking out Against the Massacre

May Peace be Upon You,

My name is Nora Zaki and I am a student at UF. I am also a Muslim. After hearing about the mass shooting by Maj. Nidal Malik Hassan at Fort Hood, TX this past Thursday, I am just so shocked and upset. I want to express some comments from a Muslim perspective about this unfortunate event.

First, I want to express my sincere condolences to the victims of this horrible incident. Muslims pray five times a day, and so after each prayer, I will ask God to help the families of the victims and the Fort Hood community. I also express my prayers for the family of Maj. Hassan for I am sure they are dealing with a hard time too.

Second,I want to express my disgust and shame for what Maj. Nidal Malik Hassan committed. I know that the media will portray the unfortunate fact that he is a Muslim and I have already seen him being labeled a Muslim terrorist on several news websites.
The Council on American Islamic Relations was the first Muslim organization to denounce this act in the CAIR Statement which said, "No political or religious ideology could ever justify or excuse such wanton and indiscriminate violence. The attack was particularly heinous in that it targeted the all-volunteer Army that protects our nation. American Muslims stand with our fellow citizens in offering both prayers for the victims and sincere condolences to the families of those killed or injured."

The circumstances regarding Maj. Hassan's harassment by fellow military members is unfortunate and discriminatory. But, no human being has a right to take the lives of innocent people. And, that goes for soldiers fighting the war in Iraq and Afghanistan, too.
I am sure Maj. Hassan was upset by the fact that many innocent Muslims are killed by U.S. soldiers, but that doesn't justify him killing some people at Fort Hood, regardless if they are Muslim or not.

I just hope Muslim Americans realize how lucky they are to live in America. Truly, what a great country this is. I was born and raised here and have taken it for granted until I've learned more about how other Muslims are treated in other Muslim minority countries, and even Muslim majority countries. I don't agree with all of U.S. foreign policy, but I respect the values this nation was founded on and I respect the country America, and in fact, these values are complimentary to Islam. Hamza Yusuf, an Islamic scholar and convert, wrote, "Indeed, I have marveled at how most of what western society claims as its own highest ideals are deeply rooted in Islamic tradition."

Finally, I would like to end with a historical story, an encounter between different peoples. During the time when the Prophet Muhammad was revealing his message in Mecca, the most powerful clan realized that his message was challenging their unfair social order and polytheism which led to lucrative business for the clan. So, some of Muhammad's followers emigrated to Abyssinia, which is known as Ethiopia today. The Abyssinian king, who was a Christian, was known for his tolerance and "being respectful and fair with his people", writes Tariq Ramadan, author of In the Footsteps of the Prophet. Some emissaries from the clan that tried to persecute the Muslims tried to magnify the differences of the Muslims and Christians by presenting them to the the Abyssinian king. The Muslims told the king about their religion and he heard the meaning of what they said: "their God is the same, whatever the differences between their texts and our beliefs; their values, of respect and justice, are the same whatever the discrepancies between the religions' text. The king heard and welcomed those believers of another faith," writes Ramadan.

Muslims in America can relate to this story. America has allowed Muslims to live their lives seeking opportunity while maintaining their faith. Of course hardships and some unfairness exists, but Muslim Americans should be thankful nonetheless.

Muslims, like any other group of people, are a mixture of human beings; some of whom choose to do good and and some of whom choose to do evil. is a beautiful and perfect religion, but a few Muslims have distorted its teachings. Please do not confuse the religion with its followers, because they can be completely different.

"And be patient in adversity: for verily, God does not fail to requite the doers of good!" Qur'an ( 11: 115).

Nora Zaki
Muslim Youth for Truth Contributor

Where will your next 5 dollars go?

Have you ever complained about having to go to school every day? Have you gone school supply shopping every year before school began? Now, I would like you to picture yourself not being able to go to school when you really want to; Not having a pencil and some paper to be able to do your work on when you need to.

What are YOU going to do when you find out that exact feeling of deprivation is going on every day around the world, and especially to fellow Muslim brothers, sisters, and families in Sierra Leone? Are you willing to help change that for young Sierra Leonean girls and boys in that real-life picture?

The West African country, Sierra Leone, went through a twelve-year civil war (1991-2002) which resulted in the deaths and maiming of tens of thousands. Francis Mo Roberts (formerly Mo Haidara), a native of Sierra Leone and FSU Law graduate, founded an organization called “Help Sierra Leone” to help the situation he saw upon his visit home. He said, “witnessing, firsthand, the daily plights of ordinary Sierra Leoneans, especially children, was very disheartening. During my trip, I visited schools, hospitals, orphanages, amputee camps and villages. These visits not only saddened and angered me, but they also motivated me to do all I can to help the people of Sierra Leone. I realized that with just a little help and generosity, we can change the life of children and families.” Check out pictures and more info: and

Did you know that: with just $20, you can pay a grade-school child’s tuition for a full school year in Sierra Leone; with $50, you can pay for that child’s tuition and books for a full school year; and with $100, you can pay for that child’s tuition, books, uniform and shoes for a full school year.

The goal of this non-profit organization is to provide scholarships, food, clothes, shoes, school stationery and other necessities for the children and families of Sierra Leone. Education is at the heart of what Help Sierra Leone seeks to provide to children because it gives them hope in an otherwise hopeless society. Since its inception in 2007, Help Sierra Leone has offered over 100 full scholarships, donated money to local needy causes, donated rice to residents of a small village and an orphanage, donated clothes to new and expecting moms of a maternity hospital, donated shoes, bags, toys, and clothes to children and families.

I am calling on you all to join me and give what you can. Please donate and encourage your friends and family to do the same. With your help, not only can we send some children to school and feed some families, but we can actually change lives. I thank you in advance for your help and may Allah (swt) reward us all for even our smallest efforts!

So are your next $5, $10, or $20 going for candy, fast-food, shoes, accessories, etc. OR are you going to invest it in charity to be returned to you multiplied?

Safiah Afify

Muslim Youth for Truth Contributor

FSU Law Student