Muslim Scholar: We Need To Build Bridges In Communities

Imam Husain Day 20155

Islamic Scholar Hussain Al-Nashed told an audience at an interfaith forum in the Masjid-e-Ali Mosque that Muslims need to “build bridges in the community.”

With the atrocities of ISIS in Paris and elsewhere fresh in their memories, Muslims who gathered at a township mosque Nov. 14 were told that they must “build bridges” in their communities.

The event was the annual interfaith program at Masjid-e-Ali Mosque to honor the life of Imam Husain Ibn Ali, a 7th Century figure who, with about 70 of his followers, was killed in Karbala, in present-day Iraq, after refusing to pledge allegiance to Yazid I, head of the caliphate at the time. Husain objected to what he considered injustices perpetrated by Yazid, and thought that the Caliph’s lifestyle was not in accord with the teachings of the Muslim Prophet Muhammad.

The murder of Husain is considered to be an event which furthered the split between Sunni and Shia Muslims. Masjid is a Shia mosque.

The event was highlighted by talks given by Rizwan Rizvi, the mosque’s Imam; Moustafa Al-Qazwini, the founder of the Islamic Educational Center of Orange County, Cal.; Hussain Al-Nashed, a Muslim scholar, and Lynda Clarke, a professor at Concordia University in Canada whose topic of interest in Muslim women.

Also speaking was Township Councilwoman Roslyn Sherman, (D-Ward 2), who told the gathering about the township’s interfaith women’s group.

Sherman said that she did not know much about Imam Husain, but, after reading about his life, she said, he has become “a newfound hero” to her.

In a letter printed in the event’s program, Aftab Husain, president of the mosque’s Imam Husain Day Committee, wrote that Husain was “martyred for supreme principles. In an era of evil tyranny and oppression by Yazid … Imam Husain stood up for the true religion of Islam and proclaimed to the people to stand by him.”

“The world is full of sorrows these days because of oppressors, tyrants and dictators, and because of evil acts of ISIS, Al-Queda, Al-Nusra, Boko Haram and Taliban, groups that are committing shameless acts in the name of Islam,” Husain wrote. “Now is the most critical time for the Muslims of the world to stand together and face the tyrants of our time. All of these evil forces will vanish soon, just like before.”

Al-Nashed said that although the speakers’ topics were set well in advance of the program, not acknowledging the terrorist attacks the day before in Paris – credit for which was claimed by the Sunni ISIS group – would show a disrespect for the victims and their families.

The world Al-Nashed said, “must put an end to the notion that we cannot achieve peace without violence.”

Al-Nashed said everyone carries some of the guilt of terrorism, “whether we are the ones carrying the rifles, or whether we remain silent while watching someone kill another in the name of my God.”

In relating the story of Imam Husain to the present day, Al-Nashed noted that “there were Christians in the caravan of Imam Husain, yet unfortunately we do not mention them. There were Jews in the caravan of Imam Husain, who were killed with him, yet unfortunately we don’t mention them.”

“Imam Husain taught me that my religion should sport every other religion,” he said. “My religion should be, ‘I’m going to help you worship your God, so do me a favor and help me worship mine’,” he said.

“We need to build bridges in our community and take Imam Husain to each and every person,” Al-Nashed said.

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