Friday, January 17, 2014
Nearly 20 years after the Rwandan massacre of 800,000 people, 1/32th of their population, a few days ago another African country, Nigeria, has done the unthinkable by signing an anti-LGBT bill into law – a law that has already taken numerous lives through mob violence, invasion of privacy and arrests by police and governmental officials, lashings and future judgments of sharia courts to stone LGBT Nigerians, while giving governmental support and religious justification to Christians and Muslims and tribal groups seeking retribution towards those who are least able to protect themselves or receive the help of their families and friends.
Reports are coming in each day with photos to substantiate the horrors that are being played out in Nigeria, people have become the victims of mob justice. Reports of a person having been burned to death, 10 or more people are waiting stoning through an Islamic court in the Northern region. Even tribal people are able to join in while seeking retribution for harms they had no legal recourse. In this battle, it’s a winning lottery for Christians, Muslims and tribal leaders – for the prize is the lives of LGBT Nigerians - and everyone gets to quench their blood lust and feel good about themselves being good Christians, Muslims and Africans. The only thing missing are the cheerleaders and the pom-poms. Nigeria scores, millions dead.
What is apparent, if you understand human history well, religious fanaticism is being stocked through ancient religious and tribal histories of hatred to lay the groundwork for their “life” improvements in modern times at the expense of millions of LGBT Nigerians. Of course, we can presume, a significant number of them will die at the hands of religious fanatics – whether it is a form of evangelical Western Christianity, or a form of Saudi-based Wahhabism from Islam, or centuries old tribal wars – and Nigerian President Goodluck Jonathan with a flick of the wrist, turned Nigerians’ attention away from his political failures of his administration on to easy scapegoats.
Of course, the typical religious response to the question of human rights for all people, including their LGBT relatives, friends and neighbors, is a moral one, but those morals lack the substance of historical wisdom and truth. President Jonathan’s political and moral stance supports a rendering of socio-religious laws based upon social conditions, rather than moral wisdom and truth that supports human rights law. None of it has to do with religious faith – but I’m certain you can find the seven deadly sins snugly entrenched in his government’s thinking.
But, as we see in other lands like Russia, India, and other African states, political leaders funnel the souls of LGBT people into the hands of common murderers, justified by their faith, to quench their blood thirst, and they really think hell is worse. Religious leaders who provide these mobs justification for religious fanaticism must always look to their perceived “pristine” past to find “resolutions” for their modern lives. Not thinking that such logic is the supremacy of foolishness. Not unlike paying attention to where you step, when you seek solutions for the future by adhering to the distant past without review of your recent past, you will not find an answer to your needs. What you get is the dry bones of the human proclivity to kill another human being because they are different, a source of strength of social and religious practices of the dead. There’s no life nor living in the dust-dry and hallowed recesses of the dead.
If we are to believe the Kinsey Report, about 17 million Nigerians are gay. So, the Bill that has been signed into Law by President Goodluck Jonathan seeks to persecute a population larger than Belgium's or three times the size of Norway's population. It's a population the size of the Jewish population around the world put together. These are millions of people whose sexual orientation, love, and lives are being denied. Just think about that.
Monday, January 13, 2014
Having just celebrated my own birthday a few days ago, and recognizing that today we are celebrating the birthday of Prophet Mohammad, and also knowing in a few days we will also celebrate the birthday of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., it’s important to understand why we celebrate birthdays.
As a black man, as a Muslim, and as a believer in the Quran’s inclusive philosophy, I am able to celebrate all of these aspects of my being over these several days.
Dr. King’s birthday celebration, which in the United States is an actual National Holiday, is a way for us to remember a great man, who contributed to a great cause in his community, his society, and the world at large. His message for equality is remembered on that day and lives in all of us as human beings.
I celebrate my birthday because I celebrate my life, because the Divine has given us a great opportunity by being human beings and being born in this awesome world. My birthday is a time for me to pause and remember all the good things that are just part of my life simply because I was born.
Today, Monday, January the 13th, which corresponds to the 12th day of the month of Rabi Al-Awwal in the Islamic Calendar, is the traditional celebration of Prophet Mohammad’s birthday, a practice by Muslims of all backgrounds around the globe.
It’s considered special this year because of the Prophet’s birthday falls on a Monday, as it was on Monday that Allah created the tree of life that has given humankind food, medicine and the promise of renewal and rebirth. The Prophet’s birthday celebration reminds us of our covenant with Allah that brings rapture and joy to all of humankind.
It’s also a reminder that Prophet was born on a Monday, and the Black stone in the Ka’aba was placed on a Monday, making Monday’s celebration an extra special one. If you ever visit the Muslim World you will note that many people actually fast on Mondays because they are celebrating such important day.
This day of celebration is considered an accurate reflection of early Islamic history, where Fatima, the daughter of the Prophet, celebrated her father’s birthday on this day. By the way, Fatima also celebrated her husband’s birthday, her own birthday, and the caliphs’ birthdays of her time, thus reminding us that birthday celebrations are joyous times for one and all in the Muslim community.
I am reminded as a man of multiple talents that I must continue to work for the uplift of my sisters and brothers of all faiths and backgrounds worldwide, whether it is through a day of community service, attending a religious service or celebration, or remaining cognizant that all of us have one thing in common, our Creator, and that brings me joy and celebration.
Thursday, January 2, 2014
Two weeks ago, there was an article about me in “Al Jazeera”, and the response has been tremendous. For the most part, I’ve gotten a lot of positive responses, which left me in a place of gratitude for the life that I live in the work that I do.
One feedback that stands out came from a young man in Egypt, whose words have touched me on a deeply. To this young man I say, this too shall pass. Your life is greater than you may understand, and I want you to try and find a way to be placed in a place of gratitude for your life for your life. No matter what we go through in life, there is always things to be positive about and to be grateful for. I want you, young man, to focus on that, and that things will change.
Another person who touched me was a woman from Jamaica, whose feedback resonated with me on many levels. To this wonderful woman I say, I thank you for coming along with me on this journey and may we one day meet and greet one another.
All for all who have written to me, all of you who have posted on social networks, all the ones who have called, I say to you all, “thank you.”
Happy New Year