I also surf the web looking out for art and news. Art because of my expensive drug habit of photography, and news because I like news.
So again most of my exposure to the world has been news sites comments and forum entries, which just happen to be filled with ignorant racist islamophobes who rant a continuous stream of hatred and the same old tired anti Islamic rhetoric that was making the rounds 200 years ago. I tried initially to engage with some of those people by trying to correct misunderstandings or debate issues, but it seems most those individuals were so hateful or fearful -or whatever the case may be- they flatly refused to employ any logic, etiquette, consideration etc... It was quite frustrating.
I found that I was reading so much of those websites and thier useless comments and forums that I developed a fear of going out. I thought most people in Australia thought this way. this was ofcourse exacerbated by a racist comment to my sister one day in a shopping center. For a time I was not comfortable in Sydney.
Over the past few days, realizing how decayed I was becoming staying at home like this, I tried to go out, so I'm going to the gym more often, I'm joining my sister in her study sessions at uni, I'm going out and about looking a houses etc... It's done me a world of good because it sort of showed me the other side of the coin, normal decent people who see muslims as they are; people. Who don't hate and don't fear and respect you if you respect them.
It seems the people who haunt the web and who spread the hate and the division are too cowardly to speak their minds out in public so they hide behind nicknames and avatars and congregate in groups online. nice one mayte !
Since then I remembered an interpretation by prominent speaker Ahmad Deedat of an aya
"يا أيها المدثر، قم فأنذر"
Translated roughly as
O thou enveloped in thy cloak, Arise and warn!From Surat Almuddathir.
The historical context of this verse was a command from Allah (swt) to the prophet (pbuh) after his first revelation through the Angel Gabriel. The prophet had come back to his home and was in a state of fear and panic. This verse was telling the prophet his duty.
Shiekh Deedat however, in a fir of genious, interpreted this verse to a representative from the Saudi ministry of religious affairs. He said (roughly) : this verse is to your muslims and arabs ! who this great message and religion of peace and justice which you have the duty to convey the world, instead you are HIDING. COVERING yourselves behind your borders and keeping this message with you, to you Allah says "Oh you covered one, ARISE ! and warn".
It was amazing insight this man had to understand the ponder this verse in this way, and in a way this problem is appearant here in Australia as well, the leaders of the community and shiekhs (not of all them, let's be fair) are hiding in thier ethnic ghettos, covering themselves with petty politics and mud throwing. While muslims are losing sense of what it means are usually caught acting in a way shameful to any muslim, and while non muslims are ignorant of this great message and its potential to heal the world.
Exposure is very important, human communication is very important. Scholars of the old had to balance thier knowledge of this world with the knowledge of Islamic jurisprudence to be able to fairly judge. While -some- of our leaders barely speak english, deeming the world as black and white of Kuffar and Muslimoon. It ain't like that buddy ! go out there and see this world !
What does this have to do with me ? Well I can't be hiding either, I have to be out there understanding my community. Getting comfy with this place in which I'm probably gonna have my kids and die in.