Greetings of Peace (al salamu 'alaykum) dear Friends,
There are simply no words to adequately convey the depth of pain, suffering, and emotion that we are individually and collectively engulfed in as a result of the genocide taking place in Palestine right now. Between the images online, the narratives in mainstream media, and the one-sided actions of political leaders and fellow human beings, I don't know what has happened to humanity at large. How can the world be witness to the carnage and remain silent, or worse, complicit in the crimes against humanity taking place? Where are the Muslim leaders that are so vocal and decisive about things like hijab, LGBTQ+, and the minutia of Islamic law, and yet go MIA in times like this? Alhamdulillah (thank God) that there are moments and defining events that reveal the truth within our community. This is one of those times.
This past weekend, within 24 hours of the attacks taking place in Israel and Palestine, we held a very powerful and personal session about what was happening. We invited two members of our Usuli community to share their experiences and insights with Dr. Abou El Fadl. Jana al-Akhras and her husband, Shayan Parsai, traveled to Palestine this past summer to visit Jana's family's ancestral homeland. They visited Al-Aqsa Mosque on Eid Al-Adha. They visited the home that her great grandfather had built, and which now, is being occupied by a Jewish settler - from Boston, Massachusetts. They had very important insights to share. Jana and Shayan are both immigration law attorneys in Columbus, Ohio, and Shayan was one of our Project Illumine Research Fellows. They are bright, articulate, and extremely active and knowledgeable about the apartheid state in Israel, the occupation of Palestine, and what it means for the people living there. I learned so much listening to them. It is an amazing conversation and I hope you will watch it and share it widely:
As we continue to watch the hellish massacre and destruction of Gaza in shock, disbelief, and outrage, we felt it was important to come together again this weekend to talk, listen, learn, and simply be with others in solidarity. So we have invited Jana and Shayan once again THIS SUNDAY, OCTOBER 15TH at 6 PM ET to join Dr. Abou El Fadl in further discussing what is happening in Gaza, Palestine, and here at home. We are inviting people to join on our Google Meet link LIVE here: https://meet.google.com/dya-dwnr-bbj. We will also record the session and upload it to our YouTube channel afterwards. We will NOT be live-streaming the conversation on YouTube.
In the meantime, we send you our prayers, our love, and warmest salaams. May God give us strength and empower us to take whatever action is within our means to bring light, love, education, and comfort in these very difficult times to everyone we can. May God guide us to the best path always. Ameen.
In Peace and Hope,