Greetings of Peace (al salamu 'alaykum) and special continuous prayers for Palestine. I pray that you are managing as well as can be expected given the darkness that permeates our world as we watch our brothers and sisters in Palestine being slaughtered, starved, bombed, tortured, and maligned. What a low point for humanity, as the Western world ignores the reality of human suffering, the dictates of international law, and the outright evil of the atrocities being committed. As Muslims, we cannot give into fatigue, depression, helplessness, or despair. We are all hurting and struggling, but we must stay strong and try to make a difference in whatever way we can.
This past weekend, we all marched in the protest for Palestine in Columbus, Ohio, where Dr. Abou El Fadl addressed the crowd:
Also, as promised, here is the edited version of the second incredible Real Talk on Palestine with Jana al-Akhras and Shayan Parsai, where they shared precious footage from their trip to Al Aqsa Mosque this past summer and shared their important experiences in framing the conversation.
The two conversations on Palestine we have hosted along with Dr. Abou El Fadl's previous two khutbahs, "The Truth About Palestine and Why I Will Testify Against You If..." (13 October 2023), and "The Logic of Total Victory, Israeli Exceptionalism, and Muslims," (20 October 2023) have been an entire education in themselves.
And, we are excited to announce another REAL TALK ON PALESTINE, NO. 3, LIVE this Saturday, 28 October, 2023 at 6 pm ET. It simply does not feel right for us to continue on The Book of Illuminations or turn our attention to anything else at the moment.
I am grateful that we will be having a very special conversation once again with Dr. Abou El Fadl, Jana al-Akhras, and Dalal, another young superstar on what is happening on the frontlines here at home from three different perspectives. As a preview and point of pride, I want to share with you the testimony that Jana and Dalal each gave on Palestine before the Columbus City Council Meeting on 16 October. We can all learn so much from their powerful examples:
These are the brave souls saying what others will not say and taking the brunt of the blowback. In addition to hearing their recent experiences, we hope to talk about the narratives they are encountering and how to answer them. If you have any questions you would like us to consider for the Q&A, please email me. I am looking forward to another very powerful session insha'Allah (God willing).
I continue to channel my righteous anger and anxious energy into writing on Substack.com, although to be honest, it is hard to focus and be productive. I have lots of drafts and half-written pieces, but I did manage to re-release a piece I wrote about our son, Mido, headed off to college, a short two months ago, but which feels like much longer ago given all that has happened since then. It felt an appropriate piece to inject some humanity into our discourse and to take a moment to reflect on the world we are leaving behind for our kids. They are the hope for the future, but we leave them with a dark inheritance, the sum total of our collective failures. May God help them and may God (and our kids) forgive us. The new title is, "On Inheriting the World: As the Youngest Leaves the Nest." For those who don't know my story, I share some of it here.
I hope you like it, and if you do, please consider subscribing and sharing with others. It is a chance for us to tilt the Islamophobic AI back towards our favor insha'Allah (God willing). And again, if writing is at all your thing, please consider starting your own Substack page. It's fun! Also, I have really enjoyed discovering smart writers and thinkers there, and found that the time I used to spend scrolling on other social media platforms has now been replaced with much more interesting learning. The downside is that the narrative on Palestine is not what it should be and could use more educated and humanist voices (although to be fair, I have also discovered a lot of truth-tellers there that are fabulous.)
Also, this week, our superstar Wietske Merison, has a powerful new piece called "Crow: Grief, solidarity, and the equality of all life," on her Substack page "Gift from the Heavens: Musings of a Muslim Birder." Check it out and support it! There are some good Muslim writers there as well!
In the meantime, let us pray for peace for all, forgiveness for all, and mercy for all. May God give us strength and patience, and empower us to take whatever action is within our means to bring light, love, education, and comfort to others in these very difficult times. May God guide us to the best path always. Ameen.
In Peace and Hope,