Tired of burying beautiful representatives of humanity who were cut down far too soon in life by a world swirling in hatred, bigotry, violence and misinformation; the faith communities of Charlotte, NC gathered to fight division and preach the message of coexistence. On this, the last Sunday of March, over 200 people gathered to say “NO MORE” to hate and death in the name of religion or hate of others. Though people of all religions spoke that day, here in Muslim American we were able to capture the words of Imam Atif from ISGC (Masjid Mustafa on Plaza) and Hannah Hassan.
“Today when I came here I thought, “Maybe I should wear my jeans and my T-shirt.” Because I do that; I’m not only Muslim, I’m also American. I’m a human being and I have different facets of
my personality and my existence. While I was thinking about that, I decided that I will wear the traditional Pakistani style clothing to show people that there is diversity, that I should not have to fear what people will think of me because of what I’m wearing on my body. Muslim men should not have to fear having a beard should not fear fact that their name is Muhammad. We should not have to fear that our wives, daughters, aunts, cousins, sisters, mothers and grandmothers wear something to cover their heads for modesty.
Islamophobia is a cancer in the same way racism is a cancer, the same way anti-Semitism is a cancer. These are things that will not lead to a successful community or a successful and prosperous America. It’s something we need to work at right now because there is a whole industry out there that is geared to make me look like a villain, to make my people look like demons and make me look like I promote violence.
I want everyone to know that we, the Muslims in Charlotte specifically, have our doors open and our mosques are open. If anyone needs to know what Islam is truly about, come and get that first-hand experience. Don’t just listen to the people who are paid to spread differences, and who are paid to make us look like the evil enemy. Please; I implore everyone, I plead, come ask me what I have in my heart.
I come here as a representative of the Muslim community to let you know that we WANT to Coexist and I urge everyone to make it easy for us and to help us make it easy for ourselves. Thank you.” – Imam Atif Chaudhry
I Must Be A Muslim
by Hannah Hasan
One of the last things I do before I go to sleep at night Is make my fifth prayer… my fifth prayer of the day
Rise before the sun the next morning to greet my lord in submission Through the light of Fajr prayer…I woke up this way.
I must be a Muslim
Because prayer is better than sleep In a constant state of reverence to G-‐d
To submit to his will is engrained inside of me.
I must be a Muslim.
I would rather write than fight Let the ink in my pen
Pierce straight through your soul Touch the person within.
I must be a Muslim
Islam breeds brave kind souls
Not ruthless murderous women and men.
I must be a Muslim—funny I stay cracking jokes.
I must be a Muslim—courageous Live life without fear
I cling on to hope.
I must be a Muslim—Modest. I must be a Muslim—Friendly. You are my ally, my neighbor I do not seek to fight with you I do not seek you as my enemy.
I must be a Muslim On Hajj
I must be a Muslim Fasting.
You get what you see—you can trust in me A Muslims word is her bond
It is strong and everlasting.
I must be a Muslim—volunteering Please take this shirt
Take this shirt off my back. You will never be in need As long as you are my brother
Muslim or not-‐-‐ I wouldn’t let you go out
Wouldn’t let you go out like that.
I must be a Muslim with my multi cultural family And my diverse group of friends
We stand up against injustice
And we won’t stop until injustice ends.
I must be a Muslim Tired of hate
Sick of discrimination
I am human with a belief system and a family An integral piece of the fabric of this nation.
Contributing to her everyday survival
I am a strong representation of the American dream Born here or migrated here
I represent her promise of freedom
And I will require my rights by any and every means.
I live in a time where different is vilified I can’t be other and his neighbor
So he feels free to take my life.
That hijab it makes him question
He can’t understand what I am doing here
Uncomfortable with my presence
And he acts out of fear.
But fear can only win the battle
When brave loving souls are committed to win the war Fear says stay in your home
turn the lights on and while you’re at it
Please lock that front door.
Stand up and fight Unite as one under G-‐d
Choose live out loud in color Choose to live more.
I must be a Muslim because I choose faith over fear
We are connected through our differences And change starts today
Change starts right here.