Archive for July, 2010

Let religious freedom ring –

Saturday, July 31st, 2010

Let religious freedom ring –

“Imam Feisal Abdul Rauf, the founder and chairman of the initiative, said construction of the center “sends the opposite statement of what happened on 9/11. We want to push back against the extremists.” We hope the families of 9/11 victims and other Americans who have rushed to judgment will reflect on those words. And on this comment by New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg: “Sarah Palin has a right to her opinions, but I could not disagree more. Everything the United States stands for, New York stands for, is tolerance and openness.” The mayor’s remarks are the best “refudiation” of Palin, Gingrich and others who have criticized and caricatured this project.”

This is a thoughtful and well thought out short article about the controversy over the building of Cordoba House – a cultural center and masjid that is planned to be built near the site of the horrific attack on September 11, 2001.

I have read so much mis-information about this project and I have listened to Sean Hanity over and over again falsely call Imam Feisal a “radical Imam”. I have also read the New York gubernatorial candidate, Carl Paladino, express the opinion that Cordoba House is such an affront to the sensitivities of Americans that the building should be taken over by eminent domain and made into a 9/11 museum.

I could not disagreeĀ  more with the critics and opponents of this project. First of all, I have listened to Imam Feisal speak and I find that if he is radical at all it is in the direction of returning Islam to the original heart centered spiritual path that was intended and which can be found in Qur’an and the authentic Ahadith. His words that I heard were for progressing and bolstering those aspects above all others. The spiritual practices of this great religion which bring us closer to our maker, closer to following divine guidance.

Sean Hannity has mis-interpreted Imam Feisal’s words many times in the talks of his that I have heard. He pretends to have knowledge of what Imam Feisal has in mind. I have read What is Right With Islam. There is nothing but truth and peace in that book, and there is nothing there that Americans should fear. What the book does point out is the many, many ways in which American values and Islamic values are already the same and how can both groups benefit from that knowledge. Sean Hannity is constantly harping on his false impression that Imam Feisal would like the US to adopt Sharia Law and the fear tactic that Hannity always uses is his perception of what that means to women. Well one would not have to go further than Imam Feisal to find a better example of a person who understands women’s rights. For example, I have personally heard him say that he does not believe that there is any justification for the requirement of all women to wear the headscarf, even in prayers. And if one takes the time to meet his lovely wife, Daisy Khan, one would immediately see that Imam Feisal is not the kind of brutal, Sharia thumping, misogynist that Hannity makes him out to be.

In the end, whatever the outcome, there is a movement – of which I hope I am a part – of Muslims in this country with a dual agenda. First to wipe out the impression of Islam that the extremists and the terrorists have given to the world and, second, to introduce people to the real Islam. The Islam that I love and practice in my heart, body, soul and spirit every moment of every day, insha’allah.


Tour of India in February 2011 – take our survey

Saturday, July 31st, 2010

Jamma Masjid - Delhi (c) 2004 Salim Chishti

A close friend of mine and I are planning to lead a tour of sacred sites in India. The tour is meant to coincide with the Urs of Pir-o-Murshid Hazrat Inayat Khan in Delhi in February of 2011. In order to satisfy the interests and preferences of people who might be interested in such a tour we have designed a very short (just a few minutes) survey to collect this information. If you wish, please take a moment to fill out the survey. There is absolutely no obligation to be contacted about the tour again (unless you want to) and the survey is totally anonymous.

The link to the survey is: India Tour Survey

We hope you will take a few minutes and help us out in this endeavor and thank you very much.

Best regards, peace and blessings.

Imam Salim

Ramadhan Retreat – September 3-6 at the Abode of the Message

Thursday, July 22nd, 2010

Ramadhan Retreat Flyer Thumbnail

All are welcome to come to the Ramadhan retreat that Imam Salim and Tara Chishti are offering. The flyer has all the information on what will be happening and how to register, cost, etc. If you have more questions please call the number on the flyer or you can email Imam Salim from his website – Hope to see you there!

Click on the link below or the image to the left. Either one will take you to the full size pdf flyer. Please feel free to print some of the flyers out and distribute them around your community.

Ramadhan Retreat Flyer.

PAKISTAN Lahore : interfaith solidarity towards Sufis targeted by terrorism – Asia News

Tuesday, July 13th, 2010

Interfaith Solidarity in Pakistan

PAKISTAN Lahore : interfaith solidarity towards Sufis targeted by terrorism – Asia News.

More of this is needed!

The author of the article, Fr. Inayat Bernard is a Pakistani priest of the Archdiocese of Lahore and secretary of the Catholic Press Association of Pakistan.


Suffer the Sufis in Pakistan and the World –

Sunday, July 11th, 2010

Sufi Studies

The link is to a very nice article regarding the status of Sufis around the Islamic world. It is in partial answer to the recent bombing of the Data Ganj Bakhsh Dargah in Lahore, Pakistan but goes beyond that.

Other articles we have read have been concentrating on the Barelvi community starting to be more vocal and possibly be more involved in Pakistani politics and social movements. Some of the articles we have read indicate that some factions within the Barelvi community feel it is time to take an offensive against the Taliban and the other groups (including Wahabis) whom they blame for this attack and others such as the recent attacks on Ahmadi mosques in Lahore.

There is no call for us to lower ourselves to the level of these despicable acts. The Qur’an tells us that we are allowed to meet attacks with the same kind of attack but it also says not to transgress. There are many ways of working against these forces without the need to resort to violent acts.

Read the article below, here is a quote-

“The recent bombings of a Sufi shrine in Lahore, Pakistan, that killed and injured over 200 people, were sadly emblematic of a more broader and universal malaise against the Divine and spiritualism. As worshippers were seeking clarity and a more personal experience with God, two suicide bombers blew themselves up at the tomb of the Persian Sufi Saint Syed Abul Hassan Bin Usman Bin Ali Al-Hajweri. This bombing follows a twin attack against two mosques belonging to the minority Ahmadi Community, and it occurs in the midst of an overly secular and militant empire trying to stamp its own image upon the region. Such acts are a universal sickness, since they inflict the Divine and disrupt humankinds longing to live in peace and be intimate with God, which is what Sufi’s practice.”

Suffer the Sufis in Pakistan and the World –

We must remember the inner peace that we are seeking on this path. There is a serious disconnect when we act to protect worldly distractions in order to maintain inner connection with the divine. Revenge is not what we are after – closeness to the beloved is. We must continue to act in that manner and to maintain the integrity of what we have and have learned and have to teach.