Wednesday, September 08, 2010

Building On Faith -- According to Imam Feisal Rauf

I am not the only Malaysian Imam Feisal of New York has met. He has many Malaysian friends and acquaintances -- big and small - as he has deep connection with Malaysia, having lived here, I believe, in the 80s, when his father was with the International Islamic University in Petaling Jaya.

I was introduced to him in 2007 by his good friend, Datin Halimah Said, at a Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia conference in Bangi.

A modern Muslim intellectual. Imam Feisal also joined Marina Mahathir, bloggers and friends at the inter-faith prayer gathering at the Blog House in Bukit Damansara, for Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad who was recovering in hospital from a heart surgery in 2007.

When the controversy over the building of a mosque in Ground Zero exploded, I must confess I thought to myself :"Why-lah nak ada problem. Just don't build the mosque there. Surely there are other places you can build one. You know this is going to create a problem".

Call me less than brave or bold. I won't apologize for that. Perhaps I didn't quite know the real situation or what the whole project was about. Even so, the picture that I got was from initial reports on the controversy,

Sometimes, I suppose, you have to believe in your commitment and commit to your belief. Unflagging. Unremitting. Never say die.

Imam Feisal, who is the person behind this project, said nary a word, until just recently. he wrote in the New York Times about the project and what it means.
Excerpts from his article:

"Our broader mission — to strengthen relations between the Western and Muslim worlds and to help counter radical ideology — lies not in skirting the margins of issues that have polarized relations within the Muslim world and between non-Muslims and Muslims. It lies in confronting them as a joint multifaith, multinational effort."

and

"I am very sensitive to the feelings of the families of victims of 9/11, as are my fellow leaders of many faiths. We will accordingly seek the support of those families, and the support of our vibrant neighborhood, as we consider the ultimate plans for the community center. Our objective has always been to make this a center for unification and healing."

Read the rest HERE.

12 comments:

Cat-in-Sydney said...

Aunty Nuraina,
EID MUBARAK to you and yours. Maaf zahir dan batin. purrr....meow!

A Voice said...

Blogging from Canada I see?

Old Fart said...

Problem is, this is America. Just like the idiots who want to burn Korans, you will have idiots who will stretch their imagination and assign to this a provocation. In Malaysia too we had somewhere in Kajang an entire Malay community that objected to the relocation of a church from the town centre to somewhere near where they were located. And here what the authorities did was then to not relocate the church there. Same thing happened to the Temple in Shah Alam as well...So this is quite a Universal problem. Except that in America, with all the rights that they have...they can say and do a lot of things. And they can build a mosque right next to Ground Zero too...just accept the fact that there will be people objecting in ways that may not exactly be very nice.

Anonymous said...

i second your motion, maam. America is a big country and a land of plenty.
Is there any DIFFERENCE building the mosque of where you want it to be or let say, 2 miles down the road. as if you have something to proof?
A true and honest religion, it will find its way to the heart of american. Have faith.

Anonymous said...

BS lah

Anonymous said...

Concern is rising that Prime Minister Najib Razak has begun a series of moves including the use of force to retain control of Malaysia. Sparking the speculation is the second-day shutting down of popular political blog Malaysia Today run by the controversial Raja Petra Kamaruddin.

RPK had accused Najib’s government of buying small arms – pistols, sub-machine guns, stun-grenades and so forth – from underground sources in the overseas black markets.

http://www.malaysia-chronicle.com/2010/09/using-force-to-stay-in-power-is-najib.html

http://www.malaysia-chronicle.com/2010/09/why-is-bn-buying-pistols-grenades-from.html

Amran said...

Nuraina,
I am impressed with your writings, as well as with your dad's. I am a Malay who has been living in the New York City area for the past 15 years after I had graduated from university. For a brief period in the late 90's I worked in Wall Street and there was this rather large one floor rented mosque nearby Wall Street, City Hall and of course World Trade Center which is now ground zero. The Muslims here long to have a place to call their own, as at the rented place the landlord can open or close the place as he wish.
The proposed center is about a block away from the rented mosque and two blocks from Ground Zero. The Muslim congregation is large, especially on a Friday and there are many businesses owned by Muslims nearby. Another place quite similar to this is the midtown area near the Empire State building, Macy's and the trade area.
I wonder what the fuss is all about since a mosque has been here way prior the 9/11 events.
Anyway, if you happen to be in New York City please contact me at my email amranf@hotmail.com or my cell 1-201-895-4414. In a way our life stories are almost similar growing up in PJ with family ties in Singapore. It breaks my heart listing and reading about the Malay plight. In a way the life journey of your dad mirrors that of the Singapore Malays.
Last I wish you Selamat Hari Raya.

Sincerely,
Amran Fadzil

NURAINA A SAMAD said...

Cat: Same to you....take care

NURAINA A SAMAD said...

A Voice: bila you send the comment, I belum sampai Canada, I blogged at Schiphol Airport, in Amsterdam.

NURAINA A SAMAD said...

Old fart,

Bigotry and self-righteousness, racism and what have you reside everywhere...

we're not alone. but we play our part to make this world a better place...

take care and cheers!

NURAINA A SAMAD said...

anon@9:47PM: indeed.

anon@5:23AM: yes..to some people.

NURAINA A SAMAD said...

Amran: Thank you. And thanks for taking time to offer us your insight.

Yes..indeed..Inshallah I will.

In fact I was in New York in April..

Take care and Selamat Hari Raya to you too!