We’ve Had Enough: The #PulseNightclub Murders and American Muslims

It’s Ramadan, which for most Muslims means a month of fasting, reflection and prayer. After putting my last meal down, at about 3:30 Sunday morning, I thought I’d sleep in a little bit just because it was Sunday.

What I woke up to absolutely stunned me. 50 dead Americans at a gay nightclub, in Orlando. I reached out to my mother and my brothers first, to make sure they were ok, and knew what happened. The first thing my mother cried to me was, “These people are ruining our religion they’re ruining our lives”.

The second call I made was to my friend Bradford, Bradford is gay and works on Broadway. He texted me that he was still working on a 26 hour shift trying to get costuming done. I texted him about what happened and we had a brief phone call — I said I just want to give him a hug and was sorry to be the bearer of bad news.

Over the past decade we’ve watched our government fumble with CVE initiatives that try to monitor American Muslim communities like ants under a magnifying glass. That doesn’t work; that’s been proven not to work and it’s failed numerous times on identifying any kind of terrorist actor. Our politicians are Hawks or war mongers and talk only about the threat of radical Islam — so let’s talk about that for a second. With the destabilization we’ve had in the Middle East following the second Iraq invasion, we’ve had a number of insurgent and terrorist groups pop up, over the course of the past decade. The worst of these is ISIS or “Daesh”. Whereas Islam asks you to Believe that there is only one God and Mohammed is his prophet, ISIS does the opposite — they ask you to pledge yourself to ISIS.

ISIS, Boko Haram, Jammat Islamiyyah and the over 60 other insurgent or terrorist groups, across the globe, believe in a mishmash of local ideologies, local law (wali) and generally don’t practice Islam as we know it. They cobble together strange beliefs to keep people in a cultish mentality and make them subservient to some military leader, which in many cases has the only aim of creating chaos.

These people are terrorists masquerading as Muslims and we need a new name for them, that name is Faslis (Fuzz-ly). Fasl (fa-suhl) means separate in Arabic and these people want to be separate from Islam, separate from America and separate in their hate. So let’s separate them.

My father loved this country. And like many American Muslims we were born and raised here. This is the only country to which we pledge our allegiance and hold in our hearts. American Muslims are responsible for identifying and turning in over 90% of the lone wolves who would have committed terrorist attacks, on this beautiful land of ours, over the course of the past 15 years.

We love this country, and in order for us to show our love, we need to start being looked at as the last line of defense — not the enemy.

Faslis are the enemy. Faslis Who support extremist ideologies, like ISIS, who want to create a war in between the west and the east.

For the past year, in my spare time, I’ve been working with a few data scientists, to put together a counter terrorism guide that can explain some of these super complicated concepts, in a real simple way. Next month, I’ll be releasing Sultan’s Illustrated counterterrorism quarterly. I would strongly recommend that you pick up a copy and share it when it’s released; I’ll be pushing it out through my Twitter (@ozsultan).

Similarly, Daisy Khan (@daisykhan) has spent the last four years studying and understanding violent extremists, as well as what creates faslis. She’ll be releasing a guide + program aimed at educating Muslim, Jewish, Christian and Non-religious communities on the differences in between Islam and ISIS — and how communities can develop their own policies that work 100% better than government CVE.

Shahed Amanullah (@shahed) has worked with United States State Department on counterterrorism programs and currently operates a start up incubator focused on engaging American Muslims within the start up ecosystem. One of the start ups he’s worked with, launchgood.com, is a Muslim run kickstarter that has already raised funds for black churches that were burned down during domestic terror attacks.

Nida Khan (@nidakhanny) and I will be launching a podcast called “Islam this week” that is going to try and demystify these issues and start developing an American Muslim dialogue. This is a small group but it’s part of a much larger whole of American Muslims who are trying to get involved and trying to do something — to stop this madness from coming on our shores.

I grew up in Pittsburgh. I’ve been a New Yorker for the past 15 years. I’ve grown up with stories of no Irish, no blacks, no Jews and now it’s no Muslims, why? Because at different points in time in history people were afraid of the other; they were afraid of the Irish; they were afraid of African-Americans; they were afraid of Jews and now they’re afraid of Muslims. We have got to start a conversation and get people to understand who American Muslims are + how we can help in the fight against international terrorism, specifically by helping identify and stop faslis — and we have to do it now.

American Muslims are tired of waking up every couple of weeks to find out that another Lonewolf went and did something horrific. We might not be able to get involved in the ground war abroad, but we can damn well get involved here to stop this fight from coming to our borders.

What I ask of you and anyone who is reading this is to share this as much as you can + do one simple thing: get to know your American Muslim neighbors. This third-grade finger-pointing and fear mongering is un-American. If we’re going to defeat these terrorists, we need to do it together. Reach out to any of the people have mentioned above on Twitter, come to us with ideas for a kickstarter, help fund @DaisyKhan’s work (her program is run the the WISE women’s charity in NYC) and maybe even pick up anything written by Muhammad Asad.

Real American Muslims don’t care who you are, if you’re American. We’re also just a few conversations away from getting to know you. And as an American, I stand beside my LGBTQI Brothers and sisters — because as Americans we have far more to learn from getting to know one another + far more to gain from defeating terrorism together.

It’s not gonna happen overnight, but we can start taking steps to ensure our security and prosperity. That’s the reason my father came here in the first place. God bless America and all her people.


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