The Athan is sounded from millions of minarets around the world to remind Muslims that only through a total submission, worship, and bond with Allah (swt) and His Messenger Muhammad (pbuh), can Muslims ever succeed in this life.
Yet, Islam, God’s most beautiful gift to humanity, is slowly withering away from Muslim minds, hearts, and souls. The Muslim world is slowly returning to Al-Jahiliyah, the Age of Ignorance where greed, immorality, selfishness, self-centeredness, rivalry, and disunity is overwhelming the very faith that removed such human frailty. In essence, Muslims are becoming westernized politically, economically, socially, and culturally, where religion is an afterthought or accepted as an obstacle and barrier to intellectual reasoning, scientific research, and progress. How ironic that the very West that has historically demonized, fought, massacred, invaded, and still occupies Muslim lands is the very culture Muslims emulate in contradiction to Qur’anic teaching. To be modern in the Muslim world today is to dress, speak, and adopt western languages and culture. Arab satellite channels show Qur’anic reading in the morning and the rest of the day show “video clips” of Muslims emulating Madonna, Michael Jackson, and rappers that’s more appealing to youth than any Athan or mosque. Islam is the only obstacle to total Western Hegemony but Muslims unconsciously are surrendering their faith to western powers eager to remove Islam from politics. Muslim history clearly shows that when Muslims followed the Quran and Sunnah they succeeded and when they abandoned them, they failed and became oppressed internally and externally.
“The messenger said: My Lord, my people have DESERTED this Quran." — (Holy Qur’an: 25:30)
The majority of Muslims are illiterate about our faith and history, illiterate about the modern world’s prime mode of communication and indoctrination–”the Media and Public Relations; illiterate that today “image is everything” and not our hapless crutch upon U.N. Resolutions and International laws, illiterate on campaign contributions, illiterate on spending their billions to buy western media outlets, illiterate that Muslim wealth spent on education and health and not on weapons will have a greater long term impact upon our spiritual, physical, economic health, while releasing us from bondage. Hence, some Muslims express their ignorance the only way they know—through violence, terrorism; and most devastatingly–our communal silence.
“Is it the law of the days of ignorance that they seek to uphold? Whose law is better than God’s for those who have attained certainty?” — (Qur’an 5:50)
From the Philippines to Europe and America, Muslims are discriminated against, marginalized and treated like second class citizens; but no greater affliction and injustice against Muslims is occurring than in Palestine where European Jews illegally and against all “civilized” human norms were given a land not their own at the expense of the murdered and ethnically cleansed Palestinians. For decades Israel’s brutality, murder, curfews, siege, and current starvation of Palestinians in Gaza has continued under the watchful, silent, and impotent eyes of over 1.3 Billion Muslims. The shedding of Muslim children’s blood does not even garner a whisper from Muslims; not even from the highly “educated, civilized” American Muslims. Muslim dictators oppress their own people, yet Muslim streets are devoid of any “protest” or “green revolutions”.
Hence, my excitement at the birth of Bridges TV. I was among the very first supporters of Bridges TV not only financially but in encouraging other Muslims to sponsor and support “our” first television station. AlhamduLIlah, Bridges TV has grown nationally with Allah’s (swt) guidance and blessing to be the television station for Islam and Muslims; the Station that will fulfill Allah’s (swt) command:
“Let there be a community of you who invite to what is good, advocate righteousness, and forbid evil. These are the winners.” — (Holy Qur’an: 3:104)
What an exciting prospect–”a voice for the voiceless Muslims–”a voice to teach Muslims about Islam and about the plight of Muslims everywhere, especially in Occupied Palestine, Iraq, Kashmir, Chechnya and much more.
Thus my ultimate shock to know that “our” Muslim channel, our only outlet for our anger, frustration, and potential activism to “enjoin what is good, and forbid what is evil”, our only channel to “enjoin truth”, our only channel that allows Muslims to fulfill their duty to “stand for justice” against all odds; has inexplicably and cowardly succumbed to Jewish pressure to cancel the only show that speaks to the pain, suffering, hunger, thirst, starvation, and cry for freedom of the Palestinians. The program called “Current Issues with Hesham Tillawi”, a Palestinian American, that began with enthusiasm in December 2005 but abruptly cancelled within five months in May 2006 due to what the Director of Programming, Sr. Aasiya Zubair, says were complaints from “Jewish cable operators” and the highly unbelievable statement: “from Muslim customers as well.” It seems the Bridges TV is more sensitive to Jewish criticism than to Muslim lives. She tells the program producer “it’s best to part ways.”
“Part Ways?” That’s a callous, cold, and inhumane answer to the many Palestinians killed, including many children, in just the past two weeks by American-Israeli weapons. Part ways from Palestinians, the second victims of the Holocaust and of Israeli oppression, of American money, bombs, and vetoes supportive of any Israeli atrocity? Part ways from the heartrending pictures of 10-year-old Huda Ghalia running in shock along a Gaza beach crying "father, father, father forgive me"; while seeing her entire family massacred? Part Ways with Mohammed al-Dura, the 12-year-old boy who died in his father’s arms by Israeli gunfire? It is us, it is Bridges TV, that must humbly ask for their forgiveness for our complicit silence in their suffering whose voice and death has been cancelled by a Muslim television station because of the very Jewish pressure that has silenced world voices against Israeli’s occupation of the Holy Land? Must Palestinian suffering be compounded by canceling this program? It is that very Jewish pressure that gave American Muslims the drive to support Bridges TV in the first place.
Now that Bridges TV has succumbed to Jewish intimidation, Muslims no longer have a reason to support such a weakly owned and administered channel. I for one will cancel my Dish Network subscription to this “Muslim” channel and call upon all Muslims to show some fortitude and courage to do the same. I call upon all Muslim donors from around the world to stop their contributions until this alleged “Muslim” channel returns Dr. Hesham Tellawi’s program. We all lobbied for Bridges TV to be carried by Cable networks in the hope that it would be an islamically driven station that stands for truth and justice. How disappointing. Now we must lobby the same channel to return the picture and voice for Palestinian children murdered and injured by the bombs our taxes support.
“SUCH of the believers as remain passive (physical or moral passivity) – other than the disabled – cannot be deemed equal to those who strive hard in God’s cause with their possessions and their lives.” — (Holy Qur’an: 4: 95)
We quote the Qur’an in conversations and writings; we share the blessed Hadith of our Prophet; yet our Muslim Teflon minds and souls ignore them as easily as we ignore toothpaste commercials. We are losing our Islamic compass and with our illiteracy, fear, intimidation and silence, are losing our children to a secular world devoid of faith and morality.
“Who are more evil than those who are reminded of their Lord’s Revelations, then disregard them, without realizing what they are doing.” — (Holy Qur’an: 18:57)
No one expects the Muslim world to suddenly find its faith; nor for Muslims to suddenly awaken to their lost lives; nor suddenly to find the courage to challenge oppression in our lands and in the West; but could we at least find it in our hearts to lobby our very own Channel, Bridges TV, to simply keep the SINGLE voice for the oppressed Palestinians in our nation among its programs? If we as “enlightened, educated, wealthy” American Muslims can’t even muster the courage for this, then let’s praise our own silence and not expect our brothers and sisters “there” to change their circumstances, let’s accept our unaccepted lives in the west, a west determined to obliterate Islam for which they’ll fail, not due to our own Jihad, but to Allah ‘s (swt) guardianship.
“Verily, God does not change men’s condition unless they change their inner selves.” — (Holy Qur’an: 13:11)
Bridges TV began with a promise and potential for Muslims to learn, teach, speak freely about their concerns and reach out to build “Bridges” in America; to tell the truth about Islam and about the counterproductive and negative policies of our nation toward the Muslim world.
Yet at the first hint of pressure Bridges TV crumbled faster than a Graham cracker, unlike the many American Jews and Christians who risk much to stand up for Palestinian justice.
Have profits replaced principle? I pray not.
“Say: Shall I tell you who the worst losers are?. They are the ones whose works in this life are totally astray, but they think that they are doing good." — (Holy Qur’an: 18:103-104)
It is high time to break our silence, to straighten our back from the load of oppression, to live in the light and dignity of our faith, to protest on behalf of justice and peace, to give voice to the many voiceless, to not stop until God’s religion, truth, and justice reign supreme, to struggle with our intellect, intelligence, capabilities and resources; to not stop until all the oppressed have found their freedom and liberation from evil. That is our duty that is our destiny.
Allah (swt), give me and the Muslim community here and abroad the strength to rise for Your sake. Please give the Muslim owners and subscribers of Bridges TV the courage to do what is right for Islam and Your oppressed people. Guide them to return the one program highlighting the oppression of your believers in the Holy Land, and liberate our Haram Al Sharif from occupation. AMEN
“If My servants ask thee concerning Me: I am indeed close [to them]. I respond to the prayer of every suppliant when he calls on Me.” — (Holy Quran, 2:186)