‘Tis the season to be elected. Far from emulating a jolly mood, though, the 2016 presidential election has hijacked America. And Muslims have become a popular, if not the sound bite, of the media.
And I have to hand it to Mr. Khidr and Mrs. Ghazala Khan. Swooping in and making magic. With just a few words. Striking a chord that resonated beyond the DNC (Democratic National Convention) and piercing the D-man’s pride. Donald Trump that is. And as usual his rhetoric was blistery, amusing, and that of a 4-year-old. But with his record, I think we’ve all lost count.
Sadly, Trump’s comments still manage to sting the Muslim population. Or more like bait us? And we just get reeled right in. Yes, he belittled the mother of a veteran, for which he got the boot he deserved. But are we really going to waste our time defending our (Muslim women’s) right to speak up? If you’re still catching up, what I’m referring to is Trump’s comment on Mrs. Ghazala Khan’s unspoken words at the DNC from which a surge of CanYouHearUsNow hashtags rattled the online world.
I feel it. The audacity of that man. But listen, let’s look at it from the perspective of an attention-hoarder like Trump. We’re all answering his call when we directly respond to his ludicrous remarks. And unlike Uncle Khidr’s speech, we as Muslims or Muslim women look like we’re on the defensive. Its not to say we shouldn’t call him out. Its about having the right plays, storing ’em in our back-pocket, before we enter the field with the Republican candidate.
What I’ve learned over time is…
a. Avoid responding directly to provocation. It’s always smarter to make their words seem so much lesser by flying above them altogether.
b. Ask the questions rather than answering them. He asks demeaningly, “I don’t know if she was allowed to speak”. You dismiss and ask, “Is that the kind of mouth you’re planning on taking to the white house to represent my children?” or “How can you expect a presidential seat when you didn’t even know that Russia was already in Ukraine? Or are you just going to go to Alaska to get a thumbs up from our Russian neighbors?”
c. Leave your heart on the bench. Speak with your mind, not with your sore heart. Because believe me, these people have had decades of practice and whatever attack they plan on unleashing, its ingrained in them so well, that brain and ego have long been diluted into one cocktail of slanderous mastery.
d. Timing is everything. If you really want to talk about Muslim women’s rights and accomplishments, you shoulda done it during or right after the speech. “Mrs. K was so brave to have come up on stage despite having lost her son so tragically” Think a million steps ahead and respond twenty steps ahead of time.
e. Words can kill. Or ‘kill it’. What you say can really hurt a person, hinder a great opportunity or squash an issue altogether. We as Muslims really need to learn the art of word-o-graphy (yah I just made that up and adding it to my lingo-ary).
All in all, the media, as one awesome scholar recently said, is the new weapon that is aimed at ideology. But remember Islam can’t be neatly pressed into a box and catalogued as an ideology or even a religion.
It is a complete form of life. A pure path that was created by God, to God, and for the remembrance of God. It’s the play that will win us the most treasured trophy of all times. So use it a source of strength and wisdom no matter who your opponent.