(Part 4) Funny, you don’t look like a . . .

Muslim Girl Scouts

Muslim Girl Scouts

In this blog post, I continue the previous post (Parts 1, 2 and 3), which I started when I wondered what stereotype I fit that would cause someone to think that I would welcome anti-Muslim emails. That email stimulated me to do some research and give substantive answers to the questions that were asked. Investigating a topic gives me inspiration for writing,  as my research about lynchings in 1907 led to my novel Well Considered.

[Continuing:  the anti-Muslim email questions are on the left, and my responses are indented and italicized on the right.]

(Part 4) Muslim Hospital, Orchestra, Charity, Girl Scouts, etc.

 I want to shake the guy’s hand that wrote this . . .

Have you ever seen a Muslim hospital?

I know that the National Institutes of Health, a huge government hospital and research center in Washington, was headed by a Muslim—Elias A. Zerhouni, an Algerian-born American radiologist and medical researcher. He was appointed by George W. Bush in May 2002 as the 15th director of the NIH. He served for 6 years, stepping down in October, 2008. [http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Elias_Zerhouni ]

Elias Zerhouni, Director of National Institutes of Health, 2002-2008

Elias Zerhouni, Director of National Institutes of Health, 2002-2008

In addition, Ayub K. Ommaya, a neurosurgeon, invented Ommaya reservoir, a catheter system that can be used for the treatment of brain tumors. And Ahmed Zewail, won the  Nobel Prize Chemistry in 1999.

On a personal level, a Muslim doctor saved my mother’s life twice in a Maryland hospital.

Have you heard a Muslim orchestra?

Islamic music is vastly diverse multi-ethnic devotional and secular music coming from the Middle East, North Africa, the Horn of Africa, Central Asia, South Asia, and the medieval Iberian peninsula. Try these links:

Ahmet Ertegün

Ahmet Ertegün

Also, in the U.S., many Muslim musicians play jazz, popular music, and hip-hop.

Have you seen a Muslim band march in a parade?

I go to few parades, but I do know that you can’t tell a Muslim man (or student) from a non-Muslim man (or student) by looking at him. If you see a man wearing a turban, he is probably a Sikh (a religion that originated in India), not a Muslim.

Have you witnessed a Muslim charity?Iraqi Red Crescent Society

The International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC) The IFRC carries out relief operations to assist victims of disasters, and combines this with development work to strengthen the capacities of its member National Societies. The IFRC’s work focuses on promoting humanitarian values, disaster response, disaster preparedness, and health and community care. Red Crescent Societies operate in thirty-three Islamic states that recognize the Red Crescent symbol.

 Have you shaken hands with a Muslim Girl Scout?

I don’t shake hands with Girl Scouts—I’m much too old. But I did learn that Muslim Girl Scout troops are in their second year in Minneapolis, and they hope to have 100 members in all-Muslim troops next year. (http://news.minnesota.publicradio.org/features/2005/06/30_tonessb_girlscouts/)
There’s another one at Al-Huda School in College Park, Maryland. Also, Troop 48050 is in Deerborn, MI. (http://muslimgirlscout.com/), and there are three Muslim Girl Scout troops at the Islamic Center of San Diego. (http://www.massandiego.org/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=43&Itemid=99)

Have you seen a Muslim Candy Striper?

Luckily, we have not had to spend much time in hospitals, but now that we live in a truly diverse neighborhood, we finally have friends of other races, gender identities, and religions. We personally know a number of Muslims who serve our community in both hospitals and schools.

The answer is no, you have not. Just ask yourself  WHY ?

Is it because you live in an area that is not diverse like ours is? Is it because you don’t have opportunities to become friends with people who are different from yourself religiously, racially, or otherwise?

NEXT:  (Part 5)  9/11

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2 Responses to (Part 4) Funny, you don’t look like a . . .

  1. My friend Richard: You are much more tolerant than I. I could not abide your friend, whose ignorance about the world around him appears to be stupendous. When you add bigotry to the ignorance you find a very unattractive human being. Perhaps your patience, kindness, and understanding will prevail. But I would not count on it. It seems that your friend, rather than keeping his own open mind, would rather rely on the lies put forth by Fox News, whose clients, big corporations, rely on an ignorant and pliant populace to reap their ill-gotten gains.

  2. Mohamed says:

    Great postings Richard.
    Incidentally, the Prince George’s Muslim Association in Lanham,MD , has the second largest girl scout troop in Prince George’s County, just behind the Reid Temple on 193.


    As for Muslims in WWII, Noor Inayat Khan was a Muslim woman who worked with the British Intelligence against the Nazis.


    From the BBC’s Website:
    Khan was a wartime British secret agent of Indian descent who was the first female radio operator sent into Nazi-occupied France by the Special Operations Executive (SOE). She was arrested and eventually executed by the Gestapo.

    Noor Inayat Khan was born on New Year’s Day 1914 in Moscow to an Indian father and an American mother. She was a direct descendant of Tipu Sultan, the 18th century Muslim ruler of Mysore. Khan’s father was a musician and Sufi teacher. He moved his family first to London and then to Paris, where Khan was educated and later worked writing childrens’ stories. Khan escaped to England after the fall of France and in November 1940 she joined the WAAF (Women’s Auxiliary Air Force). In late 1942, she was recruited to join SOE as a radio operator. Although some of those who trained her were unsure about her suitability, in June 1943 she was flown to France to become the radio operator for the ‘Prosper’ resistance network in Paris, with the codename ‘Madeleine’. Many members of the network were arrested shortly afterwards but she chose to remain in France and spent the summer moving from place to place, trying to send messages back to London while avoiding capture.

    In October, Khan was betrayed by a Frenchwoman and arrested by the Gestapo. She had unwisely kept copies of all her secret signals and the Germans were able to use her radio to trick London into sending new agents – straight into the hands of the waiting Gestapo. Khan escaped from prison but was recaptured a few hours later. In November 1943, she was sent to Pforzheim prison in Germany where she was kept in chains and in solitary confinement. Despite repeated torture, she refused to reveal any information. In September 1944, Khan and three other female SOE agents were transferred to Dachau concentration camp where on 13 September they were shot.

    For her courage, Noor Khan was posthumously awarded the George Cross in 1949.

    Keep up the good work,

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