Protecting a Civilization

AMMAN, LIKE LONDON, MADRID, NEW YORK, Washington, Bali and countless others before it, is now a member of the list of cities that have experienced a day now immortalized by a deadly bombing. Islamica Magazine has made an effort to present clear and unqualified condemna- tions of these atrocities, and we will continue to do so. When Muslims reject violence in the name of the religion, we often present Islamic civilization’s historical record as evidence of the religion’s inherent capacity for peace, tolerance and justice. Most Muslims honor this history not because we seek to recreate an exact replica of its reality, but because it represents an enligh- tened realization of the spiritual principles upon which we draw daily sustenance in these trying times. Yet, as much as we profess to honor our past, it is our past that lies in ruins across much of the Muslim world. From Cairo to Baghdad to Mecca and Medina, many of the most important historical sites of Islamic civilization, that in many ways represent our collective tradition of tolerance, peace and pursuit of that which is beautiful, lie either in ruins or at the brink of collapse. The reality is not just symbolic, it is very real. The fact that Muslims from around the world would be up in arms if a stone from the Dome of the Rock was misplaced, but hardly raise a concern when the house of our beloved Prophet is near to being razed to the ground, demonstrates an overriding political orientation of our priorities that betrays the principles of our heritage. If the Muslim world today has failed to establish Islam upon the enlightened principles for which it stands, then the least we can do is make an effort to protect the historical record of those who successfully did so before us. In this issue our dossier on the historic sites of the Muslim world attempts to bring attention to this important and often ignored issue.

We shift to the aftermath of Katrina and the gaping holes it revealed relating to the marginalization of minority communities in America. We include a number of articles that address this issue including an important and critically probing piece by Intisar Rabb that challenges the Muslim community in America to effectively respond to these events and actualize what it means to work for social justice. We also try to make sense of the tragic number of natural disasters that consumed the world in 2005 with sobering thoughts from the noted columnist Mahjabeen Islam.

Focusing on Europe, with population growth slowing to a crawl in many European countries, the need for immigrant workers shows no sign of subsiding. The realities of Europe’s demographic conundrum are brought most recently to bear by the riots that took place in France in November 2005. The respected scholar Tariq Ramadan addresses this important issue in his article, “Social Fracture: The French Mirror of Britain.” But the immigrant story is a viscerally human one, comprised of hopes, dreams, and all too often, tragedy and heartache. Behzad Yaghmaian, the author of Embracing the Infidel: The Stories of Muslim Migrants on the Journey West, provides us with a glimpse into the life of an Afghan refugee struggling to pursue that which all of us seek: a better life. And finally, Islamica Magazine pays its respects to two entirely different, but important figures in Rosa Parks and King Fahd.

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    A piece previously published in the print issue of Islamica Magazine between 2003-2009. The following has been an effort to digitize and archive as a free service. Author citations can be found at as we continue to work on improving the digital archives here.

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