Islamic Tolerance Alert. “Darfuri refugees say they face apathy, silence from most of their fellow Muslims,” by Robert King for the Indianapolis Star:
FORT WAYNE, Ind. — They are devoted to Islam but increasingly skeptical of Muslims.
This is the strange paradox Darfuri refugees in Fort Wayne are facing: A fundamentalist government in Sudan turned on them, and the Muslim world has largely stood by silently.
Both internationally, and apparently also in the U.S.:
Here in Indiana, the Darfurians say, mosques and Muslim groups have offered little help. Abu Baker Suliman-Mahaht, 37, a recent Darfuri immigrant, says that when he needed money to pay for his wife’s doctor visits, a mosque turned him down. A local church
gave him the money.
Another Darfurian, Suliman A. Giddo, said groups such as the Islamic Society of North America, based in Plainfield, could have made a difference early in the conflict by calling on the Sudanese government to stop the killing. Instead, a delegation ISNA sent to Darfur in 2004 came back saying there was no sign of genocide.
The greatest irony for many Darfuri immigrants is who has helped: Jews and Christians.
Giddo, 44, said the Sudanese schools he attended taught that Jews and Christians were the enemies.
“I was excited to find out that the thing that everybody has in his mind is completely wrong. We found that we are respected here,” said Giddo, co-founder and president of Darfur Peace & Development in Fort Wayne.
The Darfurians say Muslim apathy is due to racism and that Arab Muslims see black African Muslims as inferior. They also say Muslim governments don’t want to accuse another Islamic government of mass murder.
Remember that the next time you hear a da’wah pitch that casts Islam as being above and immune to the historical patterns of racism with which Europe and America (and just about everywhere but Antarctica) have struggled.
Local Muslim leaders agree that the Islamic world has done little to end the crisis in Darfur. But they say the situation is not about racism. They say the problem is systemic.
More convenient vaguery. (Are there “terrorists” in your “systemic” problem?)
“Now that we have built our mosques and our schools, we really need to build a social services infrastructure so that we can reach out to people that are poor and needy within our community,” said Shariq Siddiqui, executive director of the Muslim Alliance of Indiana.
ISNA joined the Save Darfur Coalition in December 2005, a year and a half after it formed. And Muneer Fareed, ISNA’s secretary general, calls the situation there a tragedy.
But Giddo and other Darfurians in Fort Wayne don’t understand what took so long. “If from day one all the Muslim communities, especially here in the United States, had stood
up and said, ‘We are Muslims, and we don’t want your Muslim country to kill your own Muslims,’ that may have made a lot of difference,” Giddo said.
“Instead, we the people of Darfur paid that price.”