Why Muslims dislike speaking up and what to do about it


“It’s easy to criticise…”

We’ve all heard the above quote before. And it’s absolutely true. But we need to understand the context it’s being said in. It’s referring to criticizing each other. It’s easy to be a critic, more difficult to be a person of action.

However, when it comes to criticizing the status quo, the powers that be, and a dominant framework, criticism in some cases should actually be honored.

It’s human psychology to dislike confrontation. It makes us uncomfortable. And that’s exactly what criticism, advising others, speaking out, engagement does — it can make us uncomfortable.  But sometimes it’s necessary.

Prior to the invasion of Iraq, the corporate media, military, and elite politicians didn’t want to listen to dissent. But had they actually listened to those voices so many problems and bloodshed may have been avoided.

I’m not asking for Muslims to protest, yell, and scream. Frankly, I don’t believe that kind of communication is effective and it’s counterproductive to the message we’re trying to achieve. What I’m calling for is an intellectual, professional, and principled type of communication. A lot of this requires critical thinking, especially about language, terminology, and definitions.

For example, imagine for a particular court case where an innocent person was murdered, we re-defined “murder.” And we said that “he didn’t really murder that person.” How would that affect the trial? How would that affect justice? The penalty?

And this has happened in our discourse. Somewhere in history, politicians and academics redefined murder when it came to airstrikes, drones, etc. And all of a sudden, a superpower was no longer held accountable for its actions against civilians. That is why it’s so important that just as we enter into a debate or discussion, we also need to understand the way people use certain terms and why they use them in such a way. Otherwise, two people with different intentions could be talking about two different things. And one party can be misled. While the dominant party has their agenda fulfilled. This happens in business and marketing all the time where a salesperson mis-uses and misapplies certain terminology. Today, the Muslim community understand radicalism in one fashion, and think tanks, government institutions, agencies understand it in another sense. And this isn’t good for anyone. Because it is very likely (as research shows) that government institutions and the corporate media have misunderstood radicalizations, prevention policies, etc.

That is why it becomes the duty of Muslim in Canada to engage the very narratives of today — for a better society and for a better world.

A good example of real engagement: