The second in a series of articles by the Washington Post on Muslims in America five years after 9/11.
The title of the article “For Conservative Muslims, Goal of Isolation a Challenge” is misleading. The Dar us Salaam community in College Park, Maryland is highlighted as a salafi community and “one of the most conservative in the Washington area”.
I have been involved with the Dar us Salaam community for around three years. I attend many religious and social functions in the community. Since community leaders declined to speak to reporters from the Washington Post, I feel a need to correct some of the errors and misperceptions published in the article.
Number 1: The goal of Dar us Salaam is to build a strong Muslim community based on the tenets of the Quran and Sunnah where Muslims can find the support and services they need to live, maintain, and nurture their Islamic faith to the fullest extent in a nonMuslim society.
One is able to buy halal food, purchase clothing tailored to Muslim religious guidelines, pay for the Eid al Adha sacrifice to be performed on their behalf, there is a preschool and K-8 school for children, there are institutes and classes for New Muslims on the basics of Islamic faith, learning Quran, Arabic, and English, and a full-time hifz school for the memorization of the Quran.
Number 2: The “Sisters Only” sign in the parking lot does not denote strict gender segregation although the prayer areas, restrooms, and classrooms are separated along gender lines. In the parking lot, a special section close to the building is designated for sisters yet brothers do also park there. And the rest of the parking areas are mixed gender.
Number 3: Since the Imam of Dar us Salaam Safi Khan declined to be interviewed the reporters relied exclusively on his recorded lectures. Published in the paper were a few sentences taken out of context of much longer lectures.
NonMuslims are “disbelievers” in Islam which while it may not be politically correct should not be a view soley ascribed to Safi Khan. Imam Johari AbdulMalik another prominent Muslim leader in the DC area uses the term “poofis” (which I also favor) to describe “people of other faiths”.
Imam Safi’s Eid khutbah this year focused onour responsibilty as Muslims to be the best of neighbors to both Muslims and nonMuslims. His message is one of tolerance and building bridges while not comprimising on Islamic values.
Ms. Murphy discussed her article online on Thursday. I wish I had known about it because I would have tried to participate. You may need to register in order to view the conversation.