“Nor can Goodness and Evil be equal. Repel (Evil) with what is better: then will he between whom and thee was hatred become as it were thy friend and intimate! And no one will be granted such goodness except those who exercise patience and self-restraint none but persons of the greatest good fortune. And if (at any time) an incitement to discord is made to thee by the Evil One seek refuge in Allah. He is the One Who hears and knows all things.”
Qur’an – Chapter 41; verses 34-36.
The cheapening of human life; of human value, is the goal of Satan, an open and avowed enemy of the human family. Satan is not some man in a red suit underground with a pitchfork, nor is Satan of one specific race, ethnicity or gender. Satan is a diabolic mentality found within individuals and groups who intentionally work against the noble human excellence that our Creator endowed and gifted every baby with while that child was still in their mother’s womb.
Indianapolis is lockstep in line with the growing murder rate and crime that continues to poison our society. Confused and frustrated, in our efforts to alleviate and stop this curse, too often we point accusing fingers at someone else while turning a blind eye to our own contributions to the problems. The fact of the matter is that we all are responsible, in some measure, for the violence in our American society.
Directly or indirectly – through omission or commission– we contribute consciously or unconsciously to the high violence rate whose growing numbers slap us in the face every morning that we watch the morning news, as we sip on our coffee or hurry to work, the news reporter says, “Five shot; three dead.” The next morning, “Three shot at a party held at an Airbnb – neighbors upset.” We quietly distance ourselves from these murder reports by saying, “those people” or “those kids,” or “that’s on the other side of town,” while ignoring the fact evil and violence knows no boundaries.
When state legislatures pass laws that make access to guns easier, something is seriously wrong in the Capital; however, it is also wrong to not hold accountable a music industry that makes millions of dollars from selling our children a culture of death; songs that brag about Ni–a’s, bitches, guns and violence. What a volatile cocktail for social disaster that cannot be resolved by throwing more taxpayer’s money into social programs that fail to recognize that we all are responsible, to one degree or another.
We need grass-roots social programs that are led by men and women who are not looking for limelight and personal achievement. Women and men who are committed to human excellence; not sniffing out where state and federal funding exist as if they love money more than they love their own people. We need people who “repel evil with what is good,” because they actually love their communities and the people who live there. Too often so-called “leaders” only show up when the money shows up; likewise, they disappear when the money disappears.
We are accountable and responsible for the violence in our communities when we allow fear of our own children to hinder us from teaching them. A lot of our children’s acts of violence actually are their cries for help; their cries of frustration of living in a city and society that has failed them and abandoned them, making them victims of demonic voices in all forms of media.
We all must stop pointing fingers at others and begin the difficult process of looking into the mirrors of our own souls and asking our individual selves, “Am I doing all in my power to repel evil with good? Am I teaching, by example and word, what it means to be a decent human being?” There are no shortcuts. The time is out for weak excuses. Let us accept that we all are responsible in some way for America’s violence. Until we accept our due portion or role in correcting this culture of violence; the culture of death, then we all will go further down into this curse and miss the blessings that come with a commitment to do what is pleasing to our Creator and pleasing to our humanity.
Michael “Mikal” Saahir is the resident imam of Nur-Allah Islamic Center. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or at 317-753-3754.