In the morning all of us take into account now as 9/11, Muhammad al-Ninowy had merely graduated medical college at the University of Illinois and was educated at Georgia Gwinnett College.
As a Muslim who’d embraced Islam since childhood, the images being flashed on the television show that morning shook him to his core and made him question his religion for the first time in his life.
“The faith I grew up in was not the faith that was being depicted on television at that moment,” al-Ninowy said recently. “To me, it was inconceivable that a religion based on love and unconditional compassion could be used as justification to commit violence.”
It wasn’t that he was naïve about human nature. He wasn’t.
Even at 30, he understood, as an illustration, that individuals are motivated to commit violence due to greed, envy, and ambition. What he couldn’t wrap his head or coronary heart spherical was committing such violence inside the id of God, the loving creator of all.
New York’s twin towers and the Pentagon have been burning down nonetheless as far as al-Ninowy was concerned, it might as successfully have been his residence of worship.
He knew he had to do one factor.
Instead of pursuing a career as an anesthesiologist, al-Ninowy set out on a journey to educate, touring far and intensive to unfold a message of affection and to change people’s notion of religion normally, and Islam significantly.
“I felt that was my calling,” he said.
Almost immediately after the 9/11 assaults, Muslims in America received right here beneath fire, blamed for a terrorist assault that they’d nothing to do with, accountable mainly by affiliation.
al-Ninowy knew increased. He knew that in order to sanitize self-serving emotions like greed and ambition, terrorists normally cloak them in nonsecular rhetoric to mobilize the heaps.
While there are some who think about religions have prolonged been the explanation for violence on this planet, it is his rivalry that Islam, like completely different religions, exists to give life and to improve the lives of people.
“That meant we needed to educate people,” al-Ninowy said.
Every day since that fateful morning in 2001, he has been holding workshops, seminars and intensive once more to fundamentals applications educating the inspiration of the Islamic religion, which is love and unconditional compassion.
In 2013, al-Ninowy primarily based the Madina Institute, a mosque and cultural center that houses a seminary and college, one among just some inside the nation that seeks to follow future Islamic leaders in an American setting with a theology of affection.
What started as a single entity in Duluth six years up to now has since grown right into a worldwide group of mosques and seminaries stretching from proper right here to Arkansas and Milwaukee to Capetown, South Africa, and the United Kingdom. Others are deliberate.
You might say it’s a movement to shift Muslims away from political Islam and further within the route of a religion-spiritual aspect that calls them to love and have compassion for his or her fellow human beings.
Still, not rather a lot has modified.
Hate crimes in opposition to American Muslims have soared to their highest ranges given that 9/11 assaults, in accordance with info compiled by researchers, an enhance apparently fueled by terrorist assaults inside the United States and abroad and by divisive language on the advertising and marketing marketing campaign path.
Law-enforcement officers have documented tons of assaults — along with arsons at mosques, assaults, shootings, and threats of violence — given that beginning of 2015.
While the most recent FBI hate crime statistics aren’t anticipated until November, the most recent info from researchers at California State University, San Bernardino, indicated that hate crimes in opposition to American Muslims have been up 78% over the course of 2015. Attacks on those perceived as Arab rose far more sharply.
To his credit score rating, al-Ninowy is undaunted.
To reward his work, he recently penned “The Book of Love” that addresses the identified secular elements of Islam and religions normally, whereas depoliticizing them.
The Book, which purchased its debut Sunday at The Carter Center and is the first in a group deliberate, shares the data of the normal prophets spanning three fundamental religions – from Adam and Abel to Abraham, Moses, Jesus and Muhammad — and personal reflections that he hopes will set off readers to view Islam in religious considerably than political phrases.
In the next few months, they will break the ground on a three-acre parcel all through the street to assemble the Center for Nonviolence and Peace Studies.
“This goes with our religious teachings that religion void of love and peace isn’t a religion at all,” al-Ninowy said
By altering the narrative, al-Ninowy said Muslim American kids may be a lot much less seemingly to fall prey to online extremists.
“I believe the misconception of Islam has to do with education,” he said. “What we’re trying to teach is love God, love people.”