Since the 9/11 tragedy, Muslims have been in self-Quarantined and self-preservation. Living in America as a Muslim has been a tough ride, and a constant struggle, stumbling over the bumps of Islamophobia, racism, and war on terrorism craze. The horrific pandemic that has infected more than a million people around the world and killed more than 50,000 so far has dramatic ramifications not just on the financial structure of our economy, but, more importantly, on our culture and values. As professor Schultz of Hamline University explained on my show, said: Albert Camus’s The Plague and The Stranger. Together they capture the absurdity and tragedy of life in the age of Covid-19, one full not necessarily of one where people pull together but instead cast a wary eye toward others”.
Rebecca Solnit wrote in the Times. “Every disaster shakes to lose the old order. What replaced it is up to us”. 9/11 disaster brought us Homeland Security craze, and Islamophobia, every Muslim suddenly became a suspect, became the stranger du jour. However, as Sheikh Abd Al-Hadi, the Imam of the Islamic Society of Delaware, mentioned in Dr. Khan’s show, on Islamic Teachings for Facing Corona Pandemic, the Quranic verse, “… You may hate something, that may be good for you,” So, we may in an absurd way, see the light at the end of the tunnel. In the time of the COVID-19 pandemic, Americans finding out the real terrorist that threatens our civilization is a fragile virus with a life span of a few hours. Muslims finally off the hateful hook, and being a Muslim not as scary as it used to be, the call for prayers (Azan) sounding out in American and European cities. Trump, the Islamophobe, the champian of the Muslim ban, this week of all the people, is making the veil/hijab cool again. The panic Trump advised us, to compact the spread of the virus, we can cover our faces with scarves, (Veils) “It doesn’t have to be a mask. It can be a scarf,” Trump said. I think in a certain way, a scarf is better, and it’s better.” He explained! Hijabi Muslim women who have been the main target of Islamophobia and hate attacks may finally get a break here. Trump so desperate that he starts praying with Muslims at the white house; you thought Obama was the closet Muslim. Muslims may finally get their break, One of the main reasons why Trump was late responding to the corona pandemic. His sense of American cultural superiority attitude. “We can take this virus heads on,” any threat to Americans is always coming from the others, this time, Trump this blaming the Chines for the yellow virus. Americans now have shifted their hatred to Asian Americans; they became the others, the strangers, and the new threats. Muslims may finally have something to offer, something to help. It is ironic that hijabi Muslim women who had been the victim and got the brunt of hate crimes and attacks. Now, weaning a scarf, becoming a life saving, and being a Muslim may be cool again. There are so many different types of hijab that America can use them based on risk level tey face or perceive, and how much they want to cover their faces, bodies. From Head Scarves, Niqab, Chador, Burqa, Khimar, Shalwar Qamize, Bushiyya, Buknuk, Abaya, Dupatta, Jilbab, Tudung, or a Paranji; they will do the job! Muslims need to come out of their self-Quarantine and help in this time of crisis. There are lots of Islamic traditions that could help to deal with the pandemic. First cleansing, the CDC guideline for protection of the virus, making Muslim Wudu/ washing hands and faces cool again! Muslims do it five times a day. Wudu, which is an Islamic cleansing practice, a type of ritual purification, or ablution that involves washing the hands, mouth, nostrils, arms, head, and feet with water. That is why Muslims aren’t rushing to the supermarket, grabbing toilet papers, and other cleaning chemicals. For Muslims, water is the only cleaning solvent agent. America is a toilet paper culture, time to use the Shattaf/Bidet that Muslims have been using for years. The average American uses 100 rolls of toilet paper a year (20,000 sheets). It takes 384 trees in one man to utilize within a lifetime. Following the Islamic burial tradition, we can help eas out the jam in our funerals homes. According to Islamic tradition, the most honorable thing to do for a deceased is burying him/her immediately. Also, the Muslim fasting month of Ramadan, which is coming soon, Muslims can help with all the food shortages we have. Social distancing is encouraged; Muslims in Ramadan cut down on activities. One of the five pillars in Islam is giving Zakat/ charity to the poor and have sympathy for those who in need. So, When you walk in your neighborhood’s empty streets, see a hijabi Muslim women with her family, say Salam Allykom/ Peace upon You, after all, she may have a scarf or two to spare.
Ahmed Tharwat, host and producer of the local Arab American TV show “BelAhdan with Ahmed,” writes for local and international publications. He blogs at Notes From America: www.Ahmediatv.com. Follow him on Twitter: @ahmediaTV