What role of American Muslims can play in promoting the cause of human rights all over the world? (Scholarship Essay I chose to answer)

As an American Muslim, I believe that we have the responsibility to promote the cause of human rights all over the world.  As a Muslim, we are asked from God to follow Prophet Mohammad PBH as he is the last Messenger. Prophet Mohammad PBH promoted human rights throughout his life. In my opinion, as a true believer in Allah swt, we should try our best to promote peace because one of Allah’s 99 Names is The Peace “Al-Salam.” There are ways which an American Muslim can promote humanity and human rights, and these ways are through media, education system, and support causes and organizations that are pro-humanity. Media is used widely and can speak to many people, education system is important because we need to teach everyone on human rights from Islamic perspective, and supporting projects that are pro-humanity is a positive way to get engaged in working toward human rights.

Media is one of the ways that human rights can be promoted because media is used widely whether it is youth or adults. In my opinion, media can be used positively to promote human rights and represent American Muslims. Every time I turn on the T.V or radio, I always hear news from American non-Muslim perspective. I barely see any American Muslim standing up for truth or representing human rights. However, I would like to mention an example of a person that I got to know more during my summer internship. Noor Tagouri is an American Muslim journalist who works for a local T.V station. In my opinion, people like her and me who are the future generation should not be afraid to be behind T.V screens or any media stream to promote human rights. On the other hand, I believe social media is another tool. Many people these days use Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Linkedin and much more. I believe these are few examples which can be used to share and promote peace and humanity. For example, on Facebook, there are groups, support pages, and much more that are promoting Islam and humanity in creative ways.

Furthermore, educating society on human rights from Islamic perspective is an important aspect. I believe, and in my strong opinion, that education system is a good tool to be used to promote human rights. I used to be an assistant teacher at my local masjid for its Sunday school program. I assisted the teacher for first grade. Watching kids grow up and be fed with so much information from both public schools and Sunday school, it is crucial to teach them the true meaning of humanity and human rights. Education system is not limited to elementary students, but to all students including university level. It doesn’t have to be just a course in school that specifically teaches on human rights. It can be through one large seminar, activity or event.  American Muslims have the duty to show society and the world that Islam is a peaceful religion that has promoted humanity and human rights more than 1400 years ago. In my opinion, especially that I received my middle school, high school, and now university education in the U.S, I feel the urge and importance of focusing on our history classes. I feel that every time I studied history, I never found much information on the Islamic empires and their success. If we truly study the medieval history of Europe, we will find a time frame of peace and harmony among all religions: Christianity, Judaism and Islam. This time frame was in Spain under a Muslim rule. Therefore, there is more than one reason to focus on education system.

Supporting projects that are pro human rights and humanity is important for American Muslims. For instance, this summer 2014, my friend started her own project called “Hijabis 4 Humanity.” With this project, she aims to raise awareness on humanity and promote Islam in a peaceful manner. Also, this summer I was an intern for a nonprofit organization called: Helping Hand for Relief and Development (HHRD). This summer I assisted my friend in selling her hijabs that she made from scratch and promoted her project. As we were selling at our local masjid, we got lots of support from community members and many sisters bought hijabs and ordered for more. On the other hand, I was wearing “Peace for Gaza” t-shirt made from Helping Hand. Furthermore, another friend was leader of a Virginia chapter of non-profit organization called Project Sakinah. This project started in 2009 with the intention to help families who struggle from domestic violence. In order to have a healthy society that supports human rights, we need to look at our own homes and see if there is any peace in it. Another non-profit organization that fights for human rights is CAIR (Council on American-Islamic Relations). From CAIR’s website, they stated that their mission is “to enhance understanding of Islam, encourage dialogue, protect civil liberties, empower American Muslims, and build coalitions that promote justice and mutual understanding.”  In my opinion, projects and organizations like these are important for us to promote and support.

Last but not least, as a Muslim and as an American, we have full pledge duty to promote human rights as servants of Allah swt and as followers of Prophet Mohammad PBH. There are many ways to promote peace and humanity in our lives, and these ways are through media, education system, and support projects that are pro human rights. Together as an ummah and as citizens of this country, we can unite and be role models to non-Muslims on how beautiful Islam is, and how our religion has been promoting human rights more than 1400 years ago.