Thursday, January 15, 2015

How to talk to your Muslim kids about Charlie Hebdo

I had promised myself I was not going to talk to my girls about the events in Paris at the Charlie Hebdo offices because I had thought it would have blown over by now.   

I had hoped that we could turn our national debate back on #BlackLivesMatter, especially when we have our own terrorist here trying to kill Americas. Coincidently on the same day a movie, Selma, about the times and struggles of Martin Luther King, Jr, was released.

But I was na├»ve, until I saw this tweet from Rupert Murdoch.

So, realizing that my fellow bloggers were schooling their kids about CH, and knowing that my daughters were not going to get their education from school*, I knew I had to act.

(*My 11 year old goes to a Middle School where Islam is not mentioned in her social studies textbook. I know, because I checked curriculum night.  When I asked why Islam, one of the largest and fastest growing religions, was not mentioned, her teacher had no answer.  When I asked why the only thing in the Judaic chapter was Israel, as if the religion and country were one and the same, again she had no answer. But I digress.)

So yesterday, while we prepared for Japanese teriyaki, we talked about French politics.

I wanted to share it with you, in case you'd like to use any points to help your Muslim children understand CH and terrorism.

How to talk to your Muslim kids about Charlie Hebdo

I started with asking what they knew and it was dismal.  So I explained that 2 men, who were clinically unstable, decided to go on a shooting rampage in Paris.  They shoot 12 people, not carrying about religion, race, gender or occupation. 

Of course the first question was why?  I explained that they were misguided young brothers that made poor decisions that cost other lives.  They had wrongly assumed that those who mocked the Prophet Mohammed (peace be upon him) should be killed.

If the gunmen were so intent on avenging our Prophet (pbuh), then why would they kill two Muslims? I asked the girls.

But because I knew they are growing up in a nation where Islam is not being educated, and our major source of news comes from Rupert Murdoch, unfortunately, I had to continue the conversation to explain why the shootings happened.

Having educated myself reading various world newspapers, I explained the history of CH

Then I told them that 6 out of 10 of their major events depicted a bigoted cartoon of a Muslim/Arab. 

I went on to explain that Muslims only make up 7.5 percent of the French population, which would mean that the only intent of these cartoons being disproportionate is to further the spread of Islamaphobia.

This lead into the history of France, including the colonization of Muslim countries Algeria, Tunisia, the past pleas of help from the French Imams and of course the French ban on hijab.  This one made them sad when they realized they would never be able to visit France with the Best Taita In The World. When asked if I had been to France, I said yes, and French was actually my elective in high school and I continue to watch French movies.

I ended with CH's views on free speech and how this was different than hate speech.

I stand for free speech, but not hate speech.

We sadly decided that it's a very difficult time to be a Muslim, especially one in France.

But in the long run, I reminded them, it really doesn't matter what CH prints, as Muslims are being tested all over the world, we need to be reminded of this hadith:

"One old woman made a habit of throwing rubbish on Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) whenever he passed from her house. 

Muhammad (pbuh) had to pass that house daily on the way to the mosque.

Even when the old woman threw rubbish on him, He would pass silently without showing any anger or annoyance.

This was a regular, daily event.

One day when the Prophet (pbuh) was passing by, the woman was not there to throw the rubbish.

He stopped, and asked the neighbor about her well-being, and wondering why she wasn't dropping any rubbish on Him.

The neighbor informed the Prophet (pbuh) that the woman was sick in bed.

The Prophet (pbuh) politely asked permission to visit the woman.

When allowed He entered the house, the woman thought that He had come there to take His revenge when she was unable to defend herself because of sickness.

But the Prophet (pbuh) assured her that He had come to her, not to take any revenge, but to see her and to look after her needs, as it was the command of Allah that if any one is sick, a Muslim should visit him and should help him if his help is needed.

The old woman was greatly moved by this kindness and love of the Prophet (pbuh).

By the example of greatness of Muhammad, she understood that He was truly the Prophet of God and Islam was the true religion.

She accepted Islam at once.


This is why Islam is the fastest growing religion.  Because once people see the real rules we live by, they finally understand why not all Muslims are terrorists, but all terrorists are Muslims.

We ended with a little prayer for the all the lost souls who were caught up in the crossfires of this senseless act. May all their families find peace.

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