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Muslim Fraternity Confronts Negative Stereotypes

9 April 2013 General 32 Comments Email This Post Email This Post
Members of Alif Laam Meem, the founding chapter of the new Alpha Lambda Mu Fraternity, protest domestic violence at a rally in Texas. (Courtesy of Alif Laam Meem - Alpha Lambda Mu Fraternity)

Members of Alif Laam Meem, the founding chapter of the new Alpha Lambda Mu Fraternity, protest domestic violence at a rally in Texas. (Courtesy of Alif Laam Meem – Alpha Lambda Mu Fraternity)

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A Muslim fraternity at the University of Texas at Dallas recently took to the streets in protest of domestic violence against women.

Members of Alif Laam Meem, the founding chapter of the new Alpha Lambda Mu Fraternity, held signs that said “Muslims Say No to Domestic Violence” and “Muslims Say Yes to Women’s Rights” at the Men’s Rally Against Domestic Violence in Dallas on March 24 to protest the abuse of women and to put a positive face on a religion they say is often misunderstood.

“Muslims are always on defense,” fraternity president Ali Mahmoud said in a phone interview on Monday morning. “We usually get called in to explain ourselves and instead we decided to take the offense and tell people what Islam is instead of what it isn’t.”

A sophomore who was “born and raised in Dallas” on Spongebob and the occasional fast food meal just like a lot of other young Americans, Mahmoud thinks people often have the wrong idea when it comes to Islam and domestic violence.

“We wanted to clarify the misconception that any kind of domestic violence is allowed in our religion,” he said. “And it may seem apparent through the media that it’s allowed, but that’s majorly a cultural phenomenon and not an actual teaching of our religion.”

Broadly speaking, the effort has paid off.

The group posted a photo on their Facebook page that has been liked more than 1,000 times and shared more than 1,500 times. Pictures and word of the fraternity have traveled across Tumblr, Twitter, Upworthy and the Dallas Morning News.

Reactions on campus have also been generally positive, although it’s worth noting that the organization is not a typical fraternity.

The group doesn’t drink and they don’t believe in “adultery or fornication,” Mahmoud said, adding that the group wants to create a brotherhood focused on “constructing real men” in line with the teachings of Islam.

Most campuses, he said, have Muslim student organizations and he thinks those are valuable as young people navigate the “complicated” issue of Muslim life on a college campus. But he also thinks they’re “not very binding” and the fraternity “felt institutionalizing brotherhood was the best way to help develop a league of Muslim male leaders who stand up and serve the community.”

“Real men don’t hit women,” Mahmoud said, echoing the tagline from the Dallas rally. When it comes to both his fraternity and Islam, of that he is certain. But there are other parts of his fraternity and other aspects of his religion, like its stance against homosexuality, that have caused some controversy online.

A Tumblr called “Cornell Muslim Dissidents” claims to have had a Facebook conversation with the president of Alif Laam Meem and mentions an interview with Nouman Ali Khan. Khan is the founder and CEO of an Islamic educational institution and a Muslim speaker. According to the Tumblr, the president said during the conversation that the fraternity “would typically not allow someone who is openly and shamelessly gay to join the fraternity, as it is explicitly prohibited in the religion.”

Mahmoud said the person behind the Tumblr post pulled the remarks from a separate videotaped conversation he had had with Khan and distorted them.

“Everybody has their critics,” Mahmoud said of the Tumblr post, “and his claims are just outright false.”

Khan did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Original post: Muslim Fraternity Confronts Negative Stereotypes

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32 Comments »

  1. We need more men’s voice in this fight. Bravo!

  2. We need more men’s voice in this fight. Bravo!

  3. very good gentlemen

  4. very good gentlemen

  5. Most Muslims are peaceful! They are as any other ordinary human being ….. They have the conscious. If a Muslim is adherent to the teachings of the Prophet Mohammed and the Quran, he will be a merciless killer and intolerant. Mohammed was an evil man. He was a terrorist. He was a child molester and an adulterer. The Quran ordered a specific instruction for the followers to obliterate, mayhem and kill the “infidels”.

    Islam is a violent political ideology which wants control the world and govern by its set of codes. I’m glad majority Muslims go not know these facts written in the Quran. One example from the Quran (out of hundreds of violent and hateful verses)

    Quran (3:151) – “Soon shall We cast terror into the hearts of the Unbelievers, for that they joined companions with Allah, for which He had sent no authority”. This speaks directly of polytheists, yet it also includes Christians, since they believe in the Trinity (ie. what Muhammad incorrectly believed to be ‘joining companions to Allah’).

    Quran (2:191-193) – “And slay them wherever ye find them, and drive them out of the places whence they drove you out, for persecution [of Muslims] is worse than slaughter [of non-believers]… but if they desist, then lo! Allah is forgiving and merciful. And fight them until persecution is no more, and religion is for Allah.”

  6. Nice job!

  7. Nice job!

  8. respect :)

  9. respect :)

  10. Domestic violence is not just committed against women physically. It can be done emotionally or spiritually as well in regards to the potential women have on this planet to live their lives. Christian America started looking at women’s potential as early as the 1960’s, and many progressives have no stomach to relitigate this issue again after decades of fighting traditionalists on the subject. Frankly, if you don’t believe in the values that many in the United States have fought for for decades; then I’m sure there’s a nice hookah cafe back in the Middle East that will appreciate your patronage.

  11. Domestic violence is not just committed against women physically. It can be done emotionally or spiritually as well in regards to the potential women have on this planet to live their lives. Christian America started looking at women’s potential as early as the 1960’s, and many progressives have no stomach to relitigate this issue again after decades of fighting traditionalists on the subject. Frankly, if you don’t believe in the values that many in the United States have fought for for decades; then I’m sure there’s a nice hookah cafe back in the Middle East that will appreciate your patronage.

  12. Rob Salter, if you are implying Islam supports or allows domestic violence I suggest you inform yourself before making such ignorant statements. Women in the middle east had rights in the 7th century that we American women didn’t get til the 1960’s.

  13. Rob Salter, if you are implying Islam supports or allows domestic violence I suggest you inform yourself before making such ignorant statements. Women in the middle east had rights in the 7th century that we American women didn’t get til the 1960’s.

  14. I always appreciate men speaking out about domestic violence and women’s right. Great job!

  15. I always appreciate men speaking out about domestic violence and women’s right. Great job!

  16. Under Sharia, women can’t vote, right? Or drive a car, right?

  17. Under Sharia, women can’t vote, right? Or drive a car, right?

  18. Good on them :))

  19. Good on them :))

  20. wrong!

  21. wrong!

  22. Yeah, I see how this site works. Not wrong!

  23. Yeah, I see how this site works. Not wrong!

  24. Islam granted women the right to vote when Europe was in the dark ages.

  25. Islam granted women the right to vote when Europe was in the dark ages.

  26. Does your religion have something called taqiyya? The exact definition, is “lying to protect the religion of Islam”. Your religion preaches deceit.

  27. Does your religion have something called taqiyya? The exact definition, is “lying to protect the religion of Islam”. Your religion preaches deceit.

  28. And in the 21st, they have nothing.

  29. Where did you get your information Chris? Taqiyya is only practiced by one sect or denomination of Islam. Also, the concept is not to “protect Islam” it is to protect oneself from harm by denying the religion, that is to say shia muslims believe that it is acceptable to lie and say they are not muslims or not shia if they feel that they are in danger if someone finds out they are shia/muslim. With so many people who think they know Islam but only know the usual Islamophobic rhetoric, is it any wonder people live in fear? Be part of the solution; educate yourself from credible sources.

  30. You have every right to have it but that is just your erroneous [and quite arrogant] opinion.

  31. “taqiyya” is how islamophobes reply to Muslims after you correct their misconceptions. You can’t put sense into these people

  32. Not glad about the anti-gay stance, but these guys are from my school and I’m really proud to see that they’re taking action to break a few stereotypes that have been applied to their religion.

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