An American Imam Lights a Candle of Hope

Where our politicians fail us, our shared values lift us all up.Where our politicians fail us, our shared values lift us all up. (Image: Jared Rodriguez / Truthout)

“Better to light a candle,” reads the old proverb, “than curse the darkness.” Easy enough to say, but far more difficult to do in these grim and trying times. Whole swaths of the American public — Muslims, African Americans, Latinxs, LGBTQ people, women, immigrants, Indigenous people — have been targeted by the wrath of the new Know Nothings in the White House. Every day brings a new travesty, and candles are in short supply.

Imam Ibrahim Rahim and his fellow Muslims at Yusuf Mosque in Brighton, Massachusetts, were profoundly affected by the aftermath of the Boston Marathon bombings, and it was in this crucible that I came to know him. With a steady hand and an unwavering voice, he preached peace and understanding in an atmosphere clouded by fear and anger, serving as a beacon to guide the community back to the light.

Once again, Imam Rahim is tasked to cherish that light for us all. In our shared darkness, this man holds a candle.

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Imam, I cannot begin to fathom the emotional and mental journey you have been required to undertake since November’s presidential election. My first question, therefore, must be straightforward: How are you doing? How are you feeling? How is your family?

Imam Ibrahim Rahim: I want to thank you for the bond of friendship that binds us and I offer my prayers to (God) for you and your family and for an unsure nation. These days, much of my time is spent in work and reflection. Much of what I have seen from the executive branch has concerned me, but the most unexpected blessing of all has been the outpouring of support by Americans from all walks of life for the American Muslim community and for our fellow brother and sister immigrants to the nation. And the icing on the cake has to be the international support seen and felt upon every continent of the globe by millions of onlookers who encourage us to rise up and speak truth to power.

I have the…

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