The annual convention of the Council of Highly American-Real Muslims (CHARM) is a sight to behold. A huge American flag announces the event at the convention center, and the red and blue theme pervades everywhere.
The convention theme is “How to Be Loyal Americans and Interfaith Leaders.”
The proceedings began with the reading of the message sent by the public relations intern of the assistant deputy undersecretary of the Department of Homeland Affairs calling upon Muslims to fully integrate in America, and to identify from among them whom they feel are not dedicated Americans, which it was stressed could lead to terrorist thought. The reading was applauded with a standing ovation. The military band had already rendered the national anthem.
The CHARM president Dr. Tan Esuohg – a name obtained by playing in reverse with his Muslim name – spent the next few minutes thanking the public relations intern of the assistant deputy undersecretary of the Department of Homeland Affairs for his message.
After a day of speeches focusing on creating a patriotic American persona, the pre-dinner session headed by Shaykh Anab al-Anab, chairman of Council of Wise Scholars, and Dr. Tafaha al-Tafaha, secretary general of the Institute of Thoughtful American Muslims, sought to answer any questions related to religious practices.
Masoom Nazukk, a journalist who focused on obtaining the interpretations of Islamic practices, was the first to rise.
“Shaykh Anab and Dr. Tafaha, we know that when circumstances and facts on the ground change, rules/laws … the fatawa need to be revisited.
“Dear Respected scholars, consider the case of the “zabiha” Ahle-Kitab … People of the Book – a fatwa that was issued more than 50 or 60 years ago by someone sitting somewhere in Egypt.
“In the present era employment laws, anyone can get a job anywhere, including in a slaughterhouse/meat processing company, who necessarily does not have to be a Jew or a Christian. So how are we sure that the slaughter was done by an Ahle-Kitab, a Jew or a Christian, and not say a Sikh, or some other non-Abrahamic faith person? We see today many meat-processing plants are employing refugees, and some of whom may be from non-Abrahamic backgrounds, like the Vietnamese.
“Also, in the present corporate environment, any person or corporation can buy any business. For example, in recent times, the Chinese have acquired full-ownership of some American food processing companies. Certainly the Chinese are not Ahle-Kitab; perhaps may be Buddhist. Also, even the grocery businesses are being owned by non-Ahle-Kitab. Even if create a “zabiha Ahle-Kitab” assumption about a worker, but the producer/supplier will not be so, and may employ any method of slaughter that they find more profitable to them.
“Therefore, don’t you think that it is time to revisit that old Egyptian fatwa, and then enact the rule to specify zabiha bil-yud al Muslim – slaughtered by hand by a Muslim.”
“As you see the issue of “zabiha Ahle-Kitab” is a settled and closed issue. The fact is that the slaughterer is an American, the food distributors and sellers are in America, there can be no objection. We are Americans!” declared Dr. Tafaha.
Nazzuk was obliged to question again, “Even the Ahle-Kitab assumption you are upholding has its limitations. Perhaps, you will at least agree with me that there is no available Bible … the one that was given to Prophet Jesus (‘alayhi as salam). What we have is a King James Version, and its so many revised versions. And of course the Catholics have their own version of the Bible. The Mormons have their own, ‘The Book of Mormon’. So belief in which of these books qualifies a person as “Ahle-Kitab”?
“My dear, brother Nazzuk, we have to keep in sight that we are Americans! The Bible is as American as any American, just see the American Standard Version of the Bible was originally completed and published in 1901, and its revised version was published in 1929. That is about 90 years ago. Even this revised American version has a history of some 90 years. It is the Book of millions of Americans, and we are also Americans. You mentioned ‘The Book of Mormon’. Isn’t it 100% American too?
“Dear Nazzuk, if you want so, we can revise the scope of who is the Ahle-Kitab. As Americans, our job is resorting Islam, the American Islam – item by item.
“You are thinking that some other faiths may be slaughtering the animals. But I find, even the Sikh have a book called ‘Guru Garanth Sahib’ … thus they are also Ahle-Kitab. The Hindus have ‘Gita Bahavad’ and so on … As Americans our only concern should be that the meat is from American animals.
“What does your dollar bill say, my dear Nazzuk … ‘In God We Trust’ … so! There goes your argument or your concern,” Shaykh Anab al-Anab, chairman of Council of Wise Scholars decreed.