Many studies have been done to indicate what we already know by common-sense: human beings gravitate toward those they find commonality with. We may find commonality or differentiation based-upon:
- education and intellect
- culture, culture, culture
So, it’s natural that after Muslims arrived in the U.S. and other lands, they formed heavily concentrated communities. The obvious benefits this provides are the ease of :
- a sense of belonging
- similar thinking patterns
- common needs/goals
- building masajid
- building schools for children
- emotional support
Now, consider the Convert to Islam.
For Converts, our natural societies (those we grew-up with and understand) are no longer completely ours. Upon becoming Muslims, we are separated from our natural society by belief, worldview, objectives, meaning of life, priorities, concerns, values, habits, etc.
And we are not NATURAL members of the Muslim communities either. Muslims still gravitate, like all normal human beings, toward others who share their language and culture. So, Converts are strangers to the Pakistani community, the Palestinian community, the Moroccan community, the Syrian community, the Egyptian community, the Nigerian community, the Malaysian community, etc.
Here’s a pictorial depiction of this situation:
So, we converts are bereft of our natural society, and are OUTSIDE the communities of most Muslims. HUGE PROBLEM – human beings meet their needs THROUGH THEIR SOCIETY ! This is why so many converts are suffering various failings and harms in life. We do not have the social means to meet our human needs ! This is VERY DIFFERENT from our Prophet’s Community in Medina, and Muslims must take direct action today to institutionalize helping the Converts. Voluntary efforts DO NOT WORK !
I am one of the pioneers to enter Islam from the Caucasian-American society. I was the 4th Caucasian-American man to become a Muslim in the 5 states surrounding Oklahoma where I’m from. Meaning that in an area of 578,000 Square Miles, there were only 4 of us. My nearest Convert neighbor was Dr. Jeffrey Lang, 332 miles away.
I have been struggling 29 years, without a community, help, or support, only to find my life eventually destroyed in every aspect. IT’S NOT POSSIBLE FOR A HUMAN BEING TO BUILD A LIFE WHILE THEY ARE ENTIRELY ALONE. And by alone, I mean ALONE ! 24/7 ALONE ! Alone with any problem ! Alone without help getting married. Alone trying to find a meaningful position in the Muslim community. ALONE ALONE ALONE !!! Allah did not make human beings to endure life alone.
And over the last 4 years, I have STUDIED and observed hundreds of other Converts. The vast majority have serious problems, with nowhere to turn in the Muslim community. The Muslim community has, in 35 years, established absolutely NOTHING useful to meet the actual needs of Converts !
What are some of these unaddressed problems?
- Converts being forgotten 3 minutes after reciting their Shahadah
- Converts who cannot learn Islam in a coherent, meaningful, organized, relevant way
- Converts barraged by misleading teachings
- Converts left years or decades without marriage assistance
- Converts who ARE married, but are absolutely miserable
- Converts who are used for green-card marriages
- Converts who are beaten or verbally abused by their husbands
- Converts being scorned or unwelcome in the masajid
- Converts being harassed about their clothing or tattoos
- Converts who, after losing family and friends, are never attended to by anyone in the Muslim community.
- Converts spending the entirety of Ramadan fasting and making Iftaar alone
- The haram police making life miserable
- Converts who suffer from serious loss of self-identity, and other personality problems
- Converts who need financial assistance and cannot receive anything that would actually improve their situation
- Converts who develop excellent community programs, but cannot get financial support from the Community to make their program possible
- Converts who leave the community after giving-up
- Converts who are ignored, abandoned, and utterly forgotten by the community
- Converts living in small towns or remote locations who can’t get help to relocate
- Converts exiting prisons but are not helped to integrate into the community
- When converts have serious questions and need serious advice, EVEN THE IMAMS ARE UNABLE TO ANSWER PROPERLY
- Converts who feel culturally imposed-upon
- Converts who can only learn the upside-down priorities that are prevalent in the community
- Converts who learn from Muslims that crime is ok
- Converts who learn from Muslims that being a dunya-slave is ok
In summary, THE MUSLIM COMMUNITY HAS NEVER DONE ONE DAMN THING RIGHT FOR CONVERTS !!! And that includes the Imams.
This is NOT Islam. Our Prophet’s community was established entirely for the needs of people entering Islam ! In the Deen of Allah, a human being entering Islam is PRIORITY #1
In Islam, wherever there are widespread failures, it is OBLIGATORY to establish solutions. Typically, this means establishing community institutions to meet particular needs. This implies that, in order for Muslims to begin meeting their obligations to Converts, the Masajid and community members must FULLY FUND and establish institutional solutions to meet Convert needs. Such institutions must be directed by Converts because only converts will understand the situations of their Brothers and Sisters. Directors and Managers for these institutions must be experienced and educated according to the institutional demands. They must, obviously, be paid a salary as this requires full-time professional work to address problems properly, and to build experience over time.
This is the same as hiring an Imam for a masjid, a teacher, counselor, or principal for a school, a Youth Director, a Manager for a volunteer organization, a worker for the Diwan or Bait-ul-Maal. This isn’t rocket science. From the beginning, Islam has mandated that community institutions be administered professionally and PAID for their work.
Here is a scholarly article on the value of social-networks to the physical and mental health of the human beings Allah created
This article highlights several network characteristics which are often found to be related to physical and mental health status. Suggestions are made for how these network characteristics can be applied to the two program strategies. Principles of practice for the health educator, and some of the limitations of a social network approach are delineated. The article concludes with a recommendation for engaging in action research–a perspective highly consistent with both the strategies discussed and the concepts of social networks and social support. This approach not only recognizes, but also acts to strengthen indigenous skills and resources.
National Institute of Health : www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/3980242