Professor Faruq 'Abd al Haqq (Bob Crane) who worked in the USA state department during the days of Nixon and who studied Law at Harvard School of Law visited Al-Madina during last Ramadhan and we had a very inspiring evening at the house of a good friend. I did most of the translation that evening. It was a great chance to know Brother Abd-al Haqq closely. He wrote me this letter, which I think deserves to be published, hoping that brother Abd-al-Haqq does not mind this. Here is the letter.
Dear Brother Mazin,
Assalamu alaykum. Thank you for your e-mails of January 13 and 31. I am in the process of moving into a new office and also preparing for a trip to Europe, but I promise to visit your website, www.medincacenter.org , and give any
comments, in sha'a Allah.
That evening in Madina was enjoyable. I was surprised to hear that a
department on Western scholarship on Islam existed, even though you
indicated that it now is no longer really functional. This is a tragedy,
because the Muslims and non-Muslims must understand each other and the obstacles to dialogue before they can cooperate to address the threats to religion worldwide and to their respective faiths, and thereby to advance the cause of justice, which is central to Islam.
My Center for Policy Research is supporting a conference, entitled
"East-West Symposium: America, Islam, and the West in the New Millennium," together with the two lead organizations, the United Association for Studies and Research and John Esposito's Center for Muslim-Christian Understanding. The date, as I recall, is April 26-28th. We would like to sponsor you to participate in this conference. As soon as we have a printed program and details, I will mail you the invitation, together with some other materials. What is your postal address?
One of the items I will mail to you is the first issue of a new
magazine, The American Muslim, which is the confessed "mouthpiece" of the Ikhwan movement in America. I have helped with editing and written a piece for it on "The Future of Islam in America." Unfortunately, the Ikhwan, which encompasses all seven of the national Islamic organizations in America, used as a name for their new magazine the name used from 1992 to 1995 for another magazine that was designed to be a forum for the non-Ikhwan in America.
This American Muslim was the brainchild of Sr. Sheila Musaji, and at
the end had sixteen associate editors, each responsible for a different area
of interest. I was associate editor for political affairs. They included
all the leading Muslim scholars born in America. The objective was to bring together for dialogue all the different trends within the American umma. We held two North American Islamic Pow-Wows for this purpose (a "powwow" is the name given by the Native Americans to a gathering of the tribes).
Unfortunately, its very success, and the fact that it was so heavily
oriented toward American-born Muslims, caused the Ikhwan to boycott it, so it received no financial support (American Muslims are almost universally poor), and folded four years ago. My aim was to help Sister Sheila revive it, which I may do under another name, Tamkin, which means to "empower" truth and justice. I deliberately work with both the Ikhwan and the non-Ikhwan (including various Sufi orders), but this is a difficult task.
We will have a single umma in America only when the second-generation
Muslims take the national leadership positions and leave behind the cultural and political baggage that has burdened the Islamic movement in America.
My life-time goal is to help launch an American Islamist movement,
which would build on the insights of Hassan al Banna, but apply them
creatively in America. In my view, very few of the Ikhwan really understand the spiritual, psychological, and political framework of their alleged mentor. We have a good article on the educational system of Hassan al Banna in the next issue of our Middle East Affairs Journal, which may broaden the horizons of those who may have a superficial understanding of his leadership. This article was too long to put in the new American Muslim, whereas we specialize on scholarly articles of several thousand words.
Perhaps this summer, in sha'a Allah, the CPR will put out the first
issue of The Traditionalist Review, which will spell out the aims of the new Islamist movement in America.
Assalamu alaykum wa rahmat Allahi wa barakatuhu,
Faruq 'Abd al Haqq (Bob Crane)