cialis naturale forum viagra contrassegno cialis da banco cialis originale vendita acquisto cialis originale levitra portugal female viagra cialis online vendita ordina viagra acquistare viagra in farmacia generic tadalafil levitra bestellen kamagra opinioni cialis preise apotheke viagra prijs cialis 5 mg prezzo cialis naturale funziona cialis verkoop viagra naturale forum cialis generico online compresse cialis cialis generique 10mg generieke viagra viagra ersatz hausmittel achat kamagra oral jelly viagra erbe viagra acquisto online levitra contrassegno tadalafil 20mg prezzi viagra offerte viagra cialis recensioni impotenza sessuale levitra apotheek vendita viagra senza ricetta levitra generico in farmacia cialis te koop vendita viagra in svizzera viagra pour femme faire viagra halbe tablette levitra apotheke vendita cialis generico in italia prix cialis 10 prescrizione cialis erectiepillen acheter kamagra cialis professional cialis generico opinioni viagra senza ricetta levitra opinioni cialis vendita in farmacia viagra su internet cialis berlin generische viagra cialis farmacia viagra simili viagra im internet kaufen kamagra livraison rapide prix cialis france viagra im internet bestellen strafbar viagra kaufen in berlin comprar cialis em portugal viagra svizzera cialis vendita viagra da banco durata levitra vardenafil prezzo cialis comprare online acquisto viagra comprare cialis a san marino viagra ricetta medica viagra cialis generico cialis 5mg prix viagra pasti acquisto cialis forum generique cialis generique cialis 5mg pilule viagra pour femme viagra ricetta cialis 5 mg kamagra generique acquisto cialis svizzera viagra donna medicament cialis 5mg cialis generika günstig cialis 5 mg generico viagra torino cialis serve la ricetta vendita viagra on line cialis soft generico dosi viagra cialis originale online kamagra te koop acquisto tadalafil prezzo levitra 10 mg vardenafil bestellen cialis ricetta medica kamagra acheter cialis 5 prix levitra verkauf prix cialis 5 cialis modalità d'uso levitra acquistare achat viagra suisse tadalafil effetti collaterali levitra compresse kamagra en france sildenafil 100 mg levitra generico forum viagra vendo acquistare cialis viagra compra prezzo viagra generico levitra günstig impuissance sexuelle viagra luxembourg cialis cialis differenze levitra in deutschland levitra vendita vendita viagra viagra medicinale viagra super force alternative viagra acquisto viagra san marino viagra per donne viagra costo in farmacia cialis zonder recept viagra verkoop viagra pour les femmes levitra preisvergleich levitra 10 mg costo cialis 20 mg prezzo in farmacia levitra 20mg filmtabletten levitra ci vuole ricetta viagra compresse levitra serve ricetta cialis costo farmacia cialis per donne viagra o simili cialis offerte vendita libera viagra cialis günstig bestellen acquistare cialis in farmacia cialis naturale alle erbe viagra femme viagra controindicazioni viagra vendita on line cialis 20 mg effetti cialis ricetta cialis generique canada generische cialis costo viagra farmacia viagra generico online prezzo viagra in farmacia viagra des femmes levitra donne viagra zonder recept viagra prezzi comprare viagra online compra viagra cialis nachnahme viagra ou similar cialis sans ordonnance viagra compro cialis kostenlos tadalafil generico confezioni cialis compra viagra generico levitra dosaggi differenze levitra cialis prezzo farmacia cialis tadalafil costo kamagra en pharmacie levitra sur le net posologia viagra viagra generico in contrassegno viagra senza prescrizione ordina levitra cialis prezzo al pubblico tadalafil generico farmacia farmacie viagra cialis femminile cialis medicinale cialis in farmacia senza ricetta cialis mezza pastiglia viagra alternativa prix cialis generique acquistare viagra a san marino viagra naturale senza ricetta erectie probleem levitra verkoop preisvergleich levitra 20 mg cialis generico acquisto acquisto viagra farmacia cialis schweiz vendo cialis napoli curare impotenza compra cialis in italia viagra generico in farmacia cialis prix levitra nederland compra viagra in italia viagra generico opinioni cialis 20 mg effetti collaterali viagra ricetta ripetibile levitra per nachnahme cialis versandapotheke acquistare viagra in svizzera cialis italia levitra medicinale cialis principio attivo comprare viagra a roma opinioni cialis online apotheke levitra comprare viagra in internet cialis im ausland kaufen levitra prezzi viagra pharmacie prix cialis preço alternativa viagra naturale cialis o simili cialis generico sicuro costo levitra kamagra bijsluiter cialis preise schweiz acquista cialis generico cialis in contrassegno cialis pagamento paypal viagra site fiable levitra billig vardenafil preis cialis compresse 20 mg cialis generico vendita sostituto viagra sildenafil effetti collaterali cialis 5 mg quanto costa viagra senza ricetta svizzera cialis aus indien costo cialis generico tadalafil fur frauen cialis prezzo migliore acheter viagra suisse viagra online sicuro acheter du viagra viagra italia viagra euro acquistare viagra su internet acheter du kamagra kamagra bijwerkingen viagra tabletten cialis generico 10 mg farmaco levitra impotentie differenza cialis viagra vendita cialis cialis sito sicuro levitra acquista levitra generico italia acquisto viagra on line tadalafil 10mg vendo levitra cialis eds apotheke cialis 20 prezzo comprare viagra in farmacia viagra originale on line farmaco viagra comprare cialis in italia levitra da 20 cialis deutschland acquista cialis levitra vardenafil generika viagra acquisto farmacia cialis farmaco generico levitra kosten prescrizione viagra cialis milano viagra generico contrassegno cialis caratteristiche viagra generico in italia levitra kopen kamagra a vendre viagra sublinguale viagra costo viagra filmtabletten cialis efeitos secundarios acquisto levitra cialis in deutschland cialise medicament cialis generico contrassegno viagra sur paris viagra al femminile cialis su internet viagra naturale per donne erectieplein cialis 10mg preis comprare levitra viagra effetti donne achat viagra en suisse viagra chez la femme generico viagra erectiestoornis levitra prezzo in farmacia cialis farmacia svizzera achat cialis sans ordonnance cialis 20 mg compra effet viagra sur femme vendo viagra milano costo tadalafil cialis a roma cialis da 5 mg kamagra paris viagra femminile naturale cialis generique danger forum cialis generique acquisto cialis 5 mg levitra donna viagra in tschechien kaufen levitra prezzo cialis costo cialis miglior prezzo levitra cialis differenze levitra filmtabletten 20mg viagra meccanismo d'azione levitra originale vendita cialis in contrassegno alternative cialis kamagra funziona acquisto viagra generico viagra naturale in erboristeria cialis viagra levitra differenze viagra vrouwen acquisto viagra originale sildenafil prezzo viagra 100 mg prezzo ersatz viagra levitra schweiz cialis torrino levitra quanto costa acquisto cialis italia viagra pagamento alla consegna viagra naturale alle erbe cialis prescrizione medica femme viagra prezzo viagra originale cialis sur ordonnance cialis a basso costo sildenafil costo cialis prezzi farmacia pasticche cialis viagra alternative viagra delle donne

About the Author

author photo

Andrea Useem, creator and publisher of, is a freelance journalist and editor based in Northern Virginia who specializes in writing about religion. Andrea holds a Masters of Theological Studies from Harvard Divinity School, as well as a Bachelors degree in religion from Dartmouth College. Previously, Andrea worked as a freelance journalist in Eastern Africa for four years; she has also lived in Muscat, Oman. She is married and has three sons.

See All Posts by This Author

Native Deen Responds: “Our Audience is Global”

Earlier this week, I reviewed the latest album of Muslim hip-hop trio Native Deen, Not Afraid to Stand Alone.

Displaying a great deal of patience and civility, the band and its manager, David Hawa, agreed to answer some of my criticisms in an e-mail interview: Abdul-Malik Ahmad responded on behalf of the group. Ahmad, in addition to being a member of Native Deen, is a Georgetown grad fluent in Arabic, a martial arts teacher and the owner and lead graphic artist at Kufic Graphics, a graphic design and web development company.

UPDATE: Joshua Salaam was also kind enough to answer these questions. His answers are included below.


ReligionWriter: It would be easy to listen to the song Not Afraid to Stand Alone and conclude that, A. American Muslims are the victims of pervasive persecution, and that, B., Muslims have no recourse except to God. Do feel those are accurate conclusions?

Abdul-Malik Ahmad: One thing we realized on this album is our audience is now global. Not Afraid to Stand Alone is directed not just to American Muslims, but to Muslims all over the world, including Turkish Muslims who are discriminated against because of their headscarves. We have visited Turkey several times and interacted with people there and met some of the Muslim sisters who aren’t afraid to wear the headscarf despite widespread social disapproval.

The point of the song is not to victimize American Muslims at all but quite the opposite. In Not Afraid to Stand Alone (which is based on true stories Joshua heard while working at CAIR) there was a greater reason for [the woman in the song] not to get the job she wants. Allah had a bigger plan for her-she ends up being hired in a school where she inspires other youth to stay strong despite peer pressure. This peer pressure is real-and we experienced it first-hand.

The real message is not that we are victims, but that even though times maybe seem tough, Allah has a bigger plan for you. You don’t have to compromise your beliefs in order to gain acceptance. Allah will provide that for you, and you shouldn’t be afraid to stand alone during that interim period. Soon, as we can see with the life of the Prophet, the society will accept you. In the video, the woman is accepted by the school with open arms for a very public and influential position. The boy is the hero in the end and is accepted by his peers-not because he compromised his beliefs, but because he stuck to them. He became the hero. The message can be summed up in the Quranic verse:
“Truly, after hardship comes ease.”

Joshua Salaam: Some Muslims do suffer persecution more than others. America has helped many people achieve great things. It has also ruined many people. Everyday there are rags-to-riches story in America, and every day there are horror stories. The intention of the song is not to say that Muslims are victims, but more to just take a peek at reality and admitting that people do deal with these kinds of trials every day. We had many Muslim sisters tell us that they went through these experiences.

Finally, if one is discriminated against, one can go to the ACLU, the NAACP, or CAIR. When you’re sick you can take an Advil or Tylenol. But we know the truth is that Allah is in control of everything. Meaning, Allah is who we turn to first; he may send us help in the form of CAIR or medicine. He should be our recourse.

RW: Do you feel that “Not Afraid to Stand Alone” — the song, the video and the album title — all might contribute to a feeling among American Muslims that they are victims?

Ahmad: In the song, the refrain goes “I am not afraid to stand alone.” We had initial debates on the title of the album. We were going to shorten and call it “Stand Alone,” but we decided against that because we didn’t want to encourage Muslims towards isolation or toward this feeling of being the victim. But it would be naive to think that Muslim youth do not feel peer pressure to stray from the teachings of Islam or that Muslim sisters who wear hijab have it easy. The point is to stay strong and, with Allah’s help, eventually things will work out.


RW: If American Muslims do find themselves victimized — either at school or on the job or elsewhere — how should they, in your view, respond?

Ahmad: It’s in the song:

I aint never running, I’m still standing

Imma be brave and let Islam be shown

I aint gonna run, I aint scared no more

Be strong, stand up, don’t cower away and play the victim. Get the strength from God.

Salaam:They should stand for justice. Speak out for what’s right. And not just for themselves. If they see anyone being victimized or mistreated regardless of faith, Muslims must stand up and speak for justice.


RW: Can you talk about your decision to include the song Still Strong on this album? Is it based on a particular case? Do you feel it might go over the top in implying that average Muslims are being dragged from their houses and tortured?

Ahmad: It’s not based on one particular case. But there were cases of Muslims in our area being raided: dragged out of bed, handcuffed in their homes without even the chance to put on hijab. These were friends we grew up with, and no charges were ever placed on them. You probably heard of the case of the IIIT, etc.

But this song is not specific to the US: there is no mention of the US in the song. Our audience is global, and the Muslim communities in other countries don’t enjoy the liberties we enjoy. In order to bring out the importance in the matter, Josh created a fictional story with extreme circumstances but still based on true stories from around the globe. Although Muslims in the US may not be tortured, what about Abu Ghraib? Shouldn’t they have the same rights as we do in America?

Salaam: We are not implying. Average people are being dragged from their homes and being tortured…..yesterday, today, and tomorrow if people don’t start standing for justice. It happens in your local jail sometimes, and sometimes it’s far away in Guantanamo. All one has to do is follow alternative media. You don’t always here about it on CNN, NBC, ABC, etc. One can try tuning into That’s just one example of non-Muslims doing what they can to bring injustices to light because most people are caught up in football games and cupcake picnics to take time out to listen to atrocities that are going on around us. This song was very vague because we didn’t want people to think we were talking about America. We wanted every person from every country to listen to it and see if it applied to them. But yes, it is based on true stories.


RW: Your song “Be at the Top” blames the media for “lying” about Muslims — that is, showing only bad news about Muslims. Given how much positive press attention Native Deen, the ADAMS Center and many other America Muslim organizations have received, do you feel those are fair statements?

Ahmad: You do have a point in that media is not a monolithic organization seeking to vilify Muslims. However, there are specific channels and stations that are very cunning in the way they present Islam. I have seen this first hand. They will say a couple good things about Islam, but the majority of the images and statements are very much anti-Islamic. There have been studies stating that most people view Muslims as barbaric and backwards. How come I only heard about the Muslim who protected the Jewish people from CAIR’s [e-mail] alert?

If you go to the Muslim world, there are many great things that happen-many stories of love, compassion and tolerance-even in strict places such Saudi Arabia. But you never hear about those on these channels. Partly it is our fault for not keeping the media organizations in check as other minorities do, such as African Americans. For every one positive story in the media about Muslims, there are five negative stories. All we are saying is at least make it even.

In addition to this, some Muslims vent their anger on particular religious groups as the source of the unfair media coverage. I feel we need to redirect this anger in a more positive way, with constructive criticism toward the larger media organizations.

In the song, for instance, we say “we will go against your sponsors advertisers if we got to.” We want to give practical steps in confronting poor media coverage and not just blame a particular religious group. Part of our message is to take certain sentiments already present in our communities and direct them to what people of knowledge have told us is the correct way to deal with these feeling and sentiments. The last thing we need is a fiasco like the Danish cartoons.

Salaam:  This reminds me of the story of Prophet Musa a little. When Musa received the revelation, the message, he had to go tell Pharaoh all the things Pharaoh was doing wrong. However, this was the same man who raised him and cared for him and gave him everything he ever needed growing up.

So yes, we thank anyone and everyone who has ever helped us in any way. But as soon as people believe their favors are a protection from people correcting them when they do wrong, corruption begins. It goes to the whole financing reform in politics. Candidates are given money and expected not to bother the donor. America is now saying, “This is not fair.” In actuality, it would not be fair for Native Deen to ignore the media when they intentionally withhold information or put a “spin” on events just because we received good publicity. 

This is the purpose of “watchdog” groups. They monitor the media, the government, the judicial system, etc. to ensure everyone is treated fairly.


RW: What message would you give to journalists? What are they doing wrong?

Ahmad: I believe journalists are not to blame, but the editors and publishers in the media organizations are. When a great story of Muslims comes in, they may be very eager to report it, but because of the influence of other groups on the media organizations, they edit the story in such a way so that Islam is not positively shown a majority of the time. We are not saying to report only the good stories about Muslims, but just to be fair when choosing which stories will hit the headlines.

How did the story of the teddy bear in Sudan get to be so huge? What about the hundreds of other stories about Muslims who helped Christians and were tolerant of their beliefs? I’m sure they arrive on the desks of these large media organizations but reach the headlines very few of the times. We were lucky to be chosen once or twice, but many stories never get told.

RW: Any last points on your album you want to share?

Ahmad: When creating the album, we wanted to target injustice throughout the world. We were very cautious not to mention any particular country. We also wanted to make sure injustices are not committed against Muslims or non Muslims, regardless of whether it is corrupt governments, false media accusations and so on that are responsible. With that said, we also know there are good governments out there and great journalist. As your analogy said earlier, the whole classroom is bearing the brunt [of one kid's bad behavior.]

Salaam:  It would be wrong for us to stereotype and say all journalists are doing something wrong. The majority of them are doing an excellent job. I think the goal is to wake people up on an individual level to start standing up and speaking out. I spoke with a journalist who told us at CAIR how she did all this work and all this research and when she submitted it, most of it was thrown out and never made it to the air. That was her wake-up call that something wasn’t right.

So whoever you are, wherever you are, if you have the opportunity to speak the truth or stand up for what is right, you should do it. And if Native Deen can help inspire more people, including ourselves, to do this, we will see a change around us.


There Are 5 Responses So Far. »

  1. I was really glad to see this opportunity for clarification - an excellent response; thank you Andrea Useem and Native Deen for demonstrating that it is via respectful dialog that we grow in understanding/tolerance. Personally, I didn’t receive the title track (not afraid to stand alone) as an affirmation of the “prevailing” sense of victimization but as a call to recognize that in our lives, we will be faced with situations where we have to take the road less “cool”/comfy/appealing… I also see it as an excellent cross-cultural song - accessible to not only Muslims.
    As for the other tracks referred to in the article, they speak of things that have happened (quite often in some places in fact - Maher Arar comes to mind) and is just a piece of the whole picture of what the reality of the diverse Muslim lives around the world comprise of. Thank you once again for this.

  2. To stand for your faith in a minority situation is not easy for anybody in a situation of minority. Some Christian women wear headcovering and it is not easy for them either…
    The Muslims, I think, are not worse or better than the Christians, Jews, atheists etc. Mix political and religious powers and things will turn nasty.

  3. Good morning. I find it difficult to sympathise with American Muslims. They have it easy in comparison to other religious groups in Muslim countries. At least in America people are given the freedom to attend the church/synagogue/mosque of their choice. You don’t have religious police there upholding a particular standard like in Saudi Arabia. See link below.

    Maybe these men ought to look at the bigger picture of what’s happening around the world before they write self-pitying songs.

  4. Self-pitying songs? Would we call the protest songs of the African-American community, from the time of slavery to the era of the fight for civil rights, self-pitying songs? Would we call the amazing protest songs of the 1960s against the unjust war in Vietnam self-pitying songs? I am curious to know what constitutes self-pitying versus what defines a true voice for all oppression. What is our litmus test for measuring who has been oppressed more than others? I don’t believe Native Deen’s intention was to get sympathy for American Muslims. On the contrary, they are trying to be a global voice.

    I also cannot think that any marginalized group, whether they be African-American, Vietnamese, Northern Irish, Darfuri, etc., who decide that the time is right to stop being afraid, can be called “self-pitying.” I believe that Native Deen has looked at the bigger picture around the world; they have performed in Israel, the biggest police state in existence, and have seen first-hand the plight of the Palestinians. They have, as they said, traveled to Turkey where if one chooses religion over secularism, he is denied educational opportunities (or worse). They understand what is happening in Saudi Arabia and in Iraq and in the Muslim world in general.

    Bravo, Native Deen.

  5. allahu akbar i love native deen …….masha’allah ….i like this nasheed i’m not afraid to stand alone … makes me feel good …wallahi alxamdulilah and jazakallah ya’ll

Post a Response