Update: For those who want to contact The Muslim Link, here is their email address.
The Muslim Link has refused to advertise a fundraiser event for an Islamic School in Baltimore (Al Rahmah School Educational Trust – ASET) because the event’s speaker is Shaykh Hamza Yusuf. Now if the Muslim Link newspaper called itself the MyJamaat Link newspaper I wouldn’t care if they didn’t advertise an Islamic School fundraiser event with Shaykh Hamza Yusuf. That actually would make sense, but when the newspaper claims to be the “Muslim Link” and advertises to all the Muslim communities throughout the MD-DC-VA, why would it discriminate against such a mainstream and widely recognized speaker like Shaykh Hamza Yusuf.
It didn’t happen once or twice but many times. It also happened to me when I was working with the United Against Malaria event and we attempted to get the flyer put in the Muslim Link. I thought it wouldn’t be a big deal, but I was wrong. The Muslim Link (and Dar us Salaam) couldn’t support the Malaria event unless the names were removed from the ad. I thought this was ridiculous and hypocritical since Muslim Link had their own fundraiser event in which they invited a non-Muslim, George Galloway as the keynote speaker. Eventually they made their own full page ad (worth $900) and advertised it for free, after I sent an email to several community members (An example of why talking with the organizers don’t work, until things get out).
Is advertising an event with George Galloway better than advertising an event with Shaykh Hamza Yusuf? George Galloway was speaking at a fund-raising event for a Muslim newspaper. Shaykh Hamza is speaking at an event to fund raise money for an Islamic school in Baltimore. Does a Muslim newspaper fundraiser ad with a non-Muslim on it take preference over an Islamic School fundraiser ad with a Muslim.
What’s the difference in taking out the name when you know who’s speaking at the event already and your advertising it anyway. That actually seems like your tricking people. What if a MyJamaat person saw the advertisement without Shaykh Hamza Yusuf’s name and said “Hey, this event looks good. It’s for an Islamic school. Let me take my family and go.” When they get there they find out Shaykh Hamza (who is not from MyJamaat) is speaking they’ll be disappointed. Who would they blame? The Muslim Link. Why? Where is the name of the speaker? In fact it would be better to put the name of the speaker, so everyone knows who’s speaking and everyone who wants to go will go.
It can make a big difference with names like Shaykh Hamza Yusuf or Shaykh Yasir Qadhi or Imam Siraj Wahhaj on an advertisement. If the flyer didn’t have the name, how many people would go? Much less. Muslim Link should know this since they paid so much to get George Galloway. They wanted the crowd so the advertised his name everywhere. Why prevent an Islamic school in Baltimore this same marketing technique just because you don’t like and/or agree with that speaker.
It is not difficult to write “The views and opinions expressed by the organizations and speakers in the advertisements do not necessarily agree with that of the owners and operators of The Muslim Link.” They already have it on their website, why can’t they put it on their newspaper.
I don’t care if Muslims don’t like Shaykh Hamza Yusuf. They don’t bother me. My problem is that when a Muslim newspaper that caters to all Muslims and advertised everywhere wants to remove names of Muslim speakers just because they are not in agreement with the owners and operators of the newspaper.
What bothers me more is that Imam Safi Khan is their adviser and told me personally that Imam Zaid Shakir came to Dar us Salaam and did an event. Can someone please tell me the difference between Imam Zaid Shakir and Shaykh Hamza Yusuf? Seriously? What is it the difference other than one is white and one is black. One is taller than the other. So if someone was to do an event with Imam Zaid Shakir, would the ad be fine even with his name on it? What makes Shaykh Hamza Yusuf so special?
For all those brothers and sisters who are going to comment and say “you should email them instead of blogging it”. I have and so have many others several times and the same thing keeps repeating itself. Usually when things go public, changes happen faster and for the better (or worse), but change does happen.
For the brothers and sisters that are part of the Muslim Link, I love you guys all for the sake of Allah but this childish division needs to stop. Either you be straight up with your audience and tell them we don’t support or advertise events that have speakers we do not agree with or you guys be fair and open to advertising events. I understand there is a line to be drawn, but I believe the Pledge of Mutual Respect and Cooperation is that line. Last I checked, AlMaghrib’s and Zaytuna’s scholars are all signatories. AlMaghrib started at Dar-us-Salaam, so the community there would not have any issues with Sh. Hamza’s name on a advertisement in the Muslim Link.
Ultimately, this post would not have been necessary if The Muslim Link would just put aside differences and be fair.
May Allah (swt) forgive me for anything I have said wrong.