Muslim Link Newspaper Refuses to Advertise events with Shaykh Hamza Yusuf’s name on it

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.

Here is the advertisement that sparked this controversy:

37 Replies to “Muslim Link Newspaper Refuses to Advertise events with Shaykh Hamza Yusuf’s name on it”

  1. Just by doing a quick search on TML’s database, I came across the following titles:

    “Standing Room Only At ADAMS for Zaytuna Weekend

    “Zaytuna Seeks to Inspire “Agents of Change””

    “Muslims Speak Out Against Malaria”

    I am a writer for the Muslim Link and am deeply affronted by this post. In the past, you have vindicated AlMaghrib Institute as being a Salafi organization and have only recently apologized for such views. If the Muslim Link was as close-minded as you think it was, why do you think they would have Zaytuna-exclusive posts? Why do you think they allow many posts by even Shi’a writers?

    One of the few times that you actually write a post instead of reblogging something, must it be a derisive attack on a Muslim company? How are you better than someone else if you are merely copying what they are doing in such a manner?

    I am an avid reader of this blog and do not wish to be so scathing. However, it is something that I had to do because this is not under the mannerisms of lay people such as you and I.

    – Arif
    TML Writer
    The views portrayed here do not necessarily represent the views of the Muslim Link and are rather those of the author.

  2. Arif – unfortunately your post doesnt even attempt to explain why they would on the one hand allow ads/news for Zaytuna but reject an advert with Shaykh Hamza’s name on it.

    That is the crux of the matter, stop pussy footing around the issue by trying to lambaste the blogger here. It is a PUBLIC and open issue that has to be questioned and it doesn’t make sense to the blogger or many of us why the double standard?

    To allow shia writers but reject Shk Hamza – now that is a blatant example of the strange policy at the paper. Unfortunately your post just added to the problem and not doused the flame.

  3. This is really sad. The Muslim Link is definitely making a mistake here and needs to be seriously advised. I also hope things get better insha’Allah.

    Just as a side note, AlMaghrib did not start Al-Huda/Dar Us Salam – it’s the other way around 🙂 Al-Huda helped start AlMaghrib and it took off from there.

    JazzakAllah khayr and keep up the good work bro!

  4. Looking at a previous Muslim Link, it actually had a advert not only talking about an event that would have Hamza Yusuf, but with Safi Khan also attending. Come on, please, make sure to reference your words before saying anything.

    And Ahmadi, “To allow shia writers but reject Shk Hamza”…what are you talking about?! We’re discussing two different things here; adverts and writings. In terms of writing, all types are allowed and that is what TML’s disclosure mentions. In regards of advertisement, that has already been answered above.

  5. Umm..
    Imam Zaid is a Shafi
    Shaykh Hamza a Maliki

    Imam Zaid’s views on Islamic State/Khaliphate which he expressed in TINA (after all he does have a polsci degree)
    Shaykh Hamza I don’t know (has a nursing degree)

    Views on Muslims going to war… same I guess. Must be state sponsored. (Allahu Allam this one I’m just guessing)

    As mentioned above
    Political Scientist


    Dunno why they newspaper reject this advertisement.

  6. @Arif Kabir – Bro, this is why I’m outraged. What is the big deal in having Sh. Hamza’s name on the advertisement? The answer that was given was that the speaker has said things contrary to the Qur’an and Sunnah. If that is true, then why allow exclusive posts? You said I recently apologized. Define recently? AlMaghrib has changed for the better and realize the need to mold an American Muslim community. They have put aside difference and made a statement by joining others to fight Malaria. They have invited Dalia Mogahed, an appointed adviser to President Barack Obama, to Ilmfest and they have signed the Pledge of Mutual Respect and Cooperation. Maybe TML should learn some things from them.

    Arif – I respect and love you for the sake of Allah, but I think TML is being hypocritical here. Anyone can easily see this.

  7. This is sad. I live in the area, and I have seen Muslim link do this before. The author is right, if you are the salafi then fine. you can advertise what you want, and who you want. but when you claim to be the Muslim link, then you need to represent the muslim community as a whole, the ones you agree with and the ones you don’t.

    why would they advertise a program with a non muslim, kafir to come in and raise money for them, but when it comes to a known muslim who calls people to God, spreads Islam around the world all of a sudden there is an issue? I don’t get it. this stuff really makes me sick. we wonder why we are so messed up around the world, and why we are getting wrecked. silly, stupid differences like this. what a joke

  8. @Arif – If muslim link is so open minded and great, why did they make an issue of this ad and the malaria event? Please exlain where things changed between the old muslim link and the new one?

  9. JazakAllah for the post MR… Sadly we can’t seem to get beyond these petty matters to truly move forward united. If an organization is paying for an advertisement (let alone a Muslim School endowment fundraiser with a known educator), why is the newspaper interfering?
    I wonder if there was an advertisement for a technology summit and Bill Gates or Steve Jobs were being headlined, would their names be filtered?
    Alhamdulillah, TML offers a very good service to local muslims, but should not be as narrow-minded and polarizing so they can truly be a ‘link’ for our community.

  10. Assalamualaikum,

    Just wondering, did you ask TML the reasoning on why the ad was denied print? As far as i know, TML has printed many Al-rahmah/ISB ads & articles in the publication through out the years, so I’m sure it has nothing to do with the school.

    Perhaps there is good reasoning behind the ad being denied.

    Also, how could we be so judgmental on TML when for many years it has indeed served the community? How can anyone of us say TML is making a mistake and make judgment before even understanding and knowing the whole detail of the story? Shouldn’t we as Muslims give one another benefit of the doubt to begin with?

    I think we should find out the other side of the story before harshly criticizing one another.

    I understand as bloggers, we probably are not as responsible in posting posts, because many times it may be a “post of reaction”, out of anger and frustration which results in a very biased and one sided post.

    I am no blogger, but it would be beneficial for me as a reader to know both sides of the story.


    BarakAlalhu feek.

    Wa salaamualiakum.

  11. So, MR, muslim link specifically told you that they can’t put in an ad with hamza yusuf’s name?

    Did they offer you an official policy statement? Could it be the advertisement guy taking “matters into his own hand”? I ask because it seems that they did cover the event itself including mentioning HY, so it doesn’t make much sense that they would refuse advertisement but cover event… not very good financial stewardship 😉

  12. People, can we stop using terms like Salafi, Wahabbi etc. Prophet Muhammad (s.a.w) called us Muslims.

    I don’t live in America, but i love Sh. Hamza’s lectures. I HAVE heard rumors about him, but from his lectures i’ve not noticed anything bad- what is the deal with him? Can somebody inform me.

  13. @Abu Ayyub and Amad- There have been many emails going back and forth. For the malaria event I was told “One of the speakers has said something that is against the Qur’an and Sunnah”. I respected that and said okay and let them make their own ad. For the malaria event there were many speakers, so I could see them saying that since there was a Shia speaker invited to speak.

    When the Shaykh Hamza Yusuf ad came about this was the response:

    About one year ago, the Muslim Link made a change to its advertising policy whereby we don’t advertise Muslim speakers who promote views far outside of the authentic sunnah as determined by the research of our Sharia advisory board which includes Sheikh Salah As-Saawi, Imam Safi Khan, and other people of knowledge whom we trust.

    What bothers me is that TML allows shia writers (as Arif – a TML writer above has said), but wants to remove Shaykh Hamza Yusuf’s name? They write posts about Zaytuna events but yet they can’t advertise Shaykh Hamza Yusuf because his views are far outside the authentic sunnah? Doesn’t supporting Zaytuna events go against this policy? Whether its an article or an advertisement if its in TML and being spread throughout the community that is advertising itself. In fact newspaper advertisements never usually reflect the owners and operators views, they usually just pay for expenses. It is the content of the newspaper that usually gets attached to the owner and operator. For example, WhyIslam advertised in the NY TImes calling people to learn about Islam. Do you think the NY TImes owner want’s people to learn about Islam? They just want to pay for their expenses. Would the NY Times print an article calling people to Islam? No.

  14. Asalaamu Alaikum

    Ruff Ryder, or Mujahideen Ryder, why did you not print the reason the newspaper gave you? You said they only repeated what the same answers, but you didn’t actually say what it was.


  15. MR, if I was salafi I would be offended by your post. Why do you paint a picture of salafis as angry and hateful? You should really take a neutral approach when giving examples.

    And your post sounds like a childish rant. Where is your proof? The TML writer above mentioned 3 ads that contradict what you’re saying.

    Almaghrib didn’t change, you changed. Almaghrib grew larger but their views always remained the same, it just took you a while to accept their views.

    Your blog wouldn’t exist without controversy and that’s what you are attempting to do here.

  16. @hater – May Allah forgive me. You are right. I am wrong. I removed all instances of the term ‘salafi’. I don’t strive for controversy. If you read my blog you will realize that anything I post, somehow turns into a heated discussion. Just look the posts with many comments. It could be a simply advertisement or a video without any controversy, but the commentators will start their own discussion. Just ask any avid reader. I can blog and post a picture of an apple and that’s it, but it’ll have 100+ comments because the apple is green and not red.

    @muslim – There have been many behind the door emails. I posted an earlier comment with the response.

  17. Time out. Lets see this issue clealy.

    A muslim paper, that serves the muslim community, was unwilling to publish a muslim scholars name due to their ideological differences. THIS IS A PROBLEM.

    That same paper has no problem advertising for a Non Muslim to do their fundraiser. PLEASE EXPLAIN.

    If Yasir Qadhi, Shaykh Hamza, Imam Zaid, and many others can sit and speak on the same stage together (ISNA, MALARIA EVENT) why can’t we as muslim communites promote those shaykhs? Why do we have to be selective?

    This all needs to end, and it’s up to us as muslims to take our leaders to task. Muslim Link is a paper that has sway over people, we need to demand that they respect Shaykh Hamza, Shaykh Yasir Qadhi, and All other scholars. Thats the bottom line. Stop ataccking the blogger, address the real issues

  18. Assalamualiakum,

    JazakAllahu khairan for pointing out the reason, i do not know Hamzah Yusuf personally, nor have I read any of his scholarly writings or heard to many of his lectures. However if TML and it’s shariah advisory board said they have made their research and came up with this decision than that is a valid reason for them.

    In turn, I would guess, we should make our own research on the Sheikh (Hamzah Yusuf) to inform ourselves about him. Perhaps, Allahualim, there is something “weird” (lack of a better word) about the Sheikh’s views, it would be our responsibility to do the research for our own benefit. It would be more dangerous for us if TML was right and we just brushed them off as being “narrow minded”.

    I dont think any of us should call anyone Narrow Minded, in this case, untill we all make the proper research of what TML is suggesting of the Sheikh. (“views far outside of the authentic sunnah” is a pretty serious issue, no?”)

    On the Shiaa issue, MR, have you actually checked with TML if they do allow publishing of Shiaa writers? Perhaps it would benefit all of us if you check your info/sources by going to the actual source, TML.

    About the Zaytuna articles. Perhaps those were printed before the new policy? i don’t know.

    While I feel that you, MR, have a personal connection with the School Ad, and TML – and that your probably feel a little bitter about it. I will give the same naseeha other people have told you as you mentioned in your initial post, deal with TML and communicate with them directly. AFTER both parties have a clear mind and no anger perhaps a calm discussion could take place. Maybe then both parties can come up with a middle way and solution, and perhaps there will be a better understanding and better respect of one another.


    JazakAllahu khairan for allowing this discussion.

    Wa salaamualiakum

  19. @Abu Ayyub – I agree with you 100%, except those steps were already taken and done. The Islamic school decided not to run the ad, since it would defeat the purpose by removing the name. The whole purpose of the advertisement is to let people know that Shaykh Hamza Yusuf is going to be at the event. If they took out the name and put it in the newspaper then it is less likely for people to take it seriously. This newspaper reaches thousands of Muslims in the DC-MD-VA area. What if there are people looking for events, but they only go to specific ones based on the speakers they like. How would they know? People are lazy, they don’t go to the website or call the number. They just want to see all the info on the flyer.

    What bothers me even more was the comment made by bro. Arif (here) who is a TML writer claiming that they allow Shia writers. That’s just bizarre for them to do that and deny an ad with Shaykh Hamza’s name on it. I don’t really understand that. It’s a double standard.

  20. salams

    Sorry. While I myself my have personal differences of opinion vis-a-vis Shk. Hamza Yusuf’s views, I still object to a Muslim newspaper pulling this kind of partisanship crap. It would be one thing if, for example, they denied advertising space for someone like Kabbani, who has been roundly rejected by an overwhelming amount the North American Muslim majority. But its another thing altogether to put this kind of policy in place.

    What i would do is call / email them and ask them to specifically quote which RECENT statements of Hamza Yusuf they had such a huge issue with (since it seems they didn’t object to giving him airtime in the past) and once you get that in full, and in writing, from TML, then you talk to Hamza Yusuf and allow him to respond, and make sure TML is aware of his response, since it could all just be a huge misunderstanding on TML’s part.

    And if that doesn’t get them to behave, then start ripping away at their bottom line until they cry uncle. You call up the businesses advertising in the paper and urge them to make their continued ad support to TML be conditional on removal of such infantile policies.

    Not to be hyperbolic, but sometimes you just have to pull out the Godfather option.

  21. @MR as I’ve been used a few times to make the point that “Shi’a writers are allowed”, let me clarify by saying that writings by “Shia authors” are allowed. That doesn’t necessarily mean that they are promoting their ideology. The particular example I had in mind while commenting was a call for unity without mentioning any sects. Others of various backgrounds, including the Sufi methodology, have been known to post and write articles as well, so using the aforementioned comment is totally baseless.

  22. @Arif – Okay, so what is so dangerous with the name of Sh. Hamza Yusuf on a fundraiser event for an Islamic School for an extremely large community in Baltimore (Islamic Society of Baltimore)? If it’s okay to quote writings from Shia authors. It’s okay to write articles on Zaytuna. It’s okay to write articles written by sufi-leaning people. But it’s not okay to have the name “Shaykh Hamza Yusuf” on the flyer? I’m sorry bro, but this is a double standard.

  23. MR the statement you posted doesnt seem official from Muslim Link…….There has to be another side to it.

  24. Sources:

    It is interesting that The Muslim Link uses a quote from the NY TImes in their advertising rate pdf document:

    “Advertising executives say that ignoring the Muslim market — estimated to be about five million to eight million people, and growing fast — would be like missing the Hispanic market in the 1990s.”

    The document also says:

    “CIRCULATION: 8,000 papers printed on average on the first Friday of every Islamic month.

    DISTRIBUTION: All major Muslim community centers, Masjids, and many businesses in Northern Virginia and the Greater Baltimore-Washington DC region.”

    Seems to me that if their target market audience is the general Muslim population then they shouldn’t deny their audience important information in advertising events especially since a good percentage of their readers would love to go to an event with Hamza Yusuf.

    It is probable that there are a few people who are in control of The Muslim Link trying to propagate their own view on the entire community by denying these simple features of advertising.

    Very interesting indeed as an onlooker. Please update on if they do change their mind due to this protest.

  25. I used to be involved in Sufism, and I was instructed to do things I felt uncomfortable with but that my “murid” proved were good acts of worship by showing me verses from the Quran. Only after I started learning more, I saw I was duped. The Prophet ‘alyhissalaam strove all his life to make sure worship is only and only for Allah alone. If anyone wants to bother, pick up Hamza Yusuf’s annotated translation of the famous Sufi poem known as the Burda. Read his forward and his footnotes. Or, just ignore this post and sing cumbayaa, and we can ignore the Prophet’s struggle, and say “yeah, its all good.”

  26. @Abu Abdurrahman – Thank you for your personal story on your struggles. May Allah make it easy for you. But back to the topic, do you think TML is right to allow Zaytuna articles, shia authors to be quoted, but deny an Islamic school fundraiser ad because Shaykh Hamza Yusuf’s name is on it?

  27. You go MR!

    I’ve been an avid reader of the Link for a long time, and this is news to me. I hope they rectify the situation.

    On another note, TML has a had spotty record of editorials and speakers. For example in the latest issue, Sept. 19 2009, they have 2 editorials on Saqib Ali, the Muslim State Legislator in the MD House. One editorial is balanced, w/ clear facts presented. That writer even quotes Mr. Ali. The other writer calls Ali a “Satan” and other horrible statements. This is clearly a lack of editorial oversight.

  28. “Know, O my brother – may Allaah awaken you and I to His pleasure; and make us of those who have piety in Him as we should have, that the flesh of the scholars is poisonous. It is well known that Allaah will expose those who seek to revile and belittle them; and that whosoever unleashes his tongue by insulting and belittling the scholars, then Allaah will cause his heart to die before he actually dies.” Likewise, part of honouring them is to have love and allegience (walaa) for them

    He sallallaahu ‘alalyhi wa sallam said:

    “He is not from us, who does not honour our elders, nor have mercy upon our young, nor honours the rights of our Scholars.”… Read More

    Shk Hamza teaches traditional islam based on Quran wa Sunnah and scholary guidance and consensus, he follows maliki fiqh…our beloved Master, Muhammad (sas) stated that “The scholars are heirs to the prophets” respect is due to them.

  29. @PakistaniMD Don’t take things out of context. First of all, Saqib Ali was never called a satan. Second of all, if you took the time to read the letter with an open and clear mind, you would see that it was in response to an editorial that Saqib Ali wrote in SUPPORT of Homosexuality and that: “Homosexuality is strictly forbidden in Islam. As such I have evinced much grief from my most conservative supporters. But I recognize that I represent people of all faiths and no faith at all. If I tried to enforce religion by law — as in a theocracy — I would be doing a disservice to my both constituents and to my religion.” Oh need proof? Well, here you go:

  30. Well i think having George Galloway isnt the same as Hamza Yusuf. Sh. Hamza is a muslims and Galloway is a kafir. Obviously no muslims believes that the magazine would promote Galloways religious views, probably just his political views. Where as some people can believe the magazine is promoting sh. Hamza’s views.

    If they are reaaaaly uncomfortable with Sh’ Hamza yusufs views I think they have a right to boycott him. I hardly believe that Sh’ Hamza will promote their views, b/c he thinks its wrong. to each his own. May Allah guide us, amen

  31. I did not say I supported Saqib Ali’s position. What I was commenting on was the way the responder characterized and belitteld him.

    “Satan is our enemy in all of mankind’s affairs… We must stop the Evil Emperors’ message by stopping his messenger by condemning his statement in the strongest way, removing all financial support from him and denying him any votes during his re-election campaign.”

    An open minded person would have first talked to the politician and discuss the merits of their ideas. Thats all I’m saying. After all, I did say that the other editorial was more balanced and was not quick to condemn Ali.

  32. I used to love the Muslim Link…until now

    I can’t believe how biased and salafi-oriented they are!!

    May Allah rectify their narrow-mindedness mentality, ameen!

    When will we get over this stupid sectarianism that is dividing us?

    May Allah bring down the Mahdi soon so we can all UNITE!


  33. MR may Allah swt reward you for your patience with people who post garbage comments. I dunno how you do it.
    What a waste of time.

    btw…TheSoundMind.. 150 x 10,000 = 1,500,000 (The proof is obviously in the math)
    Vally of gold.. Valley is spelled with an “e”
    I can tell you from my experience that a venue that can hold 7800 to 10,000 people costs $200,000 for 3 nights.


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