Gun Laws

The Florida shooting is yet another reminder of the inaction of our government with regard to gun laws. America has more mass shootings than any other country and most of these are carried out by white males. It is shameful of media organizations to continue to instill the double standard of labeling these horrid men as “lone wolves” or “mentally unstable” while simultaneously blaming any attack done by a minority as the product of terrorist motives or gang or thug behavior. “Thoughts and prayers” are clearly not enough as tragedies like Parkland continue to happen year after year and seem to only increase in number. We need action from our representatives now. We need gun laws. The NRA has a grip on our leaders and it is up to us to stop it. I am not calling for a complete ban on guns. I understand that guns are important in certain situations but there is no need to have fully and semi automatic weapons readily available to the public, especially without background checks, proper training and waiting periods. Yes, if guns were banned people would find ways to illegally obtain them, much like the 1920s era of Prohibition, but this does not mean we can’t and shouldn’t try. After a 1996 mass shooting in Australia, sweeping gun legislation was passed in a matter of months and since then there have been no mass shootings. Here in America, we have debated this issue for years and have gotten absolutely nowhere while hundreds of innocent people have their lives cut short.

As a writer, I am always looking to bring stories to people and raise awareness in areas such as social justice and politics. Learning about our country and all of its intricate nuances sparks a curiosity in me that has not been surpassed. But when it comes to a point where all of the major news stories are about a recent tragedy or sad event, I am always disheartened about the state of our community. Unfortunately, as is the nature of media and journalism, the heart-wrenching stories are often what garner the most attention, and in turn, the most money. The inability of our elected officials to come to any sort of agreement regarding gun safety is what has caused all of these atrocities. There must be action now. I hope one day we get to the point where I can write about all of the positives in America, but for now, especially during times like this, I, and I hope all of you too, will work tirelessly to bring justice and peace to this world.


Domestic Violence and the Trauma Initiative

As some of you may know, I am a part of the Chairman and Mayor’s Regional Youth Advisory Council for the city of Rockford and Winnebago County. The council meets once a month to discuss issues both within the community and nation wide. Today, we learned about the state of domestic violence within the community and the idea of the long term effects of trauma on mental health.

One of the more shocking things I learned was that there are 8 arrests every day in Rockford for a domestic violence related incident. This statistic came from a meeting of the 17th Judicial District: Domestic Violence Coordinated Courts. The Mayor then proceeded to say that about 30% of the calls that the police station receives are calls regarding domestic violence. These numbers are staggering and are representative of the state of our community. One important thing to note, however, and I credit Mayor McNamara for bringing this up, is that domestic violence can happen in any situation, regardless of socio-economic, racial, or cultural backgrounds. What we are not going to do is blame a single part of our community for these events, but rather work together to attack the issue at its core. There are multiple victims’ services in the area, including the Remedies Renewing Lives and the Domestic Violence Assistance Order, that actively work to help fix this problem. The best thing for our community to do, in my opinion, is to be proactive in our efforts. Instead of waiting for a case to happen, officials and educated individuals on the topic should go out and teach people in our community about what is considered domestic violence as well as provide a sort of counseling service for those who need it.

This transitions into something I want to touch on about mental health. Mayor McNamara told us that it took months for the City Council to approve a mental health initiative that would only cost $100,000 out of the city’s multi-million dollar budget. However, it only took a very short period of time for the Council to approve the addition of more police officers. While these two policies are unrelated, the time periods in which they were passed represent well what the current agendas of Rockford citizens are. It shows that, unfortunately, not enough emphasis is placed upon mental health within our community. There is far too much stigma around mental health and its validity as a serious issue. It needs to be known that mental health is just as important as physical health and that physical trauma is just as threatening as mental trauma. Steps must be taken to be proactive in helping people from all walks of life deal with stresses that they go through.

Rockford to vote on Home rule

At the City Council meeting held December 4th, the alderman voted to put home rule on the ballot for 2018. What does this mean? Well home rule in the United States refers to the ability of the local government of a constituent part of a state, such as a city or county, to exercise political power and make decisions on local affairs on their own as long as they adhere to state and federal rules. Basically, Rockford would be able to make fiscal and social decisions on their own. Talks about Rockford becoming home ruled have been on the rise over the past few months as people have become increasingly unhappy with the fiscal policies currently in play, specifically with Rockford’s abnormally high property tax. It will be interesting to see how this plays out next year as becoming home ruled could alter the future of Rockford.

Things to remember this 4th of July

We have all been fortunate enough to see another 4th of July this year and celebrate the birth of our great nation. Through perilous times and tests of our patience, perseverance, and faith, we have continued to come together as Americans when it has mattered most. However, there are still some things I would like you all to consider today as we reflect on our own freedom:

Remember the indigenous people of America who are the true founders of our nation that continue to fight for their rights to the land they have loved for centuries.

Remember the LGBTQ+ community that continues to fight for freedom in the workplace and in our society. They want no more nor less than the rest of us, only equal.

Remember the Latino-American community, the fastest growing minority group in the nation. They continue to provide our society with a beautiful sense of culture and diversity and do the jobs no one else wants to do.

Remember the Muslims, Jews and all other marginalized religious groups who seek to uphold the freedom of religion our Constitution guarantees. We are all lucky to live and practice our beliefs in a place like America, let us try and keep it that way.

Remember the disabled and mentally ill people of our country who give us hope to continue fighting through their own struggles. Their battle should continue to serve as a beacon of perseverance.

Remember our soldiers who have given their lives to fight for our freedoms. Their sacrifices should never be in vain.

Remember the women of our communities who work harder than anyone to continue to provide and support our families and loved ones. Remember that during the time of the writing of the Constitution, women were considered inferior to men. Today, some of the most brilliant, humble and caring individuals I have ever met are the women that continue to be icons of our society.

And last but certainly not least, remember the African Americans of our society. A group of people who built this country by their own bare hands. A culture that has survived the turmoil of the last 241 years and continued to evolve into an identity for millions of people to connect with. While I will always be grateful for our Founding Fathers, I will never forget the trials and tribulations Africans went through to create our America. As slaves brought from their homeland, they were forced to do the dirty work that gave our country a reputation. It is so convenient that we never really learn about this group of people as we grow up. From a young age, I have always been taught to admire the works of men such as Washington and Jefferson, but rarely in school did we touch on the brutality of slavery and the impact of the work those people did on America. They have done more for our country than any of us could have ever dreamed of. Let us never forget their contributions today.

For those that continue to question the pride in our country due to its complex history of racial and cultural prejudice, look for other outlets of patriotism such as Juneteenth, which although has already passed, serves as a day to remember the emancipation of slaves.

Have fun and be safe this 4th of July, keep your loved ones in mind and be thankful for the freedoms we do get to have in this country. There is still a lot of work to be done until we have total equality, but I know that one day our country will be able to become the nation of freedom it was meant to be.

Happy 4th y’all.

ISNA 2017

Alhamdulilah I am here at ISNA again this year. I plan on having a few interviews put up on Facebook on both my personal page and the Muslim Moderate page. These interviews will be live broadcasted on Facebook. These broadcasts will still be archived on Facebook so even after the interview is over, anyone can go back and watch them. I also plan on trying to bring them over to this website.

I will be talking to people who are doing work in their own respective fields relative to Islam and asking them about how they are using what they do to better not only themselves but their communities.

I also plan on sharing my thoughts on different lectures and sessions I attended this year. I hope that I can start getting more consistent in work that has substance to it.

Stay tuned.

The Past and the Future

It has been a while.  This last school year was my roughest yet, and I had to turn my focus to my classes.  My attention could not be towards anything else.  During the first week of the summer I was still studying, however, that was only for a couple of SAT Subject Tests. Now my summer is truly beginning.  All of that is done now and I am ready to get back into my writing.

First off, I would like to give a shout out to my professor from the University of Chicago and a dear friend of mine, Dr. Michael Subialka. Earlier this year, he had emailed me explaining that as he was going through old files in preparation for his next class, he stumbled upon my blog. He had told me that he was glad and excited for me as I was getting more involved in the political process and hoped that I was continuing my writing and sharing my experiences. This simple message really hit home for me.  It made me take a step back and appreciate that others were noticing what I was doing. To know that one of my mentors and an individual that I admire so greatly was commending me for my work was truly humbling.

To be in a position to volunteer for political campaigns and meet my local, state and national leaders has been eye-opening and educational. I know I am quite fortunate.  These experiences require putting in the effort and the drive so you can benefit from the experience and knowledge you receive. To be completely honest, I have not been putting in the necessary work towards those endeavors lately. Things were popping up during the school year and extracurriculars continued to impede any progress I made. But one thing Dr. Subialka has reminded me of is that writing of any kind is something you can truly make your own.

So with this, I would like to explain what the future holds for the Muslim Moderate. I plan to attend the ISNA Convention again this year and bring more content such as interviews and my thoughts on speakers and lectures I attend. I also plan on staying updated on my work in the political field, specifically with the new Mayor of Rockford, Tom McNamara. And of course, I hope to continue to share my thoughts on the world and any ideas I have to make it a better place.

Thank you to all of those who have shown continued support in my absence.

What it means to be politically active

I have had the opportunity to volunteer in a campaign again. The mayoral election for Rockford is coming up and I have been canvassing for Tom McNamara, the Democratic candidate.

This is the second time I have given my time to a political campaign. Although I am only a teenager, I think I have had some meaningful experiences.

But what do these experiences mean? How is knocking on doors helping someone like me? The youth are the future. Everybody knows this, yet our nation’s government has seemed to have forgotten the important needs and wants of young people. We, the youth, as a demographic, need to start becoming more politically active and making our voices heard. And although I am guilty of this myself, we need to stop arguing amongst ourselves, hidden behind our laptops and on Facebook. Sharing things and spreading information is great, don’t get me wrong, but when we actually go out into the streets as a unit and fight for what we believe in, then we can affect change.

It all starts with grassroots campaigning and local activism. Going from door to door. Getting into contact with your local officials. Making phone calls. Writing letters. Protesting injustice. Doing these things may not seem like a lot in the beginning, but when the movement begins to grow and take shape, our voices can be heard.


I want to share what I have been doing with my time in campaign work. The gentleman I worked with today explained it in a few simple steps. If you are ever working on a campaign, you need to start building lists of people you need to establish contact with. This means researching their voting history, party identification and any other information relevant to a campaign. Next, you start going to the streets and actually getting into contact with the voters. When you are first starting out, you want to target people who are on the fence or undecided on who to vote for in whatever election is currently happening. The hope is to persuade those folks to vote for the candidate you are advocating for. Finally, you encourage people to get out and vote. This means making sure all of the constituents are still in support of your candidate and telling them to go to polling places to cast their ballot on election day.

The political work I have done has truly been eye-opening for me. I have interacted with friendly, enthusiastic people and those who are not interested in the election process at all. It gives me a genuine feel for how the political process works for us all. I  want to go into this field when I am older and hope to make a name for myself.  This is simply a step in that direction.

Lastly, I want to share my feelings on why being politically active is important. Many people nowadays are unhappy with how the country is being run, especially with Agent Orange at the helm. What I want people to know is that you can be proactive and have your voice be heard. I am a fifteen year old brown kid living in Rockford, Illinois and I try to get my voice out there. You can, too.