Isn't It Time to Change the Dialogue?

Isn’t it time to change the dialogue? ghazala_shalam.jpg

an op/ed by Ghazala Salam

As French police close in on the suspects that killed at least 12 people in a shooting attack on a French satirical magazine in Paris, the American Muslim Democratic Caucus joins the world in mourning the loss of lives taken by the masked murderers.

While we don’t know exactly who is responsible, many have assumed immediately that Islamic Extremist have once again wreaked havoc on humanity as we know it. While I agree that extremists of some sort have wreaked havoc in Paris, I don’t agree and condemn the use of the term “Islamic Extremist” because, the use of this term is incongruous and an oxymoron. A person cannot be Islamic and an extremist due to the simple fact that Islam prohibits extremism of any kind and promotes balance in all aspects of life.  It is as simple as that.

Yet a cacophony of voices around the world continue to blame Islam and create false narratives that spread the fear of Muslims instead of questioning other factors involved in creating the insanity that basically leads us to the same intolerant path as the terrorist. Most people lack the understanding of Islam when it comes to knowing the true teachings of the faith. Yet, how issues such as blaming Islam for the evil acts of a small group of extremists are perceived, have shaped and promoted misconceptions towards the 1.6 billion globally-diverse Muslims.

 The American Muslim Democratic Caucus is united against all those who terrorize innocent people in our nation and around the world, and those who permit the killing of other human beings.  We strongly believe that it is necessary to apprehend the perpetrators of these crimes, as well as those who aid and abet them through incitement, financing or other means of support, and they must all be brought to justice.

It is ironic that, as many around the world wonder what is wrong with Islam, Muslims unequivocally wonder what is wrong with those who turn to terrorism? Why do they choose the path of destruction and crime? Why do they go against the teachings of Islam, why do these murderers shout the name of God before committing these acts of crime?

Continuing to blame Islam does nothing more than create fear of Muslims giving way to yet another form of extremism and hate, as we currently see in Germany with the growing strain of Xenophobia and Anti-Islamic demonstrations. The misperceptions held by Islamaphobes as well as terrorists present a clear danger to our universal values of freedom, equity, and justice.  

It really is time to change the dialogue and defeat the intolerant mentality of terrorists and Islamaphobes with unity and humanity by looking deeper into the root causes and external motivators such as the social, economic, cultural and political environments that breed evil and cause others to act in ways that demean, dehumanize, harm, destroy and kill innocent people.

This will certainly give more insight as to why someone would detonate an explosive outside of the Colorado Springs NAACP office, or what motivated the Gunman to hold hostages in a café in Sydney Australia, or why some hear GOD telling them to kill their children? Why murders think they can be martyrs?  Why mass shooting have become so frighteningly common yet mundane in our nation. 

It is one thing for public opinion to be shaped by perceptions of factual matters that breed violence and extremism and another when people choose to make assumptions to feed and satisfy misconceptions. Changing the dialogue will certainly present clear issues for a more informed public debate and policy making.

Ghazala Salam is the President of the American Muslim Democratic Caucus

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Thanksgiving Message from the Chair

Dear Miami Dems –

As we prepare for Thanksgiving with family and friends, I wanted to drop a quick note to say thank you, from the bottom of my heart, for all that you do.

While the results of this election were not what we hoped for, there's no better time than Thanksgiving to reflect on all we are grateful for: our many courageous elected leaders, from President Obama all the way down to our new commissioner Daniella Levine Cava, and the incredible social change that Democrats have been able to achieve together over the years.

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Thank You

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Last night's results may not have been what we wanted. We know from his first term that Governor Scott will be no friend to working families. This is why we must continue our push to make Florida BLUE. That effort begins with us here in Miami-Dade County.

We must meet this new reality with renewed vigor and determination. There are too many families counting us to defend their right to vote, expand access to health care, protect our children and place them on a pathway to success from "cradle to career" and provide a ladder to prosperity for families struggling to make ends meet.

I would like to THANK all of our volunteers, contributors, supporters, and candidates. I would like to congratulate Congresswomen Wasserman-Schultz and Wilson who will continue to move our issues in Congress, Senator Braynon and Representatives Geller, McGhee, Campbell, and Rodriguez who's victories assure us that we will have champions working for us in Tallahassee. I would also like to congratulate our local elected Democrats in areas like Aventura, North Miami, Opa-Locka, Palmetto Bay and Cutler Bay who will support a progressive agenda here at home.

We are on the side of equity and social justice and will continue to push for it.

With gratitude,

Sen. Dwight Bullard
Miami-Dade Dems Chair

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Remind your friends to vote today!

I know I can count on YOU to vote, but have all your friends already voted?

Time's running out.

Update your Facebook profile picture right now, and remind them to vote today!

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1. Right click and save the image above.

2. Go to your Facebook profile.

3. Hover over your Facebook picture. Click "Update Profile Picture" and "Upload Photo..."


That's one simple reminder you can take right now to remind all your friends to vote.

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The Miami Dems 2014 slate card

Are you voting blue this year? This is the Miami Dems slate card for 2014.

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Young Democrats of Miami-Dade Demand Apology for Carlos Curbelo’s Insulting Statements on Young Americans and Seniors

Media Contact: Lili Bach
305-761-4663
bach[email protected]

For Immediate Release
October 14th, 2014

Young Democrats of Miami-Dade Demand Apology for Carlos Curbelo’s Insulting Statements on Young Americans and Seniors

Carlos Curbelo appeared on Facing South Florida with Jim DeFede this weekend and doubled down on statements he made in Washington calling Medicare and Social Security a Ponzi Scheme. On Facing South Florida, Mr. Curbelo stated that he called Medicare and Social Security a Ponzi Scheme because that is “how young people feel” about the vital programs.
“As a 29 year old young professional, I was surprised and dismayed to hear Carlos Curbelo try to defend his 'Ponzi scheme' comment about Medicare and Social Security by claiming that his views are somehow representative of 'young people.' For‎ the record: we don't think that these vital programs are a 'Ponzi scheme' -- that's just Carlos Curbelo -- and we are just as angry that Curbelo would try and say one thing in Washington and the opposite in South Floridia as everyone else,” said Lili Bach, President of Miami-Dade Young Dems. “Instead of trying to hide behind his age, Curbelo should apologize for his remarks, and he should also apologize to younger Floridians for his transparent attempt to use us to help his own political ambitions."

Young Democrats of Miami-Dade is the local chapter of Young Democrats of America. Young Democrats of Miami’s programs are aimed at building a sustainable youth movement, providing young people the infrastructure to engage in civic participation.

On Background:

Transcript of Mr. Curbelo on Facing South Florida with Jim DeFede

DeFede: Why'd you refer to it as a Ponzi scheme.
Curbelo: It's figure of speech, and it reflects what a lot of young people feel that they're paying a system that perhaps won't exist for them.

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Senator Dwight Bullard Elected New Chair of Miami-Dade Dems

Date: Thursday, August 7, 2014
Contact: Juan Cuba, (305) 771-2167
Email: [email protected]

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: Senator Dwight Bullard Elected New Chair of Miami-Dade Dems

Today, the Miami-Dade Democratic Party elected by acclimation State Senator Dwight Bullard to succeed Annette Taddeo-Goldstein, who resigned from the post to become Governor Charlie Crist’s running mate.

Taddeo-Goldstein, largely credited with rebuilding the local party, nominated Senator Bullard for Chair. “Dwight is a born leader, and with him at the helm, I am confident that Miami-Dade will – once again – be the reason Democrats win Florida," she said. Seconding the nomination was Congressman Joe Garcia.

Senator Bullard becomes the first elected African-American Chair in the history of the Miami-Dade Democratic Party.

“I am honored that my fellow Democrats have entrusted me to lead the Party at this important moment," said Senator Bullard. "My number one priority will be to defeat Rick Scott in November. I have personally witnessed the damage he has done to our public education system, our civil rights, and our environment, and the many missed opportunities to do the right thing like expand Medicaid, raise the minimum wage, or pass equal pay for women. Scott has been a nightmare for main street. It’s time to wake up and vote him out.”

Senator Bullard has been a long-time leader of the Democratic Party. He was first elected to the Florida House of Representatives in 2008 and then elected to the Florida Senate in 2012, where he currently represents the 39th district in the Florida Senate. He also serves as the Chair of the Florida Legislative Black Caucus.

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