Published On:01 April 2012
Posted by Indian Muslim Observer

Public Behavior Model for Muslims

By Mike Ghouse

When they draw the cartoons of the Prophet, when they burn the Quraan… Muslims can do what the Prophet had done; pray for their well being.

We can aggravate the conflicts by violently protesting it, or mitigating the conflicts and nurturing goodwill by following the examples of the prophet, the mercy to mankind. (links to articles below)
We can hold prayer rallies in the public square, invite the media, and invite the elected and public officials where necessary. Then pray for the well being of the miscreants and announce that we do not appreciate it, but we believe they have their right to free speech (read the statement below by Todd Stave). If we do that, the miscreants will have no incentive to piss off Muslims, but if we fall prey to their bait, we lose, not only lose, but really not follow the prophet, the peace maker.

The following is a beautiful story for Muslims to consider emulating…


By Petula Dvorak, Updated: Thursday, March 29, 10:10 AM

Regardless of how you feel about abortion, the way Todd Stave flipped the script on his bullies is pretty dang clever.

Stave is the landlord of a medical clinic in Germantown that offers abortions. Reproductive Health Services Clinic became a big focus of anti-abortion protesters when it was leased to LeRoy Carhart, one of the few doctors in the nation who acknowledges performing late-term abortions.

There are always protesters outside the office park property quietly praying or holding a vigil, with signs, rosaries, statues of Mary and bloody, gory posters of mangled fetuses.

“Totally appropriate. It’s their right. They are protected by the First Amendment. And outside the clinic is probably the most appropriate place for them to express their views,” he told me this week.

This has been a way of life for Stave. He’s not just a landlord. That office was his father’s clinic. Then his sister ran it.

“I’ve been a member of this fight since Roe v. Wade. Since I was 5 years old,” he said. The office was firebombed when he was kid, and protesters gathered outside his father’s home as he was growing up. So he’s no stranger to the harassment and bullying of doctors and their families.

It’s become routine for protesters to distribute fliers, posters and create Web sites with all of a doctor’s personal information and urge others to target them. Kansas doctor George Tiller was killed in 2009 and his protege, Carhart, had his farm burned to the ground.

The tactical twist — to focus on a clinic’s property owner — was also a clever move. Stave himself could take it. He’s pretty tough after all these years in this debate.

But his harassers crossed the line last fall, when a big group showed up at his daughter’s middle school on the first day of classes and again at back-to-school night. They had signs with his name and contact information as well as those awful images of the fetuses.

“What parent wants to have that conversation with an 11-year-old on the first day of school?” he fumed.

Soon after that, the harassing calls from protesters started coming to his home. By the dozens, at all hours. Friends asked him how they could help. He began to take the names and phone numbers down of anyone who contacted him with an unwanted call. And he gave those lists to his friends and asked them to call these folks back.

“In a very calm, very respectful voice, they said that the Stave family thanks you for your prayers,” he said. “They cannot terminate the lease, and they do not want to. They support women’s rights.”

This started with a dozen or so friends, then grew. Soon, there were more than a thousand volunteers dialing.

If they could find the information, Stave’s callers would even ask the family how their children were doing, and mention their names and the name of their school. “And then we’d tell them that we bless their home on such and such street,” giving them their address.

In some cases, the family of a protester who called Stave’s home could get up to 5,000 calls in return.

Harsh? Nope.

“We gave them back what they gave us,” he said. Do onto others, and so forth.

The supporters came so fast and in such big numbers, Stave founded a group, Voice for Choice . And now there are about 3,000 volunteers ready to make calm, reasoned calls to the homes of people who bombard doctors, landlords and families with their unsolicited protests at homes or schools across the country.

Stave is pretty rakish about explaining the tactic, clearly enjoying turning the tables after decades of not fighting back.

“What? They don’t want unsolicited calls to their homes?” he asked.

Still, there are calls they won’t make.

“Someone might call and say: “They’re protesting in front of my clinic. They’re praying, chanting, with their signs.’ And I say: ‘Are they harassing you? Harassing the patients?’” Stave said.
“And if they say ‘No’, then I say: ‘I can’t help you. There is no more appropriate place for them to do this than here. They are protected by the First Amendment.”

He is being called a hero and even received an award from NARAL at a big gala in California last week. And that’s when the trouble began again.

While he was out in California, his neighborhood was canvassed with fliers depicting Stave in a Nazi uniform, with graphic photos of Holocaust victims and mangled fetuses. And it had all of his contact information as well as phone numbers and addresses for other family members.

“It wasn’t random. They knew I’d be gone and they wanted my daughters and neighbors to find them,” he said.

On Monday, a protester showed up outside of his brother-in-law’s Rockville dental office, protesting abortion where molars were being extracted.

“How was your trip to San Francisco?” the protester asked Stave, when he arrived at the dental office to confront him.

Seriously? Confronting patients getting cavities filled with horrifying posters of a ripped up fetus is a reasonable protest tactic?

And these folks don’t seem to care if children are around for the show. One year, the March for Life protesters leaving the Mall poured into the playground of my child’s pre-K school, slapping stickers on their jackets and putting fliers into the hands of 4-year-olds . The police were called to get them out.

All of this is ridiculous.

People who want to stop abortion can make a difference with education, support, counseling and genuine efforts to prevent unwanted pregnancies and support childrearing.

They need to be working toward affordable and safe childcare for all, solid healthcare for children and generous workplace policies and family leave so that parenthood is not an onerous and difficult prospect in America.

In last year’s report “Failing its Families,” Human Rights Watch wrote that at least 178 countries have national laws guaranteeing paid maternity leave. The exceptions include Swaziland, Papua New Guinea and the good ole United States of America.

Working on real issues like this, that actually support the family values these protesters say they hold so dearly is one way to stop abortions.

But harassing schoolchildren — or even dentists — is not.

Related Posts:
Quraan Burning and appeal to Muslims
Are Muslims part of the American story?
Draw Muhammad Day

[Mike Ghouse is committed to building cohesive societies where no Indian has to live in anxieties, discomfort or fear of the other. He is a frequent guest at the TV, radio and print media offering pluralistic solutions on issues of the day. Mike Ghouse is associated with IndianMuslimObserver.com as Foreign Editor. He can be contacted at MikeGhouse@aol.com]

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Posted by Indian Muslim Observer on April 01, 2012. Filed under , , , , , , . You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. Feel free to leave a response

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