Thursday, March 04, 2010

Whistleblowers Expose Housing Discrimination Against Asians and Muslims

The Stonebridge apartment complex in Euless, Texas has made the news because it's been exposed that they've been refusing to rent to Asians and Muslims.

This video brought tears to my eyes for several reasons. Firstly, because of the injustice that Asian and/or Muslim applicants were subjected to. Secondly, because these two Texan women empathized with those that our society has labeled "foreign" and "scary". Let's face it. Texas isn't exactly known for cultivating a belief in the value in religious and ethnic diversity, which makes it even more amazing that they had the courage to stand up against whiteness and white privilege and religious privilege.

When one of the whistle-blowers was talking about how what was done to these applicants wasn't fair, I suddenly thought about a scripture that I was taught as a child. My mother, who is a staunch Christian, taught it to me when I asked her about what would happen on the day of judgment to those who didn't identify as Christians, but still lived as good people while they were alive. Some churches teach that anyone who doesn't proclaim themselves to be Christians were doomed to an eternity in the fiery pits of hell, no matter what good deeds they did in life. My mom always taught me that those people were just wrong and this is the passage she shared with me to back up her claim:
for it is not the hearers of the Law who are just before God, but the doers of the Law will be justified.
For when Gentiles who do not have the Law do instinctively the things of the Law, these, not having the Law, are a law to themselves,
in that they show the work of the Law written in their hearts, their conscience bearing witness and their thoughts alternately accusing or else defending them,
on the day when, according to my gospel, God will judge the secrets of men through Christ Jesus.
Romans 2:13-16
There is a similar scripture in the Qu'ran, that I was recently reminded of by my dear friend at KameelahWrites.

Yes [on the contrary], whoever submits his face in Islam to Allah while being a doer of good will have his reward with his Lord. And no fear will there be concerning them, nor will they grieve.
al-baqarah 122 (Sahih International translation of the Qu'ran)

The classic (al-jalalayn) interpretation of this verse is:
Nay, but, others will also enter Paradise, namely, whoever submits his purpose to God, that is, adheres to His commands (wajh, ‘face’ [sc. ‘purpose’], is here mentioned because it is the most noble part of the body, so that [when it has submitted] there is all the more reason for the other parts [to follow]), being virtuous, affirming God’s Oneness, his reward is with his Lord, the reward of his deeds being Paradise, and no fear shall befall them, neither shall they grieve, in the Hereafter.
I am convinced that these verses are true and I believe that they apply to the two women in this story. People like them remind me that kindness and justice are qualities that anyone can practice, no matter what religion they belong to.

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