How Can We Help the Yemeni Community? [Archives:2001/28/Focus]

July 9 2001

Ahmad Saad Nasim
Tucson, Arizona, U.S.A.
[email protected]
Throughout the world people are reading negative articles about Muslims and about Islam in general. The western media is quick to point out Muslim extremists in Afghanistan or in other parts of the world, but they never mention about Muslim scientists, businessmen, and other Muslim professionals who are an asset both to their local communities as well as the world community.
The Yemeni people are the greatest asset to their nation. Some readers have in the past written letters asking, “When will Yemen get better?”
“Why are their acts of violence committed against foreigners in Yemen?””What is the source of this problem?””Why are the other Arabian Peninsula neighbors better off than us?”… and so on.
We have, asked, many such questions by using whys, whens, and whats, but the main question should be “How to help the Yemeni community in general?”It may look like the other Arabian Peninsula nations are doing well. It is pertinent to ask what would they have done if none of the Gulf countries possessed massive oil fields and natural gas reserve and what will they do after the fossil fuels are gone. Fossil fuels are a finite source of income which will one day disappear, but the Yemeni people will live on.
Yemeni parents should encourage their children to focus not only in Maths and Science but also in arts and literature. Having a good education helps students think critically and come up with creative ideas whether it be in the form of a new book or a medical discovery.
Yemen needs to focus on cultural education as well so that the Yemeni culture is shared abroad by foreigners as well.
Which is where a new question develops. “Why is there so much hatred for the west?”
Neither the westerners nor the easterners have any real mode of communication except embassies and the exchange of tourists.
Islam is the fastest growing religion in America, and will soon surpass Judaism as the largest religious minority in America after only Christianity. Muslim Americans are a diverse community who have succeeded in all paths starting from medicine to the high tech industry. Muslim Student Association is a nationally run organization with chapters in every college in the USA and Canada. There are similar patterns in Europe.
Yet there is a great deal of animosity between the western world and the Muslim world. More and more non-Muslim Americans whether they be African American, White American or Hispanic American have welcomed mosques in their communities as well as Muslims to live in their neighborhoods.
Regardless of this success, education is the key priority of Muslim students in the USA. I am originally from India
and have many Arabian friends. My friends from Saudi Arabia or UAE are always relaxed and take it easy in American college or try to experiencing American lifestyles.
Yet, students from Yemen, like those from the Indian subcontinent, are always focused and study hard in numerous fields ranging from engineering and business administration to political science and even law. President Bush’s Energy Secretary Spencer Abraham is an Arab American with roots off Levantine Arabs from Syria.
We see Yemeni students are succeeding, but Yemen is not doing well. Those who are the best computer scientists or graduates from medical schools to stay in the US or choose to go to Europe or other Gulf Nations.
Yemen may be a great land, and have promising goals in agriculture or the high tech industry, but it is no good until its human resources are utilized.
The Yemeni government needs to encourage tourism, promote Yemeni culture abroad, and invite foreign professors from India, China, USA and Europe to come and teach in Yemen. A high level of scholarly research is a welcome mat for foreign investors from hi tech and biomedical companies.
More and more foreign tourists may consider visiting Yemen. To my knowledge, there have been many new converts to Islam by attending an Islamic class in a college or visiting a Muslim country. You never know that the one human being you may hate, may become part of your great and peaceful faith, Islam.
Education and communication open the only way. Remember in the Quran, Angel Gabriel said to Prophet Mohammad (PBUH), “Iqra” or “READ.”
As a Muslim, I pray that Yemen reaches the zenith of its glory that it had in the ancient days as a major trading and cultural area. We should look at our history as a reminder of where we once were, but rely on our Yemeni children to help create a new Yemen full of peace and prosperity.