Jun 07 2015

Muslims Share Peace and Food at Porc … fest

Ramadan at Porcfest XIIBy Ramy Osman
June 7, 2015

  When Muslims first hear of the “Porcfest” event, their reaction might be to think that it’s Islamically prohibited to participate in such a festival. After all, Muslims are forbidden from eating and dealing with pork and other swine products. So why would a Muslim want to go to a festival that’s all about porc?

Gadsden Flag: snake vs porcupine

Battle of the Gadsden flags: snake vs porcupine

   Porcfest is an annual week-long camping event in New Hampshire that celebrates libertarian principles. Porc is short for porcupine. And the porcupine is the new symbol that is used to represent a libertarian type of mindset. Porcupines are non-aggressive by nature. They are purely defensive animals, in that they don’t use their sharp spikes unless they’re threatened or attacked in some way. This represents a libertarian mindset because libertarians are against violent aggression, whether that aggression originates from individuals, groups or governments. Known as the Non-Aggression Principle (NAP for short), this principle is an important moral component for those who advocate liberty. There are even Gadsden flags (the flag commonly used by the Tea Party) that have been modified by libertarians; where the aggressive predatory rattle snake has been replaced with the non-aggressive porcupine.

   Muslims can grasp the concept of “it’s porc and not pork”. But when it comes to concepts of Western liberty and freedom, some struggle with this. On the one hand, Muslims will easily understand Western economic liberty; which is why so many have migrated to Western countries. But political and social liberty, along with ideas such as live-free-or-die, and live-and-let-live, are a challenge. This is especially so, because many times Muslims suffer from the excesses and injustices of Western policies (whether it’s in the form of political oppression, military aggression & intervention, media propaganda, financial manipulation, etc.) . And Muslims often end up equating those excesses and injustices, to Western political and social principles. It’s a problem of judging principles of freedom and liberty based on the actions of those who violate those principles… Interestingly, this is something that Muslims are very aware of; Especially when people judge Islam by the actions of people who violate the principles of Islam.
   Another reason why some Muslims find the concepts of freedom and liberty challenging is because of other Muslims (even scholars) who are constantly broadcasting their intolerance and rejection of anyone who is not like them. This creates an impression in the everyday Muslim that Islam does not accommodate differences, which is not true. It’s actually a problem of self-righteousness combined with hatred, which is a plague of humanity, not just of Muslims. Muslims for Liberty is one of the rare organizations that confronts these issues head-on, and tries to bridge the gap between Islamic teachings and libertarian teachings (of course there’s also the Minaret of Freedom Institute which has been doing this work for over two decades).

principles of porcfest  As for Porcfest, it’s been described as a “Woodstock for rational people”. You’ll definitely find Woodstock-like behavior there. But what puts Porcfest on another level is its ability to consistently bring together leading intellectuals and activists of the liberty movement, and host thought-provoking discussions. It’s fringe, and it’s trend-setting. Well known people such as Gary Johnson (former Presidential candidate and former New Mexico Governor) and Patrick Byrne (CEO of overstock.com) have attended in the past. And respected liberty leaders such as Lew Rockwell, Jeffery Tucker , Nick Gillespie, and many others have attended as well.
   Porcfest features panel discussions and presentations stressing the role of freedom and liberty in topics such as political activism, individual rights, alternative currencies, food advocacy, home schooling, etc. You can read more about it in the Porcfest press release, here  .
   Eveyone is welcome to attend Porcfest, and the Muslim community shouldn’t pass up the opportunity. Muslim attendees at the 2014 festival were Will Coley (National Director of M4L), Davi Barker (Coordinator of bitcoinnotbombs.com, Owner of shinybadges.com), Goshe King (We Are Change, New Hampshire), Kevin Barrett (Host of truthjihad.com and Editor of Veterans Today), and a number of other Muslims who support the message of liberty. M4L has been leading the way in getting more Muslims involved. And insha Allah (God willing) we’re expecting more to be involved at this years event.

  Last year, Ramadan started during the last few days of Porcfest. Instead of breaking fast at sunset with just the few Muslims who were in attendance, M4Ls Will Coley decided to provide free meals for the entire liberty community there. He raised money from the Muslim community in his home town of Knoxville TN, and alhamdulillah (praise God), was able to feed hundreds of people at the festival. In addition to free Iftar meals, Will was on the Porcfest schedule of events and gave talks about Islam and liberty  .
   The work of M4L at Porcfest went a long way in presenting Islam and Muslims in a positive light. Spreading food and peace is a prophetic teaching that Muslims take pride and comfort in. As was reported in the book Riyad-us Saliheen:

A man once asked the Messenger of God (ﷺ): “Which act in Islam is the best?” He (ﷺ) replied, “To give others food to eat. And to greet with peace those who you know, and those who you don’t know.”

  Insha Allah M4L will be attending the upcoming 12th annual Porcfest (June 21 – 28, 2015). This year, the entire week falls within Ramadan, and we plan on giving away thousands of free meals (instead of just hundreds). M4L will be bringing the spirit of Ramadan to the mountains of New Hampshire, and will be working to build a community through shared meals and shared ideas. Located at site #59, M4L will have Masjid Al-Lateef (The Mosque of Grace), and will have the M4L kitchen for preparing iftar meals. Site #59 is centrally located, is at the top of the hill and is in a high traffic area thus ensuring many people will be fed. M4L’s Will Coley is on the speaking schedule again, and will also be leading the Jumuah prayer (open to all), to be held at 1:30 PM on Friday the 26th. Davi Barker is also on the speaking schedule, where he’s scheduled to be a regular part of the late-night Freedom Feens Radio Show.
M4L porcfest fundraising  We thank the Muslim community of Knoxville TN, for helping us start the “Ramadan at Porcfest” project. We Thank Imam Zaid Shakir for his support and encouragement. And we thank those who have donated and allowed us to almost reach our Porcfest fundraising goal.
   M4L’s work doesn’t end at Porcfest. We’re planning to attend more liberty events around the country in the coming months. If you support our mission of promoting the overlapping principles of Islam and libertarianism, then donate to our general fund. We are a purely volunteer organization, and 100% of your donation will be used for our outreach activities and events.
May Allah reward you, guide us all, and accept our deeds.




UPDATE 5/31/2016:

The new donation page for 2016 is here: http://launchgood.com/liberty 

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