It happens annually at my masjid: the mass exodus abroad.
Right after school ends, families beginning leaving for vacation "home" or to "my country".
The only Muslims left are the locals (usually born Americans converts who are already "home"), the poor, and the "undocumented" who would love to visit "home" but cannot for obvious reasons.
Just about everything at the masjid comes to a dead halt: halaqa, school, Arabic class, board meetings, special events, etc. No decisions are made until those who went "home" come back home again. Those of us left here over the summer are in an Islamic Twilight Zone until the end of August.
Why is this so?
Something I saw on the Sunday morning political talk shows gave me a clue.
My ears perked up as I heard that the Iraqi Parliament is scheduled to take a TWO MONTH vacation soon. What!!! A TWO MONTH vacation? With all that is going on over there?
I couldn't believe my ears!
Maybe the Iraqi Parliament has taken a cue from the American Congress, who leaves Washington, DC, on a regular basis for long weekends, vacations, breaks, etc. When they are in session, they don't get much accomplished except partisan bickering. What of the people's business? Don't ask.
Most Iraqi Parliament members don't even live in Iraq. They live abroad. What? Again, I couldn't believe my ears! No wonder they're not in touch with what's going on in Iraq. When they leave for vacation and return to wherever they live "abroad", do they tell people that they're going "home"?
Maybe the Iraqi Parliament has taken a cue from the Palestinians. When Yasser Arafat and his administration were in power, most of their families lived "abroad" too. Did they think it too dangerous to have their own families living and working in Palestine? Do the Iraqi government officials think it too dangerous to have their families living and working in Iraq?
If the answer is "yes", that the country is too dangerous or unstable, then why don't they remain in Iraq and tend to the people's business?!
After all, the Iraqi people cannot take a two month vacation from the madness. Neither can the coalition members unless they have replacements.
And the "insurgents" don't take vacations either.
George Bush tells us that we will stand down when the Iraqis are able to stand up. How will the Iraqis be able to do this, when their own leaders go "home" for two months, leaving them alone to face the car bombings, market explosions, mosque devastations, sectarian violence, tribal/clan disputes, etc., etc., etc., etc., etc.?