Wednesday, August 16, 2006

Muslim Voices

As I volunteer for CAIR-SC, I often hear from board members and others how can we speak against the violence being done in the name of Islam. What people don't realize is that a simple letter to the editor or quest column will do the trick. If someone sees a news story on NBC news that is offensive or incorrect, all one has to do is call up and complain. I went to ISNA conference in Chicago three years ago, and there were Muslim Journalist discussing what Muslims can do. A guy from NBC news mentioned no Muslims call and complain about coverage. There was a news story about Muslims are outraged over the foreign policy, and the news showed about 30 Muslims protesting. In reality there are about 6 Million Muslims in the US. He was saying that the news piece was wrong about a majority of Muslims are against our foreign policy. He said that not one Muslim called up to correct them or complain.

In today's State paper, there is a letter that was published. I thought I would share it.

Immigrants must support America

Fortunately for Muslims living in America, this is not Nazi Germany of the 1930s. No secret police will take them to concentration camps for failing to severely criticize terrorists who also claim to be faithful Muslims, but many will wonder where their allegiance lies.

What is needed from them is unceasing, highly vocal support for America and all those who live here.

We are a constantly cooking stew that is continually enriched by immigrants from other parts of the world. What these immigrants must do is step up to the plate and show that they, too, want to be Americans, not Muslim-Americans or Irish-Americans or whatever. Imitating your neighbor is not required, respecting him is.

If your allegiance is not to America, then leave.


West Columbia

George is right that as Muslims we aren't living near a Nazi camp, but Muslims are afraid of what the government can or may do to people following a religion of peace. There are people of every religion that take their religious texts out of context. The people who are using the name of Islam do conduct these heinous acts are not Muslim. CAIR national sends out releases to all the major papers denouncing these events, but rarely do papers publish this information. I have seen the Washington Post, NY Times, etc.

As a American-born Muslim, I often struggle with balancing my faith and living in the American culture. Most Americans who live here are of other ethnicities, and they are able to live their life and support the American lifestyle. However, it is very hard for Muslims to live in America for a variety of reasons. Part of the religion is to dress modesty, and there are Americans who don't do that and influence people to do the same. We aren't suppose to eat pork or drink alcohol, but if I want an Egg McMuffin sandwich from McDonald's, then I have to remember to have the ham taken off. The younger Muslims today struggle with issues that their parents didn't have to face growing up in other countries. They are influenced to date, drink alcohol, peer pressure, etc. They are afraid to talk to their parents because they will get upset and freak out if they ask these types of questions. The youth have told me that they can't tell their parents problems going on in their lives. They don't understand what they are going through because they were born in their home country. There is a dichotomy between the two generations, which I believe everyone struggles with regardless of religion or race.

Under the Patriot Act, the government can retain someone without cause and keep them in custody for months. If someone took my dad away because of something he said or rented, I wouldn't know where he went or why or get him out because the government can keep him for 30 days without reason. That is very scary for people, especially Muslims because everyone believes we are out to get America. One of the things I believe growing up and learning in US History class was that we have the right to disagree with government. We should protest what government does but, if we do disagree, the President and Republicans believe we are anti-American. However, I believe it is more anti-American if we don't protest or question what the government is doing. If we don't question, then government will continue to do things and get away with things that may not be in our best interest. It takes a lot of courage to disagree. If people know something is wrong and don't speak up, then that is more unpatriotic.


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