On July 4th, 2016 we will be celebrating the 240th birthday celebration of America, we have to take the time to reflect upon our journey from the immortal declaration of independence on July 4th, 1776 to July 4th, 2016.
Our Founding Fathers laid the ground work for such a society, “ We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness."
Another video about Muslims in America will be posted on Sunday.
We have come a long way, and still have miles to go to realize the above truths, and also to fulfill the dream of Mahatma Martin Luther King Jr. The last few years have packed an incredible amount of events in our history. The pulling down of the confederate Flag after the poor race relations gives us a lot of hope, the Supreme court’s landmark decision to make same sex marriage legal brings freedom to the LGBTQ community in the whole of human history; yet another decision by the supreme court brings freedom to those who were vulnerable, sick and the poor, thanks to Obama for working for a healthy America. The affordable care Act is the law of the land now.
First, I pray for the spirit of that freedom to be born again, again and again every year, year after year for eternity. Indeed, we are the land of the free and the brave. The entire world looks up to America with admiration, while we still have a few more milestones to achieve.
Now thank God to the Supreme Court, no one will dare to legally abuse the freedom of three groups of people; African Americans, Jews and the LGBT community. Two more communities, among many more need such freedom; the women are still not getting equal pay. I hope the Republicans will join the Democrats and Pass the bill.
Who is left behind?
The Hispanics and the Muslims are perhaps the last two communities that need to be included without any reservation, and I pray that the Hindus, Buddhists, Sikhs, Jains, Atheists and other Americans don’t have to go through the humility that Muslims and Hispanics have endured.
The American Muslims and Hispanics have become a target to heap abuse without any consequence. Shamefully the Presidential Candidates top the list in violating the American values, there were so many who gleefully said they would profile Muslims, build a wall, or not hire a Muslim in their cabinet. The dumb men did not even know the constitution that has made and kept America one of the greatest nations on the earth. We are the envy of the world for who we are. A few Senators and Congresspersons have loose mouths that release any things without batting an eye.
The problem is two sided, we the Muslims are not connected enough with the mainstream society for a vast majority of Americans to stand up for us, empathize with us, or even understand the truth about us that we are no different than them in our endeavors and aspirations of life. We must however express our gratitude to the millions of Americans who have stood up for us, compelled by their sense of justness and fair play every time an untowardly incident happens. Thanks to the interfaith community for standing up for each other and build a stronger America.
As American Muslims we are making serious efforts to be fully participating and contributing members of the society towards security, peace and prosperity of our homeland. We have strongly stood up for free speech, but we are not loud enough to bring the change in perceptions.
As American Muslims we uphold, protect, defend and celebrate the values enshrined in our constitution. That is the only laws Muslims have pledged to adhere to. Our faith reinforces the creed of "One Nation under God, with liberty and justice for all."
As Muslims we stand against Public Sharia in America, which is about administrating the relationship between an individual and others in the society. However, we believe in the personal Sharia, which is about the relationship between an individual and the creator. To get a full picture of Sharia, please read the article ‘Genesis of Sharia Law’ at ShariaLaws.com
We will take bold steps in behalf of Muslims to get us on par with the other communities who had endured the abuse, and with the support of all Americans, we will hold the abusers feet to the fire, no matter who it is. Join us in freeing all Americans from biases.
Muslims are an integral part of America
Upon declaration of our independence on July 4, 1776, two of the first three heads of states who recognized the sovereignty of the United States were Muslim and one of them is an Indian Muslim.
Americans, Indians and Muslims have a connection since the very beginning of our independence. We were all opposed to colonial rule, and fought Lord Cornwallis, and chased him from America, but he got us in India through deceit.
Morocco was the first state to recognize the independence of the United States of America, and they signed the Moroccan-American Treaty of Friendship; first of its kind. Friesland, one of the seven United Provinces of the Dutch Republic, was the next to recognize American independence (February 26, 1782) and Tippu Sultan, the King of Mysore State (India) was the third. According to Dr. Range Gowda, Tippu Sultan’s historiographer, the congratulatory letter to America is preserved in a French Library in September of 1776; Tippu celebrated the America’s independence by bursting fire crackers.
It was a coincidence, that General Cornwallis who surrendered to George Washington in the battle of York Town in 1781 was the hired gun to defeat Tippu Sultan through deceit in the 4th war of Mysore against colonialism in 1799.
One of the folk stories about Tipu Sultan was that he supported the freedom struggle of America; indeed, the British were the common enemy for both the nations. Lord Cornwallis and Lord Wellesley ruled both the nations. We hope to search for the documents for authenticity, right now this item is a folk tale.
Tippu Sultan of Mysore, India is one of the few rare heads of states in the world who adopted pluralistic form of government and humbly signed the documents as citizen of the state. Though there is controversy about him, most of it is unfounded and he is one of the first Indian Heroes who wanted to get the colonialists out of India.
What does July 4th mean to me?
The very first step on American soil puts a smile on an immigrant’s face; if not you, it has happened to your parents, grand or great grandparents. It’s the exuberance you witness on a baby’s face when she stands up for the first time, it is the exhilaration you see when a toddler eats the food on his own for the first time or the relief written all over the face of a student when he or she graduates. Indeed, it is an expression of freedom I felt upon arrival in New York nearly four decades ago.
It overwhelms just about every immigrant for the warmth they feel when they arrive and find open arms wherever they go. You often hear, “you can be whatever you want to be” you just have to put in 110% of your effort. My boss “DW” Lewis said, “Mike when you watch the horse race, the winning horse does not win by yards but inches, not by minutes but seconds. You see the effort of that losing horse was nothing less, and the winning horse did not double its effort either. It was just that little 10% extra that got him the win and the accolades,” and he would conclude,” be that winning horse.” I am blessed to have received that advice.
That is the American Character that I want to preserve which has soaked me with political, religious and spiritual freedom.
What does July 4th mean to Muslims?
It means everything and the biggest one is the freedom. Islam is indeed about freedom of conscience, justice and liberty. Sadly a few from Islam and other religions don’t live up to the ideals of their own faith.
The pledge of Allegiance is one of the most cherished statements for Muslims, “One Nation under God, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all.” There are several verses in Quran that assert those values; it’s like coming home for Muslims.
The concept of equality is etched and nurtured in Muslim psyche in every ritual and spiritual practice of Islam. Prophet Muhammad delivered the following words in his last sermon, “All mankind is from Adam and Eve, an Arab has no superiority over a non-Arab nor a non-Arab has any superiority over an Arab; also a white has no superiority over black nor does a black have any superiority over white except by piety and good action." Muslims hold this declaration close to their hearts and as American Muslims, “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.”
The raging inner battle among Americans to keep the state and church apart resonates with Muslims living in America as Quran speaks out to them, 49:13- "O mankind! We have created you male and female, and have made you nations and tribes that ye may know one another. The noblest of you, in sight of God, is the best in conduct. God Knows and is Aware." Indeed, knowledge leads to understanding and understanding to acceptance of the otherness of other and appreciate a different point of view without having to agree with it.
Honoring merit appeals to Muslims, you can be who you want to be and Muslims gloat about their ability to raise on the basis of their merit. Quran emphasizes that no one but you are responsible for you karma, you have the freedom to choose the right path or go astray but you alone are responsible for your actions and no one will bear your burden.
The Prophet tells his own daughter that she will not get a free pass to paradise because she is a daughter of the prophet; she has to earn it on her own through good deeds to fellow beings, such is the emphasis placed on individual responsibility. That is what capitalism, democracy and America are about.
Every immigrant in general and a Muslim in particular loves the idea that you are innocent until proven guilty. They were tired of being framed in the lands they came from; they see the wholesomeness of Justice in America and they love America. An observant Muslim recites at least 17 times a day that God alone is the judge and we must refrain from judging others.
Please note an overwhelming majority of American Muslims live up to the ideals of their religion as all other Americans live up to the ideals of their religions.
Look out for my upcoming book, “The Mistakes Muslims have made”.
A great video will be uploaded on Sunday here with the same title on YouTube.
God bless America, Happy 4th