They are part of the national fabric that holds our country together. They contribute to America in many ways, and deserve the same respect as any of us. I pledge to spread this message, and affirm our country’s principles of liberty and justice for all.
I have had the pleasure during the second half of my life to get to know many people who are Muslim-Americans. I have been enriched through our interactions and the chance I've had to learn some of the tenants of the Muslim faith. I am proud, grateful, and better for the sharing.
My Muslim-American friends and acquaintances have often shown acts of charity, respect, inclusiveness and tolerance which have spurred me to be better in these areas - consistent with my own Catholic faith.
The acts of charity have frequently been given without regard to the religion of the recipients. On a number of occasions I have had Muslim-Americans pay me to act as an attorney for Americans who could not otherwise afford legal counsel to handle their estate or real estate matters.
Many of my more devout Muslim-American friends and acquaintances have exuded respect and inclusiveness for their fellow humans to a degree which awakened me to my own shortcomings. For instance, I had the opportunity to work with a Board of Directors which included a number of Muslim-Americans from the entire socio-economic spectrum - from relatively wealthy persons with multiple advanced degrees, to poor individuals who had not received a high school diploma and who had experienced drug addictions and incarceration; yet despite their differences these individuals listened and learned and respected the opinions and divergent perspectives each brought to the good work being performed. Since then, I have treated panhandlers with additional caring and empathy, and have also measured persons of wealth or significant education with a more careful eye as to whether they exude respect for their fellow humans to a similar degree as my Muslim-American acquaintances.
I unfortunately have had to see and hear of intolerance and abuse inflicted upon Muslim-Americans. I have watched as Muslim-American acquaintances have 'taken the high road' in response - seeking to have their tormentors understand them as fellow humans and Americans, often with limited success. My disappointment and anger against the intolerant and abusive treatment was only tempered by the balanced and relative tolerance shown by the Muslim victims.
Generalizations are always inaccurate. I cannot say that all Muslim-Americans are perfect and would not even say all Muslim-Americans are Ã¢goodÃ¢, just as I cannot say that all Catholic or Christian-Americans are Ã¢perfectÃ¢ or Ã¢goodÃ¢. Every religion here in America has better and worse members. What I can and do say here is: I am better for having been given the opportunity to know, learn and experience many Muslims as fellow individual Americans. I would think that large Fortune 500 companies, with their national perspectives, would have advertising policies which appreciate and celebrate diversity and inclusivenessÃ¢Â¦ Those Fortune 500 companies without such policies are less deserving of my patronage.
Recently, I heard someone say that America is better, not because it is Ã¢a melting potÃ¢ where each addition is melted down into the same generic mush; but America is better because America is a Ã¢saladÃ¢ where the lettuce is complimented by the addition of croutons, sun flower seeds, raisins, cheese, apples, etc., each of which is encouraged to retain some of its individuality in order to be a better whole.
I wasn't going to make this story about Islam, just my experiences with Ramadan. But I feel as a conservative (which doesn't have to be synonymous with bigot) I have to say something about the hateful intolerance I've seen towards cultures and beliefs we insulated Americans don't understand. … Continue Reading »
For years, I've been engaged in interfaith work in a variety of ways. I work for the Catholic peace movement, Pax Christi (the Peace of Christ). Through my job, I have helped organize a couple of Fall Assemblies at which we had a panel of Christian, Jewish, and Muslim … Continue Reading »
Asalaamu alaikum. Peace to all who read this. My name is Saif Allah Downs. I'm a 31 year old revert to Islam. I was a Christian for many years but never truly satisfied that I had found my home, the place where I belonged. I had struggled to understand my … Continue Reading »