The Future of Islam after the Election
Muslims will strengthen our democracy, and the political future of America will remain a bright spot and the hope for the world.
American Muslims cherish the election process with immense gratitude. Voting is an expression of patriotism, and for most Muslims it is a sacred duty. They will invariably vote for the candidate who upholds the constitution. There are a lot of people to thank for this privilege. Thanks, above all, go to Rosa Parks, Martin Luther King, Jr., and other patriots for their effort in bringing realization to our declaration that “all men are created equal,” which led to the passage of the Civil Rights Act. That one single act opened the doors and benefited generations of immigrants from around the world—including Muslims.
The history of Muslims in America is a fascinating one that intersects with many other strands of American life. Until 1964, a majority of Muslims in America were African Americans. Now, the majority of Muslims in America are immigrants, and within a decade the second and third generation will surpass the number of immigrant Muslims, creating a new majority of “‘Born in the USA” Muslims. Together, all of them appreciate what they have that Muslims elsewhere don’t: freedom. Today, many in America are home with American values. Indeed, Prophet Muhammad’s last sermon calls on Muslims to treat everyone as equal. Eleven hundred forty four (1144) years later, the same thought made its way into our declaration “‘that all men are created equal.”’. The other value American Muslims hold dear is freedom.
The Quran is absolutely clear on this point; no one should be compelled to believe against his or her will, says the Quran at 2:62. Thus, many Muslims believe that America upholds the human values they espouse, while other nations, even Islamic ones, have abandoned them. Muslims are deeply committed to America’s constitution and sworn to her stability, prosperity, and safety. Do Muslims fall in love with America? Of course they do. They fall in love with all their heart, mind and soul. And why wouldn’t they? As we move forward towards perfecting our union, the American Muslim community will become the backbone of American Democracy. They strongly believe in one’s unalienable right to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness as enunciated in our immortal declaration of independence, and they will defend and uphold our constitution.
In fact, as the famous Gold Star father Khizr Khan pulled the pocket version of the constitution out of his coat pocket, the American Muslims found company in him; most of them carry it with them. Muslim Americans have taken this election seriously and are momentarily taken back with the anti-Muslim rhetoric from the politicians. However, they trust the American system that ensures political and social stability. They are conscious of the 537 votes that put George W. Bush in the White House in the 2000 election, and now individuals and organizations are relentlessly campaigning to register to vote. Almost every Muslim I know asks one question: Did you register to vote?
The future of American politics is secure and will continue to be strengthened by Muslim Americans. They have placed their faith in our constitution and believe, along with Thomas Jefferson, that the “governments are instituted among [all humans], deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed.” Like Jefferson, many Muslim Americans are willing to give their full consent to those who will uphold the constitution, too. Voting is a sacred duty for Muslims, and like all Americans, you will find Muslims who will be voting for Democratic, Republican, Libertarian, Green or other party nominees. To those who are advocating a protest vote or no vote, I would say, by not voting they are throwing away the most powerful thing they have, the right to vote. They might as well flush it down the toilet if that is what it is worth. We should not feel embarrassed over what comes out of the mouths of the political candidates; each one has a right to express the range of his or her civility or ugliness. America offers that opportunity to every American, and that is the right thing to do.
No matter how a political candidate behaves, acts and talks, he or she should not be denied an opportunity to run for the office. Indeed, that is how democracy works. We have to learn to live with others despite our differences. Tim Kaine’s conclusionary remarks in the vice-Presidential debate on October 4, 2016 exemplify democracy and political pluralism. When he said that as a Catholic he has had difficulty with abortion and death penalty, but that he would also set aside his personal belief and follow the law, I applauded his honesty.
Donald Trump has also said, “If you don’t want me to take advantage of what is lawful Tax deduction, change the laws.” Muslims will strengthen our democracy, and the political future of America will remain a bright spot and the hope for the world. Indeed, American Muslims can go out to other nations and spread democracy by sharing our values of what God wants: to honor and respect each one of his creation.
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