Devoted to my Faith and Country
EXACTLY 10 days after my 24th birthday, I would awake to a day that would mark the true beginning of my existence as a human. On a day when my country was attacked and in the subsequent year in which my religion was berated, I have been plagued by sleepless nights, blessed with sympathetic smiles and unnerved by threats where others vowed to "take care of people like me."
Although I was no less of an American on Sept. 10, only one day later was I commanded to "prove" my loyalty to America and to apologize for my religion.
I will never do either and this is why.
I am a Muslim. I believe in the monotheistic deity of Abraham and revere prophets such as Adam, Noah, Moses, Jesus and Muhammad (peace be upon them all) as true messengers of God. Much of the only solace I ever acquire is when I prostrate my head in the direction of Mecca every day. As part of religious mandate, I donate money to the poor and abstain from food and drink during the daylight hours of the blessed month of Ramadan. Mosques serve as peaceful sanctuaries for Muslims, just as churches, synagogues and temples serve our sisters and brothers of other faiths.
I am an American. I was growing up in Chicago while the Huxtable children were growing up, at the same time, on my television. I have seen my beloved Boston Celtics play their final game in the original Boston Garden and have dreamed of playing wide receiver for the Buffalo Bills. I have interned for two U.S. senators, one of whom now serves as this country's attorney general. As I finish my final year of law school at one of this country's finest institutions, I wonder how any rational human being could think that I was anything but American.
As American Muslims, we pledge religious allegiance to Islam and national allegiance to America. We are contributing members of this society and thus are entitled to every inalienable right and freedom that all Americans cherish. Like all Americans, we have the freedom to speak our minds, the right to be tried by a jury of our peers, the entitlement to practice our religion freely and the privilege to dissent against the government when we deem necessary.
For millions of us, this country is the only home we have ever known. Like all Americans, we grumble whenever there is a new tax hike. We worry about leaky faucets, mortgage payments and exorbitant college tuitions. Muslims are your doctors, accountants, engineers, teachers, store owners and activists.
As part of the next generation of Muslims in America, I vow to continue to be an asset to my faith and my country. I will graduate from law school and, like all Muslims, will continue the constant struggle to better humanity. So as I continue my true existence as a human being, regardless of whether or not I am welcome in your home, you are welcome in mine. My home is America.
Arsalan Tariq Iftikhar attends Washington University School of Law in St. Louis. He serves as Midwest communications director for the Council on American-Islamic Relations, the nation's largest Muslim advocacy group.
other groups that crave acceptance can't blend
in as easily. Many of our values are opposite
American values. WE DON'T NEED THE ACCEPTANCE
OF AMERICA. We only need Allah's acceptance!!
I think you need a history lesson and those other Muslims who want to please the kufaar. Badr? Khaybar?India?The Tartars?Burma?Andulus?The fall of the Khalifate? Afghanstan? Iraq?Muslim blood flowing through the alleys of Jerusalem knee high? Buried alive in the Balkans? Bosnia and the systematic rape of men, women and children? Gujrat? Kashmir? Eritrea? Sudan? Somolia?Palestine? Philipines? Chachnya? East Timor? Screams, mourning, gang rape,widows, children without mothers, mothers without children? The pain and agony? The weeping and sleepless nights? The hunger and disease? My friend, the Bosnians 'integrated' and paid with thier lives and honour. Look closely, the writing is clearly on the wall. You have no shame and care only for yourself. So selfish. Wake up! The Islamic world is ablaze and the only thing you can do is warm your hands over it????
I have studied and lived in the US and understand clearly the pressures of that society.
As a 20 year old student I was pressured to adopt an "American" name instead of my Muslim nane. I am 54 years old now and is still proud that I resisted being called anything else than by my Muslim name. Stay strong and proud to be a muslim.
Have you forgotten that democracy is from Pagan greece? Hae you fogotten the masacres of native Americans? Have you forgotten the fights in America against slavery and for Womens sufferage? Thats right American democracy is by nature tolerent just like Andrew Jackson was to the cherokee in Georgia, right?
You know nothing about Islam, our government supports every oppressive regeme in Islamic countires except Iraq. These governments aren't Muslim anymore than Hitler was Christian. They are ruled by "muslims" but they do not follow Islam.
please let me commend you on your covictions.
I have the same convictions ,I am 70 ,and you are 23,
I am trying to get the over 30,and under70 (smile) to do the same.
It seem they have difficulty switchimg from the old counrty to the new .I can understsnd that ,you were born here , this is the only place you know.it is easy for you ,you were exposed to one culture ,theynhave to deel with two opasite ones.
If i were you, I would not brag about your internship with attortny general when he sae a senator .
however you have to fallow your conscience, after you understand what the quran and the hadeeth views on civil rights and human rights .
The A.G.seem to be on the opposit side of justis and respect for human life.
He is a boarder line fascist
His mato "shoot first and ask quesrtions later"
and to complet the sentence "...and I will deffend yo"
That what Himler (Iforgot his first name!!)said to his people when he was the head of th Gistapo
in Odoulf's administration
don't take my word for it ,
what dio I know??? I am just a 70 years old architect.
please refer to what the ACLU people are saying
also what the lawyers guild of Amemca are sying.
these are lawers just like you , or soon to be
remember on judjment day you will be asked about
your words and your deeds,and most of all your intentouns "niyah"
God bless you
God forgive us all
we the people
God bless America
your essay has been on the site for ever,
are you for real ??
may i congratulateyou on your niewsand convictions.
I am trying to get the over 30 to have the same
I HAVE THE SAME CONVICTIONS ,AND I AM 70 AND YOU ARE 23
I have no religion and intend to stay that way.I can't bring myself to be part a group even if some might find this easy - or that's all they know.
Any how keep your chin up and try to be good to all.
prospered in a country that has provided you
well with such public goods as national
defense and economic stability, a muslim
must strive to form a true Islamic state. A
state where the morals and values would
conflict drasticly of those in USA. Another
point I disagree amiably with is that you are
devoted to the USA, a muslim can't have
devotion and alegiance to anything other
Islam. What i infer from the title is the duality of
your devotion to Islam and USA, and they are
clearly not equal, and can not be set up as
partners. The culture of America is very
overwhelming and engulfing and muslims
shouldnt just be satisfied with an Islam city,
they should strive for a Islamic world through
dowah and education of unbelievers.
(pbu)at the same time? It is not possible to say this is foolish. How dare any good Muslim say this. Arrasul (pbuh) never compelled the ahl alkitab as a priority. The pagan Arabs were Allah's first target. The word Kafr refers to people who worship many gods, and those of wathen. The Christians and the Jews have problems in their religions true, but they are still Allah's people who he loves. Musims around the world as well as Christians and Jews would do better not to point their fingers at each other but rather work together to bring back religion to our increasingly secular corporate and Allah forgetting world. We must bring back Allah piety and morality to the west in Alliance with religious Christians and Jews.
We need to make this thought a movement in the entire World. We are with you and support the idea that every muslim must be loyal to his country of residence, espatially the country which has provided you a better system.
Snr Vice President
you can no longer compromise your position.
bush has stated "you are either with us or against us". i.e accept Islam totally or accept capitalism but still pretend to be muslim.
to be in the uk or usa is a geographical situation, but we are not part of their society in the way we think. we are part of the muslim ummah, which they have split into tiny countries for their own gain. we should therefore prioritise our faith and work towards re-unifying all the muslims, to protect them from us attack ant to bring the non beleivers to Islam.
"Whoever calls for asabiyyah (nationalism/ tribalism), fights for asibiyyah and dies for asibiyyah, he is not from us." Hadith reported by Abu Dawud.
Al-Hijr:94 "Proclaim what you have been ordered; And turn away from the mushriks"
"It is he (Allah) who has revealed his Messenger with the Guidance and the Deen of Truth so that it may prevail over all other Deens, no matter how much the Mushrikeen may detest it"
I am an African American Muslim in the military. Being devoted to your faith and country are very different. Being a devoted to your faith should come before anything! Being devoted to your country is more like a hobby. Its true I'm in the military (right now), but I put my faith in Allah before any and everything! Besides, you should be devoted to the whole world, Allah created all of this, so we should all be as one!
have we as muslims forgot our duty to ALLAH and islam? have we forgot our duty is not to intergrate into a kufr system of darkness ,but to bring mankind into the light of islam. brother arsalan,and imam salahudin shame on both of you. you know the prophet told us to leave nationalism...it is rotten. i give you the benefit of the doubt that you must have forgotten the ayat in surah fater 35:10"HE WHO SEEKS THE IZZAH,DIGNITY,GLORY,AND HONOR,LET HIM KNOW THAT IZZAH BELONGS TO ALLAH. or the ayat in surah al-munafiqoon 63:8 "AND THE IZZAH IS FOR ALLAH,HIS MESSENGER AND THE BELIEVERS,BUT THE MUNAFIQOON DO NOT KNOW OR BELIEVE IN THIS. within this context,Umar(ra)said:WE ARE HONORED BY ISLAM;IF WE SEEK THE HONOR THROUGH ANY OTHER THING,THEN ALLAH WILL HUMILIATE".
this is not just for america,but also in the muslim world.nationalism is haraam and has no honor and can not bond humanity together.only islam can do this.like it did in the prophet's time.humanity needs islam.to bring true justice and peace.never will man-made codes of islam and borders will never bring justice.
Those trying to take advantage of the situation to smear Islam will fail as they have failed before, Islam always overcome. Allah will protect his religion.
It is far better for us to know our enemies and where they stand. It is most often that these "fence sitters" get called in to "negotiate" some rediculous "deal" with the Muslims countries.
Soverignty belongs ONLY to Allah Subhana wa ta 'Ala. Bottom line. The kings, queens, sultans and "popular Soveringty" are all anti-Islam and those who support them are as well.
...let me ask you this: why is it that whenever Muslims are referred to, within this country, we are referred to as american Muslim, as oppossed to Muslim american? For, whenever the latino is referred to, she is referred to as Latin american; or, the chinese, chinese-american; even blacks...referred to as African american.Whatever they are first, is what they are referred as, and then, american second. Why is that the case with everything else, except for the Muslims? Why will it not be acknowledged that before we are anything else, that we are Muslims first? For, Allah Himself has named us as such; so, since we are so very honoured to be labeled as such, by the Lord of all the worlds, then, why is it that we let what humans label us, come first, and what the LOrd of the worlds has labeled us last? Why not be referred to as Muslim american, and not the otherway around? Why? I will tell you why: when the people label a person, of non-european descent, their race first, and their place of origin first, that is exactly how they treat them: through racism, they treat them like a Latino-american; like an African american...they label us as american Muslim, because they want you to be and to act and to denounce spirituality, and embrace their democracy, as an american...and then, without compromising your loyalty to their democracy, you can be only as much a Muslim as they say that you can...By the Mercy of Allah Azza Wa Jaal, I am a Muslim first...It is the Lord of The worlds that has named me that...if anything, call me a Muslim american...and not the other way around; as far as justice is concerned? Sure, the events that have taken place a little over a year ago, was indeed a tragedy; but, I think that the biggest tragedy, is the very fact that the people have been betrayed by their very own government. THe dog is not barking...that tragedy, was homegrown...domestic, so to speak...Muslims must mourn own loss: Bosnia...Palestine..
I was in sympathy to your country men and most of all worried for the future of our children.
People like you are to be "admired and supported", after all you are the Next Generation black and white!
From one Aboriginal to Another.
I am just writing to express my gratitude towards Br. Arsalan for his very well written piece on faith and country. We, as Muslims, need to take more initiative and get more involved media-wise so that people know the truth. Br. Arsalan is a great example for that and insh'Allah we should all try to get more involved. JazakAllah khair and may Allah (swt) reward you for your effort.
I am a Christian but I for one can say with complete honesty that I accept you as a fellow member of this country. You may occasionally encounter unfairness in America but you will find this everywhere! I am sometimes unfairly treated because I desire to live in accordance with Jesus. But you must press on and you will see that there are many more who will accept you as you are.
It sounds like Mr. Cunningham is confusing Islam with the basic mission satement of white supremacy, "If you do no have white skin and believe in Christianity, we shall destroy you".
White American males are indeed the original terrorist to America. Massive homocide of Black Americans, Native Americans, massive imprissionment of Latino Americans, the temporary imprissionment of Japanese Americans, unpressadented abductions and rapes of children (in a so called civilized society). Bermingham Alabama was renamed "Bombingham" for all of the explosive devices White Americans directed to people of color and sympathetic Whites.
Theadore Kazinsky, Timothy McVeigh, Terry Nichols... are only a "teaspoon" in a potluck of "White (Christian/Atheist) American Terrorists".
I have to use the distinction of race/religion" because the prejudice in Americand and world media is so pervasive that if you simply say "American Terrorist" the whole planet "assumes you mean an Arab American, a Muslim American or and American convert to Islam.
Yet, no one demands that Mr. Cunningham "goes home" or tells hims that is "not his home".
Brother Arsalan by comparison of what an "American" has meant... Is a refreshing flower, may Allah be pleased with him.
Thus in order to understand the comprehensive message of Quran, you may want to understand the context of its verses. I guess Islamicity is a very good place to study such things.
May Allah shower His guidance and mercy on you. Ameen.
But I would like to say that not every muslim terrorist blood and we would like to life in peace by other religion in USA and in the world.
I am glad to join and make communication with my brothers/sisters ( assalam mualaikum ) American Muslim Community.
Sorry, my English is still in beginner.
I can attest to what Mr. Iftikhar is talking about in his article. May Allah bless him, and ease the task ahead of him. I would like to offer my firm solidarity with Mr. Iftikhar's views.
Jazak Allah Khair.
America is the only democratic republic on Earth that it entirely composed of immigrants and their descendants (the small remaining Indigenous population notwithstanding). These immigrants have come from every nation on Earth and represent every religion. THAT is what what makes America what it is. Pluralism equals strength; it is a very simple and true maxim which sums up what our country is all about. And this country belongs to every American citizens, regardless of religion or where there parents came from or if naturalized, their country of origin. Mr. Cunningham, you need to review your American History and realize that the religious and ethnic pluralism of America is what has made us the strongest and greatest nation in the world. From the day the first explorers of Iceland and Spain set foot on what is now American soil, it is the influence of the world community that manifests itself here in a winning combination. Your ignorance is not only obnoxious but sad as well. I wish you the best in ridding yourself of the cancerous hatred that resides in your soul.
I don't think you fully understand have opposite
your faith is to the freedoms America stands
for. America gives me the right to burn a
Quran and to dephile Muhammed. Will you
fight for my right to do this? America was built
on my right to do just such a thing. Will you
fight for my right to worship my religion? What
if my religion involves worshipping animals, or
idols? The teachings of the Quran and the
Sharia law are totally opposite to the
principles America was founded on.
I salute your courage and firmness, brother. We are Muslims first then "Nationalists" or whatever after. This is a message for the whole world! Say it loud and clear and WE SHALL NEVER APOLOGISE! not to America, not to the world on this FACT.
To my fellow Muslims, I say let us return to Allah and enter His deen wholeheartedly in total submission to his will, and we shall never have to cry again.
Allah is certainly on our side. May He continue to protect Muslims the world over, ameen.