At this very auspicious occasion, I would like express my profound thanks to God Almighty for his blessings. We Americans are observing Thanksgiving during this month on 24 November 2011. I would also like to express my profound thank to millions and millions of my fellow American for their tolerance, understanding and support to the Muslim community in these United States.
Even before the 911 aerial suicide attacks there has been a higher level of ignorance about Muslims and Islam in the US. The situation became worse after those attacks and after the passage of the infamous Patriot Act. This provided a cover to the extremists who came out of the closet. These unhooded extremists have taken the ignorance to higher levels by becoming the disinformation and misinformation experts on Islam and Muslims.
I would like to thank the African-American community for standing with the Muslims and telling them that the impressive victories which they have achieved for equality and justice are always at constant risk of being reversed. It is an on-going battle to be vigilant. The African-American community is advising the American Muslims to rise up and continue their struggle for equality and justice.
After 911 aerial suicide attacks, the extremists in the US suggested that American Muslims be placed in internment camps. They argued that there was a danger of Muslims spying for the terrorists. I would like express my thanks to the Japanese community for empathizing with the Muslim community and saying that they have suffered in these United States when they were placed in internment camps and were accused of disloyalty to America. They told the Muslims that 'during the entire war only ten people were convicted of spying for Japan and they were all Caucasians.' I am going to thank all members of the Japanese American community on this thanksgiving day.
The Latino community is always under the scrutiny. They always live under the threat of being branded as illegal aliens. Muslims also have been subjected to hate crimes, discrimination, harassment, arrests and deportations. At a recent conference held to build bridges the leaders of the Latino community expressed their support and told the Muslims that they understand their pain. I thank you, Latino Americans for your support and understanding.
I also like to thank Muslims leaders of America and all other Americans who inspire me to become a better Muslim and a better American.
Maher Hathout, one of the Muslim leaders of the US, is senior advisor to the Muslim Public Affairs Council and a spokesman for the Islamic Center of Southern California. He said in 2005 in an article (Faith Front) in Los Angeles Times, he answered one of the questions that asked by Faith Front's contributor named Dennis Prager: "Why are you so quiet?" . He said: "Like an urban myth, the idea that Muslims have been mute since 9/11 plagues us. Prager knows that mainstream Muslims have issued condemnations of terrorism ad nauseam, and American Muslim scholars even issued a fatwa against terrorism this summer. The organization I advise (the Muslim Public Affairs Council) last year put together an integrated, grass-roots campaign to fight terrorism and extremism. The problem isn't how loud we are but how deaf some people can be." http://articles.latimes.com/2005/dec/04/opinion/op-faith4
Among other things you said, "Terrorism violates Islamic theology and could ultimately destroy Islam. By using it to defend Islam, you (terrorists) sacrifice Islam. I am angered by people who say that moderate Muslims have been too reluctant to denounce extremism. If I shout and you don't hear me, it means you are deaf. It doesn't mean I didn't shout." (http://articles.latimes.com/2010/oct/31/local/la-me-muslims-20101031). Thank you Dr. Maher Hathout. You presented facts.
Thank you Hussam Ayloush, Executive Director, Council on American-Islamic Relations, Los Angeles and Salaam Al-Marayati, President, Muslim Public Affairs Council, for educating those that are engaging in Islamophobia, manufacturing the so called Muslim Menace, favoring anti-Muslim bias, creating and executing fake terror plots and then putting innocent muslims in jails. Hussam Aylous & Salaam Al-Marayati, you are living in the West of West (Southern California) but providing facts about Islam and fighting for the equality and justice for Muslim Americans to the policy makers in the East (Washington) and advocating for tolerance and justice in the Middle East.
Thank you Dr. Ahmed Sakr, one of the top leaders of the Muslim Community in the US, for telling those who accuse Muslim that they are always trying to convert Americans to Islam. You said, "We are not here to covert you, proselytize you or baptize you; we are not here to teach you, preach you, debate you or convince you; we are here to build bridges."
Thank you Dr. Muzammil Siddiqui, Director of the Islamic Society of Orange County, Southern California, for presenting a copy of the Qur'an - Koran - to our President George Bush in September 2001. This prompted hundreds of Americans to read the Qur'an.
Thank you, Congressman Keith Ellison, the first Muslim elected to the United States Congress (for Minnesota's 5th congressional district) for taking the oath in the Congress by placing your hand on the copy of the Qur'an once owned by Our President Thomas Jefferson. You had insight; by taking an oath on this copy of Quran you were displaying the U.S. founding fathers' religious tolerance. This really sent a message to millions and millions of Americans who watched you taking the oath and started thinking that ignorance and intolerance are the enemies of America.
Thanking Muslim leaders for fighting Muslim fundamentalists, Muslim extremists and Muslim terrorists.
I would like to express my profound thank to millions and of millions of Caucasian and White Americans who are standing by the Muslims and supporting them to show to the whole world that the dark FACE (Fundamentalists, Arid Conservatives and Extremists) on the American scene does not represent United States. This month, November 2011, more than 100 non-Muslims students at University of California, San Bernardino, wore the hijab, Muslim scarf, to show solidarity with Muslim students and also to experience what if feels to be in that garb. They discovered that Muslim women are stronger and courageous than Muslim men. Thank you very much scholars and student community of America. I wish I could thank millions and millions of Americans individually on this Thanksgiving day - November 24, 2011. At least several hundred Americans I know personally, but it is a tremendous task. Right now, I am praying to Almighty God to bless you and your families.
Thank you Rev. J. Edwin Bacon for educating those who want to burn the bridges of understanding and indirectly incite naive Americans to indulge in violence against Muslims. "The Rev. J. Edwin Bacon, rector of All Saints Church in Pasadena, had just returned from vacation when he heard about a Florida pastor who was threatening to burn copies of the Koran, Islam's holy book. " I was disgusted, rather than burning Korans, we should be studying them." http://articles.latimes.com/2010/oct/31/local/la-me-muslims-20101031
Thank you Whoopi Goldberg for telling Bill O'Reilly, on October 14, 2010, that he is an extremist, after he expressed his views and said, "Muslims killed us on 9/11". You and Joy Behar walked of the set of your talk show " The View". Joy Behar later spoke out about the incident to POP Eater and said, "Really, is anyone talking about it? He is an idiot. I just couldn't sit there any longer and listen to him". Thank you Joy Behar.
I would like to express my thanks to Leroy D. Baca, Sheriff, County of Los Angeles for his strategy to make America a safer place. Sheriff Baca establish a partnership with the Muslims community, and started Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department Outreach Program in 2007, which later became the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department Muslim Community Affairs Unit. He appointed Sergeant Muawiya Mike Abdeen and Deputy Sheriff Sherif Morsi as the officers in charge of this unit that performs two-fold responsibility of building trust and understanding between the Muslim community and the Sheriff Department, and training the Sheriff Department staff on cultural sensitivity about Muslims and Islam.
At the hearing of the House Committee on Homeland Security on March 17, 2010, Sheriff Lee Baca testified and said, "Americans, particularly elected officials, should not claim Islam supports terrorism. This is counter-productive to trust. It plays into the terrorist strategy that the West is against Islam. At this time in our history, with billions of dollars being spent on a war against terror, our nation should ask that all Americans follow President Obama's example and be the instrument of goodwill to Muslims throughout the world.
"It is my belief that the average American has the potential to be our best ambassador of goodwill. However, senators, members of Congress, governors, mayors, boards of supervisors, sheriffs, police chiefs, scholars, scientists, and laborers and their leaders must set the example with a desire to visit mosques and communicate with Muslims, worldwide, in the quest of better understanding Islam. Extremists are what they are, but they cannot thrive or survive in a world that is not indifferent."
During the hearing, Congressman Mark Souder attacked Sheriff Baca and asked him about his working relationship with Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) and his attendance at the 10 CAIR fundraising dinners. Sheriff Baca responded: "And I'll be there 10 more times." He added, "... for you to associate me somehow through some circuitous attack on CAIR, is not only inappropriate, it is un-American."
After the hearing, Sheriff Baca said: "... when a member of Congress is that misinformed, you gotta question whether or not they understand what their constitutional obligations are when it comes to public safety." "Educating Lawmakers and Members of Congress" http://www.islamicity.com/articles/articles.asp?ref=IV1005-4164&p=2
Yes, There are more colleges in the United States than any other country in world; there are more schools in the United States than any other country in world and there are more libraries in the United States than any other country in world, and yet there is more ignorance about Islam and Muslims in the United States than any other country in the world. Dispensing of exaggerated and fabricated information by extremists, about Muslims, is not going to stop me or any other Muslim from speaking about Islam and the patriotism of Muslims in America. Every Thanksgiving Weekend I pray to Almighty God for global peace. I wrote to Los Angeles Times to show that Muslims are as patriotic as any other diverse group in the Unites States.
Voluntary Islamic Thanksgiving Prayer (November 22, 2001):I came to the United States in 1962. My father, an army contractor who had worked with the British army in India, told me to go to Oxford or Cambridge, but I decided to come to California. This is because of the speech made by Vice President Richard Nixon in 1957 in Bangalore in south India. During the speech he mentioned that Bangalore reminded him of California. I decided to come to California. In the last 20 years, I have started celebrating Thanksgiving in a very unique way--an additional way. To give thanks to God, I perform two units of voluntary Islamic prayer, either on Thanksgiving Day or on Friday, in the morning, afternoon or evening. Since this is not a compulsory or mandatory Islamic prayer, I choose the day and the timing. This year, I have decided to perform four units of Thanksgiving prayer, to thank God more for the good life my family is enjoying in these United States. I will pray to God to bless America, humanity and our spaceship, the Earth. May God give us the strength to fight terrorism, intolerance and hate crimes. http://articles.latimes.com/2001/nov/22/opinion/le-sau22_2.1
O Almighty God I am proud to be an American of Islamic Persuasion. This year in 2011 I will perform two four units of voluntary Islamic Thanksgiving Prayer on Thursday, November 24, 2011. One four unit prayer for American and humanity, and the second four unit prayer for my happy life, because November 24 is my birthday.
Thank you Almighty God.
Mohammad Yacoob is a retired Industrial Engineer and Engineering Proposals Analyst who lives in Los Angeles, California.