New Age Islam
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Islam and the West ( 6 Dec 2016, NewAgeIslam.Com)

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Islam Is an American Faith Tradition

By Khalid Saeed


I am sure everyone has heard them and the American Muslim community has been feeling the insults and the sting of the disparaging comments, remarks and actions against Muslim and Islam.

There are individuals, groups, and ‘the Centre for American Progress’ in their report ‘The Fear Inc.’ has identified a network of dozens of foundations which are actively spending millions of dollars in an organized fashion for years to create hate against American Muslims and their faith.

Free speech is cherished value of America, but, it is beyond me why and how Islamophobe bigot’s Network is getting away with openly working to create hate against peace loving seven-million strong American Muslim community in the guise of free speech.

Our founding fathers envisioned the Muslims and Islam to be part of American landscape and there were serious discussions about the freedom of religion, liberty and Justice for all in America including Muslims.

Professor Denise Spellberg, a specialist in Islamic history, has written a book called “Thomas Jefferson’s Qur’an: Islam and the Founders.” After reading this book, any honest historian would have to accept the fact that America was founded on a Judeo-Christian and Islamic thought.

Here is a very important piece by Professor Spellberg ,“….In Williamsburg, we see that there’s, attested in the local newspaper, The Williamsburg Gazette, which was also the bookseller, a line written by someone else that actually says, “Thomas Jefferson, Sale’s Koran two volumes,” and it was 16 shillings. He bought it in 1765, and that’s what the records tell us from that newspaper. So eleven years before he wrote the Declaration of Independence.”

“And we know that Jefferson thought about Muslims citizens because in 1776, a few months after writing the Declaration of Independence, he makes a note in his personal papers. He records that Locke said, “Neither pagan nor Mahometan,” meaning Muslim”, nor Jew ought to be excluded from the rights of the commonwealth because of his religion. So even that early he was thinking about it,” states Spellberg.

“Even earlier, in 1765, while still a law student (which is one of the reasons he bought the Qur’an; he was immersed in legal studies) we see he took notes for his cases based on laws from around the world. Since many people thought the Qur’an was a book of laws, and only that, he probably used it for that reason. But at the same time, he encountered a legal precedent, an earlier British legal precedent that said that Muslims were not perpetual enemies in British legal thought. And he wrote that down, he wrote that precedent down too. So this is a world in which there were Muslims. Muslims had been in contact with the English for a very long time through trade and other peaceful means,” wrote Spellberg.

In the afterward of the book, Spellberg talks about the fact,“….. that (as in the 18th century), Muslims, Jews, and Catholics were often linked together as outsiders. Once the theory of civil rights and religious liberty included all three groups, they were technically accorded these rights. There’s no religious test in the Constitution, freedom of all religion is guaranteed in the First Amendment. But in truth, Jews and Catholics struggled into the 20th century to realize those rights against amazing bigotry.”

“I think the difference is Muslims now are in a position that Jews and Catholics once were. They are a group that is often targeted as not fully American. When we have a diverse and dynamic American citizenry, who vote, who live here, and who have been guaranteed rights (not just in terms of our documents, but historically),” Spellberg concludes. “Those who would suggest somehow, that American Muslims are not full citizens, probably need to learn more history.”

The bigots, the hatemonger Islamophobes keep blaming a religion and its adherents (all Muslims) for action of ISIS. I say that if ISIS is Jihadists Muslims and they follow Islam, then why 90 percent of their victims are Muslims, they are blowing up Mosques and not the bars, movie theatres, dance clubs etc.?

According to a study in 2015 Islam has 1.7 billion adherents in the world. However, only a tiny percentage of believers actually indulge in violence and terrorism. Surely it is mistake to believe that 1.7 billion people are all “followers, promoters and believers of violence”.

The Quran says: “Whoever kills a person [unjustly]…it is as though he has killed all mankind. And whoever saves a life, it is as though he had saved all mankind.” (Qur’an, 5:32)

The Bible says: “Keep far from a false charge, and do not kill the innocent and righteous, for I will not acquit the wicked. (Exodus 23:7)

Muslim scholars and leaders all over the world have been condemning vehemently the killing of all innocents in all suicide bombings unconditionally without any ifs or buts. This is the mainstream Islam, mainstream scholarship which has been saying this for years: you don’t go out and kill people willy-nilly on a bus or in a mall, in the main street or anywhere else. However, their condemnation is largely ignored by the mainstream or corporate media.

Alarmingly, many people with their personal agenda keep repeating and keep scaring us with talk of the so-called Sharia Law. However, there is no book of Sharia Law, it doesn’t exist.

The holy Quran is a book of peace and guidance for the Muslims. It asks us to not to lie, not to cheat, love and help humanity, love our parents, daughters and wife, do the charity work. It forbids killing of the innocent people. Even committing suicide and taking one’s own life is forbidden in Islam and its punishment is eternal hell because life is sacred and it belongs to God, the Creator.

It is my humble request to all peace loving fellow Americans to not support the arguments of the Islamophobes and bigots who legitimize their hate through bigotry. I urge you to please trust the fellow Muslims that you know and that you hear.