By Muhammad Yunus, New Age Islam
07 March 2017
(Co-author (Jointly with Ashfaque Ullah Syed), Essential Message of Islam, Amana Publications, USA, 2009)
According to a CNN report*, on March 5, three Muslim students seeking an interview with an Oklahoma state legislator were given a questionnaire listing 17 questions that included, among others: “Do you beat your wife?”, “Do you denounce the terrorist organization Hamas?”*edition.cnn.com/2017/03/05/us/oklahoma-muslim-legislator-questionnaire/
This raises a few fundamental questions:
1. The two cited questions carry an innuendo that the Muslims support terror and beat their wives. The questions can be made more provocative and insulting if they are rephrased to read: ‘Did you beat your wife last night?’‘Did you plan any terror attack?’
2. Are the Muslims in America being treated differently from the other faith-communities or this questionnaire was a stray incident.
3. Is the vetting of Muslims going to be a routine affair to the extent that any Muslim person visiting any government office has to fill a questionnaire?
Citing the two examples above, does any American agency have any statistics showing the Muslim men being more prone to beat their wives than the men-folk of other faith-communities? The same goes for support of any organization that has terrorist classification. Hamas is not a monolithic terror outfit like ISIS, Boko Haram, al-Qaida. It is a democratically elected organization, is engaging terror tactics against Israel on purely political ground sand is classified as terrorist (by US, EU, Canada and Japan) for its persistent refusal to acknowledge the right of Israel to exist. But how many Muslims know this is a big question. Besides, if the question is framed informatively – “Do you support Hamas stated agenda of complete destruction of Israel”, most Muslims may answer in the negative. The question is framed in such a manner that many Muslims unaware of Hamas’s ‘annihilistic’ policy towards Israel may respond in their favour on purely political and humanitarian grounds. Besides, referencing Hamas in a general vetting questionnaire taxes the responded far beyond his knowledge of the most complex and sensitive issue of Palestine.
Hence, the Muslim community or their Western sympathizers must take the matter to the court - if they have not done so as yet. Though the government has 100% right to vet the people entering the country, but does it mean a routine vetting at the entrance of every government office? Therefore, the nature and scope, frequency and rationale of ‘vetting’ and the manner of framing of the questions must be contested and ratified by the court or else a Muslim in America will have to carry a Vetting Certificate with him all the time – somewhat like the Jews wearing Star of David badges in the Medieval ages and under Nazi occupation.
A more detailed rebuttal/ answer to the questionnaire will follow – this is a spontaneous response.
Muhammad Yunus, a Chemical Engineering graduate from Indian Institute of Technology, and a retired corporate executive has been engaged in an in-depth study of the Qur’an since early 90’s, focusing on its core message. He has co-authored the referred exegetic work, which received the approval of al-Azhar al-Sharif, Cairo in 2002, and following restructuring and refinement was endorsed and authenticated by Dr. Khaled Abou El Fadl of UCLA, and published by Amana Publications, Maryland, USA, 2009.