Muslims at Trump’s Inauguration

01/22/2017 11:44 pm ET
ABC News Video Capture
President Trump extending his hand towards Imam Magid at the National Cathedral

Questions like, “Do you believe 14% of Muslims voted for Trump?” and, “Are you going to attend the Inauguration?” are amusing indeed! My follow up question is; do you believe all Muslims are alike?

Not just Muslims, but every American representation is torn apart, some were belligerently opposed to attending, some even cursed the ones who attended, but the majority was fine with it.

My focus in this essay is Muslims, particularly because we are the most vulnerable community at this time along with the Hispanic community who are worried about families being torn apart.

God bless the folks at the National Cathedral for holding the interfaith prayers. As a pluralist it was a joy for me to watch Trump patiently absorbing what American diversity is all about. I hope and pray that he will eventually get it.

I don’t read lips but what I read was Trump was asking Melania and then Mike Pence, who this guy was when Imam Magid was walking towards the podium, and the gesture “I don’t know him” was obvious.

On the way out, President Trump stretched his hand towards Imam Magid, for a split second my heart started pounding, what will he do? I am glad Imam Magid extended his hand. In the Islamic context, if someone walks towards you to build a relationship, you run towards them.

That is leadership, he probably has a chance to be called by Trump or he can call Trump and have a meeting. Acquaintance leads to friendships and friendship to acceptance of the otherness of the other.

Imam Magid shared the following thoughts with Ali Salar Khawaja through face book. “The decision to participate in the National Cathedral’s Interfaith Inaugural Prayer Service on Friday was a difficult one. However, it was a decision in which the impact on the American Muslim community was at the forefront of my mind. I am deeply appreciative of all your kind words of encouragement and support.”

Indeed we stand with you. You and I have an additional responsibility to impart the knowledge of Pluralism to fellow Muslims. We differ in on our understanding of Islam, but I am one of the few boldest speakers and writers on Islam and Muslims and one of the most confident Muslims around. We need to work together and do a seminar on Pluralism in Islam. We owe it to fellow Muslims.

A few Muslims had problems with me going to the inauguration and thanks to them for expressing it. However their criticism died down before I could respond. There were many others who felt it was the right thing to do. Unfortunately, I could not make it, as it required a lot of walking and I was not capable of doing that.

Now that we (the majority) chose Trump as our President, we have to work with him, give him a chance and if he violates the constitution, we have to take to the street and fight to defend our constitution.

The clock has stared ticking now. Let’s target the Congressmen and Senators who support the wrong doing and start finding a person to run against that individual. If they are threatened with denying them a re-election, they will straighten out, if not they need to be replaced through votes. Every wrong doer is vulnerable.

I gave short speeches to many groups out there and they were interested in our work at the Center for Pluralism and hope they volunteer, we are building a movement to restore harmony among Americans.

One after the other, TV cameras from Afghanistan, Iran, Indonesia and other places wanted to hear the Muslim perspective, let me clarify, this Muslims’ perspective.

Facebook video: Muslim Perspective

Peace is the ultimate goal of all societies. Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) is one of the greatest peace makers out there in the tradition of Jesus. He reached out to everyone, particularly his bitterest enemies. He did not say, “I am not going to talk to you.” He believed in peace and reached out to every one for the cause of peace. He saw the other point of view and respected it without agreeing to. As Muslims, we should reach out to Trump and work on creating a better America for all of us rather than bitching about it.

We don’t want to be left behind. We need to be a part of our system.

Jimmy Carter and Bob Dole have said the harshest things about Trump, yet they were there graciously attending the inauguration. President Obama whose legacy was going to be shred into pieces was there and of course Hillary and Bush were there too.

This is democracy at work. This is our system, a beautiful system and I am proud of our system. Now and then a bad dude slips in, but our system and our constitution is our safety, we may go through some traumatic times, but at the end our system wins.

How many countries around the world wished they had a respectable system like ours, particularly Muslim countries? The Muslims around the world crave for a system like ours, Islam is inherently Democratic in nature, but sadly with a few exceptions we have bloody dictators, monarchs and tyrants who don’t want to relinquish power.

Conflict is as human as consent, and like all people, not all Muslims agree on inauguration, we are not a monolithic lot. Indeed, no group is. We have to learn to respect the otherness of others.

Congressman John Lewis along with 50 other congresspersons chose not to attend the inaugural. He did not think Trump was legitimately elected and I agree with him and most people do. However he is elected and our system does not allow barring him, nor the system allows Obama to continue to hold on to power, we cannot even hold a new election – all these options create chaos. I rather live with a bad choice and hope for the best for the next two years than have a chaotic situation.

If President Trump violated the constitution we have many options to rectify it, and one of them is to call the Congressman to block any bill from passing, if not his or her reelection bid is on the line. Do give the Democrats a majority back in Senate to make sure checks and balances will carry us further.

We have a tiny chance of moving Trump away from his positions by reaching out to him than pushing him to dig in his heels. It is not easy to go to this Inauguration, it's been painful. I realized some of my friends will unfriend me, some will malign me behind my back - and I accept that as a part of living and a part of freedom.

Perhaps, I was more vocal with my opposition to Trump, than most people, but I am willing to run towards him, if he walks toward me. We have to build a cohesive America and I am here to do whatever it takes to restore harmony.

Obama Cheers on Trump at Inauguration

God Bless America!

Mike Ghouse is committed to build a cohesive America and offers pluralistic solutions on issues of the day. More about him at the Center for Pluralism

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