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Qasim Rashid

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Just Because I Don't Eat Pork, Doesn't Mean You Gotta Have Beef With Me

Posted: 07/08/11 08:04 PM ET

Maybe I Should Get a Clue
 
My wife reminded me we were running late. I closed an article about Peter King's self-aggrandizing radicalization hearings and grabbed my car keys.
 
My phone buzzed -- an email from a reader. "I wish Muslims would stay the hell out of our Christian country and go back where they came from." I sighed and finished securing my 2-year-old in his car seat. (And I was just beginning to like it here.)
 
As we hit the road, I hit the radio in time to hear Herman Cain certify that Muslims would not serve on his Presidential cabinet. I decided I wasn't in the mood for talk radio anyway and turned on John Lennon instead, desperately in need of instant karma.
 
Instant karma didn't quite make it.
 
Instead, as I stopped at a red light a not so gentle man rolled down his window to tell me to "Go back home you ----ing Ay-raabs, you don't ----ing belong here you stupid ----ing Ay-raabs! Get out of my ----ing country you God ---- Ay-raabs."
 
Did I mention he thought I was Arab?

I swallowed my ego, wished peace upon him as the Quran teaches (25:64) and moved on.
 
Am I Naive, or in Denial?

Is America trying to tell me something?
 
"Was that guy a radical, or a Christian radical?" I asked my wife. She sighed. (She was also just beginning to like it here). I decided he was just a radical because of something Peter King and his ilk don't understand.
 
Peter King, understand that radicalization does not have a religion. The Quran condemns disorder (7:57) and promotes universal freedom of conscience (2:257). Your obsession and bigotry against American-Muslims will only confirm you as the 21st-century Senator McCarthy.
 
Herman Cain, help me understand how you preach about your childhood pain for having to use colored drinking fountains for being black, yet want to cause similar pain to my child for being Muslim? This is a case of the pot calling the kettle, ahem, black (no pun intended). And Mr. Cain, I know you don't have a law degree, but even second graders can read the First Amendment.
 
Email guy, take a History 101 class and email me in the morning. Please understand that the Government of the United States of America is not, in any sense, founded on the Christian religion. How do I know? Well, for one, the 1797 Senate ratified Treaty of Tripoli, which says, "the Government of the United States of America is not, in any sense, founded on the Christian religion." Still not convinced? The Treaty also says, "The United States has in itself no character of enmity against the laws, religion, or tranquility of [Muslims]."
 
But then again I'm assuming you care what our Founding Fathers believed.
 
Finally, anti-Arab guy: First of all, don't curse around my 2-year-old. Two-year-olds repeat every thing they hear! If you feel the need to curse around my, or any, 2-year-old, don't. Second, understand that not all Muslims are Arab, and not all Arabs are Muslim. In fact, the vast majority of Muslims -- more than 90 percent -- are Southeast Asian, South Asian and African. I am South Asian, which, you'll keenly note, means I am from South Asia, not Arabia. But if I was Arab, like former Heisman Trophy winner and New England Patriots Quarterback Doug Flutie, then what's the problem?

If America Is First Come First Serve, Then...
 
But, King, Cain, email guy and anti-Arab guy, if you truly believe being here "first" makes America undeniably your nation (Native American genocide blatantly ignored), remember this: Historians like Ivan Van Sertima note that West-African and Arab Muslims arrived on American shores as early as 889 C.E., six centuries before Columbus. So, unless you are Native American (which I suppose is possible), my Muslim ancestors were here well before your ancestors! (Oh the humanity!) So, as an American-Muslim, I welcome you all to my country.
 
You'll really like it here. King, rest assured we won't reference your IRA ties and hold blanket Congressional hearings to question every Irish-American's loyalty. Cain, we won't look at the color of your skin, but at the content of your character in determining employment. Anti-Arab guy, we won't stereotype or use racial (or any kind of) vulgarity against you. And email guy, we won't ever tell you to "go back where you came from." This is America and as Americans (Muslim or otherwise), we don't tolerate such bigotry.
 
So now that you've arrived, feel free to embrace this nation as your own.

I Don't Eat Pork
 
We finally arrived to our destination -- a 4th of July barbecue. I grabbed a (root) beer, a (beef) hot dog and watched some magnificent (legal) fireworks. I'm not naive or in denial, I just want people to understand. And on a full stomach, I understand that some just don't like Muslims. And they're entitled to their opinion. But as Muslim poet Micah Taair points out, "Just cuz I don't eat pork, doesn't mean you gotta have beef with me."
 
It's true, you don't.
 
Though, if you are one who thinks America today supports such bigotry, then maybe, just maybe, you should get a clue.

 

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