CNN has a wonderful cultural documentary series titled “Black in America” and another to begin in October titled “Latino in America”. I intend on watching and supporting that just as I have the Black in America series. I would like to propose another one titled “Muslim in America”. I would love to work with a network on any of these documentaries. White in America or as some may mistakenly suggest or state in jest, America.
I believe we all have something tremendous to contribute and is what makes the idea of America attractive to so many and great.
I consider myself fortunate, because I have had the opportunity to experience a fragment of what makes life on Earth unique; the opportunity to experience the diversity of its people. To have grown up in an ethnically, religiously, economically and educationally diverse environments for the majority of my life has made a great impact on who I am and how I see the world. One group in which I have had the pleasure of continuous interaction has been Middle Eastern, Arab and Muslim Americans.
One of the greatest lessons I’ve learned as a Christian from Islam was one of the things mentioned with more eloquence by Attorney Rashad Mohammad; White House Legal Council in regards to personal activism.
If you see something objectionable you should change it with your hands. If you can not change it with your hands you should change it with your tongue. If you can not change it with your tongue you should dislike it in your heart. I decided to incorporate this philosophy into my life many years ago and added a twist of my own to it. Because I feel that when you witness something questionable you should question it. If you do not or unwilling to question it then you are essentially condoning it by your silence.
This is something that I wish more people would understand. One of the messages I’ve strived to convey through writing over the past two years is one that I’ve been so privileged to have the opportunity to experience. That message is the significance and incorporation of conscience diversity, inclusion and socialization plays in ones interactions in life.
Perhaps it’s the message that I was born to deliver, but I simply believe that when we do not consider others it inevitably leads us to the disconnect, misunderstanding, fear and biases towards those not like you. We continue to see demonstrations of this with the actions of “The Birthers”, “During the Senate Hearings for Sonia Sotomayor”, the issues of immigration, at a Mississippi High School Prom and even in the Holocaust Museum to name a few recent cases.
The hostility you may unknowingly demonstrate to someone by your words, actions and even non-verbal communications is an obvious indicator that you have something or someone you haven’t considered.
Being Muslim in America shouldn’t be difficult, but many who proclaim to be Christian have made it difficult to be Muslim in America. As a Christian can’t we just recall the reason Paul and Silas was thrown in jail at Philippi as just one reason why we can empathize with our Muslim friends who are socially persecuted for their religious beliefs? No one is forcing you to convert to Islam, just as you are not seeking to convert anyone to Christianity. We can conclude that by the discriminatory practices many uphold. So stop segregating yourself with the thoughts, ideas or assumptions you may have towards Muslims or Islam. Instead discover the image of God in people. Better yet, discover the God in you and understand how you are like the person you may dislike or misunderstand?
I’ll stop here, because in order not to lead into my next blog post. You can hate me now or later, but realize who is the one hating.References & Inspirations White House YouTube Channel – 06/03/2009 “Muslim Americans Serving in the U.S. Government” Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. – 11/04/1956 “Paul’s Letter to the Christian Church”