Saturday, September 26, 2015

Faith Above Constitution

Asalamu Alaykom,

Lots of talk after GOP hopeful Dr. Ben Carson dissed Muslims as being ineligible for President of the United States.  It came on the heels of another GOP hopeful, TRUMP, neglecting to right the wrongs that spewed from the mouth of a bigot in his crowd of followers.

A Muslim President of the United States?  No, don't tell me about the one about Barak Obama.   Obama is not Muslim.

It's not that I want to become the next POTUS---unlike Yusuf Dayur.  You can watch his video as he declares his candidacy at the age twelve (so get ready for the 2038 race).

My youngest son, as a dual-citizen, can't hold office unless he denounces the Egyptian half of his identity.  I'm not sure I want or need that for him.  I'd rather he become a business manager.

Why do I care?

Even if I don't live in America, I still love the principles on which it was founded.  Those Founding Fathers set up a system which could withstand the ages and fight off tyranny.  Basically, the Constitution is full of universal truths.  None of them go against Islam.

Ben Carson's eventual backtrack became that maaaaaybe a Muslim-American could participate in the running of his or her country if  they ascribed to a watered down version of faith.  Protestants have perfected this once-a-week, perfunctory attempt of keeping up of appearances.  They don't just have separation of church and state but separation of faith and life.

Muslims do not live in this fractured way.  I myself am not "Islam Lite".

My faith is interwoven throughout my days.  To only bring God into my life on a limited basis is to severely limit who I am and who I aspire to be.

When someone I respect in the Muslim community, Dean Obeidallah, agrees with Carson that every elected official in the U.S. needs to place the Constitution above their faith, I have to respectfully disagree.  It appeases the non-Muslim masses to hear us throw away our identities for White House passes but it is unnecessary.

As Muslims, we have to be law-abiding citizens.  Whatever the law of the land is, even if it is not a Muslim majority country, we have to agree to follow the rules.  The only time we are allowed to stop adhering to public policy is when it contradicts our faith.  Since I've already stated that the Constitution does NOT contradict Islam, then you (and every GOP candidate) can rest assured that any elected Muslim official will be able to uphold the Constitution.

As for Sharia Law, it is unnecessary in the U.S. because the Constitution itself is so close to it already!  Many Muslim countries, like the one I'm living in, don't even have Sharia Law, but rather the French or British court systems (as leftovers from colonial times).  American law is actually closer to sharia than the law here in Egypt!  The fear of "creeping sharia" is without any basis.

The real fear in the U.S. should be for hatred against "the other".  This is the reoccurring epidemic which needs to be eradicated.  Whoever is the least understood in America becomes the most hated:  blacks, Asians, Irish, Communists, Catholics, gays, Muslims, and the list will go on unless we stop ourselves.  If you don't know what a group of people is all about, then start with the basic info that each member of that group is a human being worthy of respect.

John F. Kennedy, one of our most respected presidents (Allah yerhamo), was running for president when he had to stop talking about policy and give a speech about himself.  People were afraid that if he were elected that he would answer to the Pope.

He had to set the record straight.   Listen to his delivery of the truth.  Remember that he was elected and not because he threw away his Catholicism.  No, he held on to it and even said,

"But if the time should ever come — and I do not concede any conflict to be even remotely possible — when my office would require me to either violate my conscience or violate the national interest, then I would resign the office; and I hope any conscientious public servant would do the same."

Do you understand what I'm getting at?  He left that slight possibility open that he might someday be at odds between his life as president and his life as a Catholic.  If he had to choose, he would leave office AND HOLD ON TO HIS FAITH.

Muslims, don't be convinced that the only good Muslim is a mainstream one.  Hold on to that interwoven fabric of faith inside you and don't let go.  Be active in both the mosque and the political realm.  Be at peace with who you are and pray that America will find a way to accept you as much as it came to accept President Kennedy.


Party of 5 said...

I agree the US constitution follows closely to the way that we should live. When people feel powerless they blame the laws etc, but we need to change ourselves first.
IMO, everyone is on Carson, but I have heard "Muslims" say the same thing about why Muslims SHOULD NEVER be able to run this country (Canada) for years now. Many are afraid because honestly Yosra, all we have to do is look at the Middle East to see how "Muslims" treat "Muslims", much less others who are not.


Yosra said...

Asalamu Alaykom Salma,

It's kind of cool how "Salma" and "Salam" are so similar! You could work up a logo with that :)

The world is a messed up place. I can't state that Muslims mess it up any more than anybody else. The Middle East has a Jewish state as well and I don't think they are doing any better, right?

I do look at Congressman Keith Ellison as an example of what a great Muslim political leader can be. He is someone to be proud of, in my opinion.

Love and Light to you and yours :)

Anonymous said...

Salamaaleiykum Yosra, If you think the following is irrelevant to this post, please dont post/publish it.
@party of 5,
YOU said : .........honestly Yosra, all we have to do is look at the Middle East to see how "Muslims" treat "Muslims", much less others who are not.
Look at the countries run by muslims living around Israeli occupied Palestinian land and Syrian Golan heights ( Egypt, Syria, Iran, Qatar, Kuwait, Saudi Arabia and little away-Afghanistan and Pakistan)--All these countries are one or the other way radicalized either by USA ( Taliban,ISIS etc..) or by MULLAHS of fanatic muslims...Hezbollah,Fatah,Hamas and all other radical middles eastern terrorist organizations formed to fight against illegal occupation (by Israel) and to liberate Palestinians and Lebanon.
USA has blocked over 30 UN resolutions which asks Israel to end its illegal occupation, expansion and settlements of foreigners on stolen land.This is one of the many reasons ISLAMIC MULLAHS take advantage of Quranic verses (just like any other religion or " ism " like communism etc..did in the past and doing.) to inspire innocent youths to revolt against unjust Israel, USA and its allies.
And look at far away Malaysia, Indonesia, Brunei and other Muslim countries which is not effected by ISRAELI land occupation and USA's Middle eastern double standard policy..More over, no Muslims have invaded those countries and forced the origins to become Muslims..Since last 1300 years they are living harmoniously within themselves, with all other religions and cultures from India, China and other global communities.
Having said that, I am fully in favor of Bill Clinton and George Bush's road map of peace initiation and solution of creating two nations 1) for Israel 2) for Palestinians.

Yosra said...

Asalamu Alaykom Anonymous,

I like how considerate you were in not pushing your agenda without permission. Yes, it is my blog BUT I do not have all the answers. Both you and Salma have points of view. Probably the truth falls somewhere in the middle. I do think that nations run by Muslims have erred away from Islam HOWEVER so have countries run by non-Muslims. It isn't really a contest on who is the best because NONE of the countries in the world are winners and all of us become the losers.

The point of my article was in thinking how WRONG it is to pinpoint a Muslim as being unfit for the office of president based on religion only. Anyone who is so unjust is THEMSELVES unfit for being a U.S. citizen.

My opinion---everyone is entitled to his or her own.

I appreciate both you and Salma sharing yours.

Anyone else?

Party of 5 said...

Thanks Anon & Yosra for your thoughts.

Anon, I don't need a history/present lesson. History/present is not black and white. Anyone can identify with Islam (being a Muslim) ie. ISIS, Taliban. The word "Muslims" was in brackets for that reason. Perhaps I should have worded it differently.
I am neither anti-Arab or anti-anything.

I'm also NOT trying to win an argument, just giving my perspective.

BTW, I made no mention of Jewish/Israeli State in my comment, and the day to day treatment of one's neighbors hardly has anything to do with the US or any other countries and/or their policies. Yes, on that point I agree with you Yosra, it could be any place/people in the world. Just happens we were discussing Carson's comments...

Yosra said...

Love you, Salma :)

Yosra said...

Asalamu Alaykom Anon,

I'm going to let "love" be the last word in this debate. I know you wanted to ad one more thought but it's time to lay this to rest. At the end of the day, as brothers and sisters in Islam, we need to agree to disagree.

No hard feelings!

Sending you wishes for the best day possible :)