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.