Response to “No Such Thing As A Muslim American”
Dr. Bahar Bastani
There is an email making the rounds with the heading, “No Such Thing As a Muslim American” or “Can Muslims Be Good Americans?” and the same nonsense is also found on many extremist websites. The claims made are polemical in intent, but need to be addressed. My response is in bold.
No such thing as a Muslim American
Have you ever thought—Can a devout Muslim be an American patriot and a loyal citizen? Is Muslim American really an oxymoron? Consider this:
The same question can be asked of all devout Christians and Jews. Can they be an American patriot and a loyal citizen, while being faithful? My answer is yes for the followers of all faiths.
Theologically, no. Because his allegiance is to Allah.
“Allah” is the Arabic word for “The God”. The Arab Christian and Jews also call The God “Allah”. The Christians and Jews also believed in the same Almighty God, and have their allegiance to God. This belief does not deprive any of us from being good and patriotic citizens of any country.
Religiously, no. Because no other religion is accepted by his Allah except Islam (Quran, 2:256)
This is a misquotation and merely a lie. The verse “Surely the (true) religion with Allah is Islam,… (3: 19)”, is talking about the generic Islam, since the word Islam literally means “Submission to God”. Thus, the only faith acceptable to God is submission to Him. Moreover, the Quran says that, “Surely those who believe (in Islam) and those who are Jews, and the Christians, and the Sabians (followers of John the Baptist), whoever believes in God and the last day and does good, they shall have their reward from their Lord, and there is no fear for them, nor shall they grieve.” (2:62 & 5:69). And furthermore, “Yes! Whoever submits himself entirely to God and he is the doer of good (to others) he has his reward from his Lord, and there is no fear for him, nor shall he grieve.” (2: 112)”.
Scripturally, no. Because his allegiance is to the five pillars of Islam and the Quran (Koran).
The five pillars of Islam are: The declaration that there is no deity but the God, and that Mohammad is a messenger of the God; To perform daily prayers; To fast; To do regular charity; And to do pilgrimage to Mecca once in lifetime. I wonder how these beliefs interfere with ones good citizenship. As if believing in Jesus or the Holy Sacrament or Trinity would contradict ones patriotism.
Geographically, no. Because his allegiance is to Mecca, to which he turns in prayer five times a day.
The direction of the prayer has nothing to do with ones patriotism. It is simply a symbol that the center of attention of a Muslim in his/her life is divine, i.e., God. Perhaps from now on all Muslims, Christians and Jews should pray towards the White House to prove we are all “geographically” patriotic??
Socially, no. Because his allegiance to Islam forbids him to make friends with Christians or Jews.
The Holly Quran has forbidden Muslims to allow Christians or Jews to be in charge of them (the word “Vally” has been used). However, it has never forbidden friendship and kindness to them. The history of Islam shows that Christians and Jews were always respected and well received in the Muslim lands. Moreover the Quran says, “Allah does not forbid you respecting (making friends with) those who have not made war against you on account of your religion, and have not driven you forth from your homes, that you show them kindness and deal with them justly; surely Allah loves the doers of justice.” (60: 8) Allah only forbids you respecting (making friends with) those who made war against you on account of your religion, and drove you forth from your homes and backed up others in your expulsion, that you make friends with them, and whoever makes friends with them, these are the unjust. (60: 9)”
Politically, no. Because he must submit to the mullah (spiritual leaders), who teach annihilation of Israel and destruction of America, the Great Satan.
This is another lie. In Islam one can only follow his/her conscience, the truth, and God. There are no intermediaries between us and God. The Quran says, “And follow not that of which you have not the knowledge; surely the hearing and the sight and the heart, all of these, shall be questioned about that.” 17:36 The political views of some religious leaders in regards to the state of Israel or the foreign policies of America are not considered religious or divine verdicts.
Domestically, no, because he is instructed to marry four women and beat and scourge his wife when she disobeys him (Quran 4:34).
In the harsh environment that women and orphans could not survive on their own, the Holy Quran ordered that people have to take care of the orphans, and if in the process of taking care of them some problems would arise they were permitted to marry their mothers. The whole purpose of this permission was protection of the widows and their children in the society. Moreover, if a wife would commit indecencies the husband was told to first admonish her, then avoid her, and if she continued with the indecency to punish her. In a society that a man would have easily killed his wife for committing indecency this was a very calming dawn order. These orders should be seen in the context of the socioeconomics of its time and environment.
One may argue that Christians and Jews who believe in the Holy Bible can not be loyal citizens either, because the Bible says, “When a man sells his daughter as a slave she shall not go out as male slaves do. If she does not please her master, who designated her for himself, then he shall let her be redeemed; he shall have no right to sell her to a foreign people, …. If he takes another wife to himself he shall not diminish food, clothing, or marital rights of the first wife, …” (Exodus 21:7-10) ”… on the seventh day you shall have a holy sabbath of solemn rest to the Lord; whoever does any work on it shall be put to death” (Exodus 35:2). “…. , it is from the nations around you that you may acquire male and female slaves. You may also acquire them from among the aliens residing with you, and from their families that are with you, who have been borne in your land; and they may be your property. You may keep them as a possession for your children after you, for them to inherit as property” (Levitucus 25:44-46).
Since the constitution of the United States has forbidden slavery, selling your daughters, marrying more than one wife, or killing people who work on Saturdays, a true follower of the Holy Bible can not be considered a loyal citizen of this country. Again, I emphasize that all these rules and regulations should be seen in the context of the socioeconomics of its time and environment.
Intellectually, no, because he cannot accept the American Constitution since it is based on Biblical principles and he believes the Bible to be corrupt.
The American Constitution was written by very intelligent and wise people who foresaw the great dangers of the self righteous, right wing, evangelical, religious zealots, and in order not to repeat the European experience of the dark ages, they deliberately separated the Institution of the Government from that of the Church. May God bless their well guided souls?
Philosophically, no, because Islam, Muhammad, and the Quran do not allow freedom of religion and expression. Democracy and Islam cannot co -exist. Every Muslim government is either dictatorial or autocratic.
This is an absolutely a false statement. The Holy Quran clearly says “There is no compulsion in religion; truly the right way has become clearly distinct from error; therefore, whoever disbelieves in the Satan and believes in Allah, he indeed has laid hand on the firmest handle, which shall not break off, and Allah is Hearing, Knowing.” (2: 256) One should be reminded that during the dark ages in Europe when intellectuals and dissidents were burned, and religious intolerance and inquisition courts were common practice in the West, the Muslim World was the safe haven for the intellectual Christians and Jews.
Democracy and any form of government that is based on justice in compatible with Islam. I agree that most of the current Muslim Governments, very similar to the Medieval Europe, are dictators and autocrats.
Spiritually, no, because when we declare “one nation under God,” the Christian’s God is loving and kind, while Allah is NEVER referred to as Heavenly father, nor is he ever called love in the Quran’s 99 excellent Names.
The most revered feature of God in the Quran is His Mercifulness and Compassion for His creatures. One hundred thirteen of the 114 chapters of the Quran start with, “In the name of God the Most Merciful and the most Compassionate”. Yes, the God of Islam has not been called Heavenly Father because it has more features of a Heavenly Mother “Raab”, who is the most benevolent, loving and caring for His/Her creation. The God of Islam has both masculine and feminine features, and thus, is not merely a “father” or “a male God”.
Therefore after much study and deliberation…perhaps we should be very suspicious of ALL MUSLIMS in this country.
I believe we should all pray that The Merciful God give some sense and wisdom to all self righteous bigots whether they are right wing Christian, Muslim or Jew, and save us and our country from this dangerous species.
They obviously cannot be both “good” Muslims and good Americans. Call it what you wish…it’s still the truth.
All good Muslims, good Christians, good Jews, and good human beings can be good Americans, and if they can’t, then may God save this country.
The more who understand this, the better it will be for Our country and Our future.
The more people know the different forms of bigotry, prejudice, and arrogance the safer will be our country.
For a reference rebutting these prejudices against Islam you may refer to a recent article by Karen Armstrong ( http://www.guardian.co.uk/comment/story/0,,1874653,00.html ) See also Prof. Abdulaziz Sachedina’s response to these same baseless accusations at http://www.csidonline.org/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=341&Itemid=1
Bahar Bastani MD, Professor of Medicine - Nephrology, Saint Louis University