In the Name of God, the Subtle, the Loving
According to a report by CNN, U.S. born “cleric” Anwar Al-Awlaki urges “jihad” against the United States. In an audio message, Awlaki purportedly has said, “With the American invasion of Iraq and continued U.S. aggression against Muslims, I could not reconcile between living in the U.S. and being a Muslim, and I eventually came to the conclusion that jihad against America is binding upon myself just as it is binding on every other Muslim.”
He made a specific appeal to American Muslims:
To the Muslims in America, I have this to say: How can your conscience allow you to live in peaceful co-existence with a nation that is responsible for the tyranny and crimes committed against your own brother and sisters? How can you have your loyalty to a government that is leading the war against Islam and Muslims?
To Anwar Al Awlaki I say this: You do not speak for me. Your words have no meaning to me. My conscience is just fine with being a faithful, devout Muslim who loves God, loves His Prophet (pbuh), is dutiful to his faith, and is a loyal, patriotric, country loving American. I am blessed to be a Muslim; I am blessed to be American. And I am doubly blessed to be an American Muslim.
I have no problem sleeping at night being an American Muslim. My conscience has no qualms living in the country of my birth, which I love. Here in America, I can be the Muslim God and His Prophet wanted me to be. Here in America, I can worship my God in peace and security. Here in America, I can practice my religion the way I want to practice it, and I am respected for it by my fellow Americans. Here in America, I am more a Muslim than I ever could be in any other country in the Muslim World.
Let me give you a tiny example of America’s goodness: my daughter, who passed away more than 9 months ago, was disabled. By the grace of God, I was able to get a decal for my automobile that allows me to park in specially marked spaces close to the front door of any building. That way, the burden of having to wheel my daughter was made easier. And my fellow Americans – almost all non-Muslims – respected those spaces by not parking in them. Moreover, when I get to the front of the building, there is always a ramp for me to wheel my daughter on with ease.
Contrast this with Egypt, the land of my ancestry. There were no handicapped parking spaces; no wheelchair ramps; in fact, my daughter was looked upon as if she had the plague. This in a “Muslim” country. America has more Islam than many, many Muslim countries. That fact cannot be denied.
No, America is not perfect. Muslims in this country have been harrassed, attacked, and even killed for being who they are. Even non-Muslims who “look” like Muslims have been attacked. But, the attackers are among a tiny fringe who no more represent America or Americans than the terrorist thugs and their cheerleaders (like you) represent Islam and Muslims. The overwhelming majority of Americans are good people who opened up their arms to their fellow Muslim neighbors, despite the horrific attacks of 9/11.
After my daughter passed away, along with the hundreds of my fellow Muslims, so many of my non-Muslim friends and neighbors paid their respects to my family. Practically the entire school came to my daughter’s memorial service. My non-Muslim neighbors stood by my side the entire day of her funeral and burial. They made it a point to stand by our family in our darkest hour, even though we do not share the same faith. That is the goodness of America, your country of birth, that your hatred has caused you to not see.
Yes, America has made some terrible mistakes. The Iraq war is perhaps one of the more eggregious ones. Yes, some elements of American foreign policy may be wanting. But, as loyal, patriotic Americans, we have a say over what our government does. We can change the course of our nation’s foreign policy: we have already done so with the election of Barack Obama as President.
My government is not leading the war against Islam and Muslims. So many times, my government has intervened on behalf of my brother and sister Muslims. So many times, my government has sent aid to my brother and sister Muslims who were in need. In many countries, the “war against Islam and Muslims” is being waged by fellow Muslims themselves.
Where were you, Anwar Al Awlaki, when Muslims were raping other Muslims, destroying mosques, and destroying copies of the Qur’an in Darfur? Where was your outcry against these horrific crimes? Where was your call for “jihad” to stop the oppression of Muslims in that part of the Muslim World? In so many Muslim countries around the world, there is terrible tyranny, oppression, and injustice. Why are you not waging jihad to fight this? No, this fact does not absolve America’s mistakes, but it does make your statements and sentiments ring completely hollow.
Furthermore, you should be ashamed of yourself. You were born in this country; you benefitted from its fruits; you reaped its goodness; you used the blessing of being an American to live a life of privilege. And you resort to calling on American Muslims to betray their country like you did? Is this gratitude? Is this the way of the Prophet Muhammad (pbuh)? No way, no how. Not only are you a traitor to your country, but you are also a traitor to your faith.
America is not perfect, but it is a blessed place. And I am so grateful to God that He has ordained that I be an American Muslim. I, and all my fellow American Muslims, reject your call to a false and evil “jihad” against our country. What you call for is not “jihad”; it is treason of the higest order. And Muslims are not traitors. Muslims are not traitors.