“… to Keep Thee in Bonds” – TWO

BY WAEL HAMZA

Please read “… to Keep Thee in Bonds” – ONE so you develop context

Stay in Bond; do not Islamize America!

One of the accusations that the anti-Muslim wave tries to place on American Muslims is that they want to Islamize America; and, they claim, that “Islam needs to be Americanized” and not the other way around.

Our response to this accusation has been a little off. We, unfortunately, acknowledge the word without understanding what it entails and start making statements and beliefs that it is not true. “Our religion is for ourselves and we intend to bring nothing of it to America.” “This is our faith and it is in our hearts.” “We have no intention to ‘Islamize’ America.”

“So you guys are not planning to convert every American to a Muslim and then take America over?” Says the anti-Muslim group. “You guys are going to change our country and our values and convert us to a country like Saudia Arabia?” They add. We will keep saying ‘no’ and they will keep asking questions. This is exactly the process of being put into a little corner where we will have no real contribution to the society. Islam, then, becomes a set of theoretical teachings that has no value to people, us and others. Only then, they have succeeded to “keep us in bonds” as the Qur’an says.

So, how do we refuse to be in bonds?

Reject the word!

I would reject this word altogether. This is no legitimate word; Islamize? It has no place in the Qur’an, never heard of it in the words of the prophet nor in the terminology of the scholars. I also reject the word “Americanize.” I STRONGLY reject the connotation this whole discussion is bringing; that is, Islam and America are not compatible and one has to change for it to fit with the other.

We, Muslims, use different words. We use the words that Allah and His Messenger used. We use the words of “… stand for justice and be witness for Allah,” and “… command what is right and forbid what is evil.” “Let be among you a group of people, call to what is good and enjoin what is right and forbid what is evil …”

We also use the words of “call people to Allah,” “Convey what has been given to you,” “Call to the way of your Lord with wisdom and beautiful preaching, and debate with them with that which is best,” “We have sent down to you guidance to explain to people what was sent down to them and for they may reflect and ponder”

We also understand from the Qur’an and the words of the Messenger that ” there is no compulsion in religion” and “it is not your duty to guide” and “you only have to convey.” We also remind ourselves with the rhetorical question in the Qur’an “Do you force people to become believers?”

When we compare what we embrace as Muslims with what the constitution of our country states, we find out that “people have the right to freely worship (or not worship)” We find out that “people have the right to express themselves and their beliefs and values.”  We find out that it is an American value that we have the right (and actually the duty) to stand up for justice and promote the good and forbid the evil.

Examining Islam and America very deeply tells us, as American Muslims, that these words, “Islamizing” and “Americanizing” has no place in our dictionary. It also tells us that Islam will only make the real American values shine while America will give a change to Islam to be practiced in a way that is better than any place in the world now.

This deep analysis also tells me that what needs to change is basically some cultural accumulations around Islam that is not part of it as well as some fake values that people call American while having nothing to do with what real America is about.

It is an insult to America and the American people

“See? I told you. These guys have a plan to convert all American to Muslims and take America over.” They will say and even quote my few sentences above.

I am not going to take back any of what I said above. I refuse to be “kept in Bonds.” I respond by saying that this is an insult. It is not an insult to me as a Muslim or an insult to any American Muslim. It is, rather, an insult to all Americans.

American Muslims are very small minority. How on earth would they convert millions to Islam? Are they going to brainwash them? Are they going to practice sorcery  so that everyone wakes up as a Muslim? Isn’t that an insult to everyone’s intelligence? Go read what is written above? Is there anything more civilized than calling, conveying, sharing, preaching, debating, reflecting, pondering, standing for values, promoting values, respecting beliefs, etc. Isn’t that what a free educated society would do? Shouldn’t people be free to express themselves and others be free to think and judge? Aren’t these anti-Muslim ideas and the Islamophobia it generates AGAINST freedom of religion and freedom of expression, not only for Muslims but for all Americans?

My dear Muslim brothers and sisters,

Share your beautiful values and beautiful religion. Be happy when people embrace them, be grateful to Allah if they do, and be respectful to them if they do not. Bring your values to life, stand for what you believe in, for this is only going to bring good to America. Go ahead and “move people to strive for God-consciousness, liberty and justice.” Go ahead and “Convey Islam with utmost clarity!”

Refuse to be “Kept in Bonds.”

To be continued …

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