Muslims Celebrate Being American

07 July 2015
Published in

By Huma Munir

July 6, 2015

As people gathered to celebrate the Fourth of July this year, there was heightened security in prominent locations across the country to counter any terrorist attack. The FBI issued a bulletin last month that put the Fourth of July events as possible targets for ISIS terror activity.

But while some people claiming to be “Muslim,” might be plotting the next terrorist attack, there are others who marched in the Fourth of July parades to show their zeal and support for their country. As a practicing Muslim and a proud American, I strongly believe in the saying of the Prophet Muhammad (peace and blessings be on him): “Loving one’s country is part of faith.”

Thirteen years ago, my family left Pakistan to come to the United States in search of greater opportunity and freedom. As members of the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community, we faced government-sanctioned persecution. Saying a simple Islamic greeting or proclaiming yourself to be a Muslim can land you in jail in Pakistan. Hundreds of Ahmadi Muslims have been murdered as a result of target killings. My story is the story of many Muslims who have escaped persecution or some type of discrimination to come to the United States and other Western nations.

In America, individuals like me have had the chance to reach their fullest potentials to go to the best schools in the world, and to compete in some of the most versatile job markets. If I was still living in Pakistan, I would have limited opportunities and freedom. How could I ever think of repaying my country by engaging in terrorist activity? It’s unfathomable and unnatural for someone to hate something that has brought them nothing but goodness. This is why I am left utterly confused when I hear of another Muslim man or woman pledging allegiance to ISIS and other terrorist organizations. Not only is this behavior highly irrational, it is also un-Islamic.

As a Muslim, I can assure you that nothing is farther from the teachings of Islam than going against the authority of one’s nation. In fact, the Prophet Muhammad (peace and blessings be on him) said that Muslims should follow their leader even if they despise him or her. The Islamic scripture, the Holy Quran, admonishes Muslims repeatedly from engaging in any activity that might cause disorder on earth (28:78). The Quran also says that those who seek to disturb peace are leading a path to eternal damnation, rather than salvation (2:12-16). Killing one person is akin to killing the entire mankind, according to the Quran (5:33).

Islam leaves no room for violence against any human being— let alone an entire country. In fact, it is because of the true Islamic teachings that I learned the meaning of being loyal. In Islam, you don’t have to go against the government to reach amicable solutions to your problems. Society’s peace depends on people’s ability to compromise without becoming rebellious to achieve their motives. Even if the ruler is unjust, Muslims are told to show patience and fortitude. Taking the law in one’s hand is strictly forbidden and out of the question.

It is possible that without the guidance of true Islamic teachings, I might have been misled like hundreds of other ‘Muslims’ who think they are waging the greatest Jihad by attacking their fellow countrymen. But the truth is that Islam has saved me and thousands of other Ahmadi Muslims living in the United States from going down a dark path.

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Huma Munir is an ESL teacher in San Antonio ISD, Texas and  a member of Teach for America, San Antonio.  She serves as the local media secretary for Ahmadiyya Muslim Women Association in Austin, Texas. You can follow Huma on Twitter.

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