Americans Together

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Chapter 1

Americans Together

Our mission is to be a contributor toward building a cohesive America where no American
has to live with anxiety, discomfort, or fear of another. Freedom is the most cherished American
value and the most cherished Islamic value as well.

It is our individual and collective responsibility to keep law and order and faithfully guard
the safety of every citizen. Hate, prejudice, and stereotypes are some of the many root disruptors of
peace in a society. We must track down the source of such ill will and work on mitigating it.

We believe humans are open to choices and will make the best choices if the path is paved
for them. We have provided many ways through our annual events, such as Unity Day, Reflections
on Holocaust and Genocides, and Thanksgiving. It has been our experience that our participants
walk out with a commitment to be less biased, less prejudiced, and willing to stand up for others for
the sake of the general good of humankind.

We are committed to enhancing the efforts nationally, one brick at a time. We are building a
cohesive America where each one of the 323 million Americans feels safe in their homes, at their
jobs, in places of worship, and in public areas.

What Do Americans Want?

A majority of Americans want a just society where everyone feels safe, secure, and without
fear of others. What exactly do we want? How will we make the change? How do we convince
those cashing in on hate and fearmongering? Can we find a way to make peace lucrative and
redirect energy toward creating a cohesive America?

Our Founding Fathers laid the groundwork for such a society: “We hold these truths to be
self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain
unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.”

Martin Luther King Jr. famously expressed this in his speech: “I have a dream that my four
little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin,
but by the content of their character.”

Chief Seattle, a Native American, said this perfectly: “All things are connected. Whatever
befalls the earth befalls the sons of the earth. Man did not weave the web of life; he is merely a
strand in it. Whatever he does to the web, he does it to himself.”

John F. Kennedy said, “And so, my fellow Americans: ask not what your country can do for
you – ask what you can do for your country. My fellow citizens of the world: ask not what America
will do for you, but what together we can do for the freedom of man.”

We hope to capture your responses in a moving story about America.

America Is God’s Own Country

We are one nation under God, indivisible with liberty and justice for all.

Where else will you find a nation that embraces people of every race, nationality, ethnicity,
language, culture, and religion? Where else do we enjoy such diversity where we can see God as
one, none, and many; in every form—male, female, genderless, and nonexistent; being and
nonbeing; and nameless and with innumerable names?

Americans together are committed to preserving this pluralistic heritage of America, and
American Muslims will be contributors toward such a society.

This book speaks for the moderate majority who has America first on their agenda.
“America first” is not at the cost of others but a strengthening of who we are so we can be a role
model for the world to emulate, caring for fellow humans and standing up for religious freedom.

On the extreme left, among American Muslims, we have Tarek Fatah, Asra Nomani, Zuhdi
Jasser, and a few others who do not see the accomplishments and progress Muslims have made in
America and across the world. They beat up on Muslims the moment they open their mouths, and
they want a pound of flesh from the majority of American Muslims.

The Muslim left does not understand what freedom means, and its desire to induce Muslims
to give up their traditions is amusing. Who the hell are they? It is a shame that the Christian, Jewish,
and Hindu right gives them a lift. There is no doubt they want the changes, but you don’t dictate to
others from outside; you have to be a part of the transition to cause a change.

The right-wing Muslims, on the other hand, are just as fanatic as the right-wing Christians,
Hindus, Jews, and others. If they had their way, they would make life difficult for everyone. The
average American will lose their freedom. They dig in their heels and assert that Islam is the only
religion acceptable to Allah, just as Christians assert that Jesus is the only savior or the Jewish
belief that Jews are the chosen people.

The majority of Americans is moderate Americans. They enjoy their faith and let others
enjoy theirs without negating one another. This is the silent majority who live their lives, take care
of their families, contribute toward their work, serve the community, and earn their income through
old-fashioned hard work. They aspire to retire enjoying time with their families and to help their

If our friends on the left, such as Zuhdi, are sincere about the change, they may want to
consider working with the moderates in the American way—persuasion but not imposition, choices
but not condemnation. You cannot anger the majority and expect them to follow your “version” of
Islam. Let’s work the imams. No doubt, there are few lost souls in every tradition, but a majority of
imams in America care about fellow humans and care about America’s well-being. Sometimes you
sound like the “Rip Van Winkle,” waking up and imagining the world of twenty years ago. Wake
up. There is a whole new generation of patriotic Americans.

The change agents need to be on the same boat to steer us out of troubled waters rather than use the remote control to change the course. I invite the right and the left to become integral parts of
the community and work with us in fixing the problem as partners and not as adversaries. You
cannot gather honey if you kick the beehive.

The good news is that a majority of evangelicals are honest to good people who have chosen
to live the life of Jesus. There is a whole array of national pastors—such as Bob Roberts, Rick
Love, Jim Eaton, and George Mason—who care for humanity first and, in essence, follow the real
teachings of Jesus, Moses, Krishna, Buddha, Muhammad, Nanak, Confucius, and native traditions.

Muslims need to extend their love to pastors like Pat Robertson, John Hagee, Billy Graham
Jr., and Robert Jeffress. Pastor Jeffress has gone to extremes and appears to be an anti-Christ
pretending to be a follower of Christ. As Muslims, we have dedicated and thanked him for inspiring
us to hold a workshop on the Quran to dispel the myths surrounding these scriptures. Pastor Jeffress
had said terrible things about Islam, the Prophet, and the Quran; we thanked him and asked him to
join us in the workshop to learn. He declined, but we appreciated him. That is the Muslim way.

Rev. Dr. Jack Sara, an evangelical pastor in Jerusalem, writes about the other evangelical
pastors, “Do not pervert justice; do not show partiality to the poor or favor to the great, but judge
your neighbor fairly” (Leviticus 19:15). Leaders should issue words of reconciliation and make
every effort to be true and impartial mediators. They should not be instruments for the division and
the escalation of violence. I hope our president is aware of this verse.

There is a handful of priests of all faiths who honestly appreciate the value of other
religions. They are secure in their own faith and do not hesitate to praise other faiths. It has never
diminished their confidence. It means merely that all religions are good; choose the one that works
for you.

Once, my daughter, when she was a little girl, had exclaimed, “Gee, Dad, God can be
worshipped in so many different ways.” This happened in the sanctuary at the Ekta Mandir, DFW
Hindu Temple in Irving, Texas. She went with me to every place of worship in Dallas as part of
familiarizing my kids with different faiths, races, ethnicities, and gender orientations. She went with
me to the LGBT’s Hope Cathedral in Oaklawn, Dallas.

I hoped to raise my kids with prejudice toward none, period. I know, if they run for public
office, they will earn the respect of every American.

No matter where they work or what they do, our kids are going to be working with people of
different faiths, races, and ethnicities. As parents, we have the responsibility to raise them to enjoy
their life by respecting the otherness of others and accepting the God-given uniqueness of each one
of us. I feel sorry for the kids whose parents poison them with various prejudices and make their
lives miserable when they grow up and have to work with people they were told not to trust.

In the center of the spectrum are moderate Muslims, Christians, Hindus, Jews, Sikhs,
Buddhists, Baha’is, Native Americans, Shinto, Wiccan, atheists, pagans, and others. They are
indeed the majority who mind their own faith and let others follow theirs. Unlike the left and the
right who are hell-bent on changing others, moderates are secure people who simply live their lives.They have no problem whether you worship or not and whether you adore one, two, or many forms
of God.

There are many things American Muslims need to fix, but sadly, very few have the spine to
take this challenge. This is going to hurt us, not from outside but from within.

The next generation of Muslims would not want to be identified as Muslims, and it is a
shame that we put them through such an ordeal. It is a home run when one is connected to their
heritage and comfortable with American values. Otherwise, they are lost souls. These issues are not
exclusive to Muslims but shared with immigrants from all cultures, faiths, and regions who have
similar problems. However, my focus in this book is about American Muslims.

This book The American Muslim Agenda is about Muslim integration to the point of
abandoning the divisive language of “them versus us” and instead beginning to speak of “us.” There
is no “they”; all of us are “us.” When we start defending America and American values, we are in.
We become an integral part of the American fabric.

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