A new Duluth News Tribune article by M. Imran Hayee cites a few passages from my blog post titled “Documents Show Prophet Muhammad and US Founding Fathers Were Kindred Spirits.” Hayee wrote the following:
On April 6, an Arab Muslim student from the University of California, Berkeley, Khairuldeen Makhzoomi, was removed from a flight when he alarmed a fellow passenger by speaking Arabic on his phone. The fellow passenger, who knew some Arabic, suspected he used the Arabic word “shaheed,” which translates to “martyr.” Her suspicion cost Makhzoomi his flight.
Two weeks after this incident, I had a chance to fly. After boarding, I called my wife. This was a routine phone call, but I became cautious as soon as I hung up. I had spoken to my wife in Urdu, which could easily be confused with Arabic. With my beard and Middle Eastern looks, my reservations grew rather quickly.
To avoid a potential Makhzoomi-like episode, I immediately thought of doing something to make myself appear more American than Muslim. I had recently seen an article about America’s Founding Fathers by Craig Considine from Rice University. I quickly Googled it on my phone and started reading it visibly. The first sentence read, “Although they are typically seen to represent overwhelming opposites, the Prophet Muhammad and America’s founding fathers shared many common characteristics and beliefs.” Without much thinking, I finished reading the first paragraph, which summarized how historical documents show that Prophet Muhammad and America’s Founding Fathers held astonishingly “similar views” on “issues pertaining to equal rights and religious liberty.” At that point I suddenly realized the name of Prophet Muhammad appeared twice in the first paragraph. My effort to prove myself more American than Muslim became counterproductive.