Politics

Would Trump Allow the Call To Prayer in the White House?

Qasim Rashid, an Ahmadi American, is my good friend. Years ago, his family fled Pakistan, a country that deems Ahmadis as “non-Muslim”. Ahmadis in Pakistan are persecuted to the point where they are openly murdered without any ramifications for the murderers. Ahmadis cannot refer to their places of worship as “mosques”. They also cannot use the term assalamalaikum, Arabic for “peace be with you”, in public. For these reasons, Qasim appreciates being an American citizen because the United States offers him what Pakistan does not – freedom of religion and freedom of conscience. Qasim and I are kindred spirits, because we both care about these values. We care about human rights.

Yesterday, Qasim had the honor of giving the Islamic call to prayer at the White House. It is truly a symbolic event. A Pakistani immigrant, raised in Illinois, openly practices his faith in arguably the most important building in the United States. This represents the best of American values. “Come as you are”, or, as the Statue of Liberty has it, “give me your… huddled masses yearning to be free”.

Qasim’s act of religious pluralism makes me wonder if such an act would happen if Donald Trump sat in the White House.

Trump has a bleak track record thus far in terms of religious freedom and other human rights, especially as it pertains to Muslims. In recent months, he has called for a complete shutdown of Muslim migration to the United States, a possible system where Muslims have to carry ID badges identifying them as Muslims (like Hitler did to Jews), and a plan to increase the monitoring of mosques. Trump has even suggested possible internment camps for Muslims. Basically, he represents the antithesis of American values as defined by the Founding Fathers.

Benjamin Franklin once told an audience that Americans should build places of worship so that even the Muslim leader of Constantinople, now Istanbul, could have a forum to openly discuss Islam. Thomas Jefferson, who studied the Quran, championed religious freedom. Writing for the Virginia colonial legislature in 1777, he noted that “the Jew, the Gentile, the Christian, and the [Muslim], the [Hindu], and infidel of every denomination” are welcome to the United States. Jefferson’s statue at the University of Virginia also shows him holding a tablet which states, “Religious Freedom, 1786,” below which is inscribed “Allah” alongside “Brahma.”

George Washington, the first president of the United States, also championed religious freedom. In 1783, he stated, “the bosom of America is open to receive… the oppressed and persecuted of all nations and religions, whom we shall welcome to a participation of all our rights and privileges… They may be [Muslims], Jews, or Christians of any sect, or they may be atheists.”  Washington’s message is simple – the United States is founded on E Pluribus Unum, meaning “out of many, one”. He wanted America to be a civic nation where a common sense of “we” is not defined by ethnicity or religion, but rather citizenship rights.

Qasim Rashid exercised his rights as an American citizen in the White House. Franklin, Jefferson and Washington looked down at him and thought, “This is what it means to be American”. The verdict is out on whether Trump will live up to their ideals.

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4 thoughts on “Would Trump Allow the Call To Prayer in the White House?

  1. “Qasim Rashid, an Ahmadi American, is my good friend. Years ago, his family fled Pakistan, a country that deems Ahmadis as “non-Muslim”. Ahmadis in Pakistan are persecuted to the point where they are openly murdered without any ramifications for the murderers.”

    He’s lucky to have you for a friend, Dr. Considine – you can make a defence of islam and explain to him why the people who piously and devoutly believe muhammad’s claim that he was the “seal of prophets” (not, as one might think, a circus act involving an aquatic mammal clapping and juggling a ball, but that he was the lasp prophet of allah and that there would be no prophets after him) are, in fact, not real muslims and are, instead, perverting and distorting islam, which is a religion of peace. Why, they’re likely islamophobes, just like ISIS!

    “Qasim’s act of religious pluralism makes me wonder if such an act would happen if Donald Trump sat in the White House.”

    I thought that the American government was secular and that no one would be allowed to run prayers in a governmental building, regardless of the current President.

    “Trump has a bleak track record thus far in terms of religious freedom and other human rights, especially as it pertains to Muslims.”

    Huh, what? As much as I dislike Trump, I don’t remember seeing him prohibiting people from practising their religion or violating human rights.

    “In recent months, he has called for a complete shutdown of Muslim migration to the United States,”

    Which, give the recent attacks in both the US and Europe, seems like a sound suggestion. And let’s be honest for honesty’s sake here: he asked for a temporary ban on muslim immigration until authorities could figure out what the hell was going on.

    “a possible system where Muslims have to carry ID badges identifying them as Muslims (like Hitler did to Jews)”

    And as muslims did to Jews centuries before Hitler – as Paul Johnson, wrote in “A History of the Jews”:

    Two yellow badges [are to be displayed], one on the headgear and one on the neck. Furthermore, each Jew must hang round his neck a piece of lead with the word Dhimmi on it. He also has to wear a belt round his waist. The women have to wear one red and one black shoe and have a small bell on their necks or shoes.

    “and a plan to increase the monitoring of mosques.”

    Seeing how four separate, independent studies concluded that roughly 80% of them are preaching hatred of non-muslims, it’s hard to see that as a bad idea. I’d expect to see you, an islamic apologist who routinely defends the idea that islam is a religion of peace perverted and distorted by a tiny minority of extremists, to be on the frontlines of the war against islamic extremism. But instead, you’re waging a war against the war on islamic extremism.

    “Thomas Jefferson, who studied the Quran, championed religious freedom. Writing for the Virginia colonial legislature in 1777, he noted that “the Jew, the Gentile, the Christian, and the [Muslim], the [Hindu], and infidel of every denomination” are welcome to the United States. Jefferson’s statue at the University of Virginia also shows him holding a tablet which states, “Religious Freedom, 1786,” below which is inscribed “Allah” alongside “Brahma.””

    Why are “muslim” and “Hindu” inside square brackets? Is there any place I can see this writing myself?

    “George Washington, the first president of the United States, also championed religious freedom. In 1783, he stated, “the bosom of America is open to receive… the oppressed and persecuted of all nations and religions, whom we shall welcome to a participation of all our rights and privileges… They may be [Muslims], Jews, or Christians of any sect, or they may be atheists.” Washington’s message is simple – the United States is founded on E Pluribus Unum, meaning “out of many, one”. He wanted America to be a civic nation where a common sense of “we” is not defined by ethnicity or religion, but rather citizenship rights.”

    Again with the square brackets? Where’s the original document?

    Here is a letter from Thomas Jefferson detailing the reply he got when he asked the Ambassador of Tripoli why hi ships attacked, without any provocation, American ships sailing in the Mediterranean:

    It was written in their Koran, that all nations which had not acknowledged the Prophet were sinners, whom it was the right and duty of the faithful to plunder and enslave; and that every mussulman who was slain in this warfare was sure to go to paradise. He said, also, that the man who was the first to board a vessel had one slave over and above his share, and that when they sprang to the deck of an enemy’s ship, every sailor held a dagger in each hand and a third in his mouth; which usually struck such terror into the foe that they cried out for quarter at once.

    Thomas Jefferson studied the quran to see if this claim was true. In the meanwhile, America had to pay tribute to the North African pirate states, and even then was not a 100% assurance American ships wouldn’t be attacked. You know what Thomas Jefferson did when he became President? He refused to pay tribute, build a navy and went to war with muslims acting on quranic principles – hence why the Marines anthem is “from the halls of Montezuma to the shores of Tripoli”. It’s a reference to the Barbary Wars.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Can anyone tell me how Ahmadis are Muslims? Everywhere I ask it’s the opposite opinion. Sadly, I couldn’t find much intellectual literature related to this. Mostly the Ahmadi are trolling on Twitter etc.

    Like

    1. Ahmed Sahib, what do you know about Ahmdis? Why don’t you ask me 6 questions that require answers to relating to the AHMADIYYA Community. I shall endeavour toanswervthem in full and without ambiguity.
      Asim

      Like

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