By Imam Vernon M. Fareed
No doubt that most of you have heard the recent comments by two of the candidates running as Republicans and hoping to become the next U.S. President. When a supporter of candidate Donald Trump made negatives remarks regarding President Obama and alleged that he is a Muslim, instead of Trump clearing up the matter he chose to add fuel to the fire. Trump said: “the bigger issue is that Obama is waging a war against Christians in this country. Christians need support in this country.
Their religious liberties are at stake.” When confronted about his response, Trump essentially brushed the matter aside saying the he is not responsible for correcting comments from someone in the audience. I wish that we had the space and time to share with you, all of the implications left in place as a result of Donald Trump’s handling of this issue, but unfortunately we don’t. I will however mention just a couple of concerns. Mr. Trump’s response left in place the lie that President Barack Obama is Muslim, and secondly he made a statement that subtly pits Christians against Muslims.
Another republican candidate Dr. Ben Carson recently made a statement that, “I would not advocate that we put a Muslim in charge of this nation. I absolutely would not agree with that.” He further stated that “the values and principles of America” and the U.S. Constitution are incompatible with Islam! Apparently Dr. Carson has forgotten that there are many in this country that would not advocate putting him (an African-American) in charge of this nation. The first one to achieve this feat is our current U.S. President Barack Obama. It was a monumental accomplishment because many who did not want him to become President were judging him on the color of his skin. Mr. Carson talks as though he has arrived and that he is accepted by the establishment in America. He truly needs a wake-up call, and I’m sure it’s just a matter of time before he gets one!
On the local scene we’ve had a Facebook posting by the Chairwoman (Christie New Craig) of the Chesapeake School Board saying: “Muslims hate pork, beer, dogs, bikinis, Jesus, and freedom of speech. My question is, what the hell do they come to America for?” What an irresponsible statement to be promoted by someone who has responsibility for educating our children and occupying a leadership position in society! First of all the statement is not true. It is true that Muslims don’t eat pork and drink beer, but neither do observing Jews and Christians. Muslims are not unlike other people of faith that have moral values that they promote and uphold, so what’s so anti-American about this. With respect to Jesus, Christie Craig exhibits an impressive display of ignorance regarding the Islamic view of him.
Ignorance is a big part of the problem that many have regarding Muslims and the religion of Islam. Many buy into the xenophobia and false portrayal of the religion that has been promoted by the media, and by those claiming the faith. Have you ever given thought to how we (African-Americans) would be viewed if the people around the world would have brought into the lie and stereo-type of who we are? Many in fact did buy into the lie, and they have a very negative view of us as a consequence.
It is important for people to get educated and stop believing the hype. Today Muslims are being denigrated, tomorrow it could be you, your faith, your ethnicity, your family, etc. I don’t think that there will be so much cheering, nor will the matter be viewed so casually when it hits home.