By Imam Vernon M. Fareed
If you live in America you can’t help but hear some of the noise and debates about immigration, whether it’s coming from politicians, businesspersons or the common masses. We even hear the twist on immigration under the guise of “freedom of speech” coming from individuals expressing their religious views. One recent example of this is the Facebook post by Chesapeake School Board Chairwoman Christie New Craig. Her post (with a picture of a skull with crossed knives and a woman) said the following: “Muslims hate pork, beer, dogs, bikinis, Jesus, and freedom of speech. My question is, what the hell do they come to America for?!” Ms. Craig’s post (which has since been taken down) questions why a certain group of people migrate to America. We also hear comments and proposed plans for addressing immigration coming politicians such as Donald Trump, some of which makes a rational person cringe!
Let us stop for a moment and take a look back in history and see how things got started. We know that the Native American Indians were here, and some historians note that there were also some Africans here. Nevertheless, the first group of individuals that came to America did so as “explorers” seeking to discover this land that eventually came to be known as America. The next group of individuals that came to America did so as “immigrants” seeking the freedom and enjoyment of all that had been discovered in this wilderness. The next group of individuals that came here did so through “force”, to be used as free slave labor to build up this country for the pleasure of the slave-masters! I don’t have to tell you that this latter group was none other than the black man and woman now called “African Americans.”
This brief synopsis clearly highlights that technically, everybody in America are immigrants except the Native Americans and the African Americans who were forcibly brought here and made slaves. Despite this fact, there are those who talk as though they have some God-given right over others and that they are not immigrants! People have migrated to America from Germany, Italy, Great Britain, Ireland, Australia and many other parts of the world. They come to the “land of opportunity” and they establish a life for themselves; they create families and put down roots here. Unfortunately some of these individuals take on a mindset that causes them to feel entitled, and one that concludes that America belongs to them only. They would have you to believe that every ethnic group in America are immigrants with the exception of them, and their attitude is one of arrogance.
It would be interesting to hear the response of every group in America if they were asked, “what the hell did you come to America for?”