Thursday, February 16, 2006

Great American Profile - Dr. Zuhdi Jassar

Quite the story.
It seems the issue of cartoons is much in the news these days. As a devout moderate Muslim, I was just recently portrayed in the local Muslim newspaper, Arizona Muslim Voice, as a ravenous dog — on the leash of our state newspaper, and devouring an imam.

Despite the fact that being portrayed as a dog is profoundly offensive if not downright hateful in our Middle Eastern culture, there was hardly a ripple of outrage in the local Muslim community. It seems that in the local Muslim community it's all right to make a vilifying cartoon of me, a former U.S. Navy Lieutenant Commander and medical officer, but certainly not one of bin Laden or al-Zawahiri. I have yet to see them publish one cartoon against the enemies of America in this so-called Muslim newspaper.
Why would they do that to a fellow Muslim....mmmm....
Dreams are a funny thing. For example, it is a dream for me that I may one day make the hajj, the pilgrimage to Mecca. But the very thought of living there, makes me feel all hollow inside. Is that not a peculiar thing — that the holiest place for me to visit would not be a holy place for me to live.

That is because the hajj is a dream of mine, a pillar of my faith, but living there would be my reality. The difference between a dream that is fleeting and one that is real always comes down to the question of free will. If I would live there, I would not be free and no devotion that is coerced can ever be true.

That is why my first allegiance is to this country. Without its freedoms and protections, my faith would be something much smaller. That is also why my dream has always been one of a pluralistic, democratic society where all religions and people can feel welcome. Islamists, from the radical to the moderate, would argue that in their dream the will of the majority and the Islamic state become one. What instilled my intense love for the United States from a young age was that our democracy has a Bill of Rights that upholds minorities, prevents oppression by the majority, and keeps religious scripture out of government — the antithesis of Islamism.

The Muslim mobs we see inflamed are not al-Qaeda, but they are enraged Islamists driven by a fear of losing the ideological world war to the West. They fear the West, which honors the individual first and the community second — put another way, America first, and the ummah second. They fear more than anything having to compete in a non-theological legislature by the legal merit of the logic of their principles, rather than from behind the corrupt cloak of their theological monopoly on sharia.
That is a great American. What risks have you taken to demonstrate your love of our country?

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