Sun & News (Hastings, Michigan)
SECTION: NEWS; Pg. 7

By Dawud Walid

To the editor: A letter printed in the September 28 edition of the Sun & News titled "Who is running America?" which was critical of President Obama  is riddled with numerous fallacies about Islam.

The Qur'an encourages freedom of thought and good relations with people of various persuasions, not conversion through force nor wanton violence against any religious group. The Qur'an clearly says in chapter 2, verse 256, "Let there be no compulsion in religion, for right guidance is clear from error." It also says in chapter 5, verse 32 that whoever kills a soul is like killing all of humankind and whoever saves a life is like saving humanity.

A cursory reading of the Qur'an will also show that the vast majority of verses provide spiritual inspiration, parables and stories of prophets such as Abraham, Moses and Jesus Christ. Few verses in the Qur'an are of legalistic nature such as avoiding consumption of pork and alcohol to inheritance rules. Sharia, which means path towards faithfulness, is not a strict codex of laws, which the author misrepresents, nor are American Muslims lobbying to have Islam become the law of the land.

Furthermore, that President Obama,  a Christian, has surrounded himself with Muslim Brotherhood members is an unfounded Islamophobic meme. Huma Abedin, for instance, who was an aide to former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton  and wife to Anthony Weiner, who is Jewish, passed strict security clearances in order to have her job and served our country with honor. Congressman Michelle Bachman, R-Minnesota, who launched the vile attach against Abdein was condemned by members of her own party including Speaker of the House John Boehner and Senator John McCain from Arizona.

Religious liberty is enshrined in the U.S. Constitution. In fact, the U.S. Supreme Court recognizes figures with religious affiliation including Prophet Muhammad in the chamber as enlightened people who influenced our jurisprudence. America by virtue of it being a nation of immigrants continues to be shaped by groups of varying ethnicities and religions.

Our country also has a history of certain groups being maligned based upon religious affiliation. Catholic, Jews and Mormons have had their faiths smeared by conspiracy theories that they had grand schemes to subvert American law. It is shameful that many have not learned from history and resort to broad-brush portrayals of American Muslims, which are inaccurate.

I hope that we can rise to a higher level of discourse about the issues that challenge us as Americans without demonizing fellow Americans, including American Muslims, in the process.

Dawud Walid, Executive Director Council on American-Islamic Relations -Michigan Southfield

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