An American Muslim

“Have you even read the United States constitution? I will gladly lend you my copy. Look for the words LIBERTY and EQUAL PROTECTION OF LAW.”

I am a first generation immigrant myself, I stood up and applauded Mr. Khan, he spoke for the soul of this country. This was the best speech in this  Presidential election and the most necessary. This is what is at stake -the core value of this country is under threat by a man like Donald Trump, who has no understanding of the constitution he would swear to uphold.

The deeply personal nature of Khizr Khan’s speech added weight to his rebuke and left me in tears. I felt honor and admiration for a man I have never met. I could see and feel the pain and the grief in Mrs. Khan’s eyes, who stood silently beside her husband.

“This is our country too,” he said before his speech and he is right. The Khan family moved to the United States in 1980; I arrived in the USA in 1983. They moved from the United Arab Emirates; I left everything behind in  Austria. They came here for a better life; I came here because I had fallen in love and had just married my American knight-in-shinning-armor.

They are American Muslims; I am an American agnostic -we are first generation Americans who stand up tall. They have darker skin -I am pale and freckled; they have black hair, and I am blonde (most of the time) and while we might have different backgrounds and different traditions, what unites us is the love for this country.

“You were not born here,” someone said to me once, and I looked at him, smiled and asked him what tribe his family was from? His ancestors had arrived here from Ireland; he didn’t say much after that, as a matter of fact, he didn’t talk to me at all anymore.

The United States of America has welcomed people from many different countries, races, and religions, all hoping to find freedom, a better life, and new opportunities. The metaphor MELTING POT is often used to describe our society and indeed, we are a fusion of different nationalities, cultures, and ethnicities.

Mr. Kahn, thank you. I needed to hear this -we all do.


 

 

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43 thoughts on “An American Muslim

  1. Really loved this post, captured the essence of Mr. Khan’s speech wonderfully and celebrated all of the aspects he asserted so accurately and passionately!

    I’ve just started an international development blog here as of yesterday, and would really appreciate it if you would offer your opinion on my latest post/follow me – really admire your work 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  2. When I moved to Charlottesville in February, my daughter took me to their home, so as to introduce me to Mrs. Khan. She is a lovely lady in person. I had met her earlier somewhere else, but had forgotten, though she remembered me.
    I fail to understand those people who judge emigrants by the color of their skin, from where they came, religion. Some are pushed to emigrate like myself. Sometimes I feel like saying “Don’t be judgmental unless someone commits a crime”.
    It’s ironic, and I feel ashamed to admit that like yesterday shooting when the killer wasn’t a Muslim I felt relieved. God forgive if he had been a Muslim, all Muslims would have been dragged through mud.

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  3. The collective decency in response to the Khans restored my faith in Americans. I lived in Pakistan when I was in high school, and have stayed in touch with several friends, including many who emigrated to the US 30 years ago like the Khans. A lovely people, whose country and religion are bing torn apart by extremists now. It’s an awful experience, especially for the older ones who have more of a connection to the old country, and still have family there living in the middle of the storm. I’ve been part of some conversations online where these issues came up after the speech, and it was gratifying that they had the same deep love for the US like Mr. Khan, and that America is an idea — it really doesn’t exist except in our minds– that has a great deal of power still. You are an American if you ask, and honestly accept the burdens and benefits. There is no other test. It’s a decision. Unless you’re born here, and sometimes we forget. My friends have been anxious, but after the discussion, I could tell that they were claiming being an American, proudly, and that the anxieties about whether they belong here went away.

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    • I got up and gave Mr. Khan a standing ovation in our living room. I had tears in my eyes and felt pride, “Finally an American Muslim is speaking up,” I thought and I hope to hear more.

      This country hasn’t been built on fear.

      “Burden and benefits,” is always a package deal. I like that a lot.

      Thank you for your comment.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. I can’t say enough about the bravery of this muslim couple to be able to talk of their son and his sacrifice before all of those people. They know the true meaning of sacrifice and live with it every day. Please send us more Khans and less Drumpfs (that is Trump’s actual name before his father changed it.)

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      • Yes, and I also admire the Imam in Rouens who went to the service at the Catholic Church and denounced the people who killed the priest. I think more people are speaking out. As someone who grew up in the Catholic religion, I wish more people had spoken out earlier about what was being done to their children by the priests and nuns they trusted. We have learned that although religions are considered sacred, there are those among us who take advantage of doing evil and hiding behind a religion they are really not a part of in any sense of the concept of what that religion truly espouses. I wrote a recent post about keeping silent on July 16th entitled “Peace Be Upon You”. I agree. This is not a time for silence anywhere in our world.

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  5. So very well said! And as you say, Mr. Khan’s speech was something that needed saying. My parents were the first in my family born here…and I strongly identify with all you said about immigrants. I have often felt that those who made a choice to come here and to become citizens, like you, like my grandparents, and like Mr. and Mrs. Khan are those who truly appreciate the fundamental elements of America and American freedoms and ideals. My head has been spinning since this heartfelt speech and Mr. Trump’s appalling response. And my heart goes out to the Khans and all parents who have lost a family member through their military service. We need to honor that service and the ideals they fought and died for. We are America – all of us. Thank you for posting this. Jo

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  6. A most excellent post my friend And not being in the USA was unaware of this story unfolding.. But what a wonderful Speech .. Truly.. And to pick up the point about bridges.. May I add a verse from a poem i wrote 3 posts back
    “Now is the time to heal and to mend
    So hold out your hand to your neighbour and friends
    The tears of our sorrow, let’s use them to cleanse
    Build Bridges- Not Barriers- We can do this my friends
    Love your post.. Sending Love and Blessings
    Sue xxx

    Liked by 1 person

  7. I LOVED his speech and I agree, it was the most important of the entire convention, which I have to say was positive and empowering. The Kahn’s brought tears to my eyes too. Your line “What tribe are you from?” is priceless. I’m going to plagiarize and start using it 🙂

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    • I liked the positive message as well. What a difference to the GOP convention. It’s like we are from different planets.

      A very good friends of mine is native American, the “what tribe are you from,” is her line…so go right ahead, she would like it. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  8. Thank you for posting this, it had me in tears too. My daughter and son-in-law, currently in America, belong both there and in the UK and that is how the world will be in the future. We must learn to accept this. Since the crazy vote here in the UK to leave Europe, I have been terrified that the Americans could be fooled into voting for Trump.

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    • Not voting and not voting for Hillary Clinton, could make Trump the winner. That’s what I fear most. He just has to continue to dismantle Clinton’s reputation. That’s all what his campaign is about. Hate, Fear and Hillary Clinton.

      Mr. Khan’s speech had me in tears as well. I have two citizenship’s myself and we are -for the first time ever- talking about moving IF….

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  9. Thanks for sharing this. I couldn’t agreed more. I grew up when racism here was against American Indians and Chinese. There were no black in Boise at that time except one family. I deplored the trains caring the Japanese to camps in Eastern Idaho. They passed. through Boise at night. The only reasn the railroad tracks were behind our house.

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      • Do an Internet search for the Western States. The Chinese were never accepted, but they built the railroads and did avlot of construction on the West Coast. At one time only men could come over. The Idaho history Museum had displayon the early importance to Idaho by the Chinese. Northeast of Boise (actually joins Boise) now and is called Garden City. Before 1941 this area was covered with Japanese farms. They lost the land during World War Two. Those lands feed the US troops during the war. And french fries were developed at that time. The racism today is against the Hispanics. They were brought to Idaho to harvest the crops and return after the harvest. A few stay.

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  10. Agree 100%. Sometimes immigrants are better citizens because they (you) don’t take things for granted the way people born here often do (Not that Austria was such a bad place in the 1980s!). I have some Muslim American friends and take the standard abuse some people (Trump) give them very personally.

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    • Austria was such a sad place after Arnold Schwarzenegger moved away (Just kidding).

      I will write about what it means to be an immigrant soon, I will write about how it feels to choose a country as your own and about all the different emotions.

      How does it feel when you cheer for your team for the first time, or when you too sing the national anthem for your new home.

      I haven’t done it so far because I thought nobody would read it…I think I changed my mind.

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