Happy Independence Day America – I am grateful

Happy Independence Day USA – God Bless America!

The Quran says, “O you who believe! Obey Allah and obey the Messenger and those in authority from among you;”[4:59]

I am a Pakistani Muslim living in the US for the last two years. I belong to the oldest Muslim community established in the USA – the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community. This is a humble effort on my part to pay tribute to the USA on its Independence Day.

People come to the US for various reasons. Many come here to escape the abominable economic conditions in their countries. People from Africa and the Indian subcontinent for example come here regularly looking for better economic opportunities. Others come here in quest of higher studies and training. Some flee persecution in their countries or war zones and settle here to find peace and freedom. Some of those who emigrate or travel to the US hail from areas where anti-American sentiments run high. Yet America accepts everyone alike and gives them an opportunity to pursue the American dream. Thank you America!

I came to the USA about two years ago to pursue further training in the field of Medicine. Like many other Muslims and non-Muslims alike, I found this country very welcoming. I realize America has its own problems, but the magnitude of freedom and equality that one feels in the US is overwhelming at the least.

The Quran requires those in authority “to judge between men with justice and equality”[4:58]. It is ironic that these Islamic principles of governance are practiced in the US more than any country in the Muslim world.

As an Ahmadi Muslim, there are strict restrictions on my freedom in Pakistan. The state law back home refuses to give me freedom of practice, assembly, speech and expression. For the first time in many years, I had the chance to say the call to prayer at a mosque in Baltimore, something I can be jailed for in my country. I can say hello [Salam] to anyone without having to worry about a clause in the constitution that can lead to my imprisonment [PPC 298-C]. I am free to profess my faith the way I want to. I can call myself a Muslim and it rings no bells in any ears. I am not scared of false prosecutions and am more hopeful of quick justice in case I am stigmatized.

Even for those Muslims who do not identify with the Ahmadiyya community, this country has given them all kinds of freedom. Americans have been hit by so-called ‘Muslims’ in recent times. Yet, the majority bears no grudge against them. I do not find such freedom anywhere else in the world. From the persecution of Bahais in Iran, the Ahmadis in Pakistan [etc] to the banning of Burqas in France and minarets in Switzerland, religion is confined by law in one way or the other. I salute the US for providing Muslims with absolute freedom and unfettered independence. You are a great example in these times.

In a nutshell, the USA gives us everything that we come here looking for – knowledge, economic stability, respect, love, security and freedom. As Muslims, we have been asked to obey those in authority over us. We have also been taught to be grateful for any good that comes our way.

Unfortunately, a few Muslims [like Faisal Shehzad] find it hard to shred the influence of distorted ‘jihadi’ teachings. Some others live in a false sense of grandeur and while they live off of this country’s resources, remain disloyal at heart. To such I present the Quran – I remind you that Islam teaches us to be loyal and respect the laws of the land we abide in and live off. Islam requires us to be grateful to authorities that provide us with religious freedom of all kind.

The Holy Prophet [pbuh] said: “He who is not thankful to man is not thankful to God”

As for me, before I prostrate to thank God for everything He has given me in life, I thank you America and I pray for your progress and prosperity. I pray for my beautiful home away from home! Happy Independence Day USA – God Bless America!