A good piece from Kari Ansari.
Dear President Barack Obama,
Along with many American Muslims, my family and I listened to your speech today on theÂ Middle East and North Africa. While I appreciate your encouraging statements to the people of the Muslim world â€” particularly to those who are currently fighting for dignity and civil rights in their own lands â€” I also couldnâ€™t help feeling that many Americans are not setting the example of which you spoke when it comes to our own Muslim citizens.
Currently, 20 states have introduced anti-Muslim legislation, with more pending. Some of our countryâ€™s lawmakers and politicians have made very bigoted inflammatoryÂ comments about Muslims and Islam. Very recently,Â Tennessee, under extreme pressure, rewrote a bill that would have made it a crime punishable by 15 years in prison for Muslims to worship together in groups of two or more. Organized groups are staging hate rallies against Muslims building houses of worship around the country. Local municipalities are playing the zoning game by zoning Islamic schools and mosques out of the community. MosqueÂ playgrounds are being torched. Muslim familyÂ homes,Â property, andÂ mosques are being vandalized. Children are being bullied andÂ harassed because they are Muslim. Shockingly, last week the Editor of the Gainesville Times in Florida published aÂ letter that called for the expulsion of all Muslims from America. Recently, several MuslimÂ clerics, and also a young MuslimÂ woman were pulled off airplanes for no other reason other than they were dressed in recognizable Muslim attire. This is all being seen through the modern technologyâ€™s â€świndow into the wider worldâ€ť that you mentioned in your speech, but like all windows, you can also look from the world outside and see whatâ€™s happening inside.
What does it say to the world when our President speaks about rights for people in the Muslim world that â€śinclude free speech; the freedom of peaceful assembly; freedom of religionâ€ť when our own people are being hindered from building mosques, and schools, and our right to worship freely is even being threatened?
Mr. President, Muslims in America know that you do not stand with this kind of bigotry and hatred. During your announcement of the killing of Osama bin Laden you said,
As we do, we must also reaffirm that the United States is not â€” and never will be â€” at war with Islam. Iâ€™ve made clear, just as President Bush did shortly after 9/11, that our war is not against Islam.
We appreciated this statement, however, judging by the uptick in anti-Muslim incidents since the death of bin Laden, the words werenâ€™t enough to resonate with those in America who feel threatened by their Muslim neighbors.
Mr. President, Muslims need your leadership, your strong voice, and your support in this regard. You are a friend to the worldâ€™s Muslims, especially those fighting for their freedom, but Muslims need your friendship here on our own soil. Anti-Islam bigotry is getting worse in America â€” not better.
In our home, we love and respect you as our President; will you show us the same love and respect as a patriotic American family by speaking out strongly against this growing trend of anti-Muslim bigotry?
Follow Kari Ansari on Twitter:Â www.twitter.com/KariAnsari