A Muslim on Memorial Day

By Nayyar Ahmed

On Friday 27th of May 2016, I had the opportunity to attend the Memorial Day celebrations in the neighborhood of Sewickley, situated in the North West of Pittsburgh. People from all walks of life had gathered on the intersection of Beaver and Broad Street to celebrate the freedom this country has to offer. Veterans and their loved ones came together to show their solidarity for the war heroes who have laid down their lives so millions of Americans including myself can live a life of liberty. This was all followed by a spectacular fireworks display.

Time and again, I have mentioned to my friends and family of how grateful I am to have migrated to this country. In reality this and all such gatherings are thanks-giving gatherings to All-Mighty God who has blessed us with such a great country to live in, such a great people to live with and people of high moral values, values of service and humanity. On this day we should be reminded about our pledges to this land that we will protect this country and we will serve this country and its people to the best of our abilities and that is the real meaning of celebrating the Memorial Day.

However, these freedoms and liberties can be taken for granted, and may not be fully appreciated by the local population. Adding a bit more perspective to things, I belong to a persecuted sect of Islam, the Ahmadiyya sect. The Pakistan government and many other Muslim majority countries do not recognize the adherents of this community as Muslims. We are labeled as heretics and have been officially declared as non-Muslims by many. To make matters worse, Ahmadi Muslims can be imprisoned for confessing and/or practicing their faith openly in some of these countries. Hence, we are blessed and fortunate to be a part of the pluralistic fabric of America that guarantees liberty and justice for all. As for Ahmadi Muslims living in America, our love for this country supersedes all else. The Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) taught the world that love of one’s country of residence is part of faith.

In the end, it is important that we spread the message of love and dispel the bigotry of hate. I leave the reader with a short slogan which describes my community in a nutshell: “love for all, hatred for none”. This is a message I want to share with all my fellow Americans this Memorial Day.

God Bless America!

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