by Daaniyal Munir
There is a trend in our country to celebrate patriotism by waving flags and putting bumper stickers on our vehicles. We spend Memorial Day, Veteran’s Day and the Fourth of July at barbecues, fireworks, and other celebrations.
While these activities serve a good, albeit superficial, purpose, we must take time to reflect on the deeper meaning of patriotism. We should reflect on what the Founding Fathers intended when they signed the Declaration of Independence, taking the first steps to create the great nation we live in today.
As an American Muslim, I celebrate the freedoms and rights that the United States grants. Particularly, as an Ahmadi Muslim, I recognize the value of the rights of religious freedom, as many Muslim countries still regularly suppress the rights of both Muslim and non-Muslim minorities, one of which I’m a member of.
While the freedoms and privileges of the United States are appreciated, I feel that it’s important to remind our citizens and especially our leaders to be mindful with their words. Denigrating fellow citizens, Muslim or otherwise, only serves to sow seeds of hatred into our society, and does nothing to combat our mutual enemy of extremism.Unfortunately, the “Travel Ban” on Muslim-majority countries tarnishes America’s image as a beacon of hope for the “poor, huddled masses” while failing to prevent travel from the countries where most extremists are generally located. Maintaining the security of our country is important, but we must strive to maintain the shared Islamic and American values of integrity, honesty, and justice as we do so.
Next time we decide to raise a flag in our front door, place a patriotic bumper sticker on our car, or go watch the Fourth of July parade downtown let it be a reminder of the true spirit of inclusivity and acceptance which is the hallmark of a true American patriot.