By Saud Inam
We’re experiencing what many would call one of the ugliest and most frustrating presidential campaign in recent US history. Regardless of party affiliation or what we may think of either candidate in the presidential election this much is clear: America is at a crossroads. Not to sound alarmist, but the very fate of our nation and the direction we want to take our nation lies in this years’ presidential election on who we could potentially have as our president in 2017.
We can either have racism, bigotry, hate, xenophobia, Islamophobia and classism triumph in 2017, or we can take a moral stand to say enough is enough. And, taking that stand means engaging in the political process by voting and through other forms of civil engagement — like writing or talking to your state representatives or senator.
Apathy coupled with ignorance about our political system only allows for those in power to be left without accountability. Now is not the time for us to fall asleep too much is at stake. We are faced with a nation that has seen the increase in racism, bigotry, hate, xenophobia and hate crimes against minorities. We can make a stand against this evil not as Republicans, Democrats or independents, Black or White — but as Americans.
In Islam, we are taught that Allah created us into nations and tribes not to divide us, but so that we may know one another:
O mankind, indeed We have created you from male and female and made you peoples and tribes that you may know one another. Indeed, the most noble of you in the sight of Allah is the most righteous of you. Indeed, Allah is Knowing and Acquainted. (Quran 49:13)
We must realize that we must look at on another not as the “other” but as diverse parts of a human family. We may have different faiths, worldviews, opinions and thoughts, but at the end of the day we are brothers and sisters in humanity. It is incumbent upon every one of us to work to break down the walls and borders that are artificially placed around us to divide us. These walls and borders created to divide and conquer us are made based on political affiliation, ethnicity, race, religion, age, gender, class, and wealth.
We can achieve this by having our voices heard through the ballot. But, beyond the ballot we must reach out to one another and establish meaningful partnerships and friendships based on common and universal values, morals and ethics that make this country great. Despite the evil we see with the increase in police brutality against our Black brothers and sisters, despite the hate, racism, bigotry and violence and other social injustices in the U.S. — we can overcome these evils by uniting and taking a stand either politically or at a grassroots and local level by holding our elected officials accountable for their actions and words.
In November, make sure to take a moral stand and make a commitment to establishing relationships and friendships with people different than you regardless of political affiliation, religion, age, class, race, ethnicity or class. Stand up for justice, equality, love, and compassion. Make your voice heard. Make a moral vote.
Saud Inam is a Muslim American activist, social entrepreneur and blogger. He is always on the lookout for more opportunities to help empower the Muslim American community.
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