A Muslim’s gratitude to our Veterans

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Originally Published in Tucson.com

by Aamir Quraishy

Living in America I am very thankful to all our armed men and women in the forces who work tirelessly to defend our country and freedom. As an Ahmadi Muslim, My family came here to flee the religious persecution we faced in Pakistan.

My family was able to move here to America because of my great uncle who served as an anesthesiologist during the Vietnam war. This gave him US citizenship which he was able to extend to the rest of his family. We were able to move to Tucson, AZ and stay connected to each other and our faith, and built our Mosque in 1982.

I owe my faith and freedom to all the people who served the US in war and peacetime. The American and human values that unite us as Americans, are far stronger than what divide us by religion. I truly believe the one document that enjoins Islamic values is the US constitution.

In the Holy Quran it strictly says “There should be no compulsion in religion. [2:257].” When we look at the life of Prophet Muhammad, he was elected as a secular leader of Yathrib (present day Medina) by the Jews and other inhabitants of the City. If a person was guilty of a crime he had the choice to be tried by Islamic, Jewish or any other secular arbitration of their choosing. These values align with the American values of freedom of religion, a right to a trial of a jury of peers, and “All men are created equal.”

The Holy Prophet said “Loyalty to ones country of residence is integral to ones faith.” A Muslim who enjoys the freedom and rights allowed to them by the U.S. but does not respect the law, does not love their country, or wishes to create disorder in anyway acts against the teachings of Islam.

What recently happened in Manchester was a tragedy and as a human being, it sickens me to my bone. People who commit Murder for any religion or cause are not supporters but it’s enemies.

As we head into the Holy month of Ramadan which starts on the 27th of May I wanted to take a chance to be able to make these views of Islam clear for both Muslims and non-Muslims alike, and thank this Country and everyone who has served it in any capacity.

May God’s blessings be with those who have served and the families who have sacrificed for us all.

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