Colin Powell and My American Faith

During the great immigration waves of 1900, a rabbi said of our melting pot, “All names are American names.” How … Continued

During the great immigration waves of 1900, a rabbi said of our melting pot, “All names are American names.” How wonderfully true. So too, all faiths are American faiths. America is made up of men and women of all faiths, and all are protected by the Constitution.

Colin Powell reminded us of this important fact Sunday morning asking, “Is there something wrong with being a Muslim in this country? The answer’s no, that’s not America. Is there something wrong with some seven-year-old Muslim-American kid believing that he or she could be president?”

The answer again is no, but there have been some who’ve suggested otherwise. In recent years, and especially since the horrifying events of 9/11, some have demonized Muslim Americans as a threat to our national security and indeed our American way of life. Some have questioned the loyalty of American Muslims calling for the barring of all American Muslims from public service and the military. And others have even proposed that, unless Muslims take a special loyalty oath, that we criminalize the practice of Islam with 20 years in prison.

We’ve seen this before. The same ugly things that are being said about Muslims were said about Catholics, about people of the Jewish faith, and about Mormons. And now, bigots are attacking Muslims and Islam. Like those who warned against a nefarious plot by Catholics or Jews to control American schools, banks, and the government, these racists ominously warn us of the dangers of accepting Muslims as Americans, lest we succumb to “a cultural jihad.” And such anti-Muslim rhetoric has led to real violence against innocent Americans, both Muslim and those perceived to be Muslim or Arab.

We can be thankful that most Americans, such as Powell, have stood against such divisiveness, condemning such intolerance and bigotry. Indeed, these patriots are determined to avoid the racism so many others–African, Jewish, Mormon, Catholic, and Japanese–all Americans–have sadly experienced in our nation’s darker moments. They, like thousands of Americans across our great land, have taken to heart the promise made by our first President, George Washington, in his 1790 letter to a Jewish congregation that Americans would give “to bigotry no sanction, to persecution no assistance.”

I think it’s good that America accommodates all faiths. Americans of all faiths–Protestant, Catholic, Jewish, Muslim, Mormon, Hindu, Buddhist–bring strength to America and are protected by our Constitution and included in our national fabric. The Founding Fathers excluded religious tests from the Constitution, knowing fully that one day Catholics, Jews, Muslims and atheists could conceivably secure elected office. Indeed, when the first Muslim was elected to Congress last November, Keith Ellison of Minnesota, a descendant of slaves, he swore his oath of office on the copy of the Qur’an–the Muslim scripture–that belonged to Thomas Jefferson.

Today, more than 6 million Muslim Americans are proud to live, work and serve our country. And, like their fellow Americans, they serve in uniform, both in the Armed Forces and as first responders. Arab and Muslim Americans have served their country in every war since the American Revolution, and over 6,000 serve with honor today.

Powell poignantly underscored this last fact stating, “I feel strongly about this particular point because of a picture I saw in a magazine. It was a photo essay about troops who are serving in Iraq and Afghanistan. And one picture at the tail end of this photo essay was of a mother in Arlington Cemetery, and she had her head on the headstone of her son’s grave. And as the picture focused in, you could see the writing on the headstone. And it gave his awards — Purple Heart, Bronze Star — showed that he died in Iraq, gave his date of birth, date of death. He was 20 years old. And then, at the very top of the headstone, it didn’t have a Christian cross, it didn’t have the Star of David, it had crescent and a star of the Islamic faith. And his name was Kareem Rashad Sultan Khan, and he was an American. He was born in New Jersey. He was 14 years old at the time of 9/11, and he waited until he can go serve his country, and he gave his life.”

In relating the story of a fallen soldier, Powell echoed the immortal words of another patriot who, in 1863, stated “that from these honored dead we take increased devotion to that cause for which they gave the last full measure of devotion — that we here highly resolve that these dead shall not have died in vain — that this nation, under God, shall have a new birth of freedom — and that government of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the earth.” The fallen–those who perished on 9/11 and the men and women who’ve died serving in Afghanistan and Iraq–in the words of President Abraham Lincoln “shall not have died in vain,” so long as we, regardless of race, ethnic origin, and faith or no faith at all, work together to promote our right of life and liberty for all people. And in doing so, we’ll honor the memory of those, like Kareem Khan, who “gave the last full measure of devotion” so that we may all continue to live in freedom.

Suhail A. Khan is a Washington, D.C., attorney and conservative political activist.

  • CCNL

    “Colin Powell reminded us of this important fact Sunday morning asking, “Is there something wrong with being a Muslim in this country?” The answer is yes as long as Muslims of all stripes and in all countries follow the dictates of the Worst Book/SOP Ever Written aka the koran. Eliminate the death to all infidel and oppressive to women passages in said book and then we might buy the message of Islam being a peace-loving religion. Until then!!!

  • Paganplace

    I think if people fear a *Muslim* religious takeover someday in America, maybe they shouldn’t be trying to erode the separation of our governmental power from what *any* religious authority demands. Like any religious minority, Muslim Americans often are among those who hold American religious liberty *most dear,* cause they, like we, count on it every day of our lives. Trying to alienate Muslims from American ideals: to say ‘You have no stake in this and never *can,*’ is precisely the *wrong* way to go about things. Americans should know better by now. Kudos to General Powell for speaking it, even if the party which once tried to get him to run for President now thinks he’s ‘just a black guy supporting the other black guy.’ He lost some prestige for presenting Bush’s case about the Iraq war (after warning precisely how it would go down, but still doing his job,) but on this, we should all remember that part of the American story. Fact is, he was a black Republican before it was ‘cool,’ …whatever Republicans may think of his expert endorsement of both Obama’s policies and his standing against their fearmongering, the GOP should not trivialize it. One thing General Powell has never been called was fickle. Till now.

  • abhab

    Suhail Khan says:“And in doing so, we’ll honor the memory of those, like Kareem Khan, who “gave the last full measure of devotion” so that we may all continue to live in freedom.”Who are “we”? Do you mean to tell us that all Muslims in America honor Kareem Khan’s service? I hope so , yet knowing what I know about the Muslim mindset, I very much doubt it.

  • Athena4

    By disrespecting his religious beliefs, you are basically disrespecting everything that Kareem Khan fought and died for. Here was a kid that was 14 when the 9/11 attacks happened. Being from the New Jersey suburbs of NY, he probably breathed in some of the toxic fumes from the WTC. He grew up to join the Army to defend the country that he loved. That’s more than I can say for the snotty rich kids who grew up to be investment bankers and hedge fund managers, who drove our economy into the toilet.

  • CCNL

    What is so hard to understand about the following:”Colin Powell reminded us of this important fact Sunday morning asking, “Is there something wrong with being a Muslim in this country?”The answer is yes as long as Muslims of all stripes and in all countries follow the dictates of the Worst Book/SOP Ever Written aka the koran. Eliminate the death to all infidels and oppressive to women passages in said book and then we might buy the message of Islam being a peace-loving religion. Until then!!!

  • ASTORIA

    General Powell has stimulated a much needed topic of discussion in America with his conscience driven words. It was no different whatsoever than other conversations I have had in my life with judgemental, controlling, fundamentalists who spew stupidity. The fact that she found more in common with the ideology of the christian right- than with a woman who shares her religion- proves just how ridiculous it is to make distinctions based solely on religious beliefs. I’m not going to stop being American, and I’m not going to stop being a Muslim.

  • Paganplace

    “The answer is yes as long as Muslims of all stripes and in all countries follow the dictates of the Worst Book/SOP Ever Written aka the koran. Eliminate the death to all infidels and oppressive to women passages in said book and then we might buy the message of Islam being a peace-loving religion. Until then!!!”As I’ve been saying it since the first day we met, CCNL, demand this of ‘all Christians’ first: they’re closer and have more sway in America, much to our detriment.

  • Paganplace

    I mean, hey, Concerned Christian, as much as you seem to feel the need to constantly demand all Muslims everywhere rewrite their holy book to your satisfaction, I’ve yet to see you come anywhere near remonstrating those conservative Christians who show up at McCain/Palin rallies, falsely accuse Senator Obama of what you feel is the ‘horrible crime’ of being Muslim, and then of course cry out ‘Kill him!.’ I mean, before you go complaining about the mote in someone’s eye, maybe you could pull the *pool cue* out of your optic orbit, I think it’s jamming you up in the cerebellum.

  • observer12

    As long as the Worst Book Ever Written aka the koran is the operating manual of Islam, Muslims of any stripe cannot be trusted. Moron,Putz,1. There is no such thing as the OT (sic), except as it exists in your diseased mind. There is the TANAKH, a sacred text of a religion not yours.2. The NT (sic) is fiction, ugly, bloody fiction.

  • onofrio

    “All faiths are American faiths” – Suhail Khan’s fulsome affirmation seems to imply that the gist of all religions – what’s most valuable about them – is in fact identical to the values represented by the term “America”. So in their deepest sense Koran = America; Cross = America; Messianic hope = America; Nirvana = America; Moksha = America, that is, the various religions all imply America – their own true essence, come not to abolish them, but to fulfil them. America patronises the faiths so that they, in turn, endorse America, which thereby becomes a byword for all deeply held values. America claims the heart’s core, was there all along. One can see why this might appeal to Suhail Khan. After all, Islam, like America, sees itself as the natural, default setting of the human heart. Transcendent aspiration, meet aspirational transcendence! Imperium kisses Empire.

  • hsnkhwj

    American political culture has always had a bipolar personality, at once tolerant and intolerant, inclusive and exclusionary. Anti-immigrant bigotry and religious intolerance have a long history in our country. Puritans hanged Quakers in Boston Common, signs proclaimed, “No Irish need apply,” and laws prohibited Chinese immigrants from becoming citizens.Benjamin Franklin expressed concern over foreign immigration in 1751. He feared the influx of German-speaking immigrants, who he said were not as white as the English. Franklin asked, “Why should Pennsylvania, founded by the English, become a Colony of Aliens, who will shortly be so numerous as to Germanize us instead of our Anglifying them, and will never adopt our Language or Customs, any more than they can acquire our Complexion.”The American Revolutionary leader Samuel Adams expressed the virulent anti-Catholic sentiment that was shared by many Americans at the time. In “The Rights of Colonists,” a proclamation that was adopted by the town of Boston on Nov. 20, 1772, Adams wrote “that there shall be liberty of conscience allowed in the worship of God, to all Christians except Papists.”Catholics, or “Papists,” could not be afforded religious tolerance, Adams said, because their allegiance to the pope meant that they “teach Doctrines subversive of the Civil Government under which they live.” The fear and antipathy toward Catholicism among many Americans in the 18th and 19th centuries was as deeply felt as is the fear of Islam today.The best antidote to religious intolerance, then or now, can be found in the words of Thomas Jefferson. In his “Notes on Virginia” in 1785, Jefferson said that alternative religious beliefs are not “injurious to others” and should not be restricted by government. “It does me no injury for my neighbor to say there are twenty gods or no God. It neither picks my pocket nor breaks my leg.”At Philadelphia in 1787, Jefferson’s understanding of religious tolerance won out. Nowhere in the Constitution is it required to swear on a Bible, nor is even “swearing” required — one may choose either oath or affirmation. Most important, according to Article VI, “no religious Test shall ever be required as a Qualification to any Office or public Trust under the United States.”KUDOS TO COLIN POWELL AND DISGUST FOR THE BIGOTS WHO POST THEIR PREJUDICES. DO THEY HATE THE U.S. CONSTITUTION?

  • observer12

    CCNL : With respect to the TANAKH, the sacred book of Judaism, consisting of the fictional Torah, the Fortune Tellers, and the Rock and Roll of the Jewish nation, it does provide much in the way of wishful/dream thinking.It is also unfortunate that some of the examples in the Tanakh e.g. the slaughters overseen by Moses/Herod of young sons and by Joshua of all living things, to include women and children in Jericho set a disastrous precedent for later power brokers. One wonders though where Atila and the Huns got their plundering examples from. _________________________Moron,PutzThe NT is a bloody piece of fictional garbage that imagines a deity so demented that he sends his “son” to earth to be bled to death.In true cannibal fashion, his disgusting followers have ritualistically eaten his flesh and drunk his blood. Materially, they have bled the world dry, murdered hundreds of millions, and most recently, through their primitive arrogant greed sent us, that is, the human race into a world wide economic crisis.Thus the NT (Natty Trash) has set the standard for slaughter, theft, greed, you name it for two thousand years. Take your Natty Drekkament and shove it.

  • ASTORIA

    I’m pretty immune to your constant slander of Islam Observer- You defame and shame your own people with such vitriol.

  • CCNL

    Oops, make that many of us (like Observer12) have been Bred, Born and Brainwashed in their religion. (And Observer12 proves it.)

  • hsnkhwj

    logoimgPolice suspects Hindu extremist group for Malegaon blast, 3 picked up from IndoreThree persons from Indore were picked up by Maharashtra police and are being interrogated in Mumbai in connection with the Malegaon bomb blasts amid suspicions that Hindu extremist groups could be involved in the recent explosions in Malegaon and Modasa in Gujarat.Top police sources said in Indore that in a very secret operation, Maharashtra police had taken three persons — Shyam Lal, Dilip Nahar and Dharmendra Bairagi– into custody from the city in Madhya Pradesh on October 19 in connection with a theft of a motorcycle for assisting in the probe into the explosions.Later, they were taken to Mumbai where their interrogation was going on in connection with bomb blasts in Malegaon in Maharashtra, the sources said.Maharashtra police suspects that the trio had stolen the motorcycle which was used for Malegaon blasts in which five persons were killed.In Mumbai, Maharashtra police said they were still investigating the alleged involvement of Hindu right wing groups in the September 29 explosions in Malegaon in Maharashtra and Modasa. One person was killed in the Modasa attack. In both the incidents, bombs were placed on motorcycles parked in crowded area to cause maximum human casualty.”We are investigating the matter currently and will share the details of investigations at the appropriate time,” an Anti-Terrorism Squad(ATS) official said in Mumbai when asked to comment on press reports that a Hindu right wing group based in Indore was involved in carrying out the two blasts.Hindu fanatics in India belong to the political parties like the BJP and the RSS and militant groups like the Bahrang Dal. They are even committing acts of terrorism to put the blame on Christians and Muslims.

  • marcedward1

    CCNL writes “Worst Book/SOP Ever Written aka the koran”Clearly you’ve never read any Alan Dean Foster, or another book called “The Texas Israeli War”.

  • asizk

    Collin Powell is a true American Satesman and Patriot.The Holy Quran is the gretaest book ever written-it is a miracle of reason for all times and places;it came down to us intcat as was revealed to the Prophet Muhammad pbup from 610-632AD.Any one with an open mind and seeking the truth and with a grain of objectivity and hoensty, would find the Quran a perpetual light unto humanity and founatin of wisdom and guidance.

  • asizk

    observer12 : What about the slow holocaust of Palestinians

  • CCNL

    asizk, asizk, asizk,The koran is the greatest book ever written?? You must be kidding!!!What the koran has brought to the contemporary world: oppression of women, global terror and the belief in a hallucinating, warmongering, womanizing, illiterate founder and long-dead Arab and his paranormal-based and sometimes very strange rules.

  • observer12

    Continued from preceding post:After the defeat of Nazi Germany, al Husseini fled to Egypt. His arrival in 1946 was a precursor to a steady stream of Third Reich veterans. Cairo became a safe haven for several thousand Nazi fugitives, including former SS Captain Alois Brunner, Adolf Eichmann’s chief deputy. Convicted in absentia for war crimes, Brunner would later reside in Damascus, where he served as a security advisor for the Syrian government.Several of the Germans, recognizing British puppet King Farouk’s political weakness, soon began conspiring with Nasser and his “Free Officers,” who, in turn, were working closely with the Muslim Brotherhood, to overthrow the king. When Banna was assassinated by Egyptian officials in 1949, the movement was destabilized, but not for long. On July 23, 1952, a coup d’etat was carried out by the Free Officers with Brotherhood assistance. Newsweek marveled that, “The most intriguing aspect [of] the revolt … was the role played in the coup by the large group of German advisors serving with the Egyptian army… The young officers who did the actual planning consulted the German advisors as to ‘tactics’… This accounted for the smoothness of the operation.”[10]

  • observer12

    WHAT ABOUT THE THREE MILLION JEWS IN EXILE FROM THEIR HOMES IN EGYPT, SYRIA, LEBANON, IRAQ, IRAN, ETC.WHAT ABOUT THE CHRISTIANS IN EXILE FROM MIDDLE EASTERN COUNTRIES?WHAT ABOUT THE HINDUS LIVING IN THE MIDDLE EAST?ETC.

  • observer12

    What about the Islamo-fascist Nazi Holocaust of Jews in the Middle East, Africa, and Israel?What about the Quorayza Jews?

  • ThomasBaum

    TO WHOM IT MAY CONCERNIn the bible Jesus said, “I Am the Way, the Truth and the Life, no one comes to the Father except thru Me”, notice He did not say to God but to the Father.Jesus also said, “I will send the Holy Spirit to guide you into all Truth”.At the baptism of Jesus by John, a Voice came from Heaven and spoke and the Holy Spirit came down in the form of a dove to let John know Who Jesus Was.Jesus was either speaking the Truth or He was lying, there is no middle ground.The god of islam says that Jesus is a liar and yet the god of islam claims Jesus as his prophet, second-rate at that behind Mohammed, could anyone tell me or anyone else why the god of islam denies what Jesus taught and calls it blasphemy and yet claims Jesus as his prophet?Jesus is either God-Incarnate like He said or He is a liar, it is that simple.I have met God and God is a Trinity and God is a BEING OF PURE LOVE.God’s Plan which He has had since before creation will come to Fruition and His Plan is for ALL OF HUMANITY to be with Him in His Kingdom, the new heavens and the new earth.By the way, God is a searcher of hearts and minds, not of religious affiliations or lack thereof and it is important what one does and why one does it and what one knows.Jesus did not become One of Us to set up a theocracy, Jesus also did not tell any of His followers to force themselves or their beliefs on others even tho many thru the age have attempted to do this but that is NOT what Jesus taught.Can the same be said about Mohammed and what is written in the Koran?Sharia law is totally UN-AMERICAN, is there anyone out there that agrees or disagrees with this statement?It doesn’t matter what “label” someone applies to themself, to force oneself on another is wrong.Take care, be ready.Sincerely, Thomas Paul Moses Baum.

  • Caliph

    THOMASBAUM:WHAT T HOLY QURAN SAYS IS CORRECT AND WHAT YOU QUOTED IS WRONG AS THERE IS NOBEST REGARDS

  • Farnaz2

    CaliphThe original Tanakh. was written on scrolls in Hebrew and Aramaic, long before Qu’ran. Best,

  • CCNL

    Myths copied onto any kind of writing surface and in any language are still myths.

  • observer12

    Myths copied onto any kind of writing surface and in any language are still myths. If you could actually grasp this, you’d be able to debrief. Otherwise, if these are just words, you’ll stay brainwashed.

  • ThomasBaum

    CALIPHYou wrote, “WHAT T HOLY QURAN SAYS IS CORRECT AND WHAT YOU QUOTED IS WRONG AS THERE IS NOI didn’t just quote, I also wrote, did you read any of it?God did not become One of Us for us to set up a theocracy, if God wanted a theocracy, He would not have needed, nor would they have been a reason for Him to give us free will in the first place.God gave us the capacity to think and it is up to us whether or not we wish to use that gift from God.One day all will meet God and then they will know that God, to say the least, has been very much misrepresented by some who, knowing nothing about Him except in some cases His Name, claim to speak for Him.Take care, be ready.Sincerely, Thomas Paul Moses Baum.

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