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Dealing With Realities

Reader comment on item: Moderate Muslims March in Phoenix

Submitted by Carolyn S. Goldstein (United States), May 15, 2004 at 19:59

While this is a, seemingly, fine and necessary effort on the part of Dr. Jasser, he and those in the Arab/Muslim Communities, who agree with him, require help. They need support because of the communities strong opposition to change, and because of the fear of consequences for participation.
What can be done?
The US must understand that it has to have readily available classes and workshops on what democracy is, on its history and evolution, on civics and the basic American rules of laws, on our freedoms, and what these laws and rights and freedoms mean in theory and in practice. There must be training on the lexicon of our democratic government and culture in context and in reality.

They must inform and explain what an independent judiciary means, what our criminal code is, along with affording understanding and essential information each and every citizen must know in order to participate and function in the U.S. They must learn what is required of them and their responsibilities as citizens, or holders of visas, but in a secular setting by accredited teachers. What the responsibilities of elected officials are also must be taught.

This course, which has to be made manditory for all who intend to establish residency, or who plan to work ,or to study , in the US, has to include those social and accepted traditions and practices that exist in the US.The rights of women and female children are an example.

Religious leaders cannot come to the States and set up mini-theocracies that strip others of freedoms and intimidate them from exercising their freedoms . In fact, special attention has to be given to educating religious leaders. They ,too, are accountable, as priests ,now, understand. No longer can a religious leader hide, or insist that an external authority can supercede the US Law.

Frequently, these immigrants, learn from within uninformed communal outlets, or from rumor, or assumptions that inevitably fill a void. The inner communities strive to maintain imported, repressive practices and traditions. Each immigrant has the right to know their rights under our laws. I thought, to become a citizen one had to learn English and study the Constitution and Civics, or government. Somehow this no longer seems to be the case, but it must be reinstated if we are to retain our democratic republic.This is not a new concept, of course, but it has to be renewed and publicized. They, meaning all new immigrants and resident aliens, must understand they cannot prevent others from exercising and enjoying their freedoms. They cannot scam others, who provide services, because that individual is not Muslim, or is. ( This is what is happening.). They cannot mistreat customers, who are not obviously Middle Eastern, or who are female. They have to understand the concept of private ownership. They have to learn that just because they buy an area, it does not mean it is exempt from US laws and that it remains under the US legal system.

What is discrimination under the law? This concept is also causing confusion, or is being twisted and abused. Speaking against an Arab, and /or a Muslim practice, or action, or person, or questioning religious practice , or traditions , is NOT automatically discrimination . They have chosen to live within a pluralistic society, in which descent is routine. That is an example of what must be learned.

While we have freedom of speech, what does that mean? Does it include calling for the death of anyone who is Jewish, or Christian, or who believes history to be different from what the Muslims are promoting ,now, as fact?

Only knowledge can free anyone to act . Freedom can only come with knowledge. The knowledge of the freedoms guaranteed under our Constitution take time to learn and practice. They , also, require concomitant responsibilities. As a matter of fact, many of our native born citizens lack this knowledge , as well. This must, also, be rectified. One cannot, or will not, fight for, or maintain, the US, if he/she is not aware of what one needs to defend.

Freedoms under a democratic form of government are not easy concepts. They necessitate knowledge and practice. The longer the surreptitious repression and form of instruction is permitted the worse the situation will become.The Muslim/Arab Community will reap the consequences.They will not have the extended Community support necessary to co-exist and to prosper. Thus, for the doctor to be effective, those of us who know what is required to live and function in our democracy must insure that all immigrants have equal access to this knowledge.

I remain amazed that these realities are overlooked, and this is occurring at our peril.
Carolyn S. Goldstein
Submitting....

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Note: Opinions expressed in comments are those of the authors alone and not necessarily those of Daniel Pipes. Original writing only, please. Comments are screened and in some cases edited before posting. Reasoned disagreement is welcome but not comments that are scurrilous, off-topic, commercial, disparaging religions, or otherwise inappropriate. For complete regulations, see the "Guidelines for Reader Comments".

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