Magazine article Washington Report on Middle East Affairs

Foster Racial Harmony and Ethical Values

Magazine article Washington Report on Middle East Affairs

Foster Racial Harmony and Ethical Values

Article excerpt

Foster Racial Harmony and Ethical Values

American Muslims should play a constructive role in the development of understanding and reconciliation between the peoples of the Middle East and of North America. Political involvement for Muslims, moreover, whether in a majority or minority status, will advance Islam's purpose in restoring human dignity and strengthen Muslims as a community within the U.S. body politic.

Opinions dissuading American Muslims from participating in U.S. politics are unsubstantiated. No verse or principle in the Qur'an or Sunnah precludes political involvement by Muslims in non-Muslim societies. To ban any program or practice on religious grounds, Islamic jurisprudence requires an authentic and unequivocal prohibition. Otherwise, the general rule is that a practice is permitted if there is no proven stipulation of interdiction.

Furthermore, every Muslim's duty entails struggling for positive social change. If we pay taxes in the U.S., then we are required to strive toward the establishment of policies that will allocate our tax dollars to purposes consistent with Islamic values.

The highest ethical value in Islam is justice, and the primary goal of Islamic law is the fostering of freedom. Any activity promoting these and other Islamic aspirations contributes to the global progress of human civilization.

Muslims can work toward sheltering the homeless, guaranteeing human rights here and abroad, rectifying instances of racial discrimination, reversing economic exploitation, and gaining a better understanding of other democratic movements. Consequently, American Muslims can reflect on their work and gain deeper insight into the Qur'an and themselves. It is imperative for American Muslims to articulate concerns that will engender an Islamic voice that is respected and understood by the American public.

In the United States, American Muslims should invite others (Dawa) to discuss various perspectives on contemporary affairs. Electoral politics and the media are modern vehicles for Dawa and can be utilized to dispel misconceptions surrounding Islam.

Contrary to conventional perceptions, many democratic ideals either originated with or were advanced by Islam. Among the contributions to Western civilization made by Islam are the concept of human rights, the divine right to vote, and the concept of political accountability. …

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