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Kari Ansari: Open Letter to President Obama from a Muslim Family

Dear President Barack Obama,

Along with many American Muslims, my family and I listened to your speech today on the Middle East and North Africa. While I appreciate your encouraging statements to the people of the Muslim world — particularly to those who are currently fighting for dignity and civil rights in their own lands — I also couldn’t help feeling that many Americans are not setting the example of which you spoke when it comes to our own Muslim citizens.

Currently, 20 states have introduced anti-Muslim legislation, with more pending. Some of our country’s lawmakers and politicians have made very bigoted inflammatory comments about Muslims and Islam. Very recently, Tennessee, under extreme pressure, rewrote a bill that would have made it a crime punishable by 15 years in prison for Muslims to worship together in groups of two or more. Organized groups are staging hate rallies against Muslims building houses of worship around the country. Local municipalities are playing the zoning game by zoning Islamic schools and mosques out of the community. Mosque playgrounds are being torched. Muslim family homesproperty, and mosques are being vandalized. Children are being bullied and harassed because they are Muslim. Shockingly, last week the Editor of the Gainesville Times in Florida published a letter that called for the expulsion of all Muslims from America. Recently, several Muslim clerics, and also a young Muslim woman were pulled off airplanes for no other reason other than they were dressed in recognizable Muslim attire. This is all being seen through the modern technology’s “window into the wider world” that you mentioned in your speech, but like all windows, you can also look from the world outside and see what’s happening inside.

What does it say to the world when our President speaks about rights for people in the Muslim world that “include free speech; the freedom of peaceful assembly; freedom of religion” when our own people are being hindered from building mosques, and schools, and our right to worship freely is even being threatened?

Mr. President, Muslims in America know that you do not stand with this kind of bigotry and hatred. During your announcement of the killing of Osama bin Laden you said,

As we do, we must also reaffirm that the United States is not — and never will be — at war with Islam. I’ve made clear, just as President Bush did shortly after 9/11, that our war is not against Islam.

We appreciated this statement, however, judging by the uptick in anti-Muslim incidents since the death of bin Laden, the words weren’t enough to resonate with those in America who feel threatened by their Muslim neighbors.

Mr. President, Muslims need your leadership, your strong voice, and your support in this regard. You are a friend to the world’s Muslims, especially those fighting for their freedom, but Muslims need your friendship here on our own soil. Anti-Islam bigotry is getting worse in America — not better.

In our home, we love and respect you as our President; will you show us the same love and respect as a patriotic American family by speaking out strongly against this growing trend of anti-Muslim bigotry?

Follow Kari Ansari on Twitter: www.twitter.com/KariAnsari

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9 Comments »

  1. Just leave….

  2. @Josie: WHY should I leave? I was born here, my parents were both born here, all four of my grandparents were born here, all eight of my great-grandparents were born here, etc, etc, etc, including an American President! Change your attitude. The world, and the USA, is changing and will never be the same as it was 100 years ago, even 50 or 25 years ago. Get with it, or YOU get out!

  3. Michelle:

    I co-sign with you!!

    Islamaphobic, ignorant bigots like the woman to whom you replied (if that’s even her name) are the ones that need to leave this country.

    Like you, I, too, was born here, as were my parents and their parents and their parents and their parents. I am a mere four generations removed from the last known slave in my family. We worked in this country for generations before any of us saw any wages from our efforts.

    As typical, after all of that, the bigot(s) invites us to simply leave. Why? Because these bigots cannot live up to one (among many) of the lofty ideals upon which this country was founded: freedom of religion (not “freedom to practice Christianity ONLY”)!! Most of them wave that banner, but tend to stick both of their feet into their sanctimonious mouth…..at the same time.

    They are the epitome of hypocrites. I generally tend to ignore them…..or embarrass them with their own hypocritical words.

  4. Hold on, wait a moment. Let me go over and get the world’s smallest violin. Ok got it, continue with the whining.

  5. F-ing trolls!!! Columbus didn’t have have a green card. Maybe he’s the one who should have been deported!

  6. Unfortunately, America does not have a strong leader at this time. We are a very divided nation with extreme elements on both sides of our political parties effectively pushing their agendas. I did not think that Obama had the experience it took to be president, sadly he shows his lack of expertise (not ability) daily. Our republicans, whom I have voted for on several occasions, are willing to throw the middle class, working poor, and simply the poor under the bus in favor of the very rich or affluent. They chant Jobs JObs JOBS with no emphasis on salaries or pay. In tandem they work to decrease public benefits while giving giant corporations billions of US tax dollars at a time when they are at their highest profitability in history. Why? simply because they want to control inflation and productivity through lower wages while creating a very large pool of people who will scurry for any position that opens up at any price.

    Meanwhile we have these side issues such as abortion, racism, religious intolerance, wars, silly issues such as freedom fries and numerous other issues that are tearing us apart. It is hard to mention them all because some are national and some are regional but they all serve to keep us angry and focused on tearing each other or a remote evil down. Meanwhile more and more of our neighbors are losing their homes, larger numbers of people cannot pay their bills, desperate men and women are turning to drugs both to escape their daily situation and as a way to make some money so that they are not always having to ask or beg for things, larger numbers of young people are working under the table for less money just to have some work as they cannot get a job with a paycheck. Meanwhile, others do look around and thank god they still have theirs while others work to increase the distance between themselves and the poor by taking even more from the poor by using what little authority they have.
    An example of this can be found in a small school district in Kentucky; Item 7b was an agenda item to be voted on by the school board. It was unlabeled but one very brave person knew what it was so she showed up at the meeting. As the board was about to vote on it she stood up and asked what item 7b was. The superintendent resisted but started reading the item in a low voice. The person demanded the superintendent speak up so he reread it louder. He started mumbling at a particular part and she asked him not to mumble. He got angry but he read that the school administrators and board decided to save money by cutting the salaries of all classified employees of the district while leaving intact the salaries of the teachers and school administrators. In other words cut the pay of the poorest paid employees of the district. The meeting then fell apart as many were disgusted with the actions of the board. In the end they cut the lady who had complained pay by 5 working days, the teaching staff by one working day and left the administrative staff with no pay cut. They did, however, increase the stipend pay for the administrative staff. The lying, deceit, and the callous attitudes found in people that are in leadership positions is shameful.
    We are in dire need of leadership, sadly to say, I see none in the national spotlight. We do have a couple of good people out there but they will not run for president. Meanwhile news outlets such as Fox will continue to determine our daily outrage and our misdirected focus.

  7. deuceprez,

    so you are a mere four generations removed from slavery. do you not find it disturbing that allah in his divine wisdom didn’t put down a better surah to end slavery? perhaps if you where born in saudi arabia you would only be one generation removed from slavery? maybe a slave today ifyou where living in a muslim country?

    http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/africa/4091579.stm

    http://histclo.com/act/work/slave/ast/arab/kor-sla.html

    “It was not until 1962 that all slavery practice or trafficking in Saudi Arabia was prohibited.”

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Islamic_views_on_slavery

  8. A 2007 law made slavery illegal in Mauritania. “But in fact no one has ever been sentenced. Charges are dropped because the courts are under constant pressure from traditional, religious and tribal forces, all of which tolerate this practice,” said Fatima Mbaye, head of the Mauritanian Human Rights League.

    “It is estimated that almost 40% of the Mauritanian population [3.1 million] lives in a state of slavery or have relatives who are slaves.” The slaves are mainly black Mauritanians in an Islamic republic that is dominated politically and economically by Moors (of Berber or Arab extraction).

    http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2011/jan/04/mauritania-slavery-campaigner-human-rights

  9. Dear kari, I am so glad you were at the twin towers the day my cousin was murdered there by peaceful loving Muslims. The letter you wrote to the president is sad. At no time in this countries history have we ever been threatened by a cult such as yours. You behead people. how many Christian churchs are you going to burn down in the name of Allah and a false pedophile diety. You poor poor soul. May Jesus Christ bless you and save you..

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