To overcome any Donald Trump phenomena, I suggest that every American family, irrespective of race, color or faith, invite neighbors or colleagues from other faiths, colors or races for a dinner for a “getting together – sharing the bread”. Just imagine the results, a true good will among all during this holiday season.
Before the Donald Trump family set foot in America, the Founding Fathers of the New Republic debated the presence and rights of “Muslims/Mohammedans” in the new country and the guaranteed rights of “Muslims” in America were settled and there is nothing that Donald Trump or the Republicans can do about it.
Professor Dennis Spellberg, author of “Thomas Jefferson’s Quran: Islam and the Founders” in an interview with the Washington Post states “in the formation of the American ideal and principals of what we consider to be exceptional American values, Muslims, at the beginning, the litmus test for whether the reach of American constitutional principles would include every believer, every kind or not”. It should be noted here that Thomas Jefferson, as a law student, purchased an English translation of the Holy Quran.
Thomas Jefferson as a scholar, statesman and a founding father was heavily influenced by the philosopher John Locke, who earlier in England insisted that “Muslims and all others who believed in God be tolerated in England”. Thomas Jefferson followed suit by demanding recognition of the rights of not only “Mohammedan” but Jews and “Pagan”.
Such rights were also raised by Richard Henry Lee, who in a motion made in Congress on June 7, 1776 declared, “True freedom embraces the Mohammedan and the Gentoo (Hindu) as well as the Christian religion”.
The rights of “Muslims” were debated on both the national and state levels, and such rights were debated in North Carolina 1788 constitution debate, and the same issues were raised in New England with James Madison writing his good friend Thomas Jefferson in 1788 that “one of the objections in New England was that the Constitution by prohibiting religious test opened the door for Jews, Turks and infidels”.
Today, America can learn a great from France, a country suffered grave injury from “terrorists” acts which not only denounced “anti- Muslim” rhetoric, but routed the far right “Front National” in the second round of regional elections denying the Front National any win in all of the regions.
Muslims in America must not be afraid of the likes of Donald Trump nor the 40% of Republicans who call for banning Muslims from America.
We must not bunker down behind closed wall or inside “mosques”, but go out and become active participants in local and national elections, as voters, as volunteers and as candidates.
Donald Trump is not America, and Muslims must never show any fear and must not react negatively to the debate, but turn the debate in their favor by becoming active citizens and a key part of “Main Street” America.
I could never forget the number of friends from my military service or university who called after 9/11, showing their care and support. America is our country and Donald Trump will never change that.
Perhaps Muslims and Arabs in the Muslim and Arab world can begin an open and civil debate that can lead to the constitutional equal rights of “non-Muslims” and “non-Arabs”. Yes, we do have a lot to learn from America’s history. Donald Trump like his money is a passing thing. Let us show what Muslims can do next election. Don’t get angry — get even at the voting booth.
Maybe the time has come for “political and religious leaders” in the Arab and Muslims world, to take time out and learn something about other religions and faiths, even introduce it as a standard “curriculum”. They can learn a great deal and become better leaders and human beings, creating open tolerant societies that are the best defense against “terrorism”.