Being an American Muslim in America today can be tough at times. As a matter of fact, being a Muslim anywhere in the world is tough these days. If you happen to be a South Asian Muslim, chances are that you are suffering from poverty. If you are an Arab Muslim, chances are you are suffering from poverty and illiteracy. If you are a Kurdistani or Bosnian Muslim, chances are that you had a close family member killed by the bloody hands of a dictator. Ditto if you're a Somali or an Afghani Muslim.
When I think about it that way, I have to admit being an American Muslim isn't that bad after all. I grew up in Colorado, where I had access to education and plenty of opportunity. Other Muslims--those living all over the developing world--don't deserve miserable lives of poverty, illiteracy, and poor health, simply because they are born into oppression. Which is why the best thing I can do for Muslims is vote to re-elect President Bush.
Some accuse the president of bringing `war' to the Muslim world, a concern I can understand. However, I believe Bush is bringing liberation, not war. The president worked tirelessly to get his $87 billion war package passed through Congress. Of that $87 billion, $2 billion was promised to Afghanistan. Another $18 billion was promised to Iraq. Despite Sen. John Kerry's vote against that bill--and his citing of the aid package to Iraq and Afghanistan as the source of his refusal to vote for it--the bill still did pass. Other aid includes $700 million to Pakistan and the promise of enormous aid to the people of Palestine.
I hate that Muslims around the world have to endure war in order to attain progress. I also sympathize with war-protestors, mainly because as a proud American I, too, hate the idea that innocent people, including Muslims, are being killed around the world.
But how could we let the Muslim world get to this point in the first place? How could we allow a Taliban regime to imprison its female citizens and then mete out numurous beatings, including torturous death, upon its own people? How could we even allow Saddam Hussein to launch chemical weapons upon Kurdistan, leading to the destruction of villages, deaths of thousands, and the extinction of basically an entire culture?
Some will say that these dictators were supported by America. Past records show White House compliance with these murderers, which I am not overlooking. While that is a fair complaint, I want to add that it was President Bush who finally announced America would no longer tolerate murderous dictators.
With that in mind, our President's efforts in Palestine will surely lead to peace as well. He is the only international leader who has put together a Roadmap To Peace that makes sense for both Palestine and Israel. Under his plan, Palestine would enjoy complete control of all of the Gaza Strip and the West Bank, as well as a capital in East Jerusalem. A highway, linking the Gaza Strip to the West Bank, similar to the one that links Kandahar to Kabul (built by America and Japan), would be built soon after. Despite the fact that there would be no right to return for Palestinians, there would be gigantic amounts of aid to Palestine.
You can see evidence of the progress of this Roadmap in the actions of Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon. I am generally wary of Sharon, because I sometimes question his conviction toward peace. Yet he has spent this year convincing Likud members to pull out of the Gaza Strip and West Bank, instead of bulldozing Palestinian homes. That leads me to believe Bush did a pretty good job of convincing him to cultivate peace.
I wore a red American shirt and light blue jeans upon my brown skin as I walked into the city. I was shocked at what I encountered. Not only was I welcomed as an American, I was celebrated! Little children approached and asked me questions. Some of the folks asked if I could help them get to America, where they wanted to live their dreams. I walked around the old Wazir Khan Mosque, where the imam was excited to hear that I was visiting from America. I could not find a single poster of Osama Bin Laden, nor a single sympathizer.
Despite the poverty and illiteracy that still exist, I can see that the $700 million the Bush Administration is sending there, as well as the lifting of sanctions President Clinton placed upon the country, are clearly helping. Pakistan's economy has never been more lively. As an American, I found that the only hostile environments I encountered were in the homes of rich people, not in the homes of the poor.