Responses For Progress And Solutions
Imam W. Deen Mohammed
Q: "How does the building of the Islamic community relate to our obligations toward the broader society?"
IWDM: We live in a country that is really designed for people like us (Muslims). In its beginning, America had Christians who originally lived in Europe and couldn't live free. They were dominated by the Church of England, which was in power. The Protestant Movement headed by Martin Luther broke that grip of the church on the society of Europe, though it took time to realize progress for the freedom of religion in Europe.
While they were still being persecuted in Europe, they saw opportunities to come to this newly discovered land we call America today. Subsequently, the Founding Fathers of this country drafted a governmental plan and political ideology for this society. They drafted it to accommodate those persecuted persons arriving from Europe.
We have evidence and documents that show when they drafted it. They were not unaware that other religions would one day come to America. They planned this new society called America, so that it would attract people of other faiths.
Thomas Jefferson mentioned Judaism and Jews, the Qur'an and Islam, and mentioned Islam as a faith that he desired would one day come to this country and be practiced here. They, the designers of the ideology, were not only working to have a situation where people who wanted progress for their religion could come to this land and realize that progress. Whereas other lands that did not have this kind of genuine interest in humans have been shown to take up the issue of human equality and freedom.
This country did not feel threatened by man's free spirit but was accommodating, and that would be the strength supporting people to have freedom and the full religious life called for by their different faiths.
I am saying this country was made for us (Muslims). That is the point. This country, while it was designed at first for Christians who wanted to live the fullness of the Gospel, it is also a country that was designed for us -Muslims — who want to live the fullness of Al-Islam and the fullness of the Qur'an, the life and way of our Prophet (PBUH).
The building of the Islamic Community will ease tensions in the non-Muslim community, in that they will see us as a people who compliment this beautiful pluralism we have as Americans. They will see us as a people who are making contributions to the beautiful concept of plural society, with freedom of religion and a pluralism culture.
By that, I mean: We are not going to have Al-Islam in just spirit, we are going to have it in practice. And that means that your business will reflect the Islamic life. Your diet will reflect Islamic life. Your product selection for sale will reflect Islamic concerns for halal — excellent and natural.