Pledge of Allegiance Gets It Right

Many years ago, when I was growing up as a Muslim-American teen in New York’s Tappan Zee High School, every morning during homeroom I would join my classmates in a wonderful ritual by putting my hand over my heart and pledging allegiance to " One nation, under God, indivisible with liberty and justice for all." Those key eleven words still touch my heart and mind and define the spirit of America.

Many years ago, when I was growing up as a Muslim-American teen in New York’s Tappan Zee High School, every morning during homeroom I would join my classmates in a wonderful ritual by putting my hand over my heart and pledging allegiance to " One nation, under God, indivisible with liberty and justice for all." Those key eleven words still touch my heart and mind and define the spirit of America.

This is a country that has always been proud and secure in celebrating the wonderful diversity of its citizens. As a Muslim, I found no contradiction between those words and the Islamic tenets of responsibility to God (huqooq-Allah) and responsibility towards ALL people (Huqooq-al-Ibad). I also acknowledged the universality of the pledge, in that my friends also were free to process those words through their own religious or secular perspectives.

The letter and the spirit of the U.S. Constitution has always embraced pluralism and jealously guarded the religious and secular freedoms of ALL AMERICANS. It’s the protection of these civil liberties that have allowed millions of Americans as diverse as Muhammad Ali, Oprah Winfrey, Casey Kasem, Gene Simmons, Henry Kissinger and Barack Obama to realize their true potentials and make America a truly great nation.

It would be a sad day for the world and a triumph for the extremists if the people of the United States allow America to be painted in just one color.

Reprinted from: Salman’s Newsweek On Faith Blog

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