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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About salman.ahmad

Salman Ahmed is doctor by training and a rock musician by profession. Salman went to school in his birth place of Lahore, Pakistan and then moved with his family to New York where he went to Tappan Zee high school in Tappan, NY.

 

After graduating from high school in the US, he got his medical degree from Pakistan's King Edward Medical college in Lahore. While in med school he was also a member of Pakistan's first pop band, Vital signs, whose debut album sold a million copies. The album included the mega-hit anthem "Dil, Dil Pakistan". The success of Dil, Dil Pakistan made the vital sign into overnight Pop stars. This is when Salman decided that he was going to give up his stethoscope and pick up this guitar. He left the Vital Sings in 1990 and founded South Asia's biggest rock band, Junoon.

Junoon has sold over 25 million albums world wide and has the distinction of being the first ever rock band to be invited to perform at the U.N. general assembly by U.N. secretary-general Kofi Annan back in 2001.

Salman has also been appointed as U.N. goodwill ambassador for HIV/Aids. He has personalized the "I care, do you" U.N poster campaign in Pakistan by paraphrasing a popular quranic verse "saving one life (from aids) is like saving the whole of humanity". He's been interviewed and quoted in major newspaper and magazine publications like the New York Times, Boston Globe, LA Times, Chicago Tribune, Newsweek and Time and has also appeared as a commentator on major television networks like CNN, BBC, NBC, ABC, CBS, FOX, MTV and VH-1 and other global media networks. Recently, he has appeared in two documentary films: IT'S MY COUNTRY TOO on muslim-americans and ROCKSTAR AND THE MULLAHS which has won a SAJA award. Both films have been broadcast worldwide on PBS and BBC.

Junoon has won channel V's "best international group award" in India has also been the subject of a VH-1 documentary, ISLAMABAD: ROCK CITY presented by Hollywood movie star Susan Sarandon.

Salman has been a passionate activist in promoting peace in the subcontinent. His efforts in bridgebuilding between India and Pakistan has resulted in a song/video he produced called Ghoom Tana. Ghoom Tana appears on his latest solo album INFINITY and is currently being broadcast on MTV desi in the United States.

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