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Letter to the Editor

BY DI READERS | JULY 25, 2011 7:20 AM

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Muslims not a threat to the U.S.

A while ago, someone asked me, "Are you an American first or a Muslim first?" At first, the question seemed a tad provocative. However, my response was simple and honest: "I am both, because my obligation as a faithful Muslim does not pose a conflict with my civic duty as a proud American."

I explained that these two characteristics were not mutually exclusive. My obedience of sharia has never contradicted my respect for the Constitution. Mainstream Muslims are not extremists and terrorists. We respect everyone, and we aspire to build a positive community with people of all faiths.

The essence of our religion is to promote peace, which is embodied by the very term "Islam."

Unfortunately, at times, misguided hate and nihilism cause disturbed individuals preoccupied with unresolved negative energy to lash out with horrifying acts of terrorism. These terrible actions are completely against our religion. People who perpetuate these kinds of abominable deeds under the pretense of "jihad" are absolutely not Muslims.

In most Muslim communities, including the wonderful one we have in Iowa City, we are vocal in our conviction that extremism is terrible. As a young Muslim myself, I can attest that the adults in our community work very hard to counsel our youth.

As dictated by our religion, we Muslims are driven to contribute positively to society and to be productive members of the community. The sharia we follow does not make us undemocratic or obnoxiously orthodox. Our sharia is a reasonable, logical set of principles that governs our way of life as Muslims. It affects the individual Muslim, and does not contradict any established system in America. We are not the enemy. All we really want is peace for the world among people of all faiths — just like you.

Bushra Manzar
UI student


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