A Muslim’s American holiday: My Thanksgivings

Americans enter Thanksgiving week at a time of intense polarization. We are retreating into our fragmented identities — religious, ethnic, political and other.

The FBI reported a rise in hate crimes last year. Migrants around the country are wondering if their undocumented status will result in deportation.

Yet in the midst of all this fear and fear-mongering, as an observing Muslim, I find much for which to be grateful.

The remarkable religious freedoms the United States of America grants Muslims like me can be attributed in large part to Thomas Jefferson, a Founding Father, one of the framers of the Constitution and the author of the Declaration of Independence.

While himself a religious skeptic and harsh critic of all monotheisms including Islam, Jefferson not only had a Koran in his library, but referred to it to study the beliefs of Muslims in order to shape the New World’s religious freedoms. Thinking of an imaginary Muslim American, Jefferson secured religious freedoms — the same freedoms 3.3 million Muslims, no longer imaginary, enjoy across the nation today.

It is 24 years since my first Thanksgiving. In these decades I have been a welcome guest as a British Muslim to this uniquely American holiday — one that has no true counterpart in the world. Surrounded more often by friends than by family, Thanksgiving will once again contain meaning and memory.

On American soil, I have celebrated Thanksgiving with American Muslims, American Jews, American Christians and American atheists. Often we find ourselves at the same table.

We Americans (and wannabe Americans) come from all nations. My first Thanksgivings, in Staten Island, were spent with Italian Americans, Irish Americans, German Americans, Indian Americans, Filipino Americans and Pakistani Americans.

In later years, I celebrated with Polish Americans in Long Island and Greek Americans in New Jersey. In Troy, Mich., I celebrated with my Arab-American, Muslim-American family. In New York, I celebrated with Israeli-American friends.

Imagine the spreads I was privileged to sample: Italian cookies, Irish soda breads, basmati pilau, masala dosa, vasilopita cake (I never found the coin), pancit, pierogis, champ, tandoori lamb, strudel and more.

In South Carolina, I cautiously picked at a turducken as I celebrated with Charlestonians settled here long before the Civil War. In New York City, I celebrated with Iranian Americans over tahdig and Syrian Americans over tabouleh.

With Presbyterians, I said Grace over pot de creme. With Pentecostals I broke bread. With Reform, Orthodox and Conservative Jews alike I shared the meal of our forebears.

Some years I have found myself hosted by gay Americans and lesbian Americans in their respectful, rich and sacred community.

And in the midst of the melee that is our remarkable country, at the center has always been an American turkey, at the mercy of any number of cuisines. This is the eclectic, peripatetic pandemonium that defines our beloved American journey.

Now that I review nearly a quarter of a century of Thanksgivings — nearly half my life — I can reflect upon what I’ve learned. At every table, in every home, at every Thanksgiving whether grand or humble, whether store-bought or homemade, America was taking me gently by her generous hand and whispering into my core, “E Pluribus Unum” — from many, one.

On this Thanksgiving, let us each remember that. At a time when our nation is divided and frightened, there is still nowhere as a Muslim I am not welcome. There is nowhere in the world where a Muslim is more religiously and democratically free. That is true even today, as many wring their hands about a resurgence of white nationalism and other forms of angry ethnic pride.

I suppose I actually absorbed this idea decades before Judge John Gleeson swore me in as a U.S. citizen at federal court in Brooklyn last year. But by the time I got my documents and squinted at them in the morning sun that December day, I realized, through all her mystery and all her magic, through all the goodness of dozens of American families, through the remarkably prescient imagination of Jefferson who more than 200 years ago had no less imagined me, I had been made a citizen not only of document but of substance: the values of Americans had become mine.

So this year, with all these Thanksgivings behind me, I find I am finally home, at home in the nation that is now mine as she is yours, a nation that confirms as she affirms: “You, a Muslim woman, are home, and you belong with me.”

On this Thanksgiving, God bless America. And because America is you, God bless you.

Ahmed is author of “In the Land of Invisible Women.”

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Original Post

And in the midst of the melee that is our remarkable country, at the center has always been an American turkey, at the mercy of any number of cuisines. This is the eclectic, peripatetic pandemonium that defines our beloved American journey.

Chief posted:

And in the midst of the melee that is our remarkable country, at the center has always been an American turkey, at the mercy of any number of cuisines. This is the eclectic, peripatetic pandemonium that defines our beloved American journey.

Great to see you do appreciate life in this great Christian civilization!!  And you can even enjoy halal turkey without prosecution!!

ba$eman posted:
Chief posted:

And in the midst of the melee that is our remarkable country, at the center has always been an American turkey, at the mercy of any number of cuisines. This is the eclectic, peripatetic pandemonium that defines our beloved American journey.

Great to see you do appreciate life in this great Christian civilization!!  And you can even enjoy halal turkey without prosecution!!

Does anyone feel sorry for all the turkeys?

VishMahabir posted:
ba$eman posted:
Chief posted:

And in the midst of the melee that is our remarkable country, at the center has always been an American turkey, at the mercy of any number of cuisines. This is the eclectic, peripatetic pandemonium that defines our beloved American journey.

Great to see you do appreciate life in this great Christian civilization!!  And you can even enjoy halal turkey without prosecution!!

Does anyone feel sorry for all the turkeys?

Bai, there is no free ride.  Someone always pay the price.

Some American Indians claim it's the giving of thanks for wiping out their tribesman.

Not sure of it, but whatever, the turkey still pays the price!

Sometimes the whole story never get quoted. United States ships were constantly under attack by Muslim pirates along the Meditt Coast. Jefferson wanted to understand the enemy and so he studied the holy book in order to curb the piracy. And he did by paying the normal fees for infidels to have the right to exist in muslim domain. He later, attacked and destroyed the forces of anti-American.  

 

ba$eman posted:
Chief posted:

And in the midst of the melee that is our remarkable country, at the center has always been an American turkey, at the mercy of any number of cuisines. This is the eclectic, peripatetic pandemonium that defines our beloved American journey.

Great to see you do appreciate life in this great Christian civilization!!  And you can even enjoy halal turkey without prosecution!!

As of now and hopefully forever!

WITH President elect Donald Trump dangerous rethoric ,  it's scary.

Chief posted:
ba$eman posted:

Great to see you do appreciate life in this great Christian civilization!!  And you can even enjoy halal turkey without prosecution!!

As of now and hopefully forever!

WITH President elect Donald Trump dangerous rethoric ,  it's scary.

The glass is half full, he is the escape valve which prevents more radical forces from taking over!  As a law abiding Muslim, you should welcome Trump.  He will drain the swamp of jihadists!

Sk

Burnham and all dictators strayed out similarly . 

DO not rule it out. 

First rule in the play book is to muzzle the Press.

When Burnham stole the 1973 elections, columnist Ricky Singh fron the GuyAna Graphic  wrote a nice piece  titled " The shame is greater than the victory"

WHAT happened next, GUYANA Graphic was forced out of business and Ricky Singh had to self exile in Barbados for a number of years.

Trump is on the same track!

Chameli posted:

--------------------------

Chief, how come many(not all) scholars (majee et al) who attend a funeral and give speeches greet EVERYONE only in their religious language and say it to "brothers and sisters"???? No acknowledgement of others??

what happen, the rest of us who are not muslims do not deserve your greetings/ are not welcome?

I was so disappointed at the Imdadul Islamic centre on Sunday eve..8 speakers and only the daughter acknowledged everyone by saying her urdu greetings and also, "welcome to all friends and family who took time to show appreciation for my mom".

I have only once before  seen this exclusion at other religious service (a pandit from Leonora who said "white trash" and others who criticize Hinduism)

Cham,

This happens all of the time, please do not ask Chief for an answer. He will start going on about people hating his religion.

A moderate like Kaz can provide answer or comments.

RiffRaff posted:

Hey Cham

Some of these modern majees have learned from their Masters in Saudi Arabia not to acknowledge others

Next time, they may not even shake yuh hand

We are called infidels. I was told by a Muslim friend that the Q'uran teaches a true Muslim not to befriend an infidel. Is this true?

RiffRaff posted:

Maybe you should read the Quran instead of listening to crackpots...btw, who said non Muslims are infidels?

If you are not believer of Islam, you are an infidel. Bai, you must watch American Heroes Channel. If non believers are not infidels, who are infidels then? An infidel is "an unbeliever with respect to a particular religion".

If I want to learn, I would read the Quran instead of listening to Tom, Dick or Harry...I would not also take things literally because I have to understand the QUran was written during a different time and stuff could be subject to interpretation (like in most holy books)

 

2. Leviticus 18:22: " Thou shalt not lie with mankind, as with womankind: it is abomination." 3. Leviticus 20:13: "If a man also lie with mankind, as he lieth with a woman, both of them have committed an abomination: they shall surely be put to death; their blood shall be upon them."Apr 1, 2013

(This is not from the Quran, would you take it literally SK?)

Here's one from the Bible that talks about killing non believers

 

Deuteronomy 17
If there be found among you, within any of thy gates which the LORD thy God giveth thee, man or woman, that hath wrought wickedness in the sight of the LORD thy God, in transgressing his covenant; 17:3 And hath gone and served other gods, and worshipped them, either the sun, or moon, or any of the host of heaven, which I have not commanded; 17:4 And it be told thee, and thou hast heard of it, and enquired diligently, and, behold, it be true, and the thing certain, that such abomination is wrought in Israel; 17:5 Then shalt thou bring forth that man or that woman, which have committed that wicked thing, unto thy gates, even that man or that woman, and shalt stone them with stones, till they die.

Nehru posted:

True Riff, but I dont see other Religion such such large number of individuals interpreting literally.

Large numbers?

One must distinguish between killing because of sect differences versus  killing by a terrorist....

I am not here to defend murderers, but to say that large number of Muslims are terrorists who kill non believers is just not true

RiffRaff posted:

2. Leviticus 18:22: " Thou shalt not lie with mankind, as with womankind: it is abomination." 3. Leviticus 20:13: "If a man also lie with mankind, as he lieth with a woman, both of them have committed an abomination: they shall surely be put to death; their blood shall be upon them."Apr 1, 2013

(This is not from the Quran, would you take it literally SK?)

Who was Leviticus to say this? Did not god create all of us? If god did not want homosexuals in the human race, he would not have created them. Leviticus spoke out of turn. God loved all of us, regardless of our sexual orientation. Religion was created by mankind to divide and conquer. So you are saying that the Q'uran does not teach one to do whatever it takes to bring followers to its religion?

Taken from Sūrat al-Baqarah

 

(There is no compulsion in religion), meaning, "Do not force anyone to become Muslim, for Islam is plain and clear, and its proofs and evidence are plain and clear. Therefore, there is no need to force anyone to embrace Islam.

RiffRaff posted:

Taken from Sūrat al-Baqarah

 

(There is no compulsion in religion), meaning, "Do not force anyone to become Muslim, for Islam is plain and clear, and its proofs and evidence are plain and clear. Therefore, there is no need to force anyone to embrace Islam.

Tax dem good and plenty and they themselves will convert. Islam must think infidels are stupid. There is no shame in these ppl. I am speaking of Mid_eastern ppl. Their conquest tells a different story of extortions.

 

Chameli posted:

--------------------------

Chief, how come many(not all) scholars (majee et al) who attend a funeral and give speeches greet EVERYONE only in their religious language and say it to "brothers and sisters"???? No acknowledgement of others??

what happen, the rest of us who are not muslims do not deserve your greetings/ are not welcome?

I was so disappointed at the Imdadul Islamic centre on Sunday eve..8 speakers and only the daughter acknowledged everyone by saying her urdu greetings and also, "welcome to all friends and family who took time to show appreciation for my mom".

I have only once before  seen this exclusion at other religious service (a pandit from Leonora who said "white trash" and others who criticize Hinduism)

Cham

Did the speakers said " Muslim brothers and sisters" or plain " Brothers and Sisters"?

Cham

Thanks for clearing this up.

Based on what you said, seems like  the speakers addressed everyone ( regardless of thier religion) as brothers and sisters .

That is commendable and you should be honorered.

The greeting Assalam O Alaikum means " May the peace and blessings .  of God be with you"  and that goes for everyone in the audience.

You were in a good gathering with all the speakers greeting you as sister.

unfortunately you wanted thenm to say CHRISTIAN sister or Hindu Sister or Sikh sister, I do not see a.need for that.

You are a sister in humanity and that's why they say Assalam O  Alaikum brothers and sisters.

That's my take.

Chameli posted:
Chief posted:

Cham

[]

unfortunately you wanted thenm to say CHRISTIAN sister or Hindu Sister or Sikh sister, I do not see a.need for that.

You are a sister in humanity and that's why they say Assalam O  Alaikum brothers and sisters.

That's my take.

Chief, The rest of what u said is irrelevant to my opinion.

NO i did not want them to say any other form of religion sisters or brothers...just welcome to everyone NOT SALAAM to brothers and sisters because I am NOT MUSLIM and as such Salaam is not addressed to me!

You will not say Salaam.... when we meet would you?

Pandit Motilal from Richmond Hill said it very nicely, that he have never heard a better greeting"may the peace and blessings of God be with you".

CHAM sorry that you find that to  be offensive however if you should ever attend a Jewish temple they say nothing else but Shalom.

When we meet and should I greet you in English with " May the peace and blessings of God be with you" is anything wrong with that?  

I do not think one has to be muslim to appreciate  that.

 

 

RiffRaff posted:

All they had to say was "Assalam O Alaikum", and to my non Muslim brothers & sisters... "May the peace and blessings of God be with you"

Not everyone knows what assalam o alaikum means....

I am almost positive one out of the ten speakers said that because it is something standard that is uttered.

Probably  Cham Did not hear it because she was catching up with a villager.

It all depends on the person at the time and their bed manners. I went to a funeral for a buddy of mine a while back and at communion time the priest told the congregation that only Catholics should go up, I was taken back with that. I happened to be with a United Church pastor who after I questioned this, told me he would have told the group at Communion time those not Catholic can come up for a blessing if they so wish.

Sure makes a heck of a difference in the way words are conveyed.

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