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  • I've just received an email from a well-meaning individual giving me 10 reasons why Muslims can never be good Americans. All 10 reasons focused around the tenets of their faith, of course, and included a caveat from none other than the United States Marine Corps to beware of any Muslims in your area.

    I wonder if they realize I could write an email just as damning and just as scathing about Catholics? Or Mormons? Or Jews? Hey, why not pick on the Jews? History is full of examples where picking on the Jews was a political and social favorite.

    I'm being sarcastic here, since the name a person calls God is of no concern to me. I know what I believe, and as an American, I hold sacred the right of any other person to believe as they choose. Unfortunately, there are too many Americans right now who are allowing this sort of prejudicial hate mail to influence their thinking. Thanks to the act of radical men who claimed to be following the "Will of Allah", we have allowed our media to vilify a faith through subversion and rumor.

    If I have any disagreement with Islamic nations at all, it is that they have refused to join the rest of the world in the realization that religious leaders do not make good political leaders. Most of the western world figured that out in the 18th century. Granted, our current economic state certainly points out there are flaws with western ways of dealing with society, but at least we aren't chopping off people's hands and allowing husbands to kill their wives because their supper was late. (Sarcasm again.)

    Religion is a personal decision, a guide to individual morality. It should guide, not dictate, our ethical conduct. This is why we have laws. This is why we have police officers to deal with lawbreakers. This is why we have courts of law. As imperfect as they are, they are the way we dictate the actions in our society.

    And this is also why we need to deal with each other as Americans. Not Islamic Americans or Christian Americans, not African Americans or Italian Americans.

    You have to remember the basic reason for this country to be in existence. People come here to escape the oppression of their native lands. If they were happy being Muslims in a Muslim nation, they would still be there. I am sure it is far easier to be a fundamentalist Muslim in Iraq or Saudi Arabia than in Texas or New York.

    Do these people remain separate when they some to America? Of course they do, they prefer to hang out with others who speak their language and understand their customs. Is this something new? Not really. I think every major city in the US has its Chinatown, Korea town, or its Little Italy or Little Havana. You know, places where people of similar ethnic and religious backgrounds came together to raise their children in America while still respecting the faith and customs of their ancestors.

    So you have to ask yourself, are Islamic Americans any more of a threat to America than any other ethnic or social group? Are the people who pray five times daily someone to fear? Or is it our ignorance of their culture that is the real threat?

    I am a Christian. As a Christian, I try to live my life as Christ would have me live it. I'm not perfect, I make mistakes. When I do, I suffer the consequences, spiritually. But that is between me and God.

    I am also an American, and as an American, I am bound to follow the concepts of the Constitution and the Bill of Rights. The first amendment of the Bill of Rights guarantees the right to religious freedom, so long as that freedom does not attempt to interfere with the rights of others.

    As Americans, we need to practice the beliefs that unify us as a nation, not teach us to fear one another.

    We need to be Americans.

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