Saturday, April 15, 2017

USA: Ahmadiyya Al-Islam Students Association Organizes 'Make America Just Again' Lecture


“These people betray America’s founding principles and history by failing to celebrate religious pluralism as a democratic principle that makes America great.”

Times of Ahmad | News Watch | US Desk
Source/Credit: The Arkansas Traveler
By Summer El-Shahawy | April 14, 2017

The Al-Islam Students Association organized a lecture titled Make America Just Again, which was presented by a Muslim-American lawyer with Pakistani roots.

AISA tries to host a seminar like this every year, but felt it was especially pertinent and timely given the rise in hate crimes and anti-Muslim rhetoric that has been seen in the media, said President of AISA Naseer Nasseem.

Amjad Khan is a lawyer who specializes in asylum and refugee law and earned his J.D. from Harvard Law. He is currently a professor at UCLA, said Vice President of AISA Will Robertson.

Khan began by speaking about his own personal journey and explained that though there were occasional awkward moments, he did not feel much different from the kids he was surrounded by.

“I liked Nintendo, The Lakers and Casio watches, just like any other normal L.A. kid.”

Khan said he wrote his senior thesis on combating Islamic extremism in April of 2001. He said his professors asked him how much of a threat that extremism posed to Americans. Later that year, after the 9/11 attacks, Khan said he was filled with horror and disgust.

“My first thought was, ‘how could these people do this in the name of my faith?’”

The events of 9/11 were motivation to convey what he loves about America, Khan said.

Religious freedom was Khan’s main subject of his lecture, and he made this claim, which he said he hoped to proved by the end of the talk: “It has never been a better time for religious minorities to be more proud of the country they live in.”

In comparison to European countries such as France and Belgium that have banned the headscarf entirely, there is no law in America that bans headscarves nor the worship practices of Muslim-Americans, Khan said.

“Objectively, it appears that Muslim-Americans can practice their faith more freely than any other country in the world,” Khan said.

The “Make America Great Again” slogan assumes that at some point, America stopped being great. However, the definition of great may be different, and some may think great means homogenous and uneroded by immigrants, Khan said.

“These people betray America’s founding principles and history by failing to celebrate religious pluralism as a democratic principle that makes America great,” Khan said

The rigid view of who is American and who is the other is allowing the ground to become more fertile for hate crimes, Khan said.

The current administration’s proposed bans on immigrants from certain countries entering the United States are similar to laws in countries like Egypt, Syria and Pakistan that demonize religious minorities and have laws restricting Christianity, Khan said.

“If we cannot combat such laws here, we will lose credibility fighting for religious freedom abroad,” Khan said.

American-Muslims have a special cause to rescue their faith from the clutches of those who abuse it, Khan said.

“By doing this, we can all focus on making the idea of America great again,” Khan said.

UA senior David Trice said he was at the lecture because wants to support any effort to change people’s mindsets and he thinks it is important to support all groups on campus.



Read original post here: USA: Ahmadiyya Al-Islam Students Association Throws Make America Just Again Lecture


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