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Supporting Our Armed Forces: An American Muslim's Perspective

It's time for Arab- and Muslim-Americans to stand up and be counted in their support of democracy and our troops.

6:00 AM, Mar 21, 2003 • By MANSOOR IJAZ
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America's Arab and Muslim leaders, regardless of their views on the U.S. decision to disarm Saddam by force, need to make important changes in how they lead the community during times of peace, but especially so in this time of war. Rooting their activism in the principles that define citizenship is a good place to start. There is simply no room in American life for those Arabs and Muslims who believe they belong to some higher Ummah, or global Islamic community without borders.

Whether these leaders are imams in our nation's mosques or teachers in our public schools or activists in special-interest groups, they must publicly voice their support for our men and women serving in the armed forces. Imams, in particular, have this responsibility since they have spewed forth so much of the venom that afflicts our communities.

At today's Friday prayers, every imam in America who is a citizen or permanent U.S. resident has a moral obligation to ask his congregation to pray for the safe return of all our soldiers doing battle to rid the world of a menace to peace. They should invite U.S. media outlets to witness their prayers, so Americans can understand the unity of purpose we all share during this sobering time.

The highest honor an American ever holds is the title of Citizen of the United States of America. It is high time American Arabs and Muslims learn what that really means and use its lessons to raise up Muslims in far-off lands so they will not be so desperate to tear us down.

I, for one, will start by setting the example. I ask Almighty Allah to give the men and women of our armed services the courage to do right, the strength to forgive when wronged, and the wisdom to free a nation from the scourge a madman brought upon its citizens. God Bless you for defending my freedom and for defending our nation. May you come home safely, and for those of you who make the ultimate sacrifice, may God grant you peace in heaven.

Mansoor Ijaz, an American-born Muslim of Pakistani descent, is chairman of Crescent Investment Management in New York. He serves as Foreign Affairs and Terrorism Analyst for the Fox News Channel.