Saturday, January 14, 2017

Shall American Muslims be Naturally Aligned with the Republican Party?

A statement is oft-repeated in pseudo intellectual discussions - in the United States the Muslims find their natural allies among the Republicans since both share conservative values. This couldn’t be further from the truth. 

Pseudo conservatism
Today’s Republicans do not practice conservatism; they routinely use that word to deceive unsuspecting masses. Mere attaching label of conservatism doesn’t make one conservative if it is not followed by action. Conservatism is a philosophy that urges one to conserve nature, tradition, values and culture. Modern Republicans are totally at odd with these principles. In practice, they don’t even pay lip service to preserving nature, anymore. They want to give free reign to industries to pollute. They want to disband EPA and do away with all regulations. They want to promote extreme right wing values totally in opposition to the core Christian teachings. Just last week the GOP House members met and conspired to abolish the independent ethics committee, so that no charge could be brought against them for unethical behavior. So much for principles! 

Environment and Community
GOP is the only political party in the developed world that does not believe in climate change. They have made it their sole objective to serve at the feet of the oligarchs in violation of all morals and scruples. Greed is their driving force and deception is their tool. They have no concern for the greater good of the community. Self-promotion and ‘profit making at any cost’ is their mantra.

Muslims on the other hand have community service ingrained in their religious diktat. Their religion encourages them to offer obligatory Friday prayer in a mosque. Purpose of this is to strengthen communal harmony, and extend bonding between members. After the prayer they are encouraged to mingle with their neighbors, find out if there are poor and needy among them, and then help those. 

The word ‘prayer’ is found 90 times in Quran; in most instances the word ‘prayer’ is accompanied by the word ‘charity’ in the same breadth, 71 times in total – such is the importance on charity the holy book reposes. A  Muslim’s duty to God is never complete unless the person practices generous charity; it is one of the fundamental pillars of his religion. Service to humanity and preservation of nature is his basic duty. 

Prophet Mohammad led by example, he was the supreme leader and had unbound power to control the wealth of his nation, yet, he lived practically a pauper. In life there were days when he remained hungry because he had given his last piece of bread away. In death he left practically no possession. 

Republican politicians (count 70% Democrats in the same bracket) live to usurp wealth of the middle class and other low income people at any cost; they want to take away the safety nets for the lowest of the lows. They dodge taxes, cut tax rates for the richest at every opportunity. They preach pulling oneself by one’s bootstraps, and then take the bootstraps away. They want to dismantle Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid, and SNAP (food stamp) programs. They strive continually to transfer wealth from the poor to the rich. This type of behavior is against the essential teachings of Islam. 

Prophet Mohammed had said – if needed one should travel to faraway China for learning (China was a distant land from Arabia in the 7th century). Following his instruction the Muslims invested in public education and ruled the world of science for the next few centuries. The Republicans on the other hand want to remove all government support for education; the GOP stalwart Reagan began defunding education and now it has reached its peak where the basic public education system has been weakened so much that the Asian countries lead in that field. 

Social values
Muslims erroneously think the Republicans’ religious stand on right to life, gay rights, transgender, and other minority folks make them conservative. They fail to understand that it’s the facade the Republicans hide under; there is no dearth of people among them who are practicing gays, or lesbians, and sex offenders. It is sad that great numbers of Muslim are misled by their spectacle, and lack the ability to dig deeper and examine the reality. 

Matthew 25 sums up the teaching of the New Testament: 

“Then the king will say to those on his right, ‘Come, you who are blessed by my Father. Inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world. For I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me drink, a stranger and you welcomed me,  naked and you clothed me, ill and you cared for me, in prison and you visited me.’ Then the righteous will answer him and say, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you drink?  When did we see you a stranger and welcome you, or naked and clothe you? When did we see you ill or in prison, and visit you?’…

…He will answer them, ‘Amen, I say to you, what you did not do for one of these least ones, you did not do for me.’ “

This teaching is shared by Islam as well, and a true Muslim must use this principle as his yard-stick and be guided by it.