I write this open letter today, in behalf of Congressman and Presidential candidate Dr. Ron Paul, to the American Muslim community. The spirit is similar to letters (here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, and here; also see here) written to other religious and nonreligious communities in behalf of Dr. Paul. In fact, the spirit is identical to all the other ones; they all were about freedom. Freedom is the source of all of Dr. Paul's positions on the issues that matter to Americans in general and American Muslims in particular.
Our freedoms imply that we have the right to freely associate and worship, without fear. Ever since the Patriot Act was passed, Muslims have invariably felt they were being targeted. Whether they are or not, the message of the Patriot Act has certainly undermined the way many innocent Muslims practice their religion. First generation American Muslims have come here in peace, and their children were born and now live here in peace. Our crime rates bear this out; they are among the lowest on a per capita basis of all ethnic groups. First, second, and now third-generation American Muslims call this their home, and their land – the land, let me remind you, of the free. This Patriot Act takes away from American Muslims freedom in the fullest sense of the word (one where individuals do not trample on the rights of others).
Dr. Paul has voted “no” on the Patriot Act and wiretapping of Americans. Dr. Paul wants government out of our businesses, out of our homes, out of our wallets, out of our bedrooms and out of our places of worship. Other than Dr. Paul and Congressman Dennis Kucinich, no other candidate has voted or even come out against the Patriot Act. He describes himself as the defender of our birthright liberties and freedoms as reaffirmed in the US Constitution.
Certainly, foreign policy and the Middle East are always on our minds. I still remember the days leading up to the Iraq war. Most American Muslims (and Arabs), along with countless numbers of Americans from all religious and non-religious backgrounds opposed the war in Iraq. Not only did Muslims, like many other Americans, realize that the war was unjustified and will do nothing but wreak havoc in the already volatile Middle East, but we also knew that the war will have a direct impact on our freedom at home. Our tax money was used, much to our dislike, to fund the war that directly and indirectly resulted in the death and injury of thousands of innocent Iraqi civilians, as well as thousands of American troops, in a war that was based on false pretences; on actual lies. This taking of hard-earned tax money and spending it on foreign military intervention (in the Middle East and elsewhere) most certainly reduces our financial freedoms, and our sincerest concerns are about the harm incurred on innocent Iraqi citizens (Muslim and non-Muslim alike) and on America's image in the Muslim world, as a consequence of this war.
Dr. Paul has voted “no” on the authorization to go to war with Iraq. Dr. Paul would also eliminate federal income taxes, which disallows us from spending our hard-earned money on humanitarian causes that are just and worthwhile. Dr. Paul promises an immediate end to the IRS.
I also remember the years when countless American Muslim individuals and organizations pressured the Clinton and Bush administrations to end pre-war sanctions on Iraq that indirectly resulted in the death of hundreds of thousands of innocent Iraqi civilians, especially the frail and the young. Then, too, we felt the pain in bringing such death and misery upon a people, with whom we strongly identify as fellow Muslims, as a result of unnecessary and unjust sanctions. Moreover, having our government, in our name, perform such aggressive actions against the people of Iraq against our will (and the will of countless other Americans who opposed the sanctions) most certainly takes away from our freedoms.
In very sharp contrast, Dr. Paul consistently voted against sanctions on pre-war Iraq.
Regarding the fighting in Palestine, it has now been decades and the conflict has still not been resolved despite the countless interventionist efforts by many American administrations. All these years of intervening by the US government in the Holy Land has not brought any peace. Many believe, as I do, that if the US government ceases to intervene in the Palestinian-Israeli conflict, and withdraws all financial and military aid to all nations in the region, both Arabs and Israelis (of all creeds) would have stronger reasons and incentives to resolve the issue permanently. Needless to say, the financial and military aid that all the countries in the region receive comes directly from our hard-earned tax money. This, as with the Iraq question, diminishes our financial freedom to choose to reject sending any tax-payer dollars, which only results in fueling the conflict in the Middle East.
Dr. Paul has consistently voted in favor of non-interventionism in the Middle East issue.
Here are some of the other issues that matter to American Muslims, and Dr. Paul's position on these issues:
Abortion: As Muslims we believe that the unborn have a right to freedom and a right to life as an individual. As an OB/GYN doctor, Dr. Paul has delivered over 4,000 babies. In 40 years of medical practice, he has never considered performing an abortion, nor did he ever find abortion necessary to save the life of a pregnant woman. His professional and legislative record demonstrates his strong commitment to this pro-life principle.
Health Freedom: Muslims are generally concerned over the government's escalating rejection of the freedom to choose how citizens take care of their health. Many Muslims have concerns over obligatory health insurance plans that are based on an enforced universal health care system. Dr. Paul stands strongly against government intervention in health care choices.
- Racism and Islamophobia: We are all aware of the recent tide of increased (mostly verbal, with frequent physical) attacks on Muslims based on ignorance: Islamophobia. This has recently been heightened as a direct result of the use of such terms as “Islamofascism” and "Islamic Terrorism." Dr. Paul’s position on racism and bigotry is very clear. Dr. Paul says (from his campaign website):
“A nation that once prided itself on a sense of rugged individualism has become uncomfortably obsessed with racial group identities.
"The collectivist mindset is at the heart of racism.
"Government as an institution is particularly ill-suited to combat bigotry. Bigotry at its essence is a problem of the heart, and we cannot change people’s hearts by passing more laws and regulations.”
To conclude, of all the presidential candidates, I truly believe that Dr. Paul is the best candidate to restore the freedoms of all Americans. He has the best policy on the conflicts in the Middle East. On the issues, Dr. Paul's position is strongly in line with the Muslim perspective.
I know that many of you would bring up the fact (and very strange coincidence) that Dr. Paul is a Republican from Texas. Last time American Muslims overwhelmingly voted for a Republican from Texas has turned out to be, to say the least, not quite the right choice. Well, to this concern I have two straightforward answers:
Dr. Paul’s record is consistent and solid. This can be verified by checking his voting record over the last 30 years as a Congressman. I also recommend his books Freedom under Siege and A Foreign Policy of Freedom.
The second reason to choose Dr. Paul is inspired by a lesson we read frequently in the Qur'an: “The noblest among you in God’s sight is the one who best performs his duty.” And I believe that, among all the candidates, Dr. Paul is the one with the best and most consistent record to assume the very crucial duty of the US presidency.
And there are no better words to conclude with than these.
December 5, 2007