A Muslim American woman’s response to President Obama’s farewell speech

Watching President Obama give his farewell address in his hometown and a city I have been lucky enough to call home pulled at more than just my heartstrings. Like most of the Chicago audience, I supported Obama both times he ran for the office of president, and I am quite saddened to know his days as our leader are nearing an end. However, as all effective rhetoric does, Obama’s words left me in the paradoxical state of disturbed serenity, a combination of having hope and confidence in one’s agency but with a push towards readjusting and re-evaluating one’s own perceptions.

As a Muslim American woman of color, I expected myself to become most engaged with his speech when he addressed issues of Islam and Muslim Americans; the audience certainly responded most resoundingly to his defense of Muslim Americans’ patriotism than to any other part of his speech. This moment was indubitably reassuring—it told me, as many Americans have in the now two months after the election, “You are not alone.” Having the POTUS, the individual in arguably the most American job there is, publicly validate the Americanness of a group I identify with and that has had its place in American society questioned for over a decade felt empowering and comforting. I cheered along with the audience.

Still, as grateful as I am to Obama for reiterating his view on Muslims, the point felt anticlimactic. Islam, terrorism; Islam, fundamentalism; Islam, patriotism—these words are now, in one direction or the other, always linked in a predictable way in public political rhetoric. It’s as if Islam and Muslims must always be addressed if terrorism is being discussed, even if it is to deny a universal connection. The sharper part of Obama’s speech in my psyche, the one that made me gasp inwardly ever so slightly due to the unexpected new thought it opened within the folds of my political identity, was a different moment, when he said the following:

In his own farewell address, George Washington wrote that self-government is the underpinning of our safety, prosperity, and liberty, but “from different causes and from different quarters much pains will be taken… to weaken in your minds the conviction of this truth.”
And so we have to preserve this truth with “jealous anxiety;” that we should reject “the first dawning of every attempt to alienate any portion of our country from the rest or to enfeeble the sacred ties” that make us one.

Obviously, the POTUS’s comments refer to the United States as a whole and emphasize the importance of autonomy and unity of the American people. As a Muslim American woman, though, I couldn’t help feeling that I was a microcosm of the macrocosm. In fact, it was fitting that lines from one of America’s greatest poets, Walt Whitman, danced casually through my mind at that moment: “I am large, I contain multitudes” (“Song of Myself,” Leaves of Grass). Even before the rise of Islamophobia over the past year, even before president-elect Trump’s proposal to ban and/or register Muslims, even before ISIS, before Iraq and Afghanistan, before 9/11—being a Muslim girl in America was complicated.

I know I won’t make friends by saying this, but traditional Islamic values do threaten the self-government of its female followers. Before the prejudiced use this statement as a way to confirm their stereotypes about Islam and the faithful use it as an indignant topic to disconfirm, let us consider the lived experiences of the women themselves. It is absolutely true that modern-day Islam is diverse, with a spectrum of both beliefs and theological intensity. It is also absolutely true that Muslims, especially in the West, increasingly have relationships and worldviews that align greatly with their Western peers. What also remains true, though, is that the gendered and oppressive language of certain social institutions—marriage, for example—continue to be carried on in the same subtle way sexism still persists in the U.S. in general.

My research through The University of Chicago has given me insight into the multi-layered challenges Muslim American girls and women face.

Yes, they have to deal with staving off stereotypes about terrorism and oppression, but at the same time, they also have to stave off certain ingrained views about gender roles that many Muslim communities even in the U.S. have not outgrown.

The self-government of Muslim women—the ability for us to say this is who we are, neither entirely American nor entirely Muslim—is indeed a threat to both American and Muslim societies. The “different causes” and “different quarters” are to this day relentless in their quest to weaken our sense of self, one that does not fit neatly into either society.

In my own experience, on the one hand, I have had highly educated people in university settings question my ability to speak English, the subject I happened to be teaching. On the other hand, I have had respected figures in my religious community warn me against pursuing “too much” education, as men do not like to marry women who are smarter than them. Hearing President Obama quote George Washington’s warning against alienating any “portion of [the] country from the rest” seemed the perfect metaphor to address this conundrum that I know I am not alone in experiencing.

Each Muslim woman is a nation unto herself, as vast and rich as our country itself. The more she holds in her being, though, the more she embraces contradictory ideas. Increasingly, women are becoming more comfortable with these contradictions as I have found in the research interviews I have conducted, accepting them as part of who they are and what makes them unique rather than trying to splice away aspects of their identity to appease one side or the other.

Whitman says, “Do I contradict myself?/Very well then, I contradict myself.” It is this American boldness that Obama’s speech made me realize I value the most about who I am, a boldness that every Muslim American woman I’ve ever encountered—and I’ve encountered many—also seems to harbor, whether openly or secretly. It is the gold we hide in our rocky chests that no diggers will ever be able to profit from save ourselves. I hope we take away from our history, political and personal, and from Obama’s farewell words just that: that we fare well, with our country, with each other, and with our richly diverse selves.

Tasneem Mandviwala is a PhD candidate at the University of Chicago who is researching the experiences of Muslim American women from a socio-cultural viewpoint. She writes, paints, and sings (badly) and hopes to contribute love and understanding to the world.

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  • po says:

    We ought to stop saying traditional Muslim values and call them what they are: traditional Arabic values. The patriarchy of Islam is a cultural patriarchy, and one that is lessened as one moves away from its core that is Saudi Arabia. And as long as we conflate Islam with such traditional values, we are reinforcing the stigma and the structure, while insuring more people buy into that fallacy.
    Few things are as horrendous as to see a female new convert who willingly embraces along with her shahada the self-imposition of the structure of Arabic patriarchy, which she deems the necessary companion of her faith, and this is a reflection of both male’s reinforcing of the patriarchy by recruiting and female reinforcing of the arabic patriarchy through passivity.
    Words matter as they convey ideas, and ideas matter because they are the building blocks of concepts, upon which we build society. No change can happen unless we use the right words to convey the rights ideas in order to erect the right concepts for a right society.
    The problem is not Islam, its book, its tenets, its Prophet, the problem is the context and the interpretation of the verses, and the filtering of all, history, verses and ahadith through an incredibly stubborn set of cultural mores that once included the burying of female infants (which echoes still in the blanketing of female presence in Arabian society.)

  • J. Jones says:

    “It’s as if Islam and Muslims must always be addressed if terrorism is being discussed, even if it is to deny a universal connection.”

    President Obama has stupidly and stubbornly refused to acknowledge any connection between Islam and the Islamic extremism that spawns terrorism. This has done a terrible disservice to the very Muslims and former Muslims who seek to reform Islam. These courageous and brave souls risk their lives to speak openly and honestly about the verses in the Quran and the Hadith.

    Islam is to many Westerners, especially our Western European allies, a religion of Permanent Offence. Turkey has announced that “Islamophobia” should be designated as a crime against humanity! Much evidence exists suggests it is Islam that should be designated as a crime against humanity. In the USA , Jews are more than three times as likely as Muslims to face harassment and discrimination.

    “Islamophobia” is a word created by fascists and used by cowards to manipulate morons. We see through this pathetic attempt at manipulation. And yet Muslims claim we aren’t tolerant enough! But not to worry…Islamophobia Awareness Month is on the horizon.

    Pew research has revealed that a large and shocking percentage of Muslims world wide support the stoning of adulterers. Large percentages of Muslims support ‘honor killings.’ Many millions of Muslims practice female genitalia mutilation on their girls. There is wide acceptance in Muslim communities for the killing of gays. Violent Jihad and terrorism against the infidel and non Muslims is acceptable and even commanded by your holy texts. Children are “married” at the age of 7 to 50 year-old men. Often, these girls are marrying a close relative. As a result, there are often birth defects. This is going on NOW in Europe.

    Islam is a religion on the take…gimme, gimme, gimme! Respect, though you have earned none. Special treatment (or be called racist). Needless conflict and intimidation at every turn. Islam demands to be accommodated but gives nothing in return. Muslim outrage over any perceived slight, no matter how minor, is met with savage terrorism. The Danish Cartoonists, Charlie Hebdo, Paris slaughter, Nice, Sydney Cafe siege, 9/11, a silly little independent movie called “The Innocence of Muslims.” Lee Rigby (British soldier slaughtered in the streets of London). The West tolerates you; but no one wants you here, or cares anymore how you feel. What’s important is how we feel. You had your chance and you blew it.

    At one time we Americans and Europeans welcomed you. But things have changed. We don’t Trust Islam, we don’t like it, and we don’t respect it. Not anymore. Trump is not Obama and Muslim immigration to the US is on hold, so I’ve been told. The worst thing about the behavior of many Muslims is the arrogance. You are entitled to nothing. Islam is NOT a race, nor am I a bigot. But I’ll not live under Sharia law. A large percentage of Muslims polled want sharia law.

    • TruthSeeker says:

      Like how you kuffr refuse to acknowledge the role you played in ruining the world. Apparently it is illegal for wanting them to be held accountable to their crimes!

      And yes, you ARE a bigot. End of story.

  • O. Naya says:

    ^^^Very inspiring, thought-provoking comment.

    I came to this website on a lark and have long thought Islam is due for a reform, but has so far resisted any attempts (in the macro sense) to do so. The perfectness of the Holy Book (Koran) would entail that no reform is needed.

    Everything discussed here is healthy. The mere act of being open to listen to other points of view is sorely needed.

    I am not a Muslim, but have lived with/around many Muslims friends. Invariably, the ones attuned to other cultures have confessed to me in one way or another that they are not “good Muslims” and yet they tolerate everyone. They may drink, not keep exact halal, not pray 5 times a day, or may date people who are not Muslims. I have told my friends, on more than one occasion: “I can’t speak to Islam, but as a person, you are good. And inspiring. And speak well, standing as a role model for your culture and religion.” It truly is an honor to be their friend.

    And then it is the “good Muslims,” the tribal ones who consider Islam the only path. That Islam must be triumphant. Who see Islam and Muslims in one corner and everyone else in the other. I hate to paint the American-Islamic world in only two hues – tribal and tolerant – but it has been my experience in a half-dozen experiences. And while not a scientific sample, it is enough to trouble me.

    The day when tolerant, aware Muslims become the dominant voice is the day when harmony will be increased. I fear that those days will never occur.

    I did not vote for Donald Trump, I could not bring myself to. But on this one issue, careful scrutiny of immigration from Muslim countries, I agree with him. I wish it were not so. . .

  • Susette says:

    How can the author say “The problem is not Islam, its book, its tenets, its Prophet…” That is the very problem. If islam, its book, tenets and prophet had never existed, the world would be free of many of the human rights violations perpetrated upon entire populations by islamic theocracies, especially against women, children and gays. Most moslem-majority countries are plaqued with horrendous human rights violations. Islam governs every apsect of living, with no allowance for indiviuality or artistic expression. It is a cult of hate.
    My dog loves me more than the allah of islam loves his people. He loves me unconditionally, not because I follow a certain religion. He loves me even though I don’t pray 5 times a day. My dog doesn’t consider me sinful when I eat bacon, or drink wine. He doesn’t care what I’m wearing when I take him for a walk. He treats both genders equally, and he loves my gay brother and his husband, and would never behead them for loving each other. I can make mad passionate love with my boyfriend without fear of my dog stoning me. My dog plays with children – he doesn’t marry them off to old men at age 9. He spreads love with his love! Throughout much of the koran, allah is characterized by those he doesn’t love… unbeleivers, transgressors, the proud, the extravagant, the disbeleivers, the unfaithful, the ungrateful. So sad that the allah of islam is so hateful and unforgiving of the very human nature he allegedly created.

    • po says:

      The problem as evidenced by Susette’s post, is that what passes for argumentation today is the building of fallacious points based on one’s ignorance of the alternative to what they believe. In other words, if I do no know that most Muslims have condemned Isis, then therefore most Muslims not only support Isis but also I will escalate my logic to include the ideas that Isis represents Islam, before heading into a greater depth into the rabbit hole of deriving logical causes and consequences from fallacies.

      1-If islam, its book, tenets and prophet had never existed, the world would be free of many of the human rights violations perpetrated upon entire populations by islamic theocracies
      A- If the USA had never existed, Iraq, Libya, Syria and plenty of other countries would still be whole. Vietnam and Laos would remain untraumatized and victimized. Black people would not have been kidnapped and carried over here to toil.
      If men had not existed, domestic abuse and rape of women would not happen.
      B- How many islamic theocracies are there? Of those, how many perpetrated human rights violations upon entire populations?
      C- No matter what the horrors those islamic theocracies committed, they are dwarfed many times over by the horrors the west has committed on entire populations. No Islamic theocracy has dropped nukes on populations, that I know. No islamic theocracy is, in my knowledge, dropping bombs on 7 different countries currently.
      D- The meme of islamic theocracy is one that ought to be dropped. Islam does not govern much of the lives of most Muslims. The great majority of Muslim societies are democratic, where their leaders are elected, where women and minorities are contributing members of the society, Go to Malaysia, Indonesia, Nigeria, Senegal, Syria and Turkey…
      E- A cult of hate? Based on what?
      Not on the quran which is the ONLY constitution that combines the Geneva convention, the magna carta, the Bill of rights and rounds it up with a bill of rights for nature and animals. It is the ONLY constitution that , 1500 years ago, told us that all men and women are equal, no matter their bloodline or their means. Under the quran, your dog has rights. They wouldn’t be eaten, as they are in some part of China, nor would they be made to fight one another, as they still are here in the US and elsewhere.
      That prophet you dismiss is the one who, yet, urged people to treat animals well, accenting the urging with the story of the prostitute who was rewarded with heaven for watering a thirsty dog… and the woman who was condemned to hell for starving a cat.

      Finally, have you read the quran, in context? If you have, I fear the it is not the quran I have.

      • Susette says:

        Perhaps moslems have condemned ISIS. But where are they? Where are the marches of moslems demonstrating against ISIS? Where are the imams, MLK-style, leading moslems in the pacifist movements against ISIS? Not here in America, not in Europe, certainly not in the Middle East. In fact, there were no moslem countries represented on my social media sites sponsoring a Women’s March on 1/21 in their countries. Very few showed up at the marches in America. I was there. Silly pictures of an American flag-draped hijabbed woman were there. Not many moslems.
        A. If the USA had never existed…there would be a vast deficit in intellect, invention, medical advances, arts, etc. What have moslem countries contributed to benefit humanity in the 250 years since the birth of the USA? Even Saudi Arabia needed the USA to build their infrastructure after they discovered oil. They were roaming around the desert on camels less than a century ago! We had already abolished slavery, given women the right to vote, and were living in a modern society, driving cars, using telephones and public transportation, building skyscrapers, on and on and on….
        Yes, men do commit the vast majority of sexual and violent crimes. But it was muhammed that sanctioned this violence with his “revelations” of killing infidels, jihad, child brides, raping “that which your right hand possesses”, “cutting” the genitals of females, amputating hands for stealing, etc.
        B. I don’t know how many islamic theocracies there are, but nations in the Middle East and North Africa account for the vast majority of the countries with the worst human rights violations. These moslem-majority countries include: Nigeria, Saudi Arabia, Syria, Yemen, Somalia, Pakistan, Afghanistan, Egypt, Iraq, Sudan, Gambia, to name a few.
        C. Islamic theocracies are not dropping bombs on countries because they do not have nuclear weapons (thankfully, considering how unstable tier governments are and their massive humans rights violations.) The USA has dropped bombs on populations for being attacked first (Japan attacked us, Afghanistan harbored 9/11 terrorists, etc.)
        D. Sadly, 4 of the 6 moslem-majority countries you cite as democratic and pro-woman …Nigeria, Syria, Turkey and Malaysia are slowly embracing sharia law…which oppresses women.
        E. Hate…just look around the world…numerous terrorist attacks, honor killings, beheadings of gays, stoning of adulterers, death sentences for apostasy and blasphemy. So many moslem women cannot marry someone they choose or wear what clothing they want without being accused of “dishonoring” the male patriarchy. What is wrong with loving someone of the same sex? What two consenting adults do in the privacy of their home is no one’s business…they certainly shouldn’t be beheaded. Most countries don’t even consider adultery a crime, but the death sentence is rampant in moslem-majority countries. Why can’t you leave islam? There are many paths to spiritual enlightenment. Islam isn’t for everyone born into it. Blasphemy is freedom of speech. If I want to draw a picture of muhammed or Jesus or Moses, who is hurt by that? Saudi Arabia has public beheadings every Friday on “chop-chop” square outside the main mosque after noon prayer…AFTER PRAYERS, when one should feel holy. Moslems have killed over 3100 people in the USA since 9/11 in the name of religion. The numbers are far greater in moslem-majority countries where they kill each other in the name of thier religious sects. NO other religion on the face of the earth kills in the name of religion. And where are the peaceful demonstrations of moslems against these atrocities??? Too much HATE in islam.
        Islam may have given equality to females, but only the beleiving females. Certainly not to “those which the right hand possesses.” Civilization has advanced so much and islam is still stuck and unevolved, as if the 7th century message applies in the 21st century. Islam is a retrograde religion.
        Your remarks about islam protecting animals is odd. So “the woman who was condemned to hell for starving a cat” perishes but the rapists, terrorists, murderers, oppressors do not??? I still beleive my dog loves me more than your allah, and I don’t need a koran to tell me not to eat him.

        • po says:

          Susette, you keep proving my point. Reality is not decided by what you are not aware of. She does not have a bias for ignorance. If a tree falls into the forest and the media does not report it, has it denounced terrorism?
          Again, simply because your source for news and knowledge does not traditionally report positively or factually on Muslims does not mean that the whole of reality is defined by that so narrow prism. Muslims have denounced terror done in their name, continuously, stubbornly, unceasingly. A 10 second search would prove that. But since you do not want to do that search, here is one link: http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/india/70000-clerics-issue-fatwa-against-terrorism-15-lakh-Muslims-support-it/articleshow/50100656.cms
          No Muslims present at the marches, han? How do you tell a Muslim from a non-Muslim? What, do Muslims wear the same clothing, look the same, same ethnicity, what, do they have a green moon star tag of some sort…do you have a muslim-dar that allows you to know who is a muslim from who isn’t… if so, that makes you unique in all of history.

          Now if you are looking to compare the USA, one country built on the labor of slaves, up to 30% of whom were Muslims, and the muslim world of dozens of countries, people, ethnicities and histories…it sounds pretty ridiculous, but let’s play along.
          Whatever made the US of A came directly or indirectly from the islamic world. Science, democracy, human rights, development, knowledge…all of it was a legacy of Islam. Even our famed constitution, partially influenced by the quran 🙂
          To sum it up, if the quran did not exist, then the world would not know the single book that,as I stated above “ONLY constitution that combines the Geneva convention, the magna carta, the Bill of rights and rounds it up with a bill of rights for nature and animals. It is the ONLY constitution that , 1500 years ago, told us that all men and women are equal, no matter their bloodline or their means.”

          Additionally, let us move into those islamic countries, those theocracies you decry, that impede human rights and oppress their population, and we find principally Saudi Arabia. Well, S. Arabia was built and raised from the sands of the desert by the West, the British in this case then given to the US. Whatever makes Saudi Arabia the horror it is , is enabled and supported by the US. Simple as that. There is no saudi arabia without american support (same, oddly, as there is no Israel without the US and Britain.). So, please, take a bow, as you are the enabler in chief of the islamic oppression you rail against.

          Nigeria, Syria, Turkey and Malaysia are embracing shariah law???
          Since when? In which alternate universe?
          Syria was a secular country until your government and its allies, including its creation Saudi Arabia, armed terrorists to turn it into a pit of hell.
          By the way, what is shariah law? It is evident you don’t know what it means.

          The death sentence for blasphemy is not rampant in muslim majority countries. Once more you are speaking out of ignorance. Most muslim majority countries are democratic in nature, with independent secular institutions. Most Muslims around the globe are not subject to shariah law or any religious constitution. Additionally, the quran could not be any clearer about freedom to believe or not. Why would the Muslims societies from the time of the Prophet down accommodate non-Muslims if belief were compulsory? especially when it goes against the edicts of the quran?
          That is as illogical as to clam that Bush invasion of iraq, which he based on a religious christian fatwa was to be blamed on Christianity.

          No other religion in the face of the earth kills in the name of religion????
          Come on, Suzette, at least do your homework if you want to debate productively, otherwise it sounds like you are collecting various talking points from islamophobic websites and stitching them together.
          The whole of history is a who’s who of non muslims murdering in the name of not islam. Matter of fact, the united states alone, a christian nation going to war with christian justifications, is responsible for more death than the whole of Islam since it was revealed.
          Right now, Rohinya Muslims are being slaughtered by Buddhists in Myammar.
          Muslims in central african republic were slaughterd by Christian forces.
          Have you heard of Joseph kony?
          Have you heard of the lynchings of gays in Christian Uganda in the name of Christianity?
          Have you heard of the Tamil tigers, Buddists who pioneered suicide bombing?
          What about the IRA?
          Come on, Suzette!
          But, revisiting your first question, someone else did the homework already. Without Islam, whatever good the world knows right now would not be there… and whatever we have right now in terms of the bad, would still be here http://foreignpolicy.com/2009/10/08/a-world-without-islam/

        • po says:

          By the way, Susette, I forgot to mention that one of the organizers of the march, Linda Sarsour, is a Muslim.

        • TruthSeeker says:

          Fuck off kuffr subhuman. No one asked for your opinion.

    • TruthSeeker says:

      Christianity is the “cult of hate”, not Islam. In fact, all of your “”””””””””criticisms”””””””””” are far more applicable to your so-called “”””””””””superior”””””””””” Judeo-Christians than to Islam.

      Why can’t you kuffrs just admit that you want to genocide Muslims? The whole world knoes that hatred and savagery lurks in the hearts of each one of you, and that you’re just itching for the excuse to slaughter them.

      As for your claim that “your dog loves you unconditionally”, no ne doesn’t. If you don’t feed him, shelter him, give him water, or take him ourside he will more than happily abandon you. That is no different from what Allah wants from us; we fulfill our obligations to him, and he’ll love us back. Also, you brag that “He treats both genders equally, and he loves my gay brother and his husband, and would never behead them for loving each other”. Bet he doesn’t drone strike children or rape their mothers for being Muslim like you kuffrs have the propensity to do. You also say “He spreads love with his love!” Clearly he didn’t get that from you.

      Finally, you much like all other kuffr love to go on about MUH CHILD MARRIAGE :_( :_( :_( :_( _( The fact that you have to rely on this shows that you have no real argument.

  • Mara Sand says:

    A discussion like this, in this format, will never end. Suzzette might exagerate a little bit, but you, PO, ypu portray an Islam that never really existed, not even during Mohamed’s times. YOU want it to be that way, and that’s a good thing for you, but it’s not real. Islam doesn’t consider men and women equal. Nor Muslims and non Muslims. No Muslim country ever considered all citizens as equal under the law. Be that Islamic or secular.
    Let’s not tell fairy tales.

    • momdemom says:

      Mara, the problem here is the same that corrupts all discussions about Islam, the tendency to conflate things that are not the same. Your comment spoke of Islam then brought up muslim country. We all know one is not the other.
      Firstly, what is Islam? Is it the quran? The sunnah? The culture? All of it?
      If latter, which takes precedence? Where is it found? Which society/culture defines islam? Who is the islamic authority and/or standard?
      What is the standard of a Muslim country you refer to? Is it Saudi Arabia? Then you are right.
      Is it Senegal, 95% Muslim, or Turkey, or Nigeria? Then you are wrong. Worth noting that those three have a greater Muslim population than Saudi Arabia.
      In each of those countries, all citizens are equal under the law. Neither of those countries has a religious constitution. Are they still Muslim countries?
      Then add to that list Malaysia…and Indonesia…

      Now if we return to the quran, it states pretty clearly that all human beings are equal, and that which makes one superior one over the other is morality and the fear of God.
      If we return to the sunnah, we see very clearly that the Prophet As’ example shows a structure of social equality among citizens of his society.
      Now if we go to Muslim countries, if Saudi Arabia is an oppressive theocracy and Senegal is a secular democracy, why makes the former more representative of Islam than the other?

    • po says:

      The above was from Po.

  • Susette says:

    Well said, Mara. I really don’t want to engage in a point/counterpoint with Po, but there are several points I’d like to address.
    Bravo to Linda Sarsour for her involvement in organizing the women’s march! We need moslem women to be more outspoken and representative of women’s rights. I know Po won’t agree with me about this, but Ms. Sarsour’s hijab sends a mixed message. Does she stand for equality or does she stand for submission to the male patriarchy of islam? I don’t want to hear the tired old excuse that the hijab is all about freedom, and allah commands modesty from women…blah, blah, blah. I see hijab as false modesty and an expression of of some sort of “holier than thou” mentality. Because in reality, one does not need to cover nearly the entirety of hair, skin, and body to be modest…men or women. God made us as beautiful creatures, and as someone once said on this site…”would you niqab a flower?” Furthermore, modesty is not just comported in dress, but in demeanor and speech too. And Ms. Sarsour has certainly been immodest in her speech at times!

    How can Po unequivocally state: “Whatever made the US of A came directly or indirectly from the islamic world. Science, democracy, human rights, development, knowledge…all of it was a legacy of Islam.” What a complete lie. Islam came long after so many vibrant and innovative cultures: Mesopotamia, Greek, Egyptian, Persian, Hebrew, Babylonian, Roman, Chinese, Indian, Assyrian, Mayan, Byzantine, to name a few. Po may have forgotton that the USA was founded on Christian belief systems (not islamic), and the separation of church and state was a paramount distinction (that would be very un-islamic!). Po says that up to 30% of slaves were moslem, but most historians put it at 10-15%. 45 out of 50 countries known for Christian persecution and/or religious restriction in practicing Christianity or Judaism take place in moslem-majority countries. Yes, there are some countries that have slaughtered moslems, but far fewer countries are known for rampant moslem persecution or restriction in practicing islam.

    And most moslem-majority countries are not democratic. More than half of the 51 countries that are authoritave regimes are moslem-majority countries. The only countries that are considered democracies are Indomesia, Malaysia (though sharia is required for moslems), and Tunisia, which is the ONLY democracy in the 20 countries that comprise the Arab world in the Middle East and North Africa. That’s 0.05% democracies in the Arab,World. Globally, only 0.04% moslem-majority countries are recognized as democracies. Do your homework, Po. Taqiyya isn’t an option here.

    Po seems to blame the USA for all the discord in moslem countries.The USA has NEVER engaged in a war with “Christian justifications.” Christianity has never been established as the state religion in the USA. The USA has no interest in converting moslem nations to christianity. Yes, Saudi Arabia is a hellhole, and personally, I would like to see the USA cut all ties with Saudi Arabia.

    And this is the most ridiculous statement Po has made “Without Islam, whatever good the world knows right now would not be there… and whatever we have right now in terms of the bad, would still be here.” How can you possibly say or even believe that??? Given the abysmally low rankings of islamic countries in human rights and democracy, I’d venture to say that “Without islam, whatever BAD the world knows right now would not be there…and whatever we have right now in terms of the GOOD would still be here.”

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