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Hassan Shibly: Take a moment to reflect on what we have allowed ourselves to become

By Hassan Shibly, For For The Tampa Tribune, On 11 March 2016, Read Original
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What does it say about our country when the debate for the highest office in the land becomes about whose genitals are larger, who can kill the most civilians and reinstate torture, and which religious minorities to persecute?

One of my favorite passages of the Holy Quran is translated as: “5:8 O YOU who have attained to faith! Be ever steadfast in your devotion to God, bearing witness to the truth in all equity; and never let hatred of any-one lead you into the sin of deviating from justice. Be just: this is closest to being God-conscious. And remain conscious of God: verily, God is aware of all that you do.”

The Quran warns that hatred of others can drive people to be unjust. We saw that in our own history as hatred allowed us to swerve from justice and incarcerate Japanese-Americans in internment camps, post “Irish need not apply” and “Whites Only” signs.

Nothing is more destructive to justice than hatred. America prides itself as a champion of justice; therefore, we can say hatred is destructive to America.

And yet the presidential campaigns today seem to be rooted in hatred and arrogance.

When it comes to leadership, the Quran highlights how people are normally attracted to those with a noble disposition and scared off by those who are harsh and abrasive: “3:159 And it was by God’s grace that thou [O Prophet] didst deal gently with thy followers: for if thou hadst been harsh and hard of heart, they would indeed have dispersed from around you.”

And yet the belligerence and harshness of the candidates only seem to attract more voters today.

This is reflective of a serious spiritual illness affecting our hearts as Americans, whereby many of us find ourselves attracted to so-called leaders who espouse disrespect and disregard for good character, human rights, diversity, and the rule of law.

It is time we take a moment to reflect over what we have allowed ourselves to become — how we have allowed fear and hate to divide us and turn us against each other over the past 15 years and support candidates whose positions are antithetical to our values as Americans and humans.

Our enemies can never destroy us.

We can only destroy ourselves when we allow fear and hate to turn us against each other and undermine the values and principles we hold so dear which make our nation so great.

Hassan Shibly is a civil rights attorney and chief executive director of the Florida Council on American Islamic Relations (CAIR-FL).

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