As an American, I fear terror plots against my country because terrorists do not discriminate against my blond, blue-eyed son – who does not even pass for a Muslim standing in the middle of the Islamic center.
Our fear of extremists is real, but Muslims are not the only ones who pose a threat to us.
We lose loved ones to drunken driving, drug abuse, domestic violence, robberies, suicide, bullying, gang violence and all forms of religious and ideological extremism.
My family and Muslim community were terrorized when three individuals with the Christian Identity Movement burned down our Islamic Center in Columbia, Tenn., in 2008.
Our lives changed completely because of that event.
My son changed schools because 23 students told him that they would cut his head off before he got a chance to kill them.
The lie that Muslims are commanded to kill anyone who is not Muslim seems to be repeated periodically by self-appointed experts on Islam.
StateRep. RickWomick (R-Rockvale) is one of those individuals; he said on Veteran’s Day that he doesnottrustMuslims to serve in the military and that they should all be purged from our armed forces.
Womick said Muslims are not allowed to kill other Muslims while they are commanded to kill all those who are not Muslim.
I must ask: Really? Does that even make sense? Is it even possible? What is holding up this plan? Why do we sell Muslim-majority countries weapons and military planes? Why do we send our loved ones to fight for and alongside Muslims?
My wife, as a neonatal intensive care nurse, takes care of your precious ones whose lives depend on her sincerity and integrity.
Her love of precious life goes beyond her duty; she attends to the aching mom and dad as their newborn lays helplessly struggling for his or her life.
My wife and I – and most American Muslims – go about our daily lives knowing that we are honoring God by adhering to our Muslim values. We do not see any conflict in doing so.
We know Islam and practice it and study it daily. Womick makes comments about Islam that clearly show his ignorance of Islam as practiced by 99 percent of American Muslims.
Muslims understand that the Quran is a book of guidance, not a legal document. There are as many versions or understandings of Islam as there are Muslims. Of course, then there are the self-appointed experts on Islam like Womick.
I flatly reject the statement that the Quran or Shariah state that a Muslim must kill non-Muslims.
According to Womick, I must not be following “true” Islam. I must say that as a Muslim, there is just no winning with Womick. In fact, he would have you believe that bin Laden’s version of extremism, which has been denounced by the majority of Muslim scholars, is the only version of Islam; everything that differs from his understanding of Islam must be false Islam.
Womick developed an extreme, shallow and misconstrued understanding of Islam after 9/11. But by no means is he an expert on Islam.
I attended a Catholic school as a child, and I own several Bibles. I studied sections of the Bible for longer than he claims to have been studying the Quran and hadith (sayings of the Prophet Mohammed), but I would not dare explain or define Christianity for Christians.
Doing so would be arrogant, ignorant and not fitting for me. It is also neither fitting nor appropriate for a state elected official to define Islam, dishonor veterans and suggest that all Muslims pose a threat to America.
Womick’s service to our country is appreciated, but his politics and divisive remarks and statements are a disservice to our security and a betrayal of our country’s ideals.
Daoud Abudiab is president of the Islamic Center of Columbia, Tenn. This column appeared previously in the ColumbiaDailyHerald. Abudiab is featured in EthicsDaily.com’s documentary “Different Books, Common Word: Baptists and Muslims.” Click here for more information.