By Nihad Awad
A Christian professor at an Illinois college is now facing being fired by that academic institution because she sought to show solidarity with American Muslim women by wearing an Islamic headscarf, or hijab. Perhaps her greater “sin” in the eyes of college officials was the professor’s repetition of a quote by Pope Francis saying that Christians and Muslims worship the same God.
By Nihad Awad
President John F. Kennedy once said: "As we express our gratitude, we must never forget that the highest appreciation is not to utter words, but to live by them."
Another president, Abraham Lincoln, wrote, "Honor to the soldier and sailor everywhere, who bravely bears his country's cause. Honor, also, to the citizen who cares for his brother in the field and serves, as he best can, the same cause."
We can best honor our nation's veterans through deeds, not mere words.
There are more than 20 million American veterans, many of whom are suffering or in need of assistance.
By Nihad Awad
This Fourth of July weekend, friends and families around the country will gather together to celebrate the freedoms we cherish as Americans, those for which countless generations have struggled and sacrificed so much.
We celebrate our freedom from oppression, freedom to practice our religion, representation in our government, and self-determination.
Yet as recent events targeting African-Americans have made abundantly clear, we still have a long way to go to achieve full equality under the flag we will fly high this weekend.
The terror attack on an African Methodist Episcopal Church in Charleston, S.C., the abuse of African-American teens by a police officer in McKinney, Texas, and police-involved shootings and mistreatment of men, women, and children of color across our nation point to the lingering structural racism in our society. These troubling incidents must be honestly addressed before we can truly be the nation President Abraham Lincoln described as "conceived in Liberty, and dedicated to the proposition that all men are created equal."
By Nihad Awad
On March 7, 1965, Americans marching in Alabama for their right to vote were met with violence. It was on "Bloody Sunday" that state troopers attacked the peaceful civil rights march from Selma to Montgomery led by Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.
That attack on marchers at the Edmund Pettus Bridge and the national upheaval that followed led to passage of the Voting Rights Act of 1965, one of our nation's most important pieces of legislation.
In 1965, the first march on Selma began with African-Americans demanding the right to vote, but today the legacy of that movement encompasses all challenges to bigotry, racial prejudice, religious profiling, and unwarranted surveillance of Americans.
Sadly, nearly 50 years later the right to vote again came under attack. In January 2013, in Shelby County v Holder, a simple majority of the Supreme Court held that the coverage formula in Section 4 of the Voting Rights Act was unconstitutional, meaning that states could change their election laws without advance federal approval unless Congress enacted a new coverage formula (which they have not).
This week, the Senate will take up another vote to move forward on Sen. Chuck Hagel’s nomination as secretary of defense. I believe he should be confirmed.
His confirmation would send the signal that President Obama’s second term will be more diplomacy-oriented and less hawkish in its relations with the Muslim world.
Sen. Hagel has a depth of knowledge of foreign affairs and connections with key players in the international arena that will serve him and our nation well as secretary of defense.
While I cannot endorse all the administration’s defense policies – particularly the counterproductive drone assassination program and actions relating to the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq – Sen. Hagel’s confirmation may offer a path to re-building the tattered relations we currently have with so many regions and nations that are vital to our national interests.