4 things American Muslims can do this Fourth of July

1. Dua


There are two elements to this:

Thanking Allah: As difficult as things are right now, consider Muslims around the world who are denied the freedom to practice their faith in various ways. Whether it’s Chinese Muslims forced into “re-education camps”, Muslim women in various parts of Europe targeted for wearing Niqab and Hijab, or Muslims in Switzerland not being permitted to design a mosque with a minaret, America is still a relatively free country where Muslims can practice their faith in almost all aspects of life in safety. This is a blessing we must acknowledge.  


Praying for guidance and justice: No matter who is in power, many of our policies have hurt both Americans and people all around the world. Whether it’s cutting funding for programs that assist Americans living in poverty, drone bombings in Pakistan, helping fund a deadly war in Yemen and other parts of the world, or caging children at our border with Mexico, our nation has a long way to go in fulfilling its purported desire to be a beacon of freedom and justice. We must make Dua that it becomes such and work to influence our decision-makers. 


2. Participate in Fourth of July events 


Some dismiss Fourth of July parades and pageantry as an expression of jingoism and unthinking nationalism. It does not have to be this way. American Muslims can and should participate in this day’s events in their local communities. Doing so sends a visible message that we are just as much a part of our nation’s fabric, and just as grateful and proud to be American.  

3. Make it a day of service

More than 40 million Americans live in poverty, according to the United States census. That is 40 million fellow citizens, 40 million neighbors. The Fourth of July is a good time to commit to assisting those in need. Whether it’s making breakfast at a soup kitchen or giving out lunches to the homeless, set a time on this day of celebration and make it a day to give back to others. 


4. Read or watch a performance of Frederick Douglass’s speech “The Meaning of July Fourth for the Negro”

The freedom we celebrate on the Fourth of July was of course only recently a celebration for all. The best reminder of that can be found in the July 5, 1852 speech of Frederick Douglass, a former slave and national leader, writer, and speaker of the abolitionist movement in Massachusetts and New York spoke about why. 

"This Fourth of July is yours, not mine. You may rejoice, I must mourn." And he asked them, "Do you mean, citizens, to mock me, by asking me to speak to-day?"

“What, to the American slave, is your 4th of July? I answer; a day that reveals to him, more than all other days in the year, the gross injustice and cruelty to which he is the constant victim.”

Also important to emphasize is this part of the speech: “Allow me to say, in conclusion, notwithstanding the dark picture I have this day presented, of the state of the nation, I do not despair of this country. There are forces in operation which must inevitably work the downfall of slavery. ‘The arm of the Lord is not shortened,’ and the doom of slavery is certain. I, therefore, leave off where I began, with hope.”

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