Dear Mr. President:
Congratulations on your victory at this crucial juncture in our nation's history.
During the campaign, you and your opponent agreed upon the need for change. Not all Americans voted for you, but still they expect you to improve our state of affairs and world stature.
Even before the financial crisis hit, the writing on the wall was clear. America's long-term future as a honorable, respected and prosperous democracy requires that all of us - not just the government - change our ways.
The domestic challenges are daunting. America's global isolation is alarming. There are no shortcuts. We need courageous leadership from you.
As a Muslim and as an American, I urge your attention to helping America in the following areas:
1. Help us become better traders and great diplomats.
Diplomacy and trade have gone hand in hand since ancient times. They are tied even more closely in the global economy of our time.
Newsweek editor Fareed Zakaria is correct when commenting on the current fiscal crisis: America will have to fight to attract capital and investment like every other nation.
We must become better traders and diplomats to attract capital in a world that, for the first time, more liquid cash is being kept in euros than in dollars.
2. Help us become a welcoming nation.
Surveys show a 17 percent decline in overseas travel to the United States in the last five years. Some travelers fear U.S. government officials more than terrorism threats or other crimes.
Sadly, more than half of international travelers to the U.S. complain that our immigration officials are rude. In this interdependent world of global markets, treating visitors with respect and dignity is critical.
Business leaders know that good customer service can do wonders for their operations. International travelers visiting U.S. airports should be greeted by border agents and polite workers skilled in providing good customer service as well as security.
How about redesigning airport and border crossings to offer simple amenities, such as vending machines? This is a simple way to help those who must wait hours before allowed to enter our country. Hospitality doesn't require that we lower visa standards.
When travelers decide to avoid America, we lose relationship-building opportunities that enhance our standing on the world stage. We also lose the financial benefits these guests bring. Money pulled out of New York has made London the globe's new financial hub.
3. Help improve the way that Americans relate to the world.
We are the most powerful nation on the earth. Yet, we are disliked by much of the world because the? presidential office was used by the past administration as a bully pulpit. Instead of treating our global partners with respect, we disregarded them with arrogance.
Many people around the world no longer respect us, but fear us. They no longer see our leaders as good, ethical and authoritative. They experience us as imperialists.
It's time for Americans to demonstrate humility and respect for others. It's a time for rebuilding relationships with the international community. It's time to empower the world for good and put a stop to our unilateral decision-making that disregard others.
Our misuse of power has rendered us powerless at this moment. We are borrowing two billion dollars a day despite being the largest economy in the World. We have killed more than 300 persons for every person murdered by September 11 terrorists. We have our highest ever defense budget, yet we are still at war.
All of us have the power to change ourselves and the world for the better.
4. Help our nation live within its means.
Our national debt is so high that the tracking clock near Times Square came to a standstill earlier this month after figures passed $10 trillion. The clock simply ran out of digits.
Our debt is the result of years of lush living beyond our means. As individuals and a nation, we've relied too much on credit for immediate desires without considering the long-term consequences.
America's stability, international power, freedoms and way of life are threatened by economic instability. The planet is threatened by the devastating impact of our waste on the environment.
Living within our means is no longer just a fiscal mandate, but a moral imperative that requires substantial action. You can demonstrate to citizens as well as to corporate American that freedom and choice come with responsibility to humanity and the planet.
How about reducing the cost of running White House by 50 percent? Then demand the same from the Congress and the corporate America.
5. Help Americans to share more and consume less.
During an economic crisis, it may be tempting to cut back on international food aid. But allowing others to starve in the name of self-preservation goes against the humanitarian values that has made America great.
Consuming less and sharing more will make us a better nation. As much as one-fifth of America's food is wasted each year, according to the Department of Agriculture. That's 100 billion pounds of food that could have fed 49 million people worldwide.
Turning our backs on human beings in need in order to save ourselves isn't an answer. If we can spare $700 billion to bail out our banks, can we not also spend $70 billion on fighting hunger for two billion people of the world? What better way to improve our image and world standing than by heartfelt humanitarian outreach?
6. Help us to recommit to the principles that have made our nation great.
"America is great because it is good," Alexis de Tocqueville said. "When it ceases being good, it will no longer be great."
Presently, our goodness has been compromised by the shameful hallmarks of post-9/11: Wiretapping, illegal detentions, disregard for the human rights of captives, intrusive surveillance and violations of privacy.
In the name of "security," the previous White House administration disregarded the rule of law. In compromising our principles and freedoms, they made America less secure.
You can quickly restore confidence in our country by closing the Guantanamo Bay prison. Assure the world that America will never torture people again.
American can never be great unless it is fundamentally good, committed to justice and doing what is right in all circumstances. As the new leader of our great nation, you can help us reclaim our values and put on us a better path.
May God's blessing be upon you as you lead our nation.
Photo Attribution: Daniel Schwen - http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:White_House_lawn.jpg