Letter: Ray Gibson

From: Ray Gibson


Professor Janet Williams has graced the editorial page of The Republic with her writing about a Pakistani woman named Aysha Ahmed and her American Muslim experience. We are told that she appeared in Ohio with the Tim Kaine campaign and as a volunteer for Hillary Clinton’s campaign. A sentence or two takes her from Pakistan to the United Kingdom then to the United States and to Indiana University, where she earned a degree in international studies. Ahmed’s comment about her experience, that “Not every woman of my background gets a chance like that,” is fitting. Very few people from Bloomington get a chance like that.

Curiously, Williams relates nothing about how Ahmed became a citizen. Did she come on a visa, stay the requisite time, study for and pass the citizenship test and take an oath of allegiance to the United States Constitution, renouncing all allegiance to any other government?

Curious is Ahmed’s statement that being a “civil engagement junkie makes me feel most American.” This is different from my feeling of what makes me feel most American. The study of American history, the knowledge of the commitment and sacrifice of those who created this country, the giving up of the lives of my family in defending my heritage is in some contrast to Ahmed’s feeling of being American. No matter — she is American now and is entitled to feel however she wants.

If we look across America at the multitude of various races and religions we can say, “This is what America looks like.” But we must remember that America looks like this because people wanted to come here to be American and assimilate into the American way of life.

Williams talks about national attempts to redefine what it means to be an American and here I think she misses the point. In World War II, it was the Germans. We were suspicious of German immigrants, given the behavior of some of them. Others, like my ancestors, found their way here, bought land, built houses and went to work long before the war.

World War II brought on the fear of the Japanese with good reasons but overwrought results. The distinguished reaction of many Japanese in serving their country brought honor to them and shame to America.

The fear of communism brought genuine concern about communist philosophy into the country. From Woodrow Wilson to Franklin Roosevelt to the reality of communists in the state department, communism was a real threat as opposed to some overblown national reaction.

In her final sentence of her mini-review of national attitudes, Williams says: “Today, in the aftermath of 9/11 and the election of Donald Trump, Muslims are the ones painted as un-American.”

I take personal exception to this statement. It is not true and not accurate. The Muslims painted as un-American are jihad terrorist Muslims, and the task of the Muslim religion and the American constitutional republic is to eliminate them and preserve the American way of life.

You are here to stay? You need to join the fight.