And Now, Some Good News

Friday, August 14, 2009

Until this week, I had never heard of Saqib Ali. He's the first Muslim to serve in Maryland's Legislature, where he represents the 39th District. I know nothing about his platform (other than the fact that he's a Democrat), nothing about his views or his ambitions.

But I did read his Op-Ed in The Gazette after hearing him speak on NPR's Tell Me More.

In his piece, he takes a firm stance in support of marriage equality for same-sex couples, in spite of his religion's unequivocal position on the matter. In his words:

"My stance on this issue isn't politically expedient. I am the first Muslim in the legislature. Homosexuality is strictly forbidden in Islam. As such I have evinced much grief from my most conservative supporters.

"But I recognize that I represent people of all faiths and no faith at all. If I tried to enforce religion by law — as in a theocracy — I would be doing a disservice to my both constituents and to my religion."

Wow. Just...wow.

Like many privileged white Americans, I am guilty of stereotyping Muslim Americans after 9-11 and reading Ayaan Hirsi Ali's Infidel. It's not something I'm proud of , but I'm honest enough with myself to admit that such dark thoughts have invaded my mind from time to time.

And here comes Saqib Ali, educated in part in Saudi Arabia, with his public declaration of a seperation of church and state that shames not only my dark thoughts, but many so-called "real" Americans (i.e., white Christian Amercians) who clearly don't have nearly the Constitutional grasp that he does.

Thank you, Mr. Ali. I'll be keeping an eye on you in the future.

6 comments:

Saqib Ali said...

You're Welcome :) and thanks for the props!

If you are getting all your info about Muslims from Ayaan Ali Hirsi, that might be the problem. It's kinda like if I got all my info about Democrats from Zell Miller. :)

Add me on Facebook to help dispel more stereotypes....

Janiece Murphy said...

Welcome, Saqib.

Thanks for stopping by, and I have added you in Facebook.

While I've studied comparative religion on an historical basis fairly extensively, evaluations of modern interpretations is another matter. As a non-theist, it's far too easy for me to put people of faith into a single bucket, and it's good that I have examples, both public and private, of moderate believers.

Keep up the good work!

Anne C. said...

Wow. Very cool.

Thanks for the heads up, Janiece. I don't fall into racial stereotyping much myself, but I DO fall into the habit of other kinds of stereotyping -- like being automatically suspicious of politicians. I am very happy to have my biases shown to be erroneous (as well they should).

Keep up the good work, Mr. Ali!

Fathergoose said...

I like what he said as well, it's a rare politician that would take such a reasonable stance. His true test is yet to come, will his priority be his state or his party? Keep us updated as I really don't follow the Maryland legislature.

Janiece Murphy said...

Fathergoose, I normally don't either, but I heard about him on NPR and was intrigued.

We'll see!

Fathergoose said...

Janiece Murphy, I bet you do, come on secretly when no one is around I bet you are logging into mlis.state.md.us/. Tell the truth....Besides what is this NPR you speak of? Wait, Wait, Don't Tell Me, its a......no can't be that!