By Suman Mahmood
My closest friend’s family, and even colleagues are first, second, or third-generation immigrants. I didn’t choose them for this reason, we just seemed to click this way.
With that being said, many of them choose to identify with their nation back home. Whether it is Pakistan, Sri Lanka, Dominican Republic, or virtually any nation, people rarely forget their roots.
For us, as immigrants and children of immigrants, holding onto our roots is normal. However, for outsiders, they might question our loyalty. How can someone be loyal to America while also being loyal to some possible American enemy across the seas?
Of course, I can’t argue with this logic, as at times I fall victim to it as well. Whenever Muslims are attacked anywhere in the world, my heart bleeds for them and I feel a sense of anger.
Why hasn’t America stepped in as they always do? Does a group of people only matter when there is some sort of personal interest for America?
The reason such an anger is felt is because, while I am American and I love my country, that doesn’t change the fact that I am a Muslim, a Pakistani, and have a blended identity. Thus, while some of the decisions America makes don’t make me the happiest, my loyalty to this nation is unwavering.
True loyalty requires a relationship built on sincerity and integrity. It requires what a person displays on the surface to be the same as what lies beneath. So it doesn’t matter if I was born here or if I’m a first generation, second or third.
What matters is that once I am here, my loyalty is genuine, and I am faithful to my nation. With that being said, some young adults who are born in America unfortunately turn to Islamist extremism. The reality is to truly love God and Islam, a person must love his nation. Therefore, there can be no conflict of interest between a person’s love for God and love for his country.
In fact, according to Islamic teachings, God has forbidden all forms of treachery or rebellion whether it is against one’s country or one’s government. This is because acting against the state is a threat to the peace and security of a nation. Additionally, there are many Islamic teachings that remind Muslims time after time that love for their nation is a part of their faith. Thus those who become Islamist extremists and turn on their nation are contradicting their own faith.
Additionally, the worldwide leader of the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community, Mirza Masroor Ahmad, reminds Ahmadi Muslims to always remain loyal to one’s country, and if a time ever comes where you can no longer bear persecution inflicted on you due to your country’s poor governance, then you must still not rebel — rather migrate to where you can live peacefully.
This is how much loyalty you must have to your own nation. Rather than resort to physical violence, gravitate towards peaceful means.
To say you have love for your nation is one thing. But to go out there and truly be a part of your community is another. To participate in all the patriotic events, give back to those who have served, and to truly be proud of what your country has achieved is what it means to be loyal to one’s nation.