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Abdus Sattar Ghazali

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The American Revolution as affected by the Muslim World – Part I

By Syed R. Mahmood

My fascination with the United States started when I was a student during my seventh and eight grades in Karachi, Pakistan. The American Information Center and library was only ten minutes of walking distance from my school. During my school recesses, I used to walk to the American Library and spend some time to look at the books and magazines. The basic theme of those publications, were to propagate the American ideology.

 During those school days, I remember clearly in the month of December, 1959, when President Eisenhower visited Pakistan.  Our school provided private buses for the students to go to the airport and welcome the American President. Thousands of Pakistanis were lined up on the streets to greet him.

These following paragraphs probably will describe my motives:

The American library and Information Center were very organized and effective in their objectives to propagate and win friends in their host countries. In the City of Karachi the library building was situated on a very busy Boulevard. It was a very large and attractive building. At the main gate there were no security guards and the Library was open for the general public. All day long the public would enter and leave without any hesitation. Any Pakistani citizen could have become a member of the library and checked out books. There was no charge for membership yet I also had a student membership. Other than books and propaganda brochures, there was a big library of documentary movies about the United States.

The settled and sophisticated campaign of propagating American values also created a strong impact on me at very early teen age. It created a strong desire in me to go to America for higher education. The main theme of the American Campaign was also to encounter the threats of the former Communist Soviet Union’s intentions to spread their Communist ideology.

Very vividly, I remember picking up very attractive printed brochures and booklets about the former Soviet Union’s invasion of Hungary in the month of October 1956. These booklets had eyewitness stories and graphic pictures about the atrocities of the Soviet Army against the people of Hungary. The United States was a very strong supporter of the Hungarians to have their freedom.

Now, I asked these questions of myself. Why does the United States need an army of soldiers to guard American Missions around the Globe? Why does America not have the courage to support the oppressed nations and communities? U.S. has all of the resources to promote and help in gaining freedom for oppressed people. What went wrong and how America should re-adjust her domestic and foreign policies?

Since America’s independence, the process of the American Revolution is evolving every day. In 1969, I joined this process of Americanism with great enthusiasm. As an American, I strongly believe that I should also work like my other fellow Americans to build a strong and fair society. I feel it is the responsibility and duty of every American to promote the American Ideals and the Dreams of the founding fathers which are based on Justice and equality.

In this essay, I am attempting to explore the avenues of my linkage to the American Society through the pages of history. There are different forces in America trying to pull this country in various directions. I would like to study and analyze our past history in relation to the Muslim world and learn how to promote harmony between these different forces.

The Founding Fathers                                                                                                  

Here in America, a number of our early founding fathers had the insight to what this country needs to be successful. We would do well to refer back to them as a refresher to their guidance. i.e..,

George Washington, a hero of the American Revolution and the first President of the United States, “was an extraordinary man who made it possible for ordinary men to rule.”

This statement was written by a historian, Gordon Wood. Washington in his farewell address, advised the nation, “Observe good faith and justice towards all nations; cultivate peace and harmony with all.” He also said, “It is our true policy to steer clear of permanent alliances with any portion of the foreign world.”

John Adams, the second President, a Unitarian of superior intelligence, high morality and a man of great principal was one of the greatest founding fathers. He received his M.A. from Harvard in 1758.

In the era of modern history, a unique document was written and approved by the Congress of the United States of America on July 4, 1776.  The author of this document, “The Declaration of Independence” was one of the founding members of this great nation, Thomas Jefferson. In 1801, he was elected as the third President of America. He left office in 1809.

Jefferson earned his B.A. from the College of William and Mary in 1762. He was a great American political thinker of his time and spoke six languages. He was also a professional writer. During his political career, he advocated for individual liberty. By profession, he was a lawyer. He did not have any religious affiliation like other founding fathers including George Washington, James Madison and James Monroe who were Episcopalians.

The contents of The Declaration of Independence also tell us that the author of these writings was a scholar of humanism and had a great deal of knowledge about World History. This document has two main parts; an introduction and conclusion. In the introduction, Jefferson explained that Americans would like to tell the world why they were taking this action and what they were doing. It took around two weeks for Jefferson to write this draft. Congress made a few changes and it was accepted.

In the second part of the Declaration, there is a list of unjust actions which were committed against America. The Patriots believed that the British intended to impose an absolute Tyranny over the American States.

The Declaration of Independence confirms that mankind’s rights are God-given. “The Laws of Nature and of Nature’s God entitle them, a decent respect to the opinions of mankind requires that they should declare the causes which impel them to the separation.”

“We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty, and the pursuit of Happiness.” These words have inspired Americans and people around the Globe. The United States Constitution also emphasizes a notion of establishing Justice and Tranquility.

These noble American Ideals are the foundation of Americanism. The Patriots of that period were the victims of repeated injuries and usurpations by the King of Great Britain.

The objective of the Revolution was to fight for the freedom of the Colonies. These thirteen Colonies should function as Free and Independent States.

These founding fathers were brilliant and enlightened individuals. They were also courageous and determined leaders of the American Revolution. They were disappointed by their British brethren that they were deaf to the voices of justice and consanguinity, as if to be rated somewhat second class.

“We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal”. Some scholars and writers question Jefferson’s intentions on this subject. Did he mean that British and Americans are equals? Was he trying to say that Native Americans, blacks and other people living in the thirteen colonies should also be treated justly and fairly? In my opinion, the founding fathers were very sincere in laying the foundation of this new nation, the United States of America, upon justice and fairness. They were very sensitive on these issues. Did America follow these recommendations? It is another issue, we will discuss later in this essay.

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