A Hindu and Muslim Reflect on Living in a Majority Christian Country

January 25, 2006

Source: FortWayne.com/Knight Ridder Newspapers

[fortwayne.com/mld/newssentinel/living/13707143.htm]

On January 25, 2006 Knight Ridder Newspapers ran a feature article on non-Christians living in a predominantly Christian country. A Hindu (Arvind Khetia) and a Muslim (Rushdy El-Ghussein) both express their opinions. "Arvind Khetia, engineer and a Hindu [states,] 'People from all over the world come to America for freedom and opportunity... The freedom of religion guaranteed by the American Constitution has created a secular and multicultural social environment, where an individual is an American first and then makes personal choices, including religion. Therefore, even though one may not belong to any particular faith, one fulfills one's civic obligations to be a good citizen. The religious philosophy of Vedanta has taught us both tolerance and universal acceptance. Thus, Hinduism has cultivated a respectful attitude toward other faiths. We participate in interfaith dialogue at many levels and share our democratic, cultural and spiritual values'... Rushdy El-Ghussein, former president of the Islamic Society of Greater Kansas City [states,] 'In Islam a true believer's priority is to please the Almighty God through worship. A true Muslim tries to shape all his life toward the worship of God. The work we do, the talk we utter and even the way that we eat can become acts of worship. In this case, the place where a Muslim lives becomes irrelevant unless the place/environment that he lives in prevents him from worshipping God. In this case, he should struggle for his rights of worship, or, if he cannot attain that where he is, then it is time to find another place where a life of worship can be achieved.'"