ACGG Public Forum Questions, Atlanta GA

AMERICAN COALITION FOR GOOD GOVERNMENT – PUBLIC FORUM QUESTIONS ATLANTA, GEORGIA

During the recent American Coalition for Good Government Public Forum in Atlanta, Georgia at the Muslim Journal “A Time to Be Grateful” weekend (December 14 -16, 2012) several questions were asked to the panel. Listed are the questions and the answers:

  1. Do we (Muslims) have an agenda for the year 2013? In reference to our Political Stratagem?

In reference to our (Muslim American)stratagem for 2013 the American Coalition for Good Government (ACGG) would like to refer everyone to the 2012 Political Platform (this can be found at www.americancoalitionforgoodgovernment.org) The platform is a foundational platform that can be used as a building coalition document for any stratagem that is developed in the future.

As issues shift to address specific concerns in the future, we can simply add addendums or amendments to this document. There may be a need in the future to add an additional plank to this platform, but for 2013, this document is sufficient. As we build coalitions with like minded groups, with similar objective values and concerns, we can develop mutually agreed upon additions.

The principle additions should come from specific local communities with local concerns that may need to be addressed. The organizational structure of the ACGG is based on a grass root structure; local issues would be the natural strategic place for this activity.

2.      What is our local stratagem for involvement in our local – state government – to pass good policy or initiate good policy for our community?

A Politics 101 class/workshop is the best way to both educate ourselves and promote engagement as it relates to policies that affect us locally. For instance issues that appear to be national in nature can become our framework for educating our community and others.

It is said that, “all politics are local”, and that is true, however, we must utilize our local structures to make our voices heard on a much broader scale. By working with the ACGG we can mobilize our efforts and move in an organized fashion to achieve goals that will benefit humanity.

A good example of an issue we can address is transportation both rail and highway design/development. This issue is up front and personal in many of our cities and states. Congressman Andre’ Carson (D-IN) is a member of this congressional committee(transportation) and we should begin to inform ourselves of that committee and remain engaged by moving forward at both the local state and national levels because transportation is relevant to all of us.

Another bill that is moving rapidly in congress and could use our support, was authored by Representative Keith Ellison (D-MN,) is the Common Sense Housing Investment Act (H.R. 6677). This bill will fund the National Housing Trust Fund with savings gained from modifications to the mortgage interest deduction. The ACGG would like to encourage you to check with your City and State governments to see if you have a Housing Trust Fund.

If you do, contact the leaders in your community and inquire if any of the Board/Committee seats are vacant. If none of the seats are vacant ask to be put on the mailing list so that you are made aware of meetings and agenda items moving forward.

3.      Do we (ACGG) plan to expand into the outer community?

Yes, as the ACGG develops as an organization, (ISA) it will evolve while continuing to work and include other groups in the coalition. Tangent educational, social and economic interest related to good government should serve as the common denominator for working with other individuals or groups.

4.      All of us are not Republicans or Democrats. Nor did all of us vote for President Obama or Presidential Candidate Romney for president. As a people for good government should we look at other options?

Imam W. D. Mohammed best addressed this question –

“I am a free man in this country, and I support what I believe deserves my support. I don’t care if it is Democrat or Republican. I am looking for the right person.” (W. D. Mohammed, July 4, 2004)

“This country belongs to me, too! I am one of the owners of the United States of America. And I don’t care how small my share is, I am going to recognize my share. And I am going to be responsible for my share. I am going to join the other owners, the little poor persons like me and the rich persons – the makers and the shakers. I am a member in their club, whether they like it or not.” (Imam W.D. Mohammed – “Having the winning spirit for Success” August 31, 2008, Detroit, Michigan)

As Muslims, we must always support that which is right. We understand from the Qur’an we must “stand up for justice even if it is against our own selves”. Regardless of how we may align ourselves, we must be willing to change towards or support that which is better. We must be willing to swing our views towards that which is best for the many.

Our prophet was addressing his companions when he said “you should help your brother when he is doing right and you should help your brother when he is doing wrong.”  The companions said we know how to help our brother when he is doing right but how do we help our brother when he is doing wrong. The prophet said “Hold him back from doing wrong.”  This is the strong position we should take as Muslims regardless of whom we align ourselves with. We are very diverse and align ourselves in many different ways. As Muslims we should always seek the best meaning and the best direction regardless of whom we align with.  The proper place is in the middle not the right or the left.

If we align ourselves with democrats we should help them when they’re right and cheer them on. When the republicans are right we should help them and cheer them on. If neither party is right, we should gather with the right minded and cheer them on.

The second part of the prophet’s statement must also be remembered. “Help them when they are doing wrong.”  When the democrats, republicans or even those whom we have chosen to align with independently are doing wrong, we should help them and ourselves by keeping from the wrong. We must strongly oppose anyone including ourselves if we move into error. We cannot align with a party alone; we have to align ourselves with the Qur’an and righteousness wherever we may find it.

This is truly the American way, patriotism at its best. When America is doing right, expressing the freedoms we admire we should applaud her. When America does wrong, especially with foreign policies we despise, we should help America by keeping her from the wrong.  This is the foundation we see in Islam and in American patriotism.

5.      How do you implement the moral and quality community life when we still fight each other over crumbs, Allah gave us the same loaf as the others?

We should cooperate in our work with one and another, the work that needs to be done in building community life. We should not worry about what someone may have – but focus on the responsibility we’ve been given. We must learn to cooperate with and support each other. The Qur’an states, “help you one another” – coming together in the mutual teaching of truth and constancy.

6.      Are there going to be specific areas of concerns formulated and presented as a Muslim voting bloc?

In the annual staff meeting of the American Coalition for Good Government, the Coalition adopted as part of its future goals for development, a focus on the Next Generation of young Leaders. Considered in this effort is the idea of working with other Muslim communities, as well as, other people of faith. The hope is to bring the next generation into an awareness of the importance of becoming more active in the areas of political community leadership.

We see this effort in two (2) phases.

First, it is important that our young people see their future tied to their political involvement in the decision making policies of this nation. Toward that end the ACGG is planning a Next Generation Leadership conference. Once initiated the conference will include economic and, media/development as well.

Second, in order to be taken seriously as a political movement, we must show up not only in numbers, but as a united front. Efforts are being made to connect with other Muslim communities around the country to see where their concerns are. This is a step that will help to develop a strategy to answer the moral, economic and violent issues we see facing in the society today.

7.      What can be done to make Eid al Fitr and Eid al Adha State and Federal Holidays?

We should first know the history of how other holidays became acknowledged as official holidays.

The U.S. federal government only recognizes national holidays that pertains to its own employees; it is at the discretion of each state or local jurisdiction to determine official holiday schedules.

For two centuries, Christmas was officially recognized by the White house. Franklin Roosevelt continued the White House tradition of treating Christmas as if it were a holiday celebrated by all Americans, declaring that Christmas was a national holiday “because the teachings of Christ are fundamental to our lives.”

It is important to note that while many Christians have come to expect it as their right, Christianity is losing it special, officially sanctioned status.

Jimmy Carter was the first president who officially recognized Hanukkah and the tradition has continued to date.

President Obama followed the tradition of former President George W. Bush, who held eight Ramadan dinners in office to stress that America’s war with violent extremists was not a war with Islam.

America has become a very diverse nation culturally and religiously, and if we note this, history we will realize that all religions are beginning to get their special recognition.

Therefore, we should work diligently in our local cities, counties and states to invite local leaders and officials to our Iftar Dinners, which will bring knowledge and local recognition to Islam and our traditions.

The American Coalition for Good Government wants to encourage you to become involved in your community and your local city, county and state governments.   The ACGG would like to invite you to be a part of the ACGG.

You can do this by visiting www.coalitionforgoodgovernment.org

 

 

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