Letters To Editor 8-14-13

By on August 19, 2013

A Person’s Religion Should Not Be An Issue

Americans have freedom of speech.  We do not, however, have freedom from facts.  Nor do we have the right to perpetuate religious prejudice.  Not as Americans nor as Christians.

In her recent letter to the editor (8-7-13), Pat Grzywacz charged that there are 6 Islamic activists recently appointed to the Obama administration.  She charges that they have strong influence over US policy.

I double-checked.      https://www.google.com/search?q=Salam+al-Marayati+-+Obama+administration&ie=utf-8&oe=utf-8&aq=t&rls=org.mozilla:en-US:official&client=firefox-a

There are two Muslim-Americans, Arif Alikhan and Kareem Shora, with jobs in this administration. In 2009, DHS head Janet Napolitano appointed Dr. Alikhan Assistant Secretary for Policy Development.  Dr. Alikhan is a highly regarded public servant in the homeland security, counter terrorism, and law enforcement fields.

Kareem Shora – not mentioned in Ms. Grzywacz’s letter – serves as a senior advisor (appointed in 2009) in the department’s Office of Civil Rights and Civil Liberties,

The other persons cited in the Grzywacz letter either were appointed for a one-time job, or serve on committees (non-paying) in an advisory capacity.  (One person on a committee of as many as 20.)

* Mohamed Elibiary is an advisor to the Department of Homeland Security.  (This is the only one I found any controversy about.  He charged “Islamophobia” within Governor Rick Perry’s Texas government.)

* Rashad Hussain.  On February 13, 2010, Dr. Hussain was appointed as the United States Special Envoy to the Organization of Islamic Cooperation.  In January 2013, he was awarded the Distinguished Honor Award for “exceptionally outstanding service to the agencies of the U.S. Government resulting in achievements of marked national or international significance.”

* Salam al-Marayati was appointed in 2012 to the U.S. delegation to the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe forum in Poland.  (This raised concerns from those who believe al-Marayati is a critic of Israel.)

* Imam Mohamed Magid was appointed in 2011, to serve in a Countering Violent Extremism Working Group with the DHS.

* Eboo Patel is a Rhodes Scholar who earned his doctorate in Sociology at Oxford. While attending Oxford Patel oversaw a number of interfaith youth projects in India, Sri Lanka, and South Africa. Dr. Patel serves on President Barack Obama’s Advisory Council on Faith-Based Neighborhood Partnerships.

The religion of these men should not be an issue.  Their service to our government to make this a better world is what should count.

Marilyn Wikiera Jose