Do We Ever Learn?

December 7, 1941. Japan attacks the United States at Pearl Harbor, triggering a massive response.

pearl harbor

This picture came to me unsourced in an email.

The United States joined WWII, and by Spring of 1942, over 127,000 Japanese-Americans were placed in internment camps and being collectively labeled as “the enemy”. To compound this regretful act, the internment included many American Veterans of Japanese decent.

These camps are a black mark on the history of the United States. Shamefully, I am seeing similar propaganda circulating about another population. Another population that has military veterans. Another population that lives and has integrated itself in to the fabric of the United States. Another population that includes native-born citizens of the United States, often multiple generations and counting.


Collage by Diego Hernandez.

We’ve seen this before.

A nation that continuously repeats the same mistake over and over is a nation that has not learned from the past. We must join together, and present a united front against all forms of subjugation and discrimination.

O you who believe! Stand out firmly for justice, as witnesses to Allah, even though it be against yourselves, or your parents, or your kin, be he rich or poor, Allah is a Better Protector to both (than you). So follow not the lusts (of your hearts), lest you may avoid justice, and if you distort your witness or refuse to give it, verily, Allah is Ever Well­Acquainted with what you do. (Surat Al-Nisa 4:135)

Muslims in the United States come from all backgrounds, races, ethnicities, and wealth levels. A portion of Muslims in the United States face the struggles of each minority population, in addition to the religious discrimination faced by all. The collective community of Muslims in the United States has an obligation to stand with his or her brothers and sisters in Islam against all forms of injustice.

When we say we should “Never Forget”, we ought to be reminded not only of the event that occurred, but of the lessons we have learned since that time. Our humanity and civility should always increase, and not return to more primitive, reactionary instincts which result in collective injustice.


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