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The following is excerpted from the Deseret News. To read the full article, CLICK HERE.
On Thursday, if the weather cooperates, Asma Uddin and her family will celebrate the Fourth of July where they always do: along the banks of the Potomac River just outside Washington, D.C.
They’ll enjoy a picnic dinner and wait for the sun to set. Then, just before the fireworks begin, Uddin will walk over to a familiar willow tree to pray.
The prayer timing isn’t negotiable; sunset is one of five daily prayer times for observant Muslims. But the location is. She chooses the tree instead of the riverbank because the branches at least partially conceal her.
“Those precise movements are something that have invited a lot of alarm in the past,” she said.
In recent years, people have called the police on Muslims for praying on a railway platform or on a plane. They’ve responded to an unfamiliar act with aggression, rather than seeking to learn something new.
For Uddin, an attorney and religious freedom advocate, such incidents are more than just frustrating. They also represent America’s failure to live up to the promises of the First Amendment, which offers protections for people of all faiths and none.
“Being publicly Muslim … is limited by this constant threat of both physical (harm) and the sense that we don’t really have the legal protection of judges on our side,” she said.
It’s a depressing reality, but it’s also not surprising.
To read the full article, CLICK HERE.