ISNA Responds to the State of the Union Address

(PLAINFIELD, IN 1/30/14)– The Islamic Society of North America (ISNA)    issued the following statement after President Barack Obama’s State of the Union Address on Tuesday:

“We commend the president for focusing on the economy, especially encouraging companies to raise the wages of their workers as well as give equal pay to women,” says ISNA President Imam Mohamed Magid.

“The Islamic tradition emphasizes paying workers fair and equitable wages.  The Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) has warned us that, ‘I will be foe to three persons on the Last Day: one of them being the one who, when he employs a person that has accomplished his duty, does not give him his due.’ (Bukhari).

So we join the president in urging Congress to raise the Federal minimum wage and extend unemployment benefits for the over 1.6 million Americans.

We also welcome the president’s call for improving education opportunities at both the Pre-K level and for addressing the problems of student loan debt for many in higher education. Attaining knowledge and education is an obligation in Islam.  Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) said, ‘Knowledge is incumbent upon every Muslim.’ (Ibn Majah)

Although we are hopeful by the president’s call for 2014 to be a year of action and progress, the troubling issue of surveillance by the NSA and the unfettered use of drones has tarnished the reputation of our country.

The president’s remarks about reform and limitations on the use of drones abroad and surveillance at home must be accompanied by clear and meaningful actions.

The death of civilians overseas due to the use drones makes our country less safe and creates new enemies and terrorists. Recent hearings conducted by Congress attest to that fact.

The NSA Surveillance Program currently in place makes us less free and betrays the values of our nation and our constitution.

One of our founding fathers, Benjamin Franklin made this point clear when he said, ‘Those who sacrifice liberty for security deserve neither.'”

The Islamic Society of North America (ISNA) is the largest and oldest Islamic umbrella organization in North America. Its mission is to foster the development of the Muslim community, interfaith relations, civic engagement, and better understanding of Islam.

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CONTACT: ISNA Communications Director Edgar Hopida, 619-913-0719, ehopida@isna.net