Mission & Name
US Foreign Policy (Dr. El-Najjar's Articles)
Dr. ML King's Observations Still Relevant in 2012
By Mohammed Khaku
Al-Jazeerah, CCUN, January 18, 2012
This article was published first published in the following site before
submitting it for publication at Al-Jazeerah.
In 1967, at the height of the civil rights struggle, Dr.
Martin Luther King Jr. wrote a concise, yet penetrating, assessment of
his times in an essay, "Where Do We Go from Here: Chaos or Community?"
At the end his reflections, Dr. King penned the sobering words: "We
still have a choice today: nonviolent coexistence or violent
co-annihilation. This may well be mankind's last chance to choose between
chaos or community."
However, the reflection given by Dr. King is
even more pertinent today than when it was first voiced. If Dr. Martin
Luther King Jr. were alive today, he would probably be leading the
demonstrations against some of the policies of America's first elected
The United States had unleashed death and
destruction on the developing countries of Iraq, Afghanistan and Libya by
fighting a war in those nations. America, the uncontrollable super power, is
creating worldwide chaos, while remaining silent on the human rights
Bahrain by the
King Hamad al Khalifa.
As we celebrate the birthday of Dr. King
on Monday, people remember his famous "I have a dream" speech of 1963.
However, his speech of April 4, 1967, "Silence is Betrayal," was an open
and courageous criticism of the administration's pursuit of the
Vietnam War. The message of that speech was critical of American
militarism. Dr. King proceeded to strengthen his analysis of oppressive
American policies abroad by linking them to unacceptable political and
social conditions at home. There is no difference today. Dr. King's legacy
was an uncompromising struggle against the evil triplets of militarism,
racism and poverty.
Over the years,
U.S. military spending, including handing out military aid to foreign
nations and maintaining more than an estimated 700 military bases, has
continued to rise, costing hundreds of billions of dollars, while
unemployment, foreclosure filings and the national debt have risen to
unacceptable or record levels. Where is the justification of the military
If the United States is to comply with equality and
justice, it must declare a never-ending war to eliminate poverty, cut the
military spending and stop occupying foreign nations, don't start new wars,
such as in Iran, or support oppressive regimes like those in Bahrain and
Today, the words of Dr. King in his Vietnam War
speech resonates but many imams, clergy and lawmakers are not willing to
speak up because they will be characterized as unpatriotic.
when America does wrong and does not live up to her ideals of justice and
freedom, we must speak up. That is one of the greatest forms of patriotism.
Criticizing our country is not being un-American, and those who say that
only foment division. However, we should not let disagreement be degenerated
into hatred of our fellow citizens. Nevertheless, we cannot claim to love
America and what she stands for and remain silent whenever she does wrong.
The success of Dr. King's mission was due to his confidence that he was
doing God's work, with his trust in God and his refusal to hate his
Muslims should be heir to the mission of Dr. King because
it is a community that has been described in the Holy Quran as "ummatan
wasatan" — which implies a community of people who are balanced,
well-behaved, persevering, and away from the danger of extremes for the
service of humanity.
To my Muslim brethren in America, it is our
moral duty that we collectively recognize and embrace the fact that we have
an unquestionable part to play in helping to chart the way forward for
peace, justice and freedom. This is a sacred duty.
Now, almost 45
years after Dr. King's essay about where we go from here, we can say with
even greater certainty: "This may well be mankind's last chance between
chaos or community." We must choose cooperation and community.
Thomas Jefferson: "I tremble for my country when I reflect, God is just;
His justice cannot sleep forever."
Mohammed Khaku lives in Upper
Macungie Township and is active in the Islamic community of the Lehigh