Sohail Mohamed

Sohail Mohamed, the lawyer who defended numerous innocent people detained following 911 from charges of terrorism, was just nominated and selected to serve as a New Jersey superior court judge.

I didn’t say that he was the Muslim lawyer who defended…etc. He is Muslim. But as Governor Chris Christie correctly pointed out, neither his faith nor his culture have anything to do with his job as a judge. He swore to uphold the law, New Jersey law and US law, and has done so for many years.

That being said, culture does affect how we think not only because it is the lens through which we look at the world, but we are affected by how others see us. And others see us predominantly by the visible signs of our culture, at least frequently. So for the purposes of his job, Mr. Mohamed can remain impartial to the required degree. But since we’re not robots, or Vulcans, no one is completely impartial. It is for this reason that his selection and the fact that he happens to be Muslim is a good thing. The credo of our country is that no one will be discriminated against based on religion. But the fact is that people are, especially since 9/11. And since we have Congress and the Supreme Court, not the Vulcan High Council, there should be some degree of equal representation, however unofficial. How many self-professed Christians and Jewish folks are in Congress, or the Supreme Court? Or other religions? Or self-professed I-Don’t-Cares? Or state government and politics, for that matter? I don’t have the exact numbers, but the majority are Christian, the second largest are either not professed, or Jewish. And a tiny, tiny fraction are something else which includes Islamic.

Now, I am Jewish by ethnicity, and I-Don’t-Care by practice. So whatever people want to do is fine with me as long as they’re not abusing kids or being hateful. But I have to ask, what would post-911 America have looked like had more voices in Congress and government come from a Muslim perspective?

Rather than the psychotic notion that our government would have exploded into random acts of sabotage and terrorism, and a coup of sharia law, I believe that we may never have entered into the 10-year long war on several fronts that has led to near economic ruin. Because the Muslim citizenry of the US would have had some voice of representation to clear away the pseudo-religious claims that muddied the waters, some voice of experience and reason to point out to us, “Excuse me…this act of terrorism was not done for Islam. It was done by murderers.”

I don’t know what would have happened in the rest of the world. But here in America, I believe that while security would have been heightened, we would have had the foresight given by the perspective of a culture largely unrepresented, to monitor for terrorism without persecution arising from misunderstanding and fear. We may still even have gone to war, but any conflict might have been informed by cultural understanding and, therefore, useful data.

Yay, Governor Christie! Frankly, I have been waiting to hear someone, anyone in politics say, ‘I’m tired of dealing with crazies.’ I’m not generally on the same page with Republicans, but if this guy runs for President, I’m voting for him.


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