And it is a lesson we must remember today – as members of another generation of Joshua. It’s time for us to change America. Some are eager to feed the flames of division and to hinder progress.
And while I listened to him explain why he had enlisted, the absolute faith he had in our country and his leaders, his devotion to duty and service, I thought this young man was all that each of us could have hoped for in a child. So it’s 1985, and I’m in Chicago, and I’m working with these churches, and with many lay people who are much older than me. And if we can do it – if we can embrace a common destiny – then I believe we will not only help bring a more hopeful day to America, we will not only take care of our souls, we will do God’s work here on Earth.
I’m not talking about blind optimism here – the almost voluntary ignorance that thinks that unemployment will go away if we simply do not think about it, or the health crisis will resolve itself if we ignore it. I was too young to be involved in that movement, but I felt I could play a small role in the continuing battle for justice, helping to rebuild some of Chicago’s poorest neighborhoods. That experience leads my belief that the partnership between America and Islam must be based on what Islam is, not on what it is not. But it is not yet the case. In fact none of us should tolerate these extremists.
But at the end of the day, we can not leave, not to issue a bill, but to finally face the real concerns of the Americans and the persistent hopes of all those brothers and sisters who want nothing but their own chance to our common dream. I would not be a presidential candidate if I did not believe with all my heart that this is what the overwhelming majority of Americans want for this country. Yes, we must provide more scales of success for young people who fall into lives of crime and despair. But we all have to recognize that education and innovation will be the currency of the 21st century, and underinvestment in these areas remains in too many Muslim communities.
If there’s a kid on the south side of Chicago who can not read, this is important to me, even if it’s not my child. But it finds its voice in the barber or around the kitchen table. That’s why there’s a mosque in every state of our union and over 1,200 mosques within our borders. This is not how moral authority is claimed; that’s how he surrenders. We all have a responsibility to work for the day when mothers of Israelis and Palestinians can see their children grow up without fear; when the Holy Land of three great faiths is the place of peace that God wanted it to be; when Jerusalem is a safe and lasting home for Jews, Christians and Muslims, and a place for all the sons of Abraham to unite peacefully together as in the history of Isra, when Moses,
Thank you. And may the peace of God be upon you.