Excerpt from a Column in the Orlando Weekly

Being an American Muslim is not easy. You can’t even host an open-to-the-public Fourth of July party without drawing the flak of suspicious righties who think your party is just cover and what you really want to do is take over the world.
We refer here to WFLA 540-AM talk-show host Bud Hedinger, who questioned on air if the Islamic Society of Central Florida was sincere about celebrating Independence Day. “How much longer do we have to keep reaffirming our sincerity?” wondered ISCF communications director Areej Zufari.
In what proved to be a shrewd move, Zufari invited Hedinger to speak at the July 2 event. Not wanting to miss any of the action, we arrived early in the afternoon, in time to watch schoolgirls in hijab making cotton candy and men barbecuing chicken on a grill. There were voter-registration pamphlets and ROTC-clad youngsters collecting donations. A couple of fire trucks were in use, taking down the giant flag atop a building ahead of a nasty squall.
It was as American as apple pie; the only thing lacking was a hot-dog-eating contest and a speech from the mayor. We’re convinced that Central Florida Muslims were genuinely proud to be partying for the Fourth.
Apparently, Hedinger was too. He read from the Declaration of Independence and concluded by thanking the ISCF for the invite. “Americans all,” he said, waving from the podium.



Editor: Akhtar M. Faruqui
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