Guest Column

Acceptance: It’s Easier Than You Think

America is divided. Our nation, which was once built on the foundation of unity, has now isolated neighbors from each other and turned brother against brother. In times like these, how can people of different beliefs and different backgrounds possibly remain unified under threats of terror and nuclear warfare? How can we possibly attain world peace when we are at the brink of war amongst each other? The answer lies in a seemingly easy concept, but one that we have struggled with since the beginning of civilization.


This is America. This is a nation that celebrates freedom, parades diversity, and welcomes immigrants with open arms. The people in this country are allowed to practice whatever religion they wish to. They are allowed to openly criticize their government. They are allowed to speak their mind. Every single person that calls the United States of America home is granted these rights.

Sign Up for E-News

As Americans, we often boast about our freedoms. However, we forget that our country has a dark past, shaded with slavery, segregation, and violence. We forget that, while all may seem to be well now, the hostility remains. It remains when Southerners prance around with confederate flags, reminding their black neighbors of their once inhumane status. It remains when a young Jewish boy sees a spray-painted swastika, reminding him that even in America, there are people who wish to exterminate those of his faith. It remains when a Muslim is called a terrorist, forcing them to carry the burden of the actions of the few hijacking their religion. It remains when an immigrant is chastised for weak English and told to go back to their country, while questioning the certainty of freedom in America. 

As a country, we need to stand together. We need to respect each other. We need to be open to each other. We need to strengthen our relationship with each other in order to face the turmoil that will no doubt plague the world very soon. We need to accept each other. We need to accept our differences.

This kind of unity is not impossible. I am a member of the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community and a resident of the great State of New Jersey. This past weekend we held our 69th annual convention in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania. At this three-day convention, a wide range of topics were discussed in front of a crowd of approximately 9,000. The gathering included people of different ages and backgrounds coming together for a common purpose. We heard speeches relative to peace, justice, and diversity. Scanning the congregation, I was amazed to witness unity right in front of my eyes among such a diverse group of people.

As an Ahmadi Muslim, I am asking you to stop holding other Muslims and me accountable for what we do not do and do not condone. As an immigrant, I am asking you to educate yourself on my culture and be willing to mould with us to live harmoniously. As an American teenager, I am asking you to help make the world a better place for my generation by exercising the values on which this great country was formed. Only then will we truly be the United States of America.

For more information on the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community’s fight against extremism, visit


Kanita Tariq

New Jersey

The opinions expressed herein are the writer's alone, and do not reflect the opinions of or anyone who works for is not responsible for the accuracy of any of the information supplied by the writer. Click here to submit a Guest Column.

TAP Into Another Town's News:

You May Also Be Interested In

Sign Up for E-News


Paterson Students Speak Out Against Gun Violence

March 16, 2018

Dear Editor:

I want to give a special thanks to Paterson Public Schools Superintendent Eileen Shafer for giving endless support to our students during the student's protest to walk out their school against gun violence yesterday. Our schools participated and their voices were heard. The goal was to spend 17 minutes to honor each victim of the Parkland, Florida, tragic mass ...

Recently Passed County Budget Built on 'Fiscally Sound Policies'

March 15, 2018

PATERSON, NJ – Saying it reflects “fiscally sound policies, strong budgetary flexibility, proactive increases to manage volatile expense line items, including significant reserves for workers’ compensation, health benefits, and liability insurance, and an overall net debt of 1% of market value,” the Passaic County Board of Chosen Freeholders adopted the 2018 budget on ...

Fairytale Marriage Proposal Takes Center Stage at St. Patrick’s Day Parade

March 16, 2018

SOMERVILLE, NJ – A surprise engagement took center stage at last weekend’s St. Patrick’s Day Parade in Somerville. In the midst of the March 11 festivities, Piscataway resident Steven Verardi boarded a float and popped the question to his girlfriend Elise Latona, marking the first known engagement to take place at the parade in 27 years.

Since opening The Beauty Bar ...

Pou on Budget Address, School Funding

March 17, 2018

TRENTON –Senator Pou (Bergen/Passaic) issued the following statement on Governor
Murphy’s budget address and school funding:

“One of the most important priorities that the Governor recognizes is the need to fully funding our public schools. This is especially critical for school districts in cities like Paterson.

“We will follow through during the budget process ...