Through the Eyes of an American Immigrant & Former Muslim
Americans need a fresh reminder of the amazing nation they have and the power of liberties I see so often taken for granted.Ali Master
He should know about the American Dream. He’s lived it for over 30 years, coming to the United States as a college student from Pakistan, rising to become a successful high-level executive at Ernst & Young, marrying an American and raising four children, and embracing Christianity over his birth faith as a Muslim. He cherishes the freedoms found in the United States and has written a book, Beyond the Golden Door, to inspire and empower all Americans to fall back in love with their country.
“I have witnessed a decline in the very values that make America a great and free nation,” he adds. “Lady Liberty’s torch still burns, but her light has dimmed. Few in America appreciate the powerful slogan, ‘freedom isn’t free.’ Fewer still comprehend the full impact of those freedoms, having never lived without them.”
He believes that those who embody the American Dream begin with courage and the willingness to do what it takes to preserve freedom, not only on our own soil—but also beyond it.
“The fruits of freedom are not harvested without risk,” writes Master. “Which is riskier, to accept an arranged marriage or to seek out one true love, knowing you risk rejection? Is it riskier to hold onto a status-quo job you don’t enjoy or start your own business knowing more than 50% fail? Is it safer to blindly follow your parents’ faith or walk into a new place of worship where that faith may be challenged? Risk and the American Dream go hand in hand.”
His book outlines the five freedoms he believes are the most precious, including:
Freedom to Fail – everyone deserves a second chance after failing.
Freedom to Love – our culture encourages us to choose the one we want to love for life.
Freedom of Religion – we can embrace our faith free of persecution.
Freedom to Build – anyone can pursue being an entrepreneur or an intrapreneur.
Freedom to Self-Govern – we all should vote and participate in our governance.
“Those who make the most of these freedoms and achieve their American Dream are the ones who are willing to pursue that dream with unabashed passion, perseverance, hard work, and individual responsibility,” writes Master. “They don’t wait around for the government to lend a hand. Instead, appreciating the good soil in which they find themselves, they seize the opportunity, not only for themselves, but also their families and their communities. They become true Americans, respecting and celebrating its traditions and values.”
He hopes his journey inspires others to safeguard these precious freedoms. And what a journey he has had. Beyond the Golden Door is a memoir that reveals the many obstacles Master had to overcome on his road to finding happiness, prosperity, and peace here. Coming from 1986 Pakistan, a Muslim nation with arranged marriages, widespread corruption, bribe-based businesses, and severe limits on free speech, Master endured culture shock. He measured all of America by his limited view of the world that came from watching TV shows like Dallas, and from reading Archie Comics.
His first few years in the States were challenging. In debt while attending a college thousands of miles from his family and friends, he worked at McDonald’s. He started to date white women out of his faith, and one relationship with a co-dependent woman led him to slash his wrist. But he rebounded and learned to assimilate and eventually fell in love with a woman who turned him onto pursuing a relationship with Christianity. She would become his wife.
In his book, Master poignantly shares with us:
- What it was like to be a former Muslim living in America on 9/11.
- Some dark secrets that he learned of his birth mom’s tragic death caused from labor—and an uncle (who turned out to be his dad) who died in a tragic motorcycle accident when he was a teen.
- How he overcame the challenges of thriving as an immigrant to live the American Dream.
- Which freedoms we should all cherish and embrace.
- The close connection between our free government and religion.
“It’s easy to talk about freedom” says Master. “But unless someone has lived in a world that suffocates freedom, it’s difficult to appreciate the liberty found in America.”
Beyond the Golden Door is an engaging story of a Muslim immigrant who discovers five transformational freedoms. He shows how these freedoms stand in stark contrast to the third-world life he left behind. Master infuses readers, through personal stories and an insightful perspective, with what it means to be an entrepreneur, a patriot, and a passionate risk-taker. His positive, empowering message comes across as genuinely heartfelt and authentic.
Master has a timely message as our nation debates the limits of immigration, the opportunities of capitalism, and the role of faith in our society. Beyond the Golden Door illuminates readers to show them how they can preserve their precious freedoms and contribute to the nation’s legacy—as well as meet the deeper challenge of considering their own life journey.
Publication Data: Beyond the Golden Door: Seeing the American Dream Through an Immigrant’s Eyes (Morgan James Publishing, July 2019, Trade Paper, 212 pages, ISBN: 9781642792850, $17.95) by Ali Master.