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An eminent Indian-American philanthropist has described immigrants as "the future of the United States", which he said, is a nation of inclusion, openness, opportunity, democracy and freedom.
Frank Islam made these remarks during a ceremony where some 200 foreign nationals took the oath of citizenship.
Islam borrowed a quote from Former President John F. Kennedy: In a democracy, every citizen regardless of his interest in politics or holds office, every one of us is in a position of responsibility. The kind of government we get depends on how we fulfill those responsibilities.
"I ask you to fulfill those responsibilities by being a 21st Century Citizen," he said during his speech at the John F Kennedy Presidential Library in Boston on Thursday.
At the age of 16, Frank Islam left his family and friends in India with just USD 35 to pursue his life-long dream of owning a business. He went on to become founder and CEO of a company worth more than USD 300 million. Islam became a citizen in 1980, but he never attended a naturalization ceremony, said a media release issued by the presidential library.
"... My story reaffirms the notion that America is a land of opportunity. It also shows that America is a nation of inclusion, openness, opportunity, democracy, and freedom. All of us can proudly and truly embrace these values and qualities of America," he said.
"As immigrants and the future of America, I know that you will make great contributions to ensure that dream is even stronger and better for the citizens of this immigrant nation...I am extremely positive about the future of America because of the courage, tenacity and indomitable spirit of my fellow immigrants," Islam said.
Noting that over the past few years, there have been a lot of complaints regarding the country's politicians, and the government, he said some of that criticism is "warranted".
"On the other hand, we must remember that the United States is a representative democracy. At the end of the day, we get the politicians and the government we deserve," he said.
"If we don't like things in this great democracy of ours, we can change them. That is our right and responsibility as citizens," Islam said.