Wednesday, April 18, 2007

On being Muslim in America

Really interesting series in the Washington Post.

Chat Transcript with Hadia Mubarak and Ingrid Mateson

What does it mean to be Muslim in America?

Assimilation is not a disappearing act - by Hadia Mubarak

The underlying problem, I believe, is with subconsciously defining Muslims as something other than American, because it forces Muslims to choose between their religion and nationality, which is antithetical to the American spirit of religious pluralism and tolerance.

The characterization of Muslim religiosity as somehow un-American is deeply racist and bigoted at its root, because it operates on the premise that American society is exclusively Judeo-Christian and thus, the outward manifestation of any other religion is un-American.

Why is it that when young Muslim girls decide to wear the hijab? asks a Washington Post editorial, then answers that they are choosing their “Islamic identity over their American one.” Yet when a young Baptist girl decides to attend Bible study classes and youth group, it is regarded as inherent part of American culture.

I heart Hadia Mubarak.


Frida said...

This is such an importnt point. I thnk that if we all spent more thinking about why and how we (as "Western" nations) are forcing our Muslim citizens and residents to chose between their religion adn their nationality we might be a few steps closer to dealing with the problems behind the problems and we could stop all this hideous "war on... " business.
Thanks for this. It has got me thinking, as usual.

chaoyang said...

I think i've had a 'moment'...

It's the moment where i read something and think, "gosh, that sounds important, but doesn't immediately speak to me"

followed by the moment where I think "um, wow, there was a time when that would not only speak to me, but it would sing to me"

it's not that i don't have an interest any longer in ethnic/religious identity and societal interrelations, but, I've just not come across much of this type of stuff out here.

Just goes to show how easily "out of sight, out of mind."

So, maybe it also gives insight into why it appears some nations/people don't care about other people's/nation'sproblems - they are just too far removed? or something like that...

omg said...

I particularly like the first paragraph you quoted. How do people let themselves forget (or ignore) why their ancestors came here in the first place?