UI – Part 356 – Islam in America (1 of 2)
(This topic will be presented in two parts. Part 2 will appear next week.)
Part 1 of 2
A Clash of Generations
The week of December 28, 2015 found The Weekly Standard (‘WS’) with an article regarding Islam in America entitled a Clash of Generations – The cultural contradictions of Islam in America. The author was Peter Skerry. One early note was that as Americans “We must …confront how little we have learned since 9/11 about Islam and about the Muslims who are our fellow citizens.” Now that is justification itself for reading this Blog. In fact go to past issues and learn as much as you can. It calls for a Wake Up to Islam. Understand the religious as well as the ideological aspects of Islam. And know this, as with every religion, I believe, most who claim to be of any given order have grown up culturally, family, community and peers, in that faith. Few are fully committed and knowledgeable adherents. Many, though, are vocal and defenders but with insufficient facts and a proper apologetic to be credible experts in what they support.
With frequent census gathering efforts we still have no hard numbers on the population of Muslims, those who claim a cultural identity with this ideology, as there is no box to check for a religious preference on the census forms. So it is a guess. The Weekly Standard’s guess is 3 million. And many Americans, as stated, “It…seems safe to conclude…have never met a Muslim.” Theories thus abound from a conservative as well as a liberal viewpoint, which the author notes as possibly “wild accusations and conspiracy theories about Islamic extremists….” The statement, which I agree with totally, “liberal political and media elites, only a little chastened after San Bernardino, seem unable to utter the words ‘Islam’ and ‘terrorism’ in the same bite,” suggest broad ignorance. The article, however, cites research results where Muslims (here) were generally in denial when it came to Arabs attacking the WTC on 911 (60%). Another survey said 8% (240,000 based on the 3 million) “agreed…’suicide bombing and other forms of violence against civilian targets are justified in order to defend Islam from its enemies.’” This is a disturbing fact and one that provides a basis, a sound one I feel, for worrying about Muslims in America, not all, but many.
As for assimilation, it is not happening, in spite of Obama and other liberal elite’s claims. The article takes an informative approach. It breaks down assimilation into two major components. The first includes learning and speaking the language (English), becoming a citizen and college degrees on one hand, and second, social and cultural indicators on the other – to include marriage to non-Muslims and adopting American values. Most Muslims here are reasonably well educated and seek the opportunities to learn and work that are readily available. Professions in the medical and engineering fields seem a preference. Historically the Muslims that have emigrated to America arrived first as students. As to the first, Skerry says Muslims are assimilating. But not as to the second. However it is the second that is reflected in isolation into communities of Muslims only, and is seen by many as resistance to assimilation as a whole.
Muslims residing as part of American communities as a whole retain their cultural heritage’s family values. A comparison of parents and children provides evidence, changes in thinking taking place within the more assimilated Muslim families, those who have experienced, adapted and embraced secular America, leading to potentially greater insulation from American society. Muslim children often speak better english than the parents. The parents are not scholars in Islam and feel ill prepared to teach their children their faith, Islam. They attend mosques infrequently and do not adhere to the 5 pillars of Islam in practice. Concerned about the moral standards in America when viewed from the pages of the Quran, the parents seek to have their children protected by Islam and thus seek third parties to educate them. “Muslim parents (not very observant Muslims) turn to Islam as a bulwark against the youth culture (in America.)” They look to the madrassas and mosques to provide an education in the ideology of their heritage.
“Since most Imams come from overseas, where mosques are subsidized and to varying degrees controlled by the state….” their worship centers have boards comprised of successful American Muslims. The mosques often enjoy foreign support, a major source is Saudi Arabia, but with strings attached, such as a curriculum that includes teaching Wahhabism as the scholarly path of true Islam.
Unfamiliar with American practices and habits, thus lacking understanding, the Imam’s objective becomes one “to mobilize and unify a diverse and fragmented agglomeration of coreligionists from all over the world,” but living in America. The Imam’s however, according to the author of the article, “are hardly out to terrorize America,” primarily due to the oversight by educated and accomplished Muslim Americans as well as a need for classes that prepare the students for higher education. They want to be tough and controlling, as do the parents, to instill respect (of the parents and teachers) and to have the kids care about something, as opposed to the content and/or practices of hollywood, music, video games, sports, dating, sex, drinking (and drugs) and orientation to temptations and habits abhorrent to Islam.
Said by a Muslim interviewed for the article, “I do not pray regularly or fast and I am not inclined to go to the mosque except as a social occasion. But when you are raising children in this country you have to do it (send them to centers for Islamic education.)” Those parents who seek Islamic education for their offspring are yielding their supervision to 3rd parties, trusting they will do better at maintaining their cultural identity, while substituting a study of Islam for learning how their parents live in, accept, and love America. They are turning control over to those more deeply embedded in the dictates and requirements of an ideology they basically abandoned for a new life.
Part 2 will be published a week from today.
Grace and Peace