American Muslims and Freedom of Religion

I was thumbing through the new edition of the Wilson Quarterly, and there was a brief article about one of their resident reporters named Bissane El-Cheikh.  She is a writer for Al-Hayat, a London-based pan-Arab newspaper.  She was here in the States doing research for an article on “how America managed not to home-grow Islamic terrorists, but inspired them all around the world.” Her conclusion was that because of the sitgamatization of ALL Arab Americans, and the lumping of them all together as Muslims whether they were or not, Al Qaeda was unable to find a foothold.  The Arab-Americans were scared for their very lives and so refused to identify with what Al Qaeda’s mission as.

I’ve not read her actual series, so I don’t know whether this is part of her reporting, but I would add that part of it too is probably that Arab Americans, and American Muslims in particular, are more accepting of the American way of life.  They have come to this country to study, learn, establish themselves, and live in a society free of the constraints that Islam’s modern embodiment puts on them.  I would assert that they have held on to the innovative and inclusivistic tendencies of their religion and thrown out the parts that call for the killing of the unbeliever.

Until recently, I would have said hat this was also true of America’s Christian population.  Sadly this is not the case.

American’s more fundamentalist forms of Christianity are not innovative in any real sense of the term.  From that camp we hear the same old arguments spoken of in the same old ways.  As Derek Webb comments on his latest project, they’re speaking truth but in a language no one understands.  And they are in no manner inclusive.  If it’s not their way, it’s the highway.

What’s interesting is that these same men (cuz their women are not allowed to speak) are champions of America’s “Cristian Heritage.”  They speak proudly of the freedom in this country to worship.  But they are missing something vital; something which our Muslim American friends are in tune with. The founders of our country, and the framers of our Consttution, were not seeking to create a “Christian” state.  They wanted a place free from the contraints placed on them by the dominant reigious and political structures of their homeland.

Could it be that our Muslim friends understand why this country was founded better than their Christian counterparts?

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