Not as assimilated as you think

Geneive Abdo, writing in the Washington Post, tells us that the comforting media stereotype of Muslims in America being completely different from their Muslim brethren in Europe in terms of assimilation, is not really valid.

I found few signs of London—style radicalism among Muslims in the United States. At the same time, the real story of American Muslims is one of accelerating alienation from the mainstream of U.S. life, with Muslims in this country choosing their Islamic identity over their American one.

A new generation of American Muslims —— living in the shadow of the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks —— is becoming more religious. They are more likely to take comfort in their own communities, and less likely to embrace the nation's fabled melting pot of shared values and common culture.

Part of this is linked to the resurgence of Islam over the past several decades, a growth as visible in Western Europe and the United States as it is in Egypt and Morocco. But the Sept. 11 attacks also had the dual effect of making American Muslims feel isolated in their adopted country, while pushing them to rediscover their faith. [....]

Despite contemporary public opinion —— or perhaps because of it —— Muslim Americans consider Islam their defining characteristic, beyond any national identity. In this way, their experience in the United States resembles that of their co—religionists in Europe, where mosques are also growing, Islamic schools are being built, and practicing the faith is the center of life, particularly for the young generation.

I have thought that America must insist on assimilation for its immigrants, with regard to language and values at a minimum. Australian leaders have recently begin expressing the view that those who do not wish to adhere to Australian values should seek residence elsewhere. Because Islam is both a political system and a religion (ask the jihadis and read the Quran if you dount this assertion), we have a very legitimate interest in ensuring that those immigrants who come to our shores embrace our values.

Hat tip: Ed Lasky

Thomas Lifson   8 29 06

Update: Bob Teter writes:

I agree with the gist of the article but I want to split a hair. I have never liked the question, "Are you, your religion first, or are you your nationality first?" I am not a theologian, but aren't we supposed to be Christians and Jews before we are Americans?  The question strikes me as misleading and I think it would skew the results. There may be "moderate" Muslims that aren't trouble makers at all and may be assimilating, but would have to answer yes to that question.

Geneive Abdo, writing in the Washington Post, tells us that the comforting media stereotype of Muslims in America being completely different from their Muslim brethren in Europe in terms of assimilation, is not really valid.

I found few signs of London—style radicalism among Muslims in the United States. At the same time, the real story of American Muslims is one of accelerating alienation from the mainstream of U.S. life, with Muslims in this country choosing their Islamic identity over their American one.

A new generation of American Muslims —— living in the shadow of the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks —— is becoming more religious. They are more likely to take comfort in their own communities, and less likely to embrace the nation's fabled melting pot of shared values and common culture.

Part of this is linked to the resurgence of Islam over the past several decades, a growth as visible in Western Europe and the United States as it is in Egypt and Morocco. But the Sept. 11 attacks also had the dual effect of making American Muslims feel isolated in their adopted country, while pushing them to rediscover their faith. [....]

Despite contemporary public opinion —— or perhaps because of it —— Muslim Americans consider Islam their defining characteristic, beyond any national identity. In this way, their experience in the United States resembles that of their co—religionists in Europe, where mosques are also growing, Islamic schools are being built, and practicing the faith is the center of life, particularly for the young generation.

I have thought that America must insist on assimilation for its immigrants, with regard to language and values at a minimum. Australian leaders have recently begin expressing the view that those who do not wish to adhere to Australian values should seek residence elsewhere. Because Islam is both a political system and a religion (ask the jihadis and read the Quran if you dount this assertion), we have a very legitimate interest in ensuring that those immigrants who come to our shores embrace our values.

Hat tip: Ed Lasky

Thomas Lifson   8 29 06

Update: Bob Teter writes:

I agree with the gist of the article but I want to split a hair. I have never liked the question, "Are you, your religion first, or are you your nationality first?" I am not a theologian, but aren't we supposed to be Christians and Jews before we are Americans?  The question strikes me as misleading and I think it would skew the results. There may be "moderate" Muslims that aren't trouble makers at all and may be assimilating, but would have to answer yes to that question.