September 2, 2015

WASHINGTON IS THEIR WITTENBERG:

American Muslims Defending True Islam : For now, we must make peace with a progress of increments, even of the two-steps-forward-one-step-back variety. (Murad Kalam, August 12, 2015, Patheos)

The nation may gradually see that Muslims do not have the market cornered on acts of terror, but it remains for Muslims to do the heavy lifting. And in fairness to the American umma, we have taken on the challenge in the most American of spirits, forming civil rights organizations, speaking out against terror, defending true Islam.

Sadly, for all our progress, we are often victims of the terrorist's veto, a stylized video beheading with effects worthy of Hollywood, ISIS internet trolls, foreign mosque bombings, and the next terrorist act of an American Muslim. These acts will always drown out the progress of American Muslims. But we have other, more important business at hand and that is to create an American Islam, not a reactionary, empty Islam of guilty Muslims, but something that is real.

In no country is this more possible than America. French Muslims, for instance, cannot play the uniquely American music of plurality and diversity. They must be nominally French and they must be quiet and marginalized. This American Islam, however, must have the 'goods.' We cannot throw away valid Islamic theology buttressed by study and reflection to please the very people who will always hate us. Western Muslims who make a claim for Islam will always need 'street cred' in the eyes of Middle Eastern Muslims. This often comes to us in the form of well-meaning foreign-born imams whose Islamic education is one of rote and, pointedly, who do not understand America. To paraphrase what Malcolm X said about being a real American, do not come to me with nothing on your plate and call yourself dinner.

At the same time, we cannot fall victim to ignorance about Islam, however good our intentions. Our work requires a passport. Some, especially younger, American-born Muslims, have traveled to the Middle East to study with scholars just as Ibn Battuta did. They have wrenched genuine knowledge from countries lost in tribalism and conflict. They have returned and established communities culturally rooted in America.

Posted by at September 2, 2015 7:36 PM
  

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