September 23, 2019

IF JUDAISM AND CATHOLICISM WERE SUCH EASY PREY...:

How American Liberalism is Co-Opting Islam (BEN SIXSMITH, September 23, 2019, American Conservative)

This concern for individual choice and the individual identity is extended to others. More American Muslims support gay marriage than American Christians. Ilhan Omar, who some conservatives comically believe is some kind of radical Salafi, took a stand this year on behalf of transgendered competitors in sports. Granted, American Muslims are bound to be more liberal than European Muslims because they tend to have originated from the educated middle classes, but America's power as an engine of secularization remains incredible to behold.

It might sound outrageously presumptuous to say these things of a faith that is not my own but Muslims have said them before. In her essay on "Hijab Culture in the American Muslim Context," Butheina Hamdah wrote:

It seems that for the hijab to comfortably sit within the public square and in order to "qualify" for inclusion in the sphere of what constitutes grounds for public reason, it has to be secularized and represent something other than its essential meaning.

She continued:

Perhaps this is what distinguishes American secular-liberalism from European secularism, particularly French secularism/laïcité: rather than a ban on certain forms of hijab in the public sphere, what occurs is a recalibration of its meaning to align with public consensus in the US - through individual autonomy or "right to self-expression."

This cultural "recalibration" could turn out to be a far more powerful liberalizing force than state intervention. Repression, real or imagined, tends to unify people around that which is or appears to be being repressed. Absorbing it into the mainstream, though, leaves little to unite around.


...what hope did a weaker religion like Islam have of being Americanized?

Posted by at September 23, 2019 4:22 PM

  

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