Putting the American in 'American Muslim'

Category: Americas, Faith & Spirituality Views: 3725

Muslims in America. American Muslims. The difference between these two labels may seem a matter of semantics, but making the transition from the first to the second represents a profound, if somewhat silent, revolution that many of us in the Muslim community have been undergoing in the two years since Sept. 11.

On its face, this shift would seem to threaten the very core of Muslim identity and empowerment. After all, in the decade before the events of Sept. 11, Islam was one of the fastest-growing religions in North America. Mosques and Islamic schools were going up in every major city. Groups like the Council on American-Islamic Relations and the American Muslim Alliance established chapters in nearly every area with a Muslim population.

Muslim leaders, once a frustrated and marginal group, found themselves being courted by politicians, the news media and foreign governments seeking their support and influence. Indeed, many Muslims believe it was their votes that made the difference in Florida, making them primarily responsible for placing President Bush in the White House.

At the time, the word that best summed up the Muslim sense of self was "fateh" - a conqueror. Many religious and community leaders were convinced that Islam would not only manifest itself in its truest form in this country, but would also make America - already a great power - into a great society. Some even proclaimed that one day America would be an Islamic state.

On Sept. 11, of course, that dream evaporated. Today, the civil rights environment has declined drastically with the passage of the USA Patriot Act and other antiterrorism measures. Both sources of Islam's growth - immigration and conversion - are now in jeopardy, and we continue to face hostility and prejudice in many corners of society. There is no more talk of making America an Islamic state. Any reminder of this pre-9/11 vision generates sheepish giggles and snorts from Muslim audiences.

Yet adjusting to the new political and social realities of life in the United States these past two years has also had unexpected and positive effects for many Muslims. We have been compelled to transform ourselves to connect more intimately with American mainstream society.

Today, many Muslims realize that it is not their Islamic identity but their American citizenship that is fragile. Before Sept. 11, Muslims in America focused primarily on changing United States policy toward Palestine, Kashmir and Iraq. Since Sept. 11, the attempt to reconstitute our identity as American Muslims is making domestic relations - and civil rights and interfaith relations - more important.

Much of this is playing out at the local level. In Miami, for example, efforts are underway by a group of progressive Muslims to endow chairs in Islamic studies at American universities. In the Muslim community in Duluth, Minn., fund-raising has begun to support social services, including housing and health care initiatives for the poor. In Indianapolis, Muslim residents are opening soup kitchens. And think of the familiar advertising campaign by the Council on American-Islamic Relations in which Muslims announce, "We are American and we are Muslims." It is not without design that "American" is stated first.

Even more vital, many Muslims in this country have come to acutely understand the vulnerabilities of minorities and the importance of democracy and civil rights. Because we took our American citizenship for granted, we did not acknowledge its value and virtues. But now that it is imperiled, the overwhelming desire of many Muslims is that America remain true to its democratic and secular values.

 This summer I addressed the National Imams' Conference in Washington and spent a week in the Sierras with 400 American Muslims. I had extended conversations with participants. Both leaders and ordinary Muslims seem to be possessed with a strong desire for change and self-transformation. These were some of the frequent sentiments that I heard:

"America is our home, we will not become foreigners in our own homeland." "Islam is about invitation and peace, not conflict." "We have to take back Islam and also win back the hearts and minds of Americans."

It is unfortunate that American Muslim identity is being reconstructed under duress. But it can still be a meaningful and transcendent experience. The aftermath of Sept. 11 may have shattered some dreams, but it has also forced us to reconnect with reality and empower ourselves.

There is still much progress to be made. We need to continue to demonstrate that Muslims in this country constitute an ethical and philanthropic community that cares about humanitarian causes, about America and Americans and stands for justice and rights as embodied in the Constitution. Just like other ethnic groups before us, we have to pay our dues to this nation before we demand that they change themselves and the world for us.

But Americans, too, must play a role. They cannot allow events overseas to foster anti-Muslim sentiments and Islamophobia at home. They must recognize the insecurities and fears of their Muslim neighbors and extend a hand of friendship and support. The choices we face are tough, but Muslims must realize that the interests of our sons and daughters, who are American, must come before the interests of our brothers and sisters, whether they are Palestinian, Kashmiri or Iraqi. Only then will Muslims in America become American Muslims.

 

Muqtedar Khan, a visiting fellow at the Brookings Institution, is author of "American Muslims: Bridging Faith and Freedom.''

Source: New York Times



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  40 Comments   Comment

  1. Yahya Bergum from USA

    Might not ingratitude for greatness be considered arrogant? And would the arrogant remain great?

    I didn't mean to suggest Americans should be grateful to those from whom we have extracted wealth. I would however think it prudent for us (at least) to be grateful to THAT which enabled us to extract it from them in the first place. Again, that's merely my opinion.

    I am grateful for your reply. Peace be with you.

    --Yahya Bergum

  2. tom from usa

    i agreed with the author on that point. i disagreed with his overall point. i also do not believe america's greatness depends on it's gratitude. so many examples of this throughout history.

  3. Yahya Bergum from USA

    Oops! That should have been Jennifer Granholm (Governor of Michigan) - not Jennifer Graham. Basically the theory would be that once the Canadian province in which the governor was born joined the United States then Governor Granholm could run for President with no constitutional amendment required - at least that's the theory. (Hopefully it wasn't Quebec - may peace be upon them.)

    Assalamu alaikum.

    --Yahya Bergum

  4. Yahya Bergum from USA

    Peace be with you, Tom. Actually, you appear to be in agreement with the author - at least with regard to that particular paragraph. The way I read this article, the author appears to be suggesting that Muslims would do better by trying to fit into "The Great American Society."

    That happens to be exactly why I don't agree with the article. I believe that each one of us has a duty to do what we can, so that our country might comform to whatever we believe is good - or that we should perhaps give some thought to moving to another country. That's just an opinion.

    Now, regarding sheer arrogance, my theory would be that America's "greatness" is somehow dependent on the amount of gratitude expressed by Americans. I wonder if you might be able to find anything remotely American about Quran 4:75.

    http://www.islamicity.com/mosque/quran/4.htm#75

    I hope that you don't feel I'm trying to exploit some sort of weakness on your part - strength perhaps - but not weakness. As for an Islamic state, I would personally be happy to reside within a muslim nation (that is, a nation obedient to God). God bless you.

    Peace (if God so wills, through victory).

    --Yahya Bergum

  5. tom from u.s.a.

    At the time, the word that best summed up the Muslim sense of self was "fateh" - a conqueror. Many religious and community leaders were convinced that Islam would not only manifest itself in its truest form in this country, but would also make America - already a great power - into a great society. Some even proclaimed that one day America would be an Islamic state

    the sheer arrogance of this statement is a weakness just waiting to be exploited. america is a great society. what made america such a great society is the absence of mentalities that would say things like this quote. i sense a weak mind at work here.

  6. Yahya Bergum from USA

    If the FBI monitors on-line statements at sites like this one I think K2 will go unharassed - insha'Allah. I praise Allah for citizens (and residents) like K2. Also, most Americans are a better judge of character, I would suppose, than perhaps many among America's adversaries might tend to expect - for which I thank Allah (subhanahu wa ta'ala).

    Jazak Allah khair for all the dawah, Ahmed. I pray to Allah (subhanahu wa ta'ala) that you keep it coming. Also, what is that silly rule that keeps popping up in the "Comments Sections rules" dialog box? The one that says, "Do unto others what you expect from others?"

    Assalamu alaikum wa rahmatullahi wa barakatuhu.

    --Yahya Bergum

  7. Ahmed from UK

    K2, people like you really are a disgrace to the Muslim community. Maybe you've been in a mental coma for the last 2 years. You appear to be rather indifferent to the conditions Muslim Americans have had to put up with, and that mate, is not "whinning."

    Now you can continue living in your pipedream, but rest assured, it'll only take one frivolous phone call by your bigoted American neighbour to send you on a 1 way trip to Guantanamo Bay. The only right you'll have is that to remain silent and the usual Miranda warning.

    As for the conditions of the Muslim nations, do you dare ask who is pulling the strings there ? I didnt think so. Whine on.

  8. k2 from USA

    When will Muslims stop complaining and whining all the time and start counting their blessings?

    Most Muslim countries would give never give me the rights I enjoy in America. They probably would never even allow me to enter their country to live.

    I thank Allah for all his blessing.

  9. Yahya Bergum from USA

    I might not know much about "assibiyah" but I do know that our Syrian brother, Sheikh Mohsen al-Qaqa, hopes to "achieve national unity in an Islamic manner." He certainly seems like an upstanding and pious sort of Muslim.

    I have no doubt that Dajjal would warn about the dangers of nationalism or praise it - depending on what suited his purpose at the time. (I seek refuge in Allah from the accursed Satan.)

    Allah hafiz - wa barakatuhu!

    --Yahya Bergum

  10. Saifullah from UK

    any Muslim with even the most limited understanding of Islam can see what is being pushed here is: [1]taghut(allegiance to false idols) and therefore shirk [2] assibiyah(call to nationalism) [3] bida (innovation). This article represents a distortion of aqeeda and diminished taqwa(love fear of Allah) leading to cowardice. ibn Taymiyah states hat cowardice is no in the sunnah of the Rasul(sas) and so not of Islam. So he that calls for it or follows this, is not following the din of al-Islam. This call to re-definine Islamic identity, purely because the host nation is at war with Islam and they wish to somehow distance themselves from it is deeply saddening. If Muslims in the US cannot live in accordance with the shari'ah and give dawah, then make hijra. Was Bilal(ra) for example an Abyssinian Muslim?

  11. Buruuj Tunsill from America

    Assalam Walikum

    Theres nothing bad about being a muslim and live in america. I'm proud to be a muslimah it is a blessing to be.

  12. Asif Ameer

    >>but Muslims must realize that the interests of >>our sons and daughters, who are American, must >>come before the interests of our brothers and >>sisters, whether they are Palestinian, Kashmiri >>or Iraqi. Only then will Muslims in America >>become American Muslims.

    What does this mean?

  13. Yahya Bergum from USA

    What does Quran 4:92 seem to indicate about proscriptions of nationalism among believers? I would admittedly expect to have trouble coming to understand how an on-going state of hostilities (between believers) could circumvent laws prohibiting nationalism - nor does Quran 4:92 seem to instruct one group of believers to support the authority of the leaders of believers with whom they are engaged in hostile action (and if suggestions to do otherwise weren't an invitation to treason they would be funny). As for myself, I think that an obligation to pray shoulder-to-shoulder with tyrants is one thing - but that endorsing their authority to suppress dissidents among their subjects is an entirely different matter.

    I personally think that nationalism might actually serve as a means of checking one aspiring group of believers with another aspiring group of believers. If I understand it correctly, we are warned (through Prophecy) about a possible outcome of what seems like questing for political consensus - among the members of what is referred to (in Prophecy) as "this ummah" - and yet many members of "our ummah" seem inclined to support even the very worst sort of tyrant (Allah forbid!) if doing so appeared necessary to maintain solidarity among the Ummah's members.

    Note that I would certainly hope to avoid making any invalid assertions, especially concerning what Allah (subhanahu wa ta'ala) requires of Muslims or how Allah (subhanahu wa ta'ala) defines Islam. I would also certainly hope to be welcoming of correction. I would merely ask that those who care to point out the right path (and may Allah reward them for that) also identify, if feasible to do so, the source of whatever guidance they wish to share - whether that source might their own feelings, personal experience, cultural heritage, Allah's books, etc. Jazak Allah khair.

    Assalamu alaikum wa rahmatullahi wa barakatuhu.

    --Yahya Bergum

  14. Nazim Haqq from US

    AssalaamAlaikum,

    I myself am not a big fan of Muqtedar Khan and disagree with him on 70% of the issues, esp. those related with Islamic identity and causes. However I must concede that Khan has done a good job in this article, with his prime thesis being that as Muslim immigrants to America we must prove to the Americans (whether we like it or not) that Muslims are humanitarians. That we care for humanity! Thus his emphasis on instituion building (but not just mosques and Islamic schools which serve only the Muslim), those that transcends boundaries; religious, racial, income, et cetera.

    However, I feel that we as Muslims in America (notice I put Muslims first; because to me being a Muslim {a servant in submission to God} is a greater identity than being an American {my "tribe" if it were}) must build our institutions first before we become philantrophists and donate to other's causes; which I agree is of vital importance.

    Thus Mr. Khan has written a good article that's not too conceding and compromising. I applaud this article, it's arguably one of his better pieces.

    W'salaam.

  15. Safiya from USA

    Salam alekum. I will make this brief. I have no other identity except that of a muslim. I don't and would never put my nationality or my nation before my religion nor would any muslim who has the correct belief that our loyalty is to God first and foremost, not to country. Nationalistic attitudes among muslims only further divides this ummah that is already heavily divided.

    Therefore, it is enought to say that my loyalty to Allah precedes my loyalty to country, period.

  16. pete sommer from usa

    Until American muslim publically condemn the anti-Christian brutality done by fellow muslims across the globe, and until the sanctions of violence against jews and Christians is purged from american muslim school curricula, I regard Islam as a threat to this country. No doubt many good muslims do not even know about such islamic school curricula; but many do, and if they are true Americans, they are obligated to bring it to light and change it.

  17. Dr. Md Khalid from India

    Thereis nothing wrong in being an American as well as a muslim. It is good to be an Ideal muslim along with being an ideal citizen of america.

  18. Ahmed from UK

    Before even clicking I knew an article like this had to come from Muqtedar Khan. Khan is a weak apologist and an unwanted spokesmen for Muslims anywhere. His writings continue to be based on shoddy premise and evidence. Khan has internalised much of the phony rhetoric hurled at Muslims by those who dont mean us well.

    Khan would have us believe that before 9/11 Muslim Americans were doing great and all was well and good. Anyone who has studyied civil rights violations prior to 9/11 would find Khan's statement at odds with reality.

    This is the same man who in an earliar article bragged about wanting to be a "Muslim Kissinger"....its not everyday you get to hear of people modeling themselves after known war criminals. Daydreaming or delusion ?

    Khan presents as a good docile "moderate" Muslim, one who lovingly seeks favor and approval from an uninterested white father, one who hurls invective at his own to please those who delight in villifying Muslims. Speak for yourself mate, you dont represent me or any other Muslim.

    In the words of a great Muslim American "Be polite, be respectful, obey the law, but the moment somebody lays a finger on you, send him to the cemetary." - Malcolm X

  19. Kamran Qureshi

    Assalamoalaikum warahmatullah Wabarakatuhu

    You have mentioned in your article that , i quote 'Muslims in America. American Muslims. The difference between these two labels may seem a matter of semantics...'

    First of all i would like to know what is your definition about a muslim .

    Is not a muslim a person who believes in Allah Subhanuhu Taala and in his messanger Muhammad (PBUH), believes in the Quran and Sunnah and denounces any thing which contradicts the Quran and sunnah.

    If you follow this simple definition then i would ask you that how can the difference between the two labels of Muslims in America and American muslims seem to be a matter of semantics to you or anyone?

    Later on you have mentioned that many of the muslims in America have been undergoing a silent revolution, a trasition from the FIRST kind of muslims to the SECOND kind.

    I ask you have you looked around and observed as to truely what has been going around since 11 september incident?

    There has always been a large sect of these so called American Muslims in America but the tragedy of Sept-11, has been a wakeup call of so many of them.

    Further has caused them to recognize their identity and to revert and accept the beauty of Islam as it actually is and to practise their true faith, not just wear it as a badge!.

    Hence a transition from the SECOND kind to the FIRST has taken place!!!

    This term that you have chosen i.e. American Muslim is nothing but yet another name for the media favourite Moderate muslim.

    The truth is that A muslim is simply a muslim. He lives a muslim and dies as a muslim. Believes in peace, speaks against injustice and denounces all kinds of terrorisms.

    warm regards.

    kamran

  20. Richard from USA

    This article turned my stomache. Here's a muslim trying to make excuses for the way muslims are treated in the United States. He sounds like a cowering ... It wouldn't surprise me if he was paid by the Bush Administration, CIA, or FBI to publish such rubbish.

  21. Yahya Bergum from USA

    I'm a Muslim American who hopes to see a Muslim America (insha'Allah). Such is my hope - whether or not America is considered by "Islamists" to be an Islamic state.

    Furthermore, caring for my brothers and sisters in Muslim lands and taking orders from Muslims seeking to control those lands, no matter the cost to themselves and others, are two very different things. I don't agree with conclusions indicating, one way or another, that there isn't a difference.

    For what it might be worth, mindless support of Muslim tyrants or "Islamist" tyranny is not the sort of rope to which I'm intending to hold fast. I have very different ideas - as to what those tyrants can do with the rope they're extending to my countrymen and myself (insha'Allah).

    And may our dreams be realized, to the benefit of those who please Allah (subhanahu wa ta'ala). Vanity of vanities - who might we expect to receive the product of our labors (other than those who please the Lord of the worlds)?

    Assalamu alaikum wa barakatuhu.

    --Yahya Bergum

  22. Akbar Khan from Canada

    As-salaamu'alaiykum

    Muslims learn from Fiqh, and for those who do not know, Fiqh is ISLAMIC JURISPRUDENCE If you thought about Shariah in the USA...let's remember, that Islamic history and it's accomplishments need to be taught. From the research of recent professors of Islamic history, such as Shaykh Abdullah Hakim-Quick, he will tell you, that American history needs to be rewritten! Muslims from Timbuktu, in present day Mali, Muslims from Al-Andulus (present day Spain and Portugal), and Muslims from CHINA, have all landed in the Americas, Centuries before Christopher Columbus bumped into America and thought he was looking at Indians from Hindustan. Much evidence has surfaced that authenticates that Muslims were the leading explorers in the world from the 10th, to 15th century, and actually drew a MAP of the entire Americas long before Columbus realized that the Earth was round and not flat. If we are going to implement Islam into the United States, lets identify with our historical roots in this country. Let the world know that Abraham Lincoln's wife was a Malunjun, who's ancestors were of Portuguese/Native/African Muslim mixture....let the World know that Elvis Presley's wife was also a Malunjun. Cities like Talahassee in Florida actually comes from Arabic, that Natives in that region and other regions are reverting back to Islam b/c they discovered their roots. Let Americans know that their history needs to be REWRITTEN, that Columbus did not DISCOVER America....that Muslims did not DISCOVER America, Muslims LANDED on the Americas and had dealings with the natives they encountered. Show America that the star spangled banner is not their only history and pride. Let Muslims in the USA realize that their history is deeper and richer in America than they think! Muslims were in the US East Coast, Carribean, and South America while Europe was on a Godless crusade murdering mil's of peaceful Muslims. Let's discover our real roots in this land.

  23. O.N. from USA

    Mr. Muqtadar Khan is known for writing apologies, he is trying his best to fit in to America. His last article also made me furious, and I am still seething with anger, in which he seems to be speaking for American Muslims and boasts how much American Muslims would like to fight for and with America. Now what if America declares that she should invade Makkah, so what a Muslims suppose to do then? He does not present the answer, maybe he does not know what Islam says about his unqualified boasts. I can careless what he says to him self in his toilet, but when his bathroom singing starts to reach print media and he is trying to pose as some sort of representative of Muslim thought I have a problem. Then be ready to hear my singing too. I am tired of these self declared representatives of Muslims, him, Fareed Zakaria. Faud Ajimi and that Sufi and self-declared moderate Muslim and a favorite of Daniel pipe, who claims Muslim women wear Hijab at day time and tote guns and prostitute at night. Please stop representing me and other Muslims (And I know Muslim who have been here 30 and 40 years, who hate these self declared representatives), your understanding of Muslim mind went awry some where, maybe when you joined Brooking institute. I am not a fan of OBL but I know many of these apologists hate OBL, not because OBL's argument has no weight but because he caused ripples in their 'pristine' pound.

    Since he would like to fight for America so much I pray that May Allah give Mr. Muqtadar khan and his children chance to fight for America, just like Karzai and others.

    Islamic values are in conflict with American culture (Like Sister Ann said), and Muslims can not live in a bubble. Society has to be conducive to Islamic values, if we want our children not experience two different set of values, at home and outside. Otherwise we should not blame them if they want to experiment a little in Las Vegas.

  24. Sofia from USA

    My concern and question is this: Why have Muslims altered their God-given name--"Muslim?" When will we begin calling ourselves Muslims, plain and simple?

  25. David Rosenberg from USA

    Mr. Dude, the Author.

    You got to read the public sentiment to your pipe-dreams.

  26. Sofia Shums from USA

    Dear Muslim brothers and sisters!

    Allah SWT has chosen for us a name in the Qur'an. We are Muslims. Let us use the name that Allah has chosen for us and stop calling ourselves Shia-Muslim, Sunni-Muslim, American-Muslim, etc., etc. We are Muslims. Period!

  27. mustafa from usa

    -- sir, and all, i never ever want to see muslim preceded by american again. this american stuff, it edges on pride. am i mistaken or am i being invited to take a slice of the great cake of patriotism? bitter it is. i will have none of it. my alleigence is to Allah swt and serving mankind and all life, i will not be limited by the constricting shadow of a flag.

  28. H.A. from Chechnya

    The author sounds very pessimistic and

    nervous about living in the United States. What is he afraid of?

    Does not he know that he should fear none but Allah?

    The Muslims are strong and the # of Muslims are growing even faster than before 9/11. Nowadays, White and Black Muslim converts are taking over the mosques.

    I advise that the author take a peek at mosques and educate himself about Islam a little. Things he mentioned like...Muslims is America should only be concerned about themselves and not about other Muslims and non-MUSLIMS in the world is kind of UNISLAMIC.

    However, I thank the author for trying to express his views/concerns.

  29. Charles Jacks from usa

    Peace be upon you Sister Anna. Like the various levels of organization within the body from cell to tissue, organ and body, the Muslim must learn to work within the systems of self, family, neighborhood, state and world. These are a part of our environment and humans are won't to organize the environment as they wish. Individuals are more effective in educating other individuals as you state but organizations can be more effective in interacting with other organizations. An individual may not be able to change the way an organization treats them but an organization representing many people can demonstrate to another organization the depth to justify a change. For instance a bank may not create a credit card that doesn't charge interest for one person but might set up a "credit card" that charges a "nominal fee" but no interest for an organization if it can show a large enough customer base to warrant the administration costs.

    Muslims represent an untapped customer base in certain markets and need to "market themselves" by marketing acceptable alternatives. This is a modification of the framework by addition, that could replace elements of the old. Indeed if the old elements are recognized as being detrimental to the state or individuals of the state, especially in comparison to the new ways the individuals will switch to them and be thankful of those that came up with them.

    Keep up the good work at the individual level but learn to recognize what other levels exist and their advantages and disadvantages. The key is to win the hearts and minds of the individuals. To fast a change however will trigger (and I think the talk of making the US an Islamic state has already done so) a reactionary movement. The government is attempting to force the Muslims underground and those it can't and are immigrants it will imprison and expel. This is easy when they are isolated and have no support group.

    They must bind themselves together so that none can be expelled in silence

  30. Charles Jacks from USA

    I think you may be partially correct John Norman, given Palestine, Bosnia, Chechnya, Algeria, Lebanon, Afghanistan and Iraq among others, Muslims may not be very interested in joining western society until the reasonable "demand" for justice is fulfilled. The problem however isn't one of live and let live, the examples I have given are more along the lines of let live and be killed. What you call Western "civilization" would probably be seen in a much better light by Muslims if they had less interaction with it. In other words they might think better of it if fewer of them were victims of it. The vast majority of the world's refugees are Muslims displaced by Western aggression (read civilization if you want).

    I am sure John that if you were being oppressed you would not call for the acceptance of the status quo. With the breakup of the Ottoman Empire the West imposed borders and governments upon the majority of the Muslims they neither wanted or were consulted about. Therefore they do not have self determination as the result of Western intervention. The status quo is the antithesis of self determination. Self determination is a human right recognized by "civilized" governments though rarely allowed by them.

    It is our duty as humans to see to the welfare of all other humans. To do otherwise is not to love our neighbor as ourselves. And as long as one human is oppressed the status quo is unacceptable and must be fought against. Don't you agree John?

  31. Kamran Qureshi from UK

    Dear Brother,

    Assalamoalaikum warahmatullah Wabarakatuhu

    You have mentioned in your article that , i quote 'Muslims in America. American Muslims. The difference between these two labels may seem a matter of semantics...'

    First of all i would like to know what is your definition about a muslim .

    Is not a muslim a person who believes in Allah Subhanuhu Taala and in his messanger Muhammad (PBUH), believes in the Quran and Sunnah and denounces any thing which contradicts the Quran and sunnah.

    If you follow this simple definition then i would ask you that how can the difference between the two labels of Muslims in America and American muslims seem to be a matter of semantics to you or anyone?

    Later on you have mentioned that many of the muslims in America have been undergoing a silent revolution, a trasition from the FIRST kind of muslims to the SECOND kind.

    I ask you have you looked around and observed as to truely what has been going around since 11 september incident?

    There has always been a large sect of these so called American Muslims in America but the tragedy of Sept-11, has been a wakeup call of so many of them.

    Further has caused them to recognize their identity and to revert and accept the beauty of Islam as it actually is and to practise their true faith, not just wear it as a badge!.

    Hence a transition from the SECOND kind to the FIRST has taken place!!!

    This term that you have chosen i.e. American Muslim is nothing but yet another name for the media favourite Moderate muslim.

    The truth is that A muslim is simply a muslim. He lives a muslim and dies as a muslim. Believes in peace, speaks against injustice and denounces all kinds of terrorisms.

    warm regards.

    kamran

  32. Sister Mariam from USA

    My identity as a Muslim American is not under "reconstruction" and I'm the same as I've always been. I don't think Muslim Americans should strive to prove to the American government that we are ethical and humanitarian. We should be striving to prove it to Allah. We have failed in that regard, by inaction, and in failing, our ethics and humanitarianism were reduced to pious words and thoughts, and went unseen by Americans. But first, we have failed Allah.

    Organized giving is a good thing and solidifies the Ummah. A soup kitchen, for instance, carries out Allah's will, and promotes community and brotherhood, which is the beginning of an Islamic state -- a collection of people organized to carry out the will of Allah. An Islamic state does not need territory, it is a state of mind. In fact, a soup kitchen can be a way for Sunni, Ismaili, Shiite, and others to fulfill their Islamic obligations and recognize their similarities, not their differences, which is VERY American and a prime example of Islam in it's "true form."

    When I became a Muslim about 20 years ago, I was disowned and declared stupid by family, friends, and society in general, so the psychological aftermath of 911 was nothing new to me. I'd already confronted it. There's nothing as painful as being rejected by your own family and society.

    So I think organizing politically and socially is a good thing as long as we remember that we are doing it for the sake of Allah, not for our own sakes.

  33. Sister Anna from USA

    As a white US revert, I'm so sick of these sound-good "policy papers". (The solution to a better Islam in America is forming committees, having retreats and conventions, right? Oh, golly,

    why didn't I think of that?! For, I surely need a local organization to help me give out blankets to the poor! Oh, I surely can't do that myself! I surely can't make a meal and hand it out, or tutor kids all by myself! Maybe I should form a committee first!)

    How are these groups of foreign Muslims any different from all the other immigrants

    to the US? The point is, Islam DOES come into conflict with certain aspects of American society.

    The ideas of limited government, freedom and justice for all, The Bill of Rights, all fall under Islamic law, yes. However, Islam comes into great conflict in everyday aspects of US life: the banking system, the insurance system, the public education system, even the currency system. Though, these issues are not limited to America, they're never addressed. Instead, it's all about creating committees, organizations and twisting Islam to make it OK to get a 30 yr.mortgage, a car payment,insurance, checking account, and shipping your kids to co-ed schools where God is never mentioned, getting cable, and using Federal Reserve Notes and credit cards in daily commerce. All for the

    sake of a "better life" so that this next generation can continue to work within the same

    existing framework. But, hey, as long as you're a member of a Muslim organization or wear a kufi it's all OK! I'm an American, but to be a true American is more than just this window dressing. Buy American goods, learn US history, but know that patriotism is more than waving a plastic flag made in China, adopting pop culture, or forming a humanitarian organization. This author's idea of patriotism is one big beaurocratic nightmare and I feel sorry for him. He neither understands Islam nor America. But, maybe there's a place for him

    on some UN committee.

  34. Yahya Leigh from USA

    It is Uncle Tom philosophies like this that cause Muslim to be persecuted on the earth. The writer suggest that we should focus on ourselves and our children before we think about Palestine, Kashmir or Iraq. This is why the muslim world is fragmented. Because we divide our selves. We are Muslim who happen to be in America. We are Muslim first and if we all held that view. Unification would be alot easier. But no we are Pakistani Muslim, Iranian Muslims, African American Muslim etc. It was our on selfish thinking that caused us to support Bush and forget other issues dealing with minorties and civil rights. Now our civil rights are taken away. Muslim have consistently failed to speak out against injustices in this country. Now the biggest injustices are happening to us and every one is silent. Muslim have turned into a bunch sisies. We are afraid of Pharoah. We are afraid to take a stand against injustice even when it threaten ourselves and our children. If we were doing our job this country would view us differently. However we are silent about injustice. We turn away from the poor and ride pass the homeless on our way to the Masjid in our Mercedes Bens.

  35. saif from U.S.A

    Over the last few months I have become increasingly disappointed in Islamicities web article selections. I am almost certain to find some form of apologist article each time I enter this site, and this absolute rubbish of an article is a prime example. I would like to think that speaking the truth is something we should cultivate even if it causes others to despise or persecute us. So please Islamicity quit cowering and find some articles to post that actually take a stand. I'm sure you're trying to appeal to everybody at the same time, but it appears more like waffling and it won't be long before I stop visiting this site all together. Like Ole George the gunslinger says "you're either with us or against us."

  36. Charles Jacks from USA

    The United States of America never would have been and never will be a specifically islamic nation though it can still become a universally islamic nation. What do I mean? We all know that Islam is the universal religion that was taught by Allah to all the prophets, however, God taught them different ways of fasting and different ways of praying. And we can assure ourselves that each of these are a part of that universal Islam. In the quran Allah commands us to fast and pray but does not specify the details of how. Each has its advantages and disadvantages which The Most Merciful, The Most gracious matched to the conditions of the people. The specific instructions to the followers of Mohammed may not match the conditions of the people of the USofA. Indeed when I see brothers arguing over how to hold their hands, and what to say in prayer I think there are many specific Islams and they would be in constant conflict when brought together in the US. This is one of the great tricks of the whisperer of evil to belittle a religion and spread corruption.

  37. S. Kashif Haque from USA

    Salaam aleikum,

    The author here seems rather confused in terms of identity and would do himself and his supporters well to reaquaint with the Islamic concepts of "ummah" "wal'aa" and "bar'aa" (loyalty and allegiance). Specifically one quote from the article seems especially interesting...

    "but Muslims must realize that the interests of our sons and daughters, who are American, must come BEFORE the interests of our brothers and sisters, whether they are Palestinian, Kashmiri or Iraqi. Only then will Muslims in America become American Muslims."

    Following the natural extension of this logic..is the author willing to send his own son/daughter to 'defend' his homeland (the U.S. empire) by bombing, killing, torturing other Muslims in the name of "fighting terrorism"? Moreover, what about the ayahs:

    Say: "If your fathers, and your sons, and your brethren, and your wives, and your tribe, and the wealth you have acquired, and merchandise for which you fear that there will be no sale, and dwellings you desire are dearer to you than

    Allah and His messenger and striving in His way: then wait till Allah brings His command to pass. Allah guides not wrongdoing folk" [TMQ 9:24].

    and: "O you who believe, fear Allah as He should be feared, and die not except in a state of Islam. And hold fast all together by the rope of Allah and be not divided among yourselves." [TMQ Al-e-Imran: 102- 103]

    and the sayings of the prophet (Saw) on this:

    "He is not one of us who calls for Asabiyyah, (tribalism, nationalism) or who fights for 'Asabiyyah or who dies for 'Asabiyyah." [Abu Dawud

    Hence, how does all of this square with the neo-"American" muslim nationalism/tribalism that the author advocates? In a rush to be "accepted" and "fit in" do we discard islamic obligations to Muslims the world over? Do the Muslims overseas suffering under the boots of U.S. imperialism vis-a-vis Iraq, Afghanistan, and other u.s. funded regimes in the Muslim world, not have

  38. john norman from uk

    Perhaps if Muslims did not use the word "demand" so frequently, as in "demand to change the world for Muslims", there would be a lot less hostility towards them. Muslims must learn to live and let live and not "demand" if they wish to be fully accepted partners in Western civilisation. Otherwise, we shall see no end to communal tensions, communalism and even bloody clashes.

  39. Ahmed from UK

    Before even clicking I knew an article like this had to come from Muqtedar Khan. Khan is a weak apologist and an unwanted spokesmen for Muslims anywhere. His writings continue to be based on shoddy premise and evidence. Khan has internalised much of the phony rhetoric hurled at Muslims by those who dont mean us well.

    Khan would have us believe that before 9/11 Muslim Americans were doing great and all was well and good. Anyone who has studyied civil rights violations prior to 9/11 would find Khan's statement at odds with reality.

    This is the same man who in an earliar article bragged about wanting to be a "Muslim Kissinger"....its not everyday you get to hear of people modeling themselves after known war criminals. Daydreaming or delusion ?

    Khan presents as a good docile "moderate" Muslim, one who lovingly seeks favor and approval from an uninterested white father, one who hurls invective at his own to please those who delight in villifying Muslims. Speak for yourself mate, you dont represent me or any other Muslim.

    In the words of a great Muslim American "Be polite, be respectful, obey the law, but the moment somebody lays a finger on you, send him to the cemetary." - Malcolm X