Protecting American Values From Extremists.

(x-posted from U.S. of J.)

I agree with conservatives like David Horowitz and John Hinderacker; in light of the shooting at Ft. Hood, we need to reassert and protect our values. The question of course, is the who we’re protecting our values from. Hint: it’s not Muslims. But first, a few quick points about Muslim-American attitudes:

1. Muslim-American are overwhelmingly happy with their place in the United States:

 

Back in 2007, the Pew Research Center released the first comprehensive survey of Muslim-American attitudes. According to the survey, nearly eight out of ten Muslim-Americans say that they are happy with their lives in the United States. To break that down a bit, 24 percent of Muslim Americans would say that they are “very happy” with their lives, 54 percent would say that they are “pretty happy,” and only 18 percent would say “not too happy.” Among the general public, those numbers are 36 percent, 51 percent and 12 percent respectively. Which brings me to my next point…

2. Most Muslim-Americans see no conflict between religious commitment and living in a modern society:

63 percent of Muslim-Americans say that they see no conflict between being a devout Muslim and living in a modern society. What’s more, a strong plurality of Muslims (43 percent) say that Muslims coming to America today should adopt American customs. By contrast, only 26 percent say that they should remain distinct, and 16 percent say that they should try both. Indeed, reading through the report, the vast majority of data suggests that on the whole, Muslims are glad to be in the United States and happy with the opportunities the country provides them.

Unfortunately, a good majority of Muslims are also worried about various forms of discrimination, racism, prejudice and stereotyping. 19 percent of Muslims say that they are worried about discrimination/racism/prejudice, 15 percent are worried about being viewed as terrorists, 14 percent are worried about ignorance of Islam, and 12 percent are worried about stereotyping.

This is a really important point. Contra the Hinderaker’s and Horowitz’s, we have absolutely nothing to fear from the 2.5 million Muslims who call the United States home. It’s to our credit as Americans that we have built a society where people of different religious beliefs and cultural traditions can live and work in peace without fear of harassment. Insofar that we should worry about anything, it’s those who would ostracize Muslims and use the weight of the federal government to isolate them. Anger and hostility breed hatred and extremism, and if we want to remain a society committed to tolerance and mutual respect, then we should work our hardest to marginalize anti-Muslim voices.

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Jamelle Bouie is a writer for Slate. He has also written for The Daily Beast, The American Prospect and The Nation. His work centers on politics, race, and the intersection of the two. You can find him on Twitter, Flickr, and Instagram as jbouie.

4 comments to Protecting American Values From Extremists.

  • I’d like to protect secularism against religiously-justified violent ideology, absolutely. But as horrible as the Ft Hood shootings were, I actually think that its radical Christianity, rather than radical Islam, that’s the bigger threat to American values….

  • Linda

    I agree with bitchphd – I’m more more afraid of Christian funamentalists than Muslim fundamentalists!

  • As an activist for Jain minority right under the Indian constitution I find this survey quite optimistic and encouraging. There is a large presence of Jains in the US. I have had the privilege to give a talk on Jain minority issue at the annual even of the JAINA a Jain orgainisation in the US.And now with a Black President with a Muslim tag in his ancestry for the first time ever I think the global perspective on secularism and religion is ripe for a seachange.

  • LaJane Galt

    I agree. What’s concerns me is that nobody is really discussing the evangelizing that goes on in the military and the crusader ethos that has really been drummed up the last eight years.

    In addition, I can only imagine what kind of hate this dr. had to listen to as part of his official duties.

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