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American Muslims & Center Left Politics

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In 2000, the American-Muslim community bloc-endorsed Republicans b/c Bush promised a repeal of the Secret Evidence Act. At that time I thought this sponsorship was a mistake. Especially since black-Muslims (as opposed to immigrant Muslims), stuck with the Democrats. [Some of the largely Arab Immigrant Muslim leadership felt that Liberman was going to be more pro-Israel than any Republican – so that was an issue as well].

Needless to say, the younger generation of American Muslim (immigrants) thought the bloc-vote was wrong and expressed their contempt by voting for Nader. In the end, nothing good came out of either the bloc vote or the protest vote. Professor Sami Al-Arian, formerly one of the most active of the immigrant Muslims in the Bush camp, ended up with the entire DOJ going after him. Not only that, but his son was thrown out of a meeting with Karl Rove due to “security concerns.� But even aside from him, the single Muslim aide in the White House was dismissed after 9/11. And we know what happened to Nader and his supporters.

Then in 2004, Muslims really didn’t have a collective voice and voted on an anti-Bush platform.

There are two camps in American-Muslims. One, which just wants to be left alone, make its money, not be harassed from the authorities, and for America to take a peaceful approach to the rest of the world. It will pretty much vote for anyone who assures them these things.

The other, to which I belong, is the more “engaged� American Muslim, who is aware that in some cases America does have to intervene (Bosnia), who agrees that civil liberties are important, but who also wants to take a measured and tough (not merely belligerent) stance against Muslim extremism (both in its international and domestic variety). We are Muslims who feel that while Islamic theology doesn’t need a ‘reformation’ (largely because we are fideistic), its social, legal, and culture components certainly need overhaul. We disapprove of the way Muslim tyrants, terrorists, and demagogues are treating the rest of Muslims (and the world). We disapprove of the way they exclude women, gays, and minorities from discourse in the Muslim world, and how they stifle creativity and enterprise within American-Islam by having a myopic vision of what it means to be a “good� Muslim.

Read the rest at my blog and feel free to leave a comment.