Reports The Christian Science Monitor.
[Y]oung Muslim-Americans today [are] educated, motivated, and integrated into society – and their voices help explain how the nation’s history of inclusion has helped to defuse sparks of Islamist extremism.
“American society is more into the whole assimilation aspect of it,” says New York-born [Omar] Jaber [an AmeriCorps volunteer]. “In America, it’s a lot easier to practice our religion without complications.”
In a nation where mosques have sprung up alongside churches and synagogues, where Muslim women are free to wear the hijab (or not), and where education and job opportunities range from decent to good, the resentments that can breed extremism do not seem very evident in the Muslim community. [ … ]
“What we have here among Muslim-Americans is a very conservative success ethic,” says John Zogby, president of Zogby International in Utica, N.Y., whose polling firm has surveyed the Muslim-American community. “People come to this country and they like it. They don’t view it as the belly of the beast. With very few exceptions, you don’t see the bitter enclaves that you have in Europe.” [ … ]
America, too, has poorer neighborhoods with large Muslim concentrations, but they tend to be interspersed with other ethnic groups and better assimilated into society. [ … ]
In the US, 95 percent of Muslim-Americans are high school graduates, according to “Muslims in the Public Square,” a Zogby International survey in 2004. Almost 60 percent are college graduates, and Muslims are thriving economically around the country. Sixty-nine percent of adults make more than $35,000 a year, and one-third earn more than $75,000, the survey showed.
And so they haven’t needed Saudi money to build (Wahhabi) mosques, unlike the much poorer and more isolated British and other European Muslim communities, where the rate of unemployment and frustration among young men is dangerously high.
Heck, Ali Eteraz could have told them all that.
Read the whole article — and read Ali’s for even better analysis. In a dark time, it’ll make you feel proud of this (yes, I’ll be corny) land of opportunity, this experiment that works, for all its faults.
(What’s curious to me is that radical Islam hasn’t made bigger inroads into black American ghettoes — a question Ali also raises. It may be that even there, the capitalist allure of sports and hip-hop offers an antidotal form of the American dream. Or it may be that the pathology of the ‘hood is more self-destructive and disorganized . . . and when religion serves as a redemptive and organizing force, it’s usually the bone-deep, loving, long-suffering and optimistic Christianity of African-American tradition.)