I was roped into doing this by a buddy of mine on a blog he writes for, and couldn’t resist. I play the Sufi mystic in the comments. Those familiar with comparative religion and perennial philosophy will get a kick out of this. -Jay
What Do Muslims Know About America Before They Move Here?
This is not a rhetorical question, I’m looking for an answer: What do Muslims know about America before they move here?
I think conditions in their home countries must be much worse than we can imagine. For an example, even if I found a killer job in the United Arab Emirates, (and killer jobs are available there,) I think I would first check to see where the country stood on Westerners. If they seemed pretty cool, then I might consider the move. I would not think, “aw, I’m a nice guy, once they get to know me everything’ll be just fine” -because who knows what could happen before they figure out how swell a fellow I am?
NPR reports that Muslims have been having a hard time erecting mosques in America. Even in 1995, studies showed that over half of the Americans polled believed Islam was anti-American, anti-western, and pro-terrorism. After September 11th, these numbers have grown, obviously.
Don’t get me wrong, I’m not in support of Muslims being given a hard time… I just wonder, do they have any idea before they come over here that they aren’t going to be met with overwhelming support? I doubt they do because their countries hate America. Most Muslim countries polled distrust Americans more than Americans distrust Muslims.
Some of things I find most baffling:
1. They chose places like Tennessee. Did no one tell them that the Klan originated in Tennessee? Having spent a lot of my life there, I still don’t feel that I can travel through some areas of the state without feeling a little redneck pressure. What makes someone drive through Columbia, Tennessee and say, “looks like as good of a place for a mosque as any?” All of the complaints mentioned by the man on NPR are for places like Omaha, parts of Iowa, Oklahoma… places that any progressive American would want nothing to do with.
2. Why come to America at all? Since whatever country they would be coming from likely doesn’t like us, why pick America of all places? I don’t know if their news covers it, but certain Americans are throwing quite a fit about a group of Christians immigrating and “taking their jobs” -and these people just happen to be a little darker and speak Spanish, not an entire cultural upheaval.
3. The people who want to be kind and support them are usually not the kind of people a devout and faithful Muslim would like. They will be the abortion supporters, the homosexuals, and generally sinful. Just coming from my own perspective, if I did believe in their religion, I would want to stay as far away from America as possible. To disparage the President, people claim he is Muslim. Many Americans believe we are at war with Muslims. (Which there is an element of truth to, in the sense we never would have been so bold with a white Christian country.)
In American, there is freedom of religion. There is a separation of church and state. However, I’m sure there aren’t many nations that stay occupied with it less. I have heard my entire life, mostly in the south, that we have lost are way and we need to get back to America’s original Christian values. Many Americans believe that the country was founded by Christians, rather than deist humanists. (Because our education system sucks, another nice thing about America.)
For the record, if there are any Muslims that read this, I don’t want to deter you. All I am saying is you must realize that it is going to be hard to assimilate into the culture if you move into a place that is 98% Baptist, 75% white, and 56% of people suspect you of being a car-bomber in waiting.
There are many places in America that would be a great place to live as a member of the Islamic faith, but you should think before you set up housekeeping and build a mosque. One should check out all the options before making a firm decision on where to spend the rest of their life.
Columbia, Tennessee… Seriously?