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Ray
06 Sep 06,, 20:44
Wednesday, September 06, 2006 E-Mail this article to a friend Printer Friendly Version

Ultra-conservative Islam in US increasing in appeal

By Khalid Hasan

WASHINGTON: If there are six million Muslims in the United States, then roughly just under half a million of them follow an ultra-conservative, exclusionist Salafist interpretation of Islam, according to one estimate.

The Washington Post, in a three-part series that ended on Tuesday, has taken a close look at the Muslim community concentrated in the greater Washington area and come up with some disturbing findings.

One ultra-conservative centre is Darus Salaam in the city’s College Park suburb where the imam, Safi Khan, a Saudi-trained Pakistani immigrant, urges Muslims to retain their identity by becoming an island unto themselves. The report says, “The US-raised son of Pakistani immigrants, Khan invokes the certainty of hellfire for those who flout God’s commandments, and he preaches that attaining a moral Islamic life in contemporary America requires shunning many commonplace things. “For example, if you go home and watch TV every day… that’s not going to help you get close to God,” he says in one lecture. “If you go out to the game … or if you go to the movies often, if you love to go to parties, if you love music — all these things are not going to bring you closer to Allah.” Also forbidden by Islam, Khan teaches, are “love letters, or chatting in the chat room without the presence of a guardian, … or writing e-mails that you know you have no business writing.””

The Post investigation concludes that Safi Khan’s dream reflects the strict Salafi approach that teaches that Muslims in the US need close-knit communities to cope with Western pressures. According to the Post report, “Ultimately, if American Muslims continue to feel embattled, Salafism itself could become more attractive. When moderate Muslim groups that promote integration feel they are under scrutiny or discredited by the government, said Najam Haider, an adjunct professor of Islamic studies at Georgetown University. “Muslims turn societally inward, and that turning inward gives Salafism more influence because Salafis aren’t saying we need to integrate.”’ What they offer, Haider added, is an alternative. “Muslim identity that is separate from America, grounded in Islamic history, a very demarcated community of Muslims. Those are very separate from American values in a lot of ways.”
http://www.dailytimes.com.pk/default.asp?page=2006\09\06\story_6-9-2006_pg7_30

This is a timely warning from a Pakistani newspaper of the horrors in store for America.

One wonders if the Americans have overplayed the Moslem terrorist card wherein the Moslems in America and elsewhere are embattled.

One wonders if the Iraq War and its aftermath is alienating the Moslems and making them diehard fanatics or veering them to think in the lines of the ultra fanatical Moslems of the Wahhabi and Deobandi variety.

Where is the flaw in the US approach to Islamic fundmentalism?

Is this hate (or maybe fear) of Islam not a subconscious urge because of the political rhetoric periodically fed by the media and even by the politicians?

Whatever, the outcome does indicate that Islam may put the US on flames.

Even the Shias will join in since Iran is their Mecca (in a manner of speaking, that is)!

The whole thing is very worrisome.

highsea
11 Sep 06,, 17:47
...One wonders if the Americans have overplayed the Moslem terrorist card wherein the Moslems in America and elsewhere are embattled.On the whole, Muslims are better integrated in America than anywhere else in the world (that is not a "muslim country"). There is some radicalization among the youth going on, but not on a large scale. The trouble spots are pretty well identified and watched, and are mostly isolated to a few large cities like LA, Detroit, and Washington. Nothing surprising there.

Muslim immigrants are less likely to create enclaves in America than they are in Europe, and their standard of living is higher on average- 2/3 of muslim households in America have a household income over $50,000/year, when the average is $42,000. A quarter of muslim households earn over $100,000/year.

Most muslims that come to America already speak english, and they send their kids to public schools. We do not have State-funded religious schools here like in Europe and other places, so the kids don't really get the opportunity to separate from the "melting pot". Intolerance based on racial or religious identity is strongly discouraged in the public education system.

The majority of muslims that come here are middle class, relatively well educated, and fairly worldly in their outlook. Their kids learn english early on, and pretty much tend to follow the traditional path to integration and adaptation to American society.

There will always be exeptions, and there are pockets of radicalization, but on the whole the article in the OP exagerrates the issue. The vast majority of muslims in America get along quite well, especially considering the backlash from 9/11 that they have to deal with. And they are pretty intolerant of the extremists among them, since they understand that it threatens their own existence in America. They came here to make a better life for their children, and do not want to jeopardize that.

..."Whatever, the outcome does indicate that Islam may put the US on flames."This is fear-mongering, Sir. You're painting with a very broad brush. I agree that there are some serious problems in Islam, but I do not believe that it is representative of the majority of muslims in America.

Lunatock
11 Sep 06,, 18:11
This is fear-mongering, Sir. You're painting with a very broad brush. I agree that there are some serious problems in Islam, but I do not believe that it is representative of the majority of muslims in America.

I've been on the receiving end of such behaviour by homeland security types who at least claim to be fighting terrorism. And needless to say what I've been needlessly subjected to has only managed to keep pissing me off.

Tronic
11 Sep 06,, 18:50
I think one society where Muslims are very well blended in with the rest of society is India; well, North India atleast... only problem is, many Muslim families are low-income families... and wherever there is poverty, there is fanaticism.... other then that, Muslims have been quite successful in all areas and a lot of the well-off and rich muslims are very moderate and secular....

highsea
11 Sep 06,, 19:34
I've been on the receiving end of such behaviour by homeland security types who at least claim to be fighting terrorism. And needless to say what I've been needlessly subjected to has only managed to keep pissing me off.Yet it hasn't turned you into an extremist. You at least understand why it happens. Even though it has caused you discomfort and inconvenience, you understand that the fight against Islamic extremism is at least as much your fight as mine, and it has already affected your lifestyle to some degree.

All of us have to deal with "needless" searches, etc when we travel or cross borders. It's part of the way things are in the US, and will be from now on. The inconvenience is certainly not limited to muslims. I know that I have not personally experienced any favoritism at the airport because I am caucasian or a US citizen. I stand in the same line, take off my shoes, etc. just like everyone else.

None of my business, but I do not get the impression that you were born here. The point I was making about integrating into American society relates more to those muslims who are the sons and daughters of immigrants. It's the second generation, that are born here (or arrive before school age), who tend to be more liberal in their outlook, largely due to the experience they have in the schools with a wide variety of races and religions.

The adults don't have much of a problem- as I said, they are typically middle class, fairly well educated, and know why they came here. It's the ones who came as teenagers who are the ones at risk- they are old enough to be set in their attitudes, yet feel like they did not have a say in the decision to come here. They have the toughest problem in school, they often do not speak the language, and they are at an age where peer pressure and peer approval seems like the most important thing in the world. If they feel rejected at school, they retreat into themselves and blame the rest of the world for their problems. It's these kids who are the targets of the extremists.

This is not meant to be rude, but I get very tired of people who come here and then do nothing but b*tch about America. If it's so bad, they should just go back where they came from, and leave the rest of us to go about our business. There's a 14 year waiting list to get in as it is- there are plenty of people standing in line, and if someone isn't happy, they should make way for someone else who will be.

Archer
11 Sep 06,, 20:37
This is fear-mongering, Sir. You're painting with a very broad brush. I agree that there are some serious problems in Islam, but I do not believe that it is representative of the majority of muslims in America.

Fair point, but the basic issue is that there are very few (as % of the population) Muslims in America. If it were more, then you'd have much more trouble and assertiveness from the community. Thats been the record pretty much everywhere else, and when the clerics start asserting themselves as the voice of the community and overt display of fundamentalism is considered ok.

Archer
11 Sep 06,, 20:46
I think one society where Muslims are very well blended in with the rest of society is India; well, North India atleast... only problem is, many Muslim families are low-income families... and wherever there is poverty, there is fanaticism.... other then that, Muslims have been quite successful in all areas and a lot of the well-off and rich muslims are very moderate and secular....

Tronic, seriously- you are kidding, or you are unaware of Indian history. You, I assume are in Punjab. Partition ensured that most Muslims left for Pak, one way or the other. I wouldnt go into details but it wasnt pretty.

I appreciate your belief in standing up for Muslims as you feel they deserve a voice. But Indian Islam is no beacon of moderation 24/7, especially in North India. I grew up in North India & most of my classmates were from Muslim families. The amount of religious bigotry and fundamentalism I saw amongst them had few parallels, even years thence. Of course, as a child, you tend to ignore all that- but now when I reflect upon it, sheesh. Sure, as you note, there were economic issues, but at the same time- there were definite cultural problems as well. They had a belief in the superiority of Islam vs other religions & never missed a chance to point it out or even indulge in violence (which used to lead to retaliation), not just pride in their religion- a very schizoid form of behaviour. Definitely partly thanks to their weekend indoctrination at their madrassas.

The Vande Mataram controversy now? Sheesh. Some of my schoolmates, at the age of 14 itself refused to sing the national anthem, forget VM.

The Indian republic has always mollycoddled its Muslim minority assuming that by doing so, they would self-moderate. All it has done is give the fanatical elements leadership positions, and made the community get used to acting beyond the pale.

I cannot imagine a kid, in the US refusing to sing the US national anthem. But such things were all too common and more importantly- accepted. Chalta hain/ "Its ok".

BTW Deoband is in the North. Most of the hardcore SIMI types, are from the North, namely Uttar Pradesh and Bihar.

Yes, most Muslims in India are away from the pale of terrorism or the like. Part of the reason is that India is NOT a Muslim majority country. In Malegaon- yes, the same 70% Muslim dominated town which saw the bomb blasts recently, there were riots between Hindus and Muslims over the Muslims taking out an anti-American, pro-Iraq procession. Funny eh, check it up.

Hence, Muslims, the sane ones anyway, live and let live with their Hindu neighbours as their are unwritten rules and lines noone wishes to cross. However, things are at a boiling point now. SIMI, the assorted Deoband Maulanas and their edicts, and the utter spinelessness of GOI in dealing with Pak terror has made the anger in the Hindu community vs the Muslims worse. At any rate, its best that Indians understand this and address it, rather than us patting ourselves on our back on how we are better off than the rest of the world. In the South, I had Muslim friends who were much more moderate. I hope to God, these latter are the "future" Muslims of India rather than the Deoband/ SIMI types.

Lunatock
12 Sep 06,, 00:20
Yet it hasn't turned you into an extremist. You at least understand why it happens. Even though it has caused you discomfort and inconvenience, you understand that the fight against Islamic extremism is at least as much your fight as mine, and it has already affected your lifestyle to some degree.

But the actions of some downright fecking idiots I was lucky enough to have to deal with might of pushed me a little closer towards it. Or at least have me wanting to pack my stuff & move to Canada asap.



This is not meant to be rude, but I get very tired of people who come here and then do nothing but b*tch about America. If it's so bad, they should just go back where they came from, and leave the rest of us to go about our business. There's a 14 year waiting list to get in as it is- there are plenty of people standing in line, and if someone isn't happy, they should make way for someone else who will be.

Well lets see now. The luck of the draw had me being bullied by the idiots listed above. And I've a hunch this'll put a TSA asking you to take off your shoes in perspective.

They made themselves known by not just searching my mail, but taking it! I know for a fact that some mail from a former member of the 82nd Airborne, she said a package came back open and one of the book she mailed me was gone!, A CD single by the band Cornbread -which I paid for and contributed to the hero fund at the same time, and some mail from none other than the Jewish Assassin got plucked by some brave REMF "fighters of terrorism". Which is twice as rediculous considering who sent me the **** in the first place.

And that was topped by a "test" to see if I was a terrorist. To say the short as possible version, some homeland security type morons (maybe also a russian doucher or two if I'm not mistaken :mad: ) suckered me into a sham of an engagement.

I was about homicidally & potentially treasonously pissed the **** off not too long ago when I found out that I passed some uber genious test that started with me being suckered into said bogus engagement, suckered into thinking I was engaged...but it was just a trick by some assholes "who just wanted to see if I was a terrorist".

Well the good news is I at least wasn't a terrorist. But oddly enough I was recently in my worst bad mood since...well, possibly ever.

And I think I might of fell a few wrungs on the humanity ladder, judging by the recently picked up bad habit of using the late Basayev & his followers home grown racist word "russnyans". But kudo's to the US Goverment for their effort to weed me out from the terrorists.

Repatriated Canuck
12 Sep 06,, 15:32
Yes, you should have picked Canada where we are too afraid of offending you to pull that as often, we have our idiots too so I had to say as often.....

Lunatock
12 Sep 06,, 16:47
Yes, you should have picked Canada where we are too afraid of offending you to pull that as often, we have our idiots too so I had to say as often.....

Or I'd probably just relocate somewhere that people know what the hell their doing, and don't confuse the Rangers, 82nd, and IDF with the various terrorist groups.

Tokyo Drifter
09 Nov 06,, 05:04
African American from Minnesota Becomes First Muslim Elected to U.S. Congress
http://www.voanews.com/english/AmericanLife/2006-11-08-voa80.cfm