Islam and American Democracy
by Imaad Malik
The time has come for Muslims in America to step out from the shadows of American society and step into America's conservative political movement. We must work as a religious community to bring Islam into America's political mainstream
Muslims are hiding in America and continue to remain silent on terrorism and corruption in the Muslim world. We must categorically denounce terrorism and social corruption. American Muslims must redefine Islam for the 21st century.
America is currently engaged in wars in two Muslim countries – Afghanistan and Iraq. In addition, Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad threatens the West and its support for Israel, above all in Iran's quest for nuclear weapons.
The Muslim world is defined by despotic regimes, armed conflicts, terror against, civilians, and sectarian violence. The Muslim world appears void of spiritual and intellectual dynamism. We have allowed Islam to be relegated to the fringes of human civilization.
Here at home, there is a high probability that terrorist sleeper cells are plotting the massacre of American civilians and destruction of key economic and military facilities, threatening America's national security.
We in the Muslim community must recognize America as a republic founded on Judeo-Christian principles. And it is imperative, in the aftermath of the horror of September 11. 2001, that the American Muslim community redefine Islam in harmony with American democracy and its Judeo-Christian heritage.
Today, American Muslims have a great opportunity to redefine Islam as a vibrant religion able to meet the social, political, and economic challenges of a globalizing 21st century. American Muslims can play a particularly productive role by joining American mainstream conservatism.
America, like the global Islamic community, is engaged in a struggle to define itself in the midst of rapid cultural change – a meltdown. America faces a domestic conflict in which conservatives oppose extreme secularism, the excesses of materialism and the forces of "liberal" socialism.
In mainstream American conservatism, Muslims will find other religious groups such as Catholics, both Orthodox and Conservative Jews, and a very strong representation from the Protestant evangelical movement.
Upon entering the mainstream, Muslims will find common ground based on shared social and religious values. These comprise a strong commitment to core religious beliefs, as well as the traditional family, community, and socio-economic prosperity.
Given the current crisis within both cultures, Muslims learn there is a partnership that can exist between America and Islam. And within this mutual relationship, Muslims can help to enhance the best of America's Judeo-Christian, monotheistic heritage. In turn, American Muslims can reshape Islam to meet the social and economic needs of its community in the future.
In the 2000 Presidential election, the Muslim community strongly supported President George W. Bush and the Republican party. In 2004, however, the Muslim community overwhelmingly supported Democratic candidate John Kerry, migrating away from the Republican party. Now only 12% call themselves Republican, while 50% consider themselves Democrats and 31% independent.
The reason? After 9/11, the Muslim community reacted negatively to President Bush's policies in the Global War on Terror. The USA Patriot Act, to cite one example, was a pretext for panic and hysteria within the American Muslim community. Key Muslim organizations formed a task force that fomented fear within the American Muslim community.
America's self-styled Muslim leadership disguises itself in the costume of "civil rights" advocacy, but they represent nothing more than special interest groups employing scare tactics to achieve their political ends. America's Islamic establishment is incapable of uniting Islam with the mainstream of post-9/11 America.
President Bush has made a clear distinction, stating that America is at war with terrorism - America is not at war with Islam. However, many leaders of the Muslim community conveniently choose not to educate Muslims on this distinction.
Furthermore, much of the current Muslim leadership are apologists for terrorist organizations. Many of the American Muslim organizations, by virtue of pressure tactics and propaganda, effectively undermine national security.
If the American Muslim community continues to support discredited leaders and adopt a liberal-socialist agenda antithetical to American democracy, Islam will remain irrelevant to Americans of goodwill for yet another century.
The Muslim community must stand resolute against terrorism. The American Muslim community should call for an end to all armed conflicts involving the Muslim world. American Muslims should take a more active role in bringing innovative solutions to the end of bloodshed and violence affecting the Muslim world.
We must also show strong public support for the courageous men and women in the United States Armed Forces. Paying tribute to the men and women who risk their lives for the liberties that Muslims enjoy in America will reinforce our bond with the mainstream of American society.
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