A voice of the Muslim Ummah  


IQRA Site Links


About Iqra
Online Issues
Site Map


[CCM Home]

<< Return to the Editorials Page <<


Will Americans Learn to Embrace Islam?

During the last thirty years, the period of my own first-hand observations, America has changed considerably and has become extremely tolerant.

Thirty years ago, the state had not openly started to support gambling; the lottery did not exist. Narcotics among the general public were just beginning to surface. There was no need for police officers or security guards in schools. Many highly reputable institutions only admitted members of one sex; but two men holding hands in public would have, at the least, drawn disapproving glares. The movement of hemlines upward by just a few inches used to make headlines. Birth control techniques were discussed only in very private circumstances. Abortion and open fornication were still taboo. The percentage of teenage pregnancies was negligible and a single parent was a real oddity. Divorce was almost unknown and not easy to obtain. Suicide was shameful; assisted suicide was unheard of and unimaginable. Cremation was an exotic ritual; people generally preferred and could afford to be buried rather than burned. Many, if not all, schools required or allowed prayers.

Over the years, laws have been adjusted to conform to new trends. Enough people have changed their ways of thinking so that when secular laws are promulgated to tolerate new behavior, there is very little opposition, except in the case of a few issues such as abortion. Hardly anyone cares to point out what the Creator of us all said about these matters in the Torah or the Gospels. Those who should know better willingly or unwillingly follow the secular laws, even when those laws blatantly contradict divine guidance. We do not begrudge American society this laxity. To every people is their own way of life (religion).

However, many of these secular laws are simply not acceptable for Muslims. The laws contained in our holy book, the Qur’an, cannot be changed or reinterpreted to suit the fancy of twentieth century free thinkers. In every aspect of our lives, Muslims have to be allowed to follow divine guidance. If we do not wish to expose ourselves and our children to usury (interest), gambling, intoxication, drugs, loose sexual mores, and issues such as abortion, all of which abound in public institutions and in all forms of the mass media, we need to have a choice. We deserve to have a choice. No law should force us to comply to ideas which are touted by those who are loyal to the concept of separation of church and daily life.

The position of Muslims in America has also been changing through the years. Thirty years ago there were very few Muslims in this state, no Muslim places of worship and hardly any awareness of the creed which we are duty-bound to follow. The attitude of America towards this change has been mostly a benign neglect. Most hope that with time these Muslims will disappear in the melting pot. Intolerant individuals have passed laws against head coverings at schools, places of work and in courts, have denied time off for daily prayers and religious festivals, and have insisted that Muslims join in the worship of the flag. A few belligerent ones have hissed and hooted, terrorized Muslim families, and even invaded mosques with shoes on and musical instruments blasting. Unfortunately the law frequently sides with the aggressors.

The changes have not slowed; if anything at all they are quickening. Whereas three decades ago, most Muslims were immigrants, with funny accents and looks, trying their best to conform to American norms, the new Muslim is American-born, eager to look different and to worship in a quite unfamiliar way. This new Muslim is not only Afro-American, he is also of Anglo-Saxon, Spanish and Native American extraction. Many people are eager to ask questions and learn why we do what we do. They are being introduced to a new way of thinking.

The question that begs an answer is, “Where is this change leading?” Are Americans, especially lawmakers, going to resist this change? Or are Americans eventually going to tolerate this movement graciously and accept it wholeheartedly as a vitalizing force in their own lives? Are they going to keep on believing the main stream media depiction of Islam as a religion to resist? Will the day come when their own sons and daughters will tire of the meaningless pleasures of ‘doing their own thing’ and turn to the guidance and peace of mind open to them through Islam? Only Allah knows!

The above article also appeared in March 27, 1997 issue of New Haven Register, 40 Sargent Drive, New Haven, CT 06511.

Published: June 1997



Last modified 08/12/05 09:25 AM - Iqra - ISSN #1062-2756