In the years after the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks, many American Muslim groups went out of their way to make it clear they abhor terrorism, and to educate people about Islam. But some Muslims now say the outreach is being undone by the controversy over the so-called "Ground Zero mosque," which has sparked protests as well as vandalism at several Muslim cultural centers. "We worry: Will we ever be really completely accepted in American society?" Dr. Ferhan Asghar of Cincinnati told The New York Times. In this tense political atmosphere, is full assimilation impossible for American Muslims? (Watch a local report about Muslims and assimilation)
No — Muslims just have to try harder: The wounds of 9/11 are still raw, says Robert Kelly in Cape Cod Today, so most Americans are understandably afraid that radicals would view the "Ground Zero mosque" as a "victory" monument. So if "peaceful" U.S. Muslims really want to assimilate, they should "unite," and "stop this project in its tracks." That would go a long way toward showing their fellow Americans whose side they're on.
"The mosque of reconciliation"
Beware the risk of radicalizing moderate Muslims: American Muslims are "educated, prosperous, moderate, and integrated into every level of American society," says blogger ThosPayne at Auburn Journal. They could be "our nation's greatest weapon in fighting" Muslim extremists. But this recent outburst of anti-Muslim fever could play into the hands of al Qaeda, by convincing peace-loving Muslims that the U.S., despite its "fancy talk" about religious freedom, really hates them after all.
"Islamophobia, part 2"
Muslims are blending in better than Irish Catholics did: U.S. Muslims are melting into the American mainstream as quickly as many other groups have, says Tom Deignan at Irish Central. In fact, some Irish Catholics came to this country with views the U.S. government didn't like, rallying to support Irish independence in the early 20th century — just imagine the response if 20,000 Middle Eastern immigrants gathered today to demand anything. The fact is assimilation takes time, and it isn't easy for anyone.
"Why Irish Catholics are no different from Muslims"
THE WEEK'S AUDIOPHILE PODCASTS: LISTEN SMARTER
- Why Pakistan won't hunt down the terrorists within its borders
- 43 TV shows to watch in 2014
- How academia's liberal bias is killing social science
- Pope Francis' American problem
- Sorry, GOP, tax cuts don't pay for themselves
- How to be the most productive person in your office — and still get home by 5:30 p.m.
- Why torture doesn't work: A definitive guide
- What is Molly? Everything you need to know about the party drug
- Hey, bosses: Stop giving bonuses to your employees
- Diagnosing the Home Alone burglars' injuries: A professional weighs in
Subscribe to the Week