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Multiculturalism?

Reader comment on item: More on Those Alcohol-shy Taxi Drivers
in response to reader comment: Safraz, again.

Submitted by Safraz (United States), Oct 23, 2006 at 22:15

Daisy,

You cannot be serious that America is one culture?! Just go to Washington, DC, New York, NY and New Orleans, LA and tell me if you think Black American culture is the same as White American culture. They are different distinct cultures - under the umbrella of an American nation. Under that same umbrella are also Asians, Indians, Africans, Latin Americans, Hindus, Jews - and yes, Muslims. We don't live in Nazi Germany where you must assimilate or die. Go into our homes and you will find that Americans come in all colors and cultures. It is truly a beautiful thing.

And I hate to break the news to you, but Sharia law exists today in America. And so does Jewish law. And so do Christian laws. They are the practices and norms of their respective religious communities in America, and by definition they are law. These religious laws, however, are NOT enforced and so that is how they differ from the secular civil law in America that is enforced. For example, the Mufti of Istanbul may issue fatwas and other rulings under Sharia law, but as Turkey is a secular country like America, those rulings are not enforced by the government. They nevertheless form the body of law that defines the religion.

My point is that Westerners, including Americans - focus on fatwas issued by those bent on violence and use those violent fatwas to define Islam. It is simply intellectually dishonest to do so when the mass majority of Islam and Muslim leaders preach and practice peace and have indeed issued fatwas stating as such..

I think the real problem here is that Americans have an irrational fear brought on by the sudden influx of Islam into their societies and so they need to create reasons why this should be resisted. It is much like they feared the influx of Judaism. In fact two or three generations ago, Jews were disliked in this country as Muslims are today (and the Rosenbergs were used as the excuse then much like Al Qaeda is used as the excuse for disliking Muslims). It is only over the last generation that America changed from being a universally Christian nation - to now a Judeo-Christian nation. Now we have Kosher products everywhere we go. This is an influx of Jewish religious law into American society that really has not effected us negatively in any way.

So why do we suddenly fear an influx of Sharia traditions? Is it because Sharia law is associated with extremes as in Saudia Arabia or as in Taliban Afghanistan? I strongly doubt that such a brand of Sharia will ever arrive here because this is a free society and such brands of Islam only arise in societies that are reacting to authoritarian rule. Sharia I might add is simply Islamic law - there is no one standard brand of it - it varies from community to community. It is very different in Egypt for example than it is in Saudi Arabia.

I believe census figures show that in 20 years Islam will be the second largest faith in America. So its time we wake up and figure out what Islam is, and what it isn't. Grouping everyone in the world's second largest religion in the same category as Al Qaeda is not only intellectually dishonest, but downright dangerous for the future of this country and this world. And if you think that the struggle for the future of Islam is a Muslim problem - think again. It is a struggle that will define the future of America and the world.

Submitting....

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Note: Opinions expressed in comments are those of the authors alone and not necessarily those of Daniel Pipes. Original writing only, please. Comments are screened and in some cases edited before posting. Reasoned disagreement is welcome but not comments that are scurrilous, off-topic, commercial, disparaging religions, or otherwise inappropriate. For complete regulations, see the "Guidelines for Reader Comments".

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