Sunday, May 16, 2010

Living in the Mainstream

It's just before 7AM on a cloudy, cool Sunday morning here in Northern Virginia. The dog has been walked, Agnes is still asleep, and the Sunday paper is waiting to be read ... so I'm just in the mood for a quick post. A minor rant, if you will.

Yesterday's op-ed page of the Washington Post carried an article by a former U.S. Secret Service agent titled Lifting the Siege on American Muslims (you can read it online under the revised title, Compassion, Prejudice, and American Muslims). The article was a quiet, well-written call for understanding rather than prejudice, and it included this line:

"U.S. leaders need to do much more to help bring American Muslims into the mainstream."


But in my humble and not-so-PC opinion, I don't believe it's the role of American leaders to bring American Muslims into the mainstream. I believe it's the job of American Muslims to bring themselves into the mainstream. Two simple things would provide a good start:

Condemning acts of murder and terror committed with an Islamic religious justification...not just to Americans who are outraged over those acts, but to other Muslims. In Arabic. If your religious beliefs tell you that it's all right to subjugate or, worse, murder those who don't believe the same way you do, your beliefs are at great variance with those of the country you expect to welcome you with open arms. How is such belief compatible with living in the mainstream of America? And how can you possibly expect those you refer to as infidels to accept you and go out of their way to accommodate you?

Getting rid of medieval and archaic notions of female modesty. Perhaps your culture of the desert or the badlands of Afghanistan or Pakistan says that a woman must be completely covered, head to foot, in the interest of modesty. It's hardly a mainstream belief in the rest of the world. Get over it. If you want to wear a headscarf, long sleeves, and pants every day, go for it. But if you expect to be part of the mainstream, lose the extravagantly see-how-modest-I-am costume.

I am sick to death of being told that it's my job to understand and accommodate Muslim beliefs and practices, while Muslims appear to have no interest in understanding or accommodating mine. If you want to be accepted as part of the American mainstream, do your part.

Otherwise, don't expect the rest of America to take you seriously.

Rant over.

Have a good day. More thoughts tomorrow.



Anonymous said...


Total and absolute agreement from your favorite thorn in the side. Wearing a burkha at Costco tells me the wearer rejects America. If so, the rejector shouldn't be surprised that America rejects them. The problem is that their rejection of America can be fatal to America and all it stands for)while America's rejection of you means at worst, we won't have "Press 3 for Arabic," on every phone.

Eminence Grise

Buggie said...

My mother always wonders why when Americans go to other countries, they are expected to act and dress in the custom of that country, yet when people come here, we are expected to accept them as they are.

There is a serious double standard.