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America's Debate > Archive > Election Forum Archive > [A] Election 2006
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Victoria Silverwolf
Keith Ellison of Minnesota has become the first Muslim to be elected to the US Congress, with the support of both secular liberals and culturally conservative Muslims.

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QUOTE
Muslim Americans in Minnesota and throughout the nation have been forging a coalition with liberals on issues like those articulated by Congressman-elect Ellison; universal health insurance, tougher environmental regulation, opposition to the Patriot Act and an immediate end to the war in Iraq.

. . .

It remains to be seen, of course, whether this coalition will last. But if their anger at the Bush Administration and its policies is any guide, then Muslim Americans, immigrant and African American alike, will not soon break with their new-found liberal allies. In the meantime, many non-Muslim Americans will be troubled by these developments and find in them further evidence of the widespread sentiment that Muslim Americans are not being straight with their fellow citizens, that they are hypocrites. Perhaps they are. But then non-Muslims ought to recognize that "hypocrisy" of the sort on view in Minneapolis last week is akin to the tolerance on which our pluralistic society depends. In fact, just such behavior demonstrates that Muslims are beginning to learn what we all must do to get along in America.


To be debated:

1. Is this a fluke, or will liberals and American Muslims continue to be united in their opposition to current Republican foreign policy in the Middle East?

2. Is this unlikely coalition a sign of hypocrisy on the part of culturally conservative Muslims, or is it a sign that they are well-integrated into American society?

3. More broadly, can Europe, currently having severe problems with its Muslim immigrants, learn anything from the American experience?
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Grendel72
1. Is this a fluke, or will liberals and American Muslims continue to be united in their opposition to current Republican foreign policy in the Middle East?
I really don't think either group can be expected to hold homogeneous views. If they are willing to live and let live, more power to them, but fundamentalism of all stripes is one thing Liberals need to take a hard line against.

2. Is this unlikely coalition a sign of hypocrisy on the part of culturally conservative Muslims, or is it a sign that they are well-integrated into American society?
I don't see many of Ellison's political positions appealing to culturally conservative Muslims. I don't think the Taliban would accept Ellison's positions on abortion and gay marriage.

3. More broadly, can Europe, currently having severe problems with its Muslim immigrants, learn anything from the American experience?
It seems to me that Europe's problems are largely social rather than governmental. It seems to me that the US by virtue of isolation from the Muslim world enjoys a distinct advantage in that Muslim immigrants here are not culturally conservative, in fact many of them are here to get away from fundamentalism.
Victoria Silverwolf
Thanks for the response. I tend to think that this article may have overstated Ellison's support from culturally conservative Muslims and overlooked his support from the many moderate and liberal Muslims in the United States. I'm sure part of the support was simply the fact that he is a Muslim. No doubt some Muslims (like some Christians, and some Jews, and some atheists, and so on) would tend to vote for someone of the same faith, regardless of agreement on the issues. This may not be the most rational way to vote, but it's human nature.

My personal experience has been that American immigrant Muslims tend to be very well-integrated into the rest of American society, in contrast to Europe's immigrants. Of course, one factor is that there are much fewer of them. In addition to this, however, it seems to me that they tend to be well-educated, skilled, and prosperous compared to European Muslim immigrants.

I suppose it just pleases me that Muslims who choose, for their own reasons, to be conservative in their dress and personal behavior were willing to come out to support this candidate in a gay-friendly nightclub full of scantily-clad women near a sex shop. Since I am all in favor of sex shops and scantily-clad women (and men), I am very willing to remain on friendly terms with people who tolerate my preferences, even if they would not choose such a lifestyle for themselves.
Toneboy
What you have just said I think is probably very true, when compared with Europe. Also remember our colonial past allows many of these Muslim immigrants to enter without restriction and checks, which I and many others feel is wrong and should be stopped.

That said from some of the few documentaries I have heard on US Muslims there does appear to be some trouble brewing just under the surface of US society and you should not be as complacent as the UK where its citizens have woken up to late to the parallel Islamic society growing in our midst.

You see yourselves as the Globe's cradle of democracy, but have you asked yourselves does Islam, even in in America actually want to embrace democracy or merely see an Islamic America?
CruisingRam
QUOTE(Grendel72 @ Nov 19 2006, 01:12 PM) *

1. Is this a fluke, or will liberals and American Muslims continue to be united in their opposition to current Republican foreign policy in the Middle East?
I really don't think either group can be expected to hold homogeneous views. If they are willing to live and let live, more power to them, but fundamentalism of all stripes is one thing Liberals need to take a hard line against.

2. Is this unlikely coalition a sign of hypocrisy on the part of culturally conservative Muslims, or is it a sign that they are well-integrated into American society?
I don't see many of Ellison's political positions appealing to culturally conservative Muslims. I don't think the Taliban would accept Ellison's positions on abortion and gay marriage.

3. More broadly, can Europe, currently having severe problems with its Muslim immigrants, learn anything from the American experience?
It seems to me that Europe's problems are largely social rather than governmental. It seems to me that the US by virtue of isolation from the Muslim world enjoys a distinct advantage in that Muslim immigrants here are not culturally conservative, in fact many of them are here to get away from fundamentalism.



I may be wrong- but I believe the majority of muslims in the US are American converts still- and they are usually ethnic minorities as well.

Funny personal story dealing with this issue- I have several friends that are Gambian, and muslim. thier kids play with my kids, they are the same age. One Gambian woman, married to an American convert, had a baby, and they had some kind of special muslim celebration for it- and my Gambian co-worker, Muslim, and female, went over to see the baby- and shook the American husband's (a muslim convert, fairly recent at that) hand- and the guy got all offended because she "broke Muslim law, you touched me, and I am not part of your familiy"- to which she became very angry and said "you have no idea what islam is at all do you, you American fool" and vowed never to visit that family again. I know, touchy old world nerves there- in a blended culture/society like Alaska, you learn to be a bit more sensitve to the diversity thang- but I got a kick out of the exchange- because it illustrates so well how non-monolithic islam is, just like Christianity, with thier liberals, moderates, and conservatives.
quick
I would doubt most black, American-born Muslims will have much in common with Muslims from the Middle East, and even with black, African-born and raised Muslims.
nebraska29
This is a bit of an old topic, but I believe that Ellison's election shows how truly great our nation is. Even with a war and some suspect feelings being held in regards to certain groups in our society, all groups can be represented and succeed. It is rather simplistic, but education appears to be a big part of the equation in my mind here. If European muslims are to learn anything from our experience and that of those in the near east(i.e.-Turkey, Greece, Albania, etc.) it's that Islam fundamentalism is the brain child of uneducated resentment of the "haves." hmmm.gif

QUOTE
The degree of Muslim integration in the United States is revealed by their average household income, which is higher than that of the general population. Two-thirds of Muslim households earn more than $50,000 per year as compared to a median U.S. household income of $42,158 and a quarter of Muslim households earn $100,000 or more.

This is undoubtedly both a cause and effect of their high level of educational attainment: More than a third of Muslim Americans have advanced degrees, compared to 8.6% for the population as a whole

Muslims in America article.
Blackstone
QUOTE(nebraska29 @ May 20 2007, 12:11 AM) *
This is a bit of an old topic, but I believe that Ellison's election shows how truly great our nation is. Even with a war and some suspect feelings being held in regards to certain groups in our society, all groups can be represented and succeed. It is rather simplistic, but education appears to be a big part of the equation in my mind here. If European muslims are to learn anything from our experience and that of those in the near east(i.e.-Turkey, Greece, Albania, etc.) it's that Islam fundamentalism is the brain child of uneducated resentment of the "haves." hmmm.gif

QUOTE
The degree of Muslim integration in the United States is revealed by their average household income, which is higher than that of the general population. Two-thirds of Muslim households earn more than $50,000 per year as compared to a median U.S. household income of $42,158 and a quarter of Muslim households earn $100,000 or more.

This is undoubtedly both a cause and effect of their high level of educational attainment: More than a third of Muslim Americans have advanced degrees, compared to 8.6% for the population as a whole

Muslims in America article.

There's an undercurrent of concern as well, however, as your article notes. It states at the end, "But according to Marcia Hermansen, a Muslim professor of Islamic studies at Loyola University, 'Quite a number of Muslim youth in America are becoming rigidly conservative and condemnatory of their peers, their parents and all who are not within a narrow ideological band.' To put the phenomenon in more concrete and measurable terms, the AP recently reported that "One in four younger U.S. Muslims said in a poll that suicide bombings to defend their religion are acceptable at least in some circumstances". That's a pretty huge number of younger U.S. Muslims.

Now, one question that arises is whether the subject of this thread, Congressman Ellison, will be a moderating force against such tendencies. His enthusiastic appearance at an after-election rally hosted by the Muslim American Society, which is an offshoot of the radical Muslim Brotherhood, makes me wonder just a little.
R21C
The thing about suicide bombings, is it really a suprise?

Can you blame some of these messed up people at the end of the day, a lot of muslims in the region of the middle east and South east Asia are being killed by westerners.

Because the US-UK wants to dominate one of the most rich energy, untapped parts of the world. Because its needs are so great and reality without cheap crude oil, and natural gas would be a phsycological mess up to billions of people. rolleyes.gif
Jaime
CLOSED. This is a very old/out of date topic. Please feel free to start something fresh if you're still interested in debating this. Thanks.
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