is the website of Akbar Ahmed and the team behind Journey into America and Journey into Islam. It is dedicated to furthering the discussion of Islam in America, and advancing American & global academic & public understanding of Islam.


Additional pages

Flickr Feed

Loading Flickr...

    More - Flickr

    Find me on...

    Tag Results

    44 posts tagged islamophobia

    Muslim girl holds colorful sign reading "tolerance" in religious symbols

    …put the current debates within a historical context. “What’s happening right now is simply a remake. The characters in the past were Jews, Irish Catholics, and Japanese Americans,” Ali said. “And the scapegoating of those minority communities represents in hindsight the worst of America.”

    Esposito on HuffPo: The Need for New Narrative 10 Years After 9/11

    Georgetown University’s Professor John Esposito  poetically compares Islamophobia to a “metastasizing social cancer” in his 16 August column for the Huffington Post.

    It is truly time for a new narrative, one that is informed by facts, and that is data-driven, to replace the shrill voices of militant Muslim bashers and opportunistic politicians chasing funds and votes. Key findings from the recently released Abu Dhabi Gallup Report, Muslim Americans: Faith, Freedom, and the Future, offer data that provide a good starting point — a very different picture of Muslims in America today.

    The poll’s data indicate not only that America’s Muslim population is thriving, but that they are among the most integrated, optimistic, and loyal of minority communities. 

    In contrast to their critics who question their loyalty and charge that Muslim Americans do not reject terrorism, Muslim Americans (78%) are most likely to reject violent military attacks on civilians and are most likely (89%) to reject violent individual attacks on civilians versus other major U.S. religious groups. 92% say Muslims living in this country have no sympathy for Al Qaeda.

    Regardless of these results, a shocking proportion of fellow countrymen feel suspicious of their Muslim neighbors. 

    Thus, while 93% of Muslim Americans believe they are loyal to America, 80% of Jews, 59% of Catholics, and 56% of Protestants believe this to be the case. Not surprisingly, 60% of Muslim Americans believe that most Americans are prejudiced toward Muslims and data shows that roughly half (between 47%-66%) among other religious groups agree. 48% of Muslims (by far the highest of any other group) say they have personally experienced religious or racial discrimination in the past year.

    As Esposito challenges, “now is the time to reassess and build our national unity on facts.”

    Rarely has the United States seen a more reckless and bare-knuckled campaign to vilify a distinct class of people and compromise their fundamental civil and human rights than the recent rhetoric against Muslims.

    It would also be hard to imagine a more successful campaign. In the span of the two years since the start of Barack Obama’s presidency in early 2009, an astonishing number of people have turned into a kind of political wolf pack, convinced that 0.6% of the U.S. population is on the verge of trampling the Constitution and imposing an Islamic, Shariah-guided caliphate in its place. Like the communists that an earlier generation believed to be hiding behind every rock, infiltrated “Islamist” operatives today are said to be diabolically preparing for a forcible takeover.

    Ironically, the Constitution seems more threatened by certain Americans who, prodded into paranoia by clever activists, opportunistic politicians and guileful media players, seem downright eager to deny Muslims the guarantees of religious freedom and the presumption of innocence.

    For Muslims immigrants in America, the days following 9/11 were a harrowing encounter with fear-fueled American hate. IPod bearing, second-generation techies faced insults in Silicon Valley parking lots; schoolgirls wearing head scarves were attacked; and mosques across the country were vandalized or set ablaze. For many months, it seemed altogether unclear whether America’s Muslims — from the cocktail-swilling secular to the mosque-attending pious — would ever live in their communities without apprehension again.

    That tense period, the Harvard academic Leila Ahmed provocatively argues in a new book, has turned out to have been a very good thing. Its long term effect has been to remake American Islam, making the country’s most conservative Muslims tolerant of criticism and open to a young generation’s more liberal demands. The result, Ahmed writes in A Quiet Revolution, is no less than a “new moment in history — in the history of Islam as well as of America.” (Watch “A Voice Behind the Veil: Planning to Defy a French Law.”)

    Read more:,8599,2076653,00.html#ixzz1PMVl9A6N

    From Huffington Post:

    Amid a surging fear of Muslims — Islamophobia — in our nation, it is time for all of us to improve our understanding of Islam and our relationships with Muslims — if not because it is right to do this morally, then because it is in our best interests nationally.

    The fact is that we live in a world alongside one and a half billion Muslims, and regardless of the desire of some on the fringes of society, our Muslim neighbors are not going anywhere. A failure to understand this population and its religion is bad enough. Choosing to intentionally demonize those who follow this religion and provoke the anger of the Muslim people qualifies not just as insensibility but insanity.

    General David Petraeus, the current commander of U.S. forces in Afghanistan, seems to be the type of person who would have a good sense of how the Muslim world perceives the rising level of anti-Muslim rhetoric in the United States. Just as importantly, he would see the impact of that rhetoric on the men and women serving in the U.S. military abroad.

    Here is a solid chunk of reality. In an unprecedented move last year, General Petraeus asked the American people not to participate in or support burnings of the Quran and anti-Muslim rhetoric because of the potentially harmful impact of such behavior on our military personnel in Afghanistan and Pakistan.

    And, there is more. The United States has committed a tremendous amount of resources to Afghanistan, not just money, but the lives of our sons and daughters. So, why, in the name of all that is reasonable, would U.S. citizens spew antagonizing suspicion and anger at the very people on whom our government is expending our most precious resource in an effort to form a partnership of peace? Are we hoping that our vitriol somehow will be miraculously transformed into a message regarding a desire for essential collaboration, cooperation, mutual respect, and understanding? With Pakistani attitudes toward the United States at an all-time low, our denunciations are intensifying a growing hatred toward us. Is that in our best interest?

    We are not the only people in the world with an interest in Pakistan and Afghanistan. Other governments with non-American agendas are biding their time to see how the U.S. continues to respond to Islamic-oriented countries. China, for example, sees in Pakistan the possibility of a delivery system that could bring vast new sources of energy to its people. Why are we positioning ourselves as hateful people who want our Muslim neighbors to find allies other than us?

    Whatever your scriptures of authority may be, if you have any at all, the U.S. Constitution calls for all American citizens to recognize the dignity and worth of all people and summons us to live as civil peacemakers in this world. No exemptions exist for Muslims. Patriotically applying the priorities of our Constitution to the present situation could enable us to see the remarkable opportunity that we have to increase the spread of democracy and to forge alliances that can make the world a better place in which to live.

    We now know that the warning from General Patreus was rooted in a reality that we can ignore only at the peril of exposing our troops to more hatred and endangering lives. When last autumn’s threats by a few Americans to burn a Qur’an segued into this past spring’s burning of the holy book of Islam by those same people, we watched in horror as a riot of response broke out in Afghanistan and eight United Nations workers were killed along with at least four others. What was the helpful point of that action? What was the promise of Christianity purveyed by such behavior?

    Actions always have consequences as do spoken words, but they do not always have to be negative. As we approach the tenth anniversary of September 11, we will do well to ask what actions we can take here at home — individually and collectively — that will have a positive impact on those around us and those on the other side of the world.

    The two of us have made the choice to move beyond talking about each other or talking with each other to instead engage each other in a manner that can change in us — and hopefully in others also — perceptions, nurture mutual understanding as well as respect, and return us to an appreciation of religious diversity. Respecting the religious freedoms of others, even those with whom we disagree, does not require anyone to set aside their own faith. Both our respective faith traditions and our common citizenship compel us to find ways to live together with peace, justice, and goodwill.

    Rev. Dr. C. Welton Gaddy is the President of Interfaith Alliance and an organizer of the upcoming “Faith Shared: Uniting in Prayer and Understanding.” Ambassador Akbar Ahmed is the Ibn Khaldun Chair of Islamic Studies at American University and author of “Journey into America: The Challenge of Islam.”

    America has always been a melting pot, but in the post-9/11 world the environment can be downright hostile. Radio talk show hosts, pundits and politicians utter statements about Islam and Muslims that if they were to say the same about other religious groups, they would face severe consequences. This hateful discourse leaves me wondering how I can respond in a way that is constructive and doesn’t simply perpetuate the shouting and hate speech.

    A 2010 TIME poll reported that 62 percent of Americans claim to have never met a Muslim. This left me wondering: What about those Americans that do know a Muslim? How can can they effectively respond to this climate of fear and hostility towards Muslims?

    A new online project, “My Fellow American,” enables people of all faiths and backgrounds to share a story about a Muslim they know personally. The centerpiece of the project is a short teaser film that juxtaposes voices of hate with everyday Muslim Americans. It serves as a call-to-action for people of all faiths to stand up against this climate of hate speech and Islamophobia.

    Who did the New York Times find  behind the school that “raises question”? Dar-ul-Uloom? Saudi Arabia?

    Nope. They uncovered Fetullah Gulen. Watch out everyone. The Sufis are coming.

    There is so much wrong with this conversation.  Such an inane but appealing (to some) argument.

    This is what we are up against.

    On a bright January morning in 2010, at Broward College in Davie, Florida, about sixty police officers and other frontline law enforcement officials gathered in a lecture hall for a course on combating terrorism in the Sunshine State. Some in plain clothes, others in uniform, they drifted in clutching Styrofoam cups of coffee, greeting acquaintances from previous statewide training sessions. The instructor, Sam Kharoba, an olive-skinned man wearing rimless glasses and an ill-fitting white dress shirt, stood apart at the front of the hall reviewing PowerPoint slides on his laptop.

    As he got under way, Kharoba described how, over the next three days, he would teach his audience the fundamentals of Islam. “We constantly hear statements,” Kharoba began, “that Islam is a religion of peace, and we constantly hear of jihadists who are trying to kill as many non-Muslims as they can.” Kharoba’s course would establish for his students that one of these narratives speaks to a deep truth about Islam, and the other is a calculated lie.

    “How many terror attacks have there been since 9/11? Muslim terror attacks,” Kharoba asked the room. Silence. “Let’s start the bidding.”

    “Over a hundred,” someone volunteered.

    “I got a hundred,” Kharoba called back. Another audience member, louder now, suggested three hundred.

    “Three hundred!” Kharoba declared.

    “Over a thousand,” offered another voice in the audience.

    Kharoba stopped the bidding. “Over thirteen thousand,” he said. “Over thirteen thousand attacks.” He paused to let the statistic sink in.

    Kharoba belongs to a growing profession, one that is ballooning on the spigot of federal and state dollars set aside for counterterrorism efforts since the attacks of September 11, 2001. He is a counterterrorism instructor to America’s beat cops, one of several hundred working the law enforcement training circuit. Some are employed by large security contractors; others, like Kharoba, are independent operators.

    A judge has ruled that construction of a new mosque in Rutherford County does not harm the residents who sued the county to stop it.

    U.S. government tactics in pursuing domestic terrorism cases target and entrap Muslim community members and fail to enhance public safety, according to a report released Wednesday by a human rights center at New York University's law school.

    Al Qaeda Populating U.S. With Peaceful 'Decoy Muslims'

    Al Qaeda Populating U.S. With Peaceful ‘Decoy Muslims’  from The Onion.

    In a matter of days, Tennessee’s state legislature is expected to pass a bill ostensibly designed to combat radical Islamic terrorism in Tennessee known as the “Material Support” bill or HB 1353. While the bill has removed direct references to Islam or Muslims at the pressure of civil rights groups such as the ACLU and others, if it is passed, it will seriously harm our security by alienating our biggest allies in combatting homegrown terrorism: our fellow American Muslims.

    The impact of this bill on Muslims in Tennessee was on display in a recent training I conducted in Murfreesboro for educators and law enforcement officials. The training brought together local Muslim leaders and more than 80 civic leaders to look at ways to respond to a spike in bullying towards Muslim youth and rising reports of prejudice. Last summer, Murfreesboro was rocked by a series of protests against a mosque building project that resulted in two hate crimes directed toward the 1,000 person Muslim community, followed by a national media expose by CNN called, “Unwelcome: The Muslims Next Door.”

    Loading posts...