Both Time Magazine and the Washington Post have made much of a poll in which 25 percent of those surveyed said that most Muslim-Americans are not patriotic. Time and Post assume that this view is incorrect and consider the poll result evidence of America’s Islamophobia.
But what might cause 25 percent of Americans to believe that most Muslim-Americans aren’t patriots? It seems unlikely that they base this conclusion on the acts of obvious outliers, such as the Fort Hood assassin. Moreover, many Americans don’t know enough Muslims sufficiently well to form a conclusion regarding their level of patriotism based on personal observation. Nor, to my knowledge, is there is any publicly available empirical study of Muslim-American patriotism.
Under these conditions, perhaps the most reasonable way to assess the patriotism of Muslim-Americans, if asked to think about the issue, is through the statements of those who lead and/or purport to speak for Muslims in this country. Here, we must rely mainly on the mainstream media to identify Muslim leaders and spokesmen, and to help us locate them on the continuum of Muslim-American thought.
Right now, the most prominent such leader is probably Faisal Abdul Rauf, the man behind the Ground Zero Mosque. His apparent stature can be inferred not just from his leadership role in developing the would-be mosque, but also from the fact that both the Bush and Obama administrations have sent him abroad to Muslim countries on behalf of the U.S. In addition, the MSM has trotted out both Rauf and his wife to address hot button Muslim related issues over the years.
Rauf is no sane person’s idea of an American patriot. Americans have known for some time now that he considers America an accomplice to 9/11. And recently, thanks to Pamela Geller, we learned that Rauf thinks America has more blood on its hands than al Qaeda. This is not ordinary, patriotic dissent; this is anti-Americanism at its worst.
Rauf’s prominence doesn’t necessarily mean that most Muslim-Americans share his extreme views. Neither does the fact that our government sends him abroad. It’s possible that the Bush and Obama administrations didn’t vet him well. Alternatively, (though I hope this isn’t the case) the State Department might have wanted to use a harsh critic of the U.S. to cultivate better relations with Muslim countries on the theory that he would be more credible than a Muslim-American patriot.
But if Rauf doesn’t speak for most Muslim-Americans on questions of American goodness, or lack thereof, the MSM has provided no signal of this. Instead, from what I’ve seen, he is typically portrayed as a moderate Muslim.
Now, it may be true that, by global Muslim standards, Rauf does occupy some sort of middle ground position – he holds America in contempt but does not want to kill Americans. But if Rauf is a moderate Muslim-American by American standards – i.e., someone in the mainstream of Muslim American thought – then it follows that most Muslim-Americans hold views similar to his. This would mean, in turn, that most Muslim-Americans are not patriotic.
Thus, if the mainstream media and other left-liberals want to strike a blow for interfaith faith understanding and against Islamophobia, they should take the position that Rauf is not a moderate Muslim. But that would undermine the case for building the Ground Zero Mosque. For many in the mainstream media and other left-liberals, this in-your-face objective trumps all other considerations. And for some, Rauf’s view of America may be too close to their own for them to confess its immoderate nature.
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