Anti-Muslim prejudice is hurting America at home and abroad: at home because it divides Americans from each other and hurts our Muslim citizens, and abroad because it signals to many of the world’s billion Muslims that America is their enemy. Sometimes it leads directly to anti-American savagery, like last week’s murders in Afghanistan over the burning of the Quran by a deranged Christian pastor.
The prejudice can take root and spread because too many non-Muslim Americans know too little about their Muslim countrymen, or, indeed, about Islam. Katie Couric recently proposed, apparently in all seriousness, that to combat bigotry against Muslims, “Maybe we need a Muslim version of The Cosby Show.”
Faisal Abdul Rauf, imam of the make-shift mosque now holding prayers 2-1/2 blocks from Ground Zero in New York, is doing his part to contribute to inter-faith understanding. Last year he authored What’s Right with Islam is What’s Right With America, called by the Christian Science Monitor “An invigorating glimpse into the heart and mind of a wise Muslim seeking the higher ground.” Now he’s published a column in the Washington Post called Five myths about Muslims in America. The five myths are:
- American Muslims are foreigners.
- American Muslims are ethnically, culturally and politically monolithic.
- American Muslims oppress women.
- American Muslims often become “homegrown” terrorists
- American Muslims want to bring sharia law to the United States
The column is easy reading. If you care one way or the other about Muslims in America, I urge you to read this short article.