As a mother — and a Muslim — in America, I see our flaws and failures, but also our potential

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It has taken me years to heal from the hate I’ve experienced. But I share my story to help build a better world for my children — all our children.

My son is named Jibreel, which is Arabic for Gabriel. I wanted him to have a strong name, one he could draw inspiration from. A line was drawn in the sand for him before he was born. He sits on one side of it and doesn’t know the line is there because he’s only 2 years old. Baby J is consumed with his garbage trucks, cement mixers and kicking his soccer ball around the house.

Meesha is 10 and plays soccer, like a boss. We joke that she’ll have only her first name on the back of her jersey, like a Brazilian. Meesha is a Farsi word meaning “always springtime, always in bloom.” I’m glad my baby plays soccer, and I am more grateful that soccer builds strength and courage. If she ever gets shoved, Meesha will know how to hold her own. My daughter already knows a line is there.

As a parent, I cringe knowing I cannot protect my children from hate. They will walk into it like a glass door, painfully, jarred into reality. I hope I can equip them with the tools to see the glass door for what it is, but also to have the strength to find the catch and throw the door wide open. But I still worry, because it took me years to come to terms with how to deal with hate.

FULL ARTICLE FROM USA TODAY 

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Who gets to define American Muslim identity?

muslim_men_praying_jeansThe various groups that were drawn (or in some cases, dragged) to the United States have themselves been made up of a variety of smaller identity groups: Italian Catholics and Irish Catholics; Polish Jews and German Jews; Latinos from Guatemala and Latinos from Brazil. If, to paraphrase Walt Whitman, the poetical nature of the United States is determined by the dynamics of engagement between those identity communities, then there is also American poetry to be drawn from such dynamics within those communities.

No nation has a Muslim community that is more ethnically, racially, or theologically diverse than the United States. For many years, these various Muslim groups created separate spaces, such as mosques, schools, and community centers. Those who were less ritually observant often found no space at all. But the era of Islamophobia has forced them all together and raised fascinating questions about what it means to be American, what it means to be Muslim, and who gets to define the identity of American Muslims.

Ansari offered lessons in the science of prejudice through a set of humorous stories about Muslims. He reminded his audience that Muslims worship the same God as Christians and Jews. If you just changed the music on Homeland, he joked, we wouldn’t look so scary.

In a New York Times op-ed published a few months earlier, Ansari wrote on several of the same themes, but this time through the poignant story of instructing his parents not to go to the mosque for prayer lest they wind up the victims of an Islamophobic attack.

FULL ARTICLE FROM THE CHRISTIAN CENTURY 

Muslims in America: Separating fact from fiction

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The words “I think Islam hates us,” “True hatred among Muslims is too great,” “Over 80 percent of mosques in this country are controlled by radical imams,” “Sharia is incompatible with Western civilization” from prominent U.S. politicians, brand Muslims as un-American, unassimilable, and potential societal and security threats to the United States.

In the minds of the likes of President Donald Trump, Representative Peter King, and former Speaker of the House of Representatives Newt Gingrich, Muslims have an utter indifference to human life as well as to “American values.” Clearly, the relationship between Islam, Muslims and American national identity has reached a boiling point. Separating fact from fiction is more important than ever.

The facts surrounding Muslims in America present a drastically different picture than the aforementioned claims by U.S. politicians. Muslims have lived on American soil before the United States even existed. The Founding Fathers of the United States welcomed the migration of Muslims to U.S. soil. American Muslims are far from monolithic and represent one of the most diverse religious populations in the country. Muslims are among the most educated populations in American society. Islamic organizations in the United States regularly participate in interfaith dialogue and civic national projects. Muslims are not responsible for the majority of terrorist attacks in America. U.S. Muslims do not prefer to be governed by Islamic law (Sharia). All of the preceding statements are facts. These facts are verified by the actions of U.S. Muslims as well as by research carried out by leading academic units and advocacy organizations across the country.

FULL ARTICLE FROM DAILY SABAH

‘Being Muslim’ offers an alternative history of Islam in America

2JMJEQC7OJHWZO2SWSZLGXSK4ESylvia Chan-Malik never expected to become Muslim, let alone an expert on Islam in America.

A scholar of American and gender studies at Rutgers University, she was raised in California by Chinese immigrants who were culturally Buddhist but not religious. In high school, she was nearly baptized but decided against it. (The pastor said she couldn’t attend a Madonna concert). When she began working on her doctorate at the University of California at Berkeley in 2001, shortly after the Los Angeles riots, she wanted to explore the intersections between Asian- and African-American communities.

Then the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, happened.

She soon began collaborating on anti-racism initiatives with Muslim and Arab activist groups in the Bay Area. “I quickly realized that the same racial dynamics that I was studying between African-Americans and Asian-Americans were all present within Muslim communities,”Chan-Malik said.

She began documenting the ways U.S. Muslims were trying to constitute their identities and grapple with cultural differences to find a political voice. In the course of her research, she found herself drawn to the faith and converted in 2004.

FULL ARTICLE FROM THE SALT LAKE TRIBUNE 

Muslims are not welcome in America, and that is exactly who we are

anti-mosque-racism-protest_usa_300515-2America is now openly hostile to Muslim immigrants. Don’t let anyone tell you otherwise.

Our country’s stance has been rendered clear: If you’re Muslim, you’re not welcome here. Period.

 I don’t want that to be the case. I condemn that stance as fundamentally un-American.

But I’m no longer going to parrot the oft-tweeted line that has become ubiquitous in the Trump era: “This is not who we are!”

Twitter exploded with “This is not who we are” tweets, well-intentioned pleas that people around the world maintain a belief in the basic decency of Americans.

READ: Muslims grapple with ruling that they believe redefines their place in America »

But let’s be honest. That line isn’t meant to reassure a wary world. It’s meant to make the people who type or utter it feel better. It’s as much a cop-out as it is false.

The travel ban may not be who you are. It’s not who I am. But it is who we — as a country — are right now.

We are a country that doesn’t want Muslims to come here. We are a country that doesn’t want people from Mexico or South America or Central America or Africa to come here. We are a country that wants people who weren’t born in America but have lived here and put down roots to leave, even if it means they’ll return to countries plagued with violence and poverty. We are a country that will intentionally separate mothers from their children as a means to deter non-white people from coming here, even if they’re facing certain death and seeking asylum.

That’s who we are. It gets dressed up in “we’re a nation of laws” rhetoric, but it is what it is, and the world can see it more clearly every day. No amount of denial will make that change.

FULL ARTICLE FROM THE CHICAGO TRIBUNE 

America’s real Muslim problem is Islamophobia

There’s a common perception that Muslims pose a threat to the security of the U.S., but the real threat is to them

anti-mosque-racism-protest_usa_300515-2June 2018 was an especially bad month for the status of Muslims in America. First, we learned that a new study showed that many Americans view Muslims in the United States as insufficiently “American,” and almost 20 percent would deny Muslim citizens the right to vote. Then, the Supreme Court upheld President Donald Trump’s decision to institute a ban on immigrants, refugees and visa holders from five majority-Muslim countries in a 5-4 decision.

The synergy of these two pieces of information is critical because it reveals a common attitude that Muslims pose a threat to U.S. security whether they are U.S. citizens or not. And while these attitudes do break down heavily across party lines, it is noteworthy that the study of U.S. perceptions of Muslim Americans conducted by Dalia Mogahed and John Sides for the Voter Study Group indicated that even 12 percent of Democrats would consider denying Muslim citizens the right to vote. Their study also showed that 32 percent of Democrats favor targeting Muslims at U.S. airport screenings to ensure the safety of flights. That figure compares with 75 percent of Republicans.

Chief Justice John Roberts wrote the majority SCOTUS opinion upholding the travel ban. He emphasized that, despite ample evidence of President Donald Trump’s animus towards the Muslim community, the ban was a security issue and not an example of discrimination, “Because there is persuasive evidence that the entry suspension has a legitimate grounding in national security concerns, quite apart from any religious hostility, we must accept that independent justification.”

FULL ARTICLE FROM SALON 

Nearly 1-in-5 Americans would deny Muslim American citizens the right to vote, new report finds

safe_imageCurrent public perceptions of American Muslims are distinctly unfavorable.

That’s according to multiple surveys from the Democracy Fund Voter Study Group, including the 2017 Views of the Electoral Research (VOTER) Survey, which assessed viewpoints of 5,000 Americans, all of whom had been previously surveyed in 2011, 2012 and 2016.

» RELATED: Muslims in America, by the numbers

The Democracy Fund Voter Study Group is a collaboration of nearly two dozen analysts and scholars from across the political spectrum.

In the group’s new “Muslims in America: Public Perceptions in the Trump Era” report published in June, researchers found that on average, Americans believe that only 51 percent of Muslim Americans respect American ideals and laws.

Nearly one-in-five Americans would even deny Muslims who are U.S. citizens the right to vote.

Stereotyping is strongly related to cultural conservatism and views were even more polarized among those favorable to President Donald Trump, the report found. For example, Democrats believe that a majority of Muslims (67 percent) wanted to fit in, yet Republicans believed only 36 percent did. And when comparing Muslims and Christians, Democrats evaluated Muslims slightly more favorably than Christians (+15 vs +11), whereas Republicans evaluated them much less favorably (-4 vs +24).

The gap between average ratings of Muslims and Christians among Trump supporters: -10 vs +25.

FULL ARTICLE FROM AJC.COM