I just read a well written piece by Dr. Sherman Jackson. It reflects on the real harms America poses and how contradictory the governing laws and policies have been while also making the Muslim-American experience more enduring and hard. This is especially important in reflecting on the function of America by way of its history; that is, America gaining independence from Europe would suggest that it is in a constant process of becoming and that it will not settle and should have never settled for defining a primal culture (exactly what most of the White flag wavers stand in support for). The piece also speaks to the harms Muslim-Americans are experiencing and what forces have been playing a role in the struggle. He considers historical and political perspectives which suggest Muslims have been here since day one of America but the rules of what it means to be American have been programmed by specific groups. “America was to be a Protestant, Catholic, or Jew,” that is. So when are Muslim-Americans self-harming, and when are they not? Drawing this line will help re-navigate the integration process which didn’t have to play out the way it is right now.
When Islam is simultaneously seen as the religion of the Other and as the false way to practice by way of the Muslim world, this results in a schism of sorts. You have people who begin to lose their inherently deep spiritual and cultural connections and a rebirthing process of ideals must make way. These real effects are of sorts; but they reoccur in patterns. Here are my observations/theories.
- You have people who lose their identity and become submissive to secularity. Their spirituality is drawn from subscribing to ‘all religions’ and they are not shy of criticizing dedicated religious expression as extreme and violent behavior/ideals. These individuals find being in a state of spiritual question to be volatile to maintaining social order. They often say they subscribe to all religions and traditions. They believe that all religions belong to everyone.
- You have people who realize the schism and are in a deep state of reflection. Their way of practicing spirituality is through understanding political structures and the resulting social and spiritual consequences. These individuals struggle with balancing academia and spirituality, but also realize this and so they are in a constant state of question. They believe in their said-creedo and do not have a problem opposing harmful truths, but there is slippage here and there because of the comfort of social norm.
- To be continued.