Western Muslims and the Nexus of Loyalty and Militarism

In the midst of Peter King’s congressional inquisitions into the purported radicalization of American Muslims and against the backdrop of rising domestic hysteria over the supposedly subversive intentions of Islam in America, a recent Gallup poll provided insight into how Muslims actually view themselves and their place in the United States. Overwhelming majorities say they consider themselves to be loyal U.S. citizens and feel confident in their future as Americans. Greater than 90% of Muslims say that they reject the ideology of terrorist groups such as Al-Qaeda, and Muslims are the most likely of any religious group to believe that violence against civilians is always unjustified, regardless of the perpetrator. Despite their general feelings of confidence in and loyalty towards America, Muslims as a community continue to be subjected to indiscriminate scrutiny and harassment from law enforcement agencies and government, as well as from significant minorities among other ethno-religious groups within their own country. 48% of American Muslims report to have been target of discrimination within the past year, a figure which has no doubt been influenced by hatred and mistrust resulting from a full decade of war and conflict between the U.S. and Muslim majority countries.

One of the consistent criticisms levelled by critics against the American Muslim community is that Muslims are “not American when it comes to war”; the implication being that they have not been unquestioningly supportive and compliant with the past decade of war and occupation to a degree satisfactory to those who have advocated for these actions. Aside from the troubling assertion that within a democracy dissent is somehow undesirable or inherently suspect, it can be observed that those purportedly “loyal” to America have in fact led it down a path of self-destructive behaviour from which it is not able to easily extricate itself. How “loyal” were the Americans who consciously fabricated information, invented false narratives, and maliciously stifled opposing viewpoints with the intention of terrifying their fellow citizens into waging an unprovoked war of aggression? What fealty do those who wish to cut the lifelines of the most desperate Americans show to their country today?

It should be taken as given that in a healthy democracy the freedom to voice dissent without recrimination upon ones loyalty is an absolute necessity. Muslim Americans are twice more likely to say that distrust towards the U.S. from Muslim-majority countries is a result of U.S. actions and not “because of who we are”; an extremely convenient and juvenile explanation which a cadre of unscrupulous U.S. leaders fed to a susceptible public. The demonstrably sound and logical advice that a foreign policy which disregards human rights and international law may engender anti-American sentiment abroad has been demonized and cast as a disloyal and un-American suggestion of itself. Muslims who are American yet still capable of providing insight and understanding of the sentiments of their countries of origin have been discouraged to do so for fear of appearing as a subversive fifth column. This has been to the significant detriment of democracy and to the robust marketplace of ideas which should filter out poor ideas such as imperialism and endless, ever-expanding war.

Slavish adherence to narratives used to justify open-ended global war without clearly identifiable goals or metrics of success is neither loyal nor beneficial to America’s future. The conflation of militarism with patriotism has proceeded to such a degree that now entire ethnic groups within American society can be demonized and targeted by the state for their reluctance to unquestioningly support policies which are inherently destructive to America itself. A decade of war with the Muslim world, combined with the conscious and deliberate demonization of Muslim-Americans by unscrupulous and opportunistic politicians and media figures has helped to turn a segment of society, which statistics have shown to be overwhelmingly loyal to the ideals of America, into an “enemy within” in the eyes of many of their fellow citizens.

While there does exist a threat from extremists in the Muslim community, this threat has most often emanated from solitary individuals, similar to the terrorist threats which have emanated from other religious communities. Study upon study has shown that the threat of terrorism against the United States from these individuals is not commensurate to the level of scrutiny and suspicion which Muslims in general receive, and that the strongest defense comes from developing trust between Muslim groups and the broader community itself. It is unlikely and unrealistic to expect that American Muslims will ever engage in the cheerleading for militarism that many find them lacking in, and some will continue to view this as grounds for charges of disloyalty or worse. The best antidote for this increasingly fraught situation is to call for an end to the perceived conflict between the United States and the Muslim world at large. Hatred and demagoguery is the necessary by-product of prolonged war; the United States has a Muslim population which is overwhelmingly well-integrated, productive and socially engaged. Sacrificing this relationship on an altar of hatred and demonization, and most importantly, in pursuit of ill-defined, self-destructive goals which are causing huge detriment to the American citizenry as well to the global standing of the U.S. is both morally and strategically questionable. Inasmuch as the acid test for “loyalty” in society will continue to rest upon the degree to which individuals support nihilistic militarism, America can only maintain its generally cohesive and harmonious society by putting to an end the prolonged wars which are slowly tearing at its diverse social fabric; one of its most unique features and one of its greatest sources of strength and moral authority.

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12 Responses to Western Muslims and the Nexus of Loyalty and Militarism

  1. rajabollah says:

    Well, did you or the pollster ask the PROPER question? Correct question: “Do you believe Sharia Law should be allowed in America, or that laws passed by Congress should conform to the Qur’an or Sharia Law?”

    I bet that 50% or more of Muslims will answer in the affirmative.

    So you see, it is not as simplistic as going up to a Muslim (while Islam is powerless in the USA) and ask “are you confident of your future in America” – a nonsensical question.

    The rest of your post is thus naturally suspect as it is based on faulty basic scholarship.

    While at it, can YOU answer the question. Thanks.

    • mazmhussain says:

      Its an absurd question because then you’d have to delve into every matter of what Sharia Law (whatever you think it means) means to that person. YES I think it should be allowed, especially since I AND EVERY OTHER PRACTICING MUSLIMS PRACTICES SHARIA. Living Islamically and following the tenets and prescriptions of the faith is following Sharia, I’m sure you have some insane Mad-Max war-torn country version which you are thinking of and using as the standard to judge what Sharia is, and that is not what anyone is talking about. There was an individual recently who tried to use legal means to ban the practice of “Sharia” in America, what he was trying to ban was THE PRACTICE OF ISLAM, and trying to make it punishable by 20 years in jail. Why don’t you read things and use your mental faculties from time to time.

  2. mazmhussain says:

    @whydoesitmatter Thanks, thats a good point as well too because it brings light to the fact that every religion has rules and laws, Halacha is to Judaism as Sharia is to Islam.

    @rajabollah First you make the point that there is no one interpretation of how Sharia should be implemented as one can not “provide a link to it”, then you complain that you see it as being an extreme interpretation and that you don’t like it. Ok.

    I don’t get where you see me trying to impose Sharia on anyone else, I’m sorry I am making the “typical Islamist argument” that discrimination and religious bigotry is somehow objectionable. Very upset that my sneaky dishonest attempt to impose Sharia on the entire world has been exposed.

    You can keep your disingenous “liberalism” that sees other minority groups in society as inherently suspect and nefarious and somehow gives you the insight to make value judgments about not just other people’s religion but *spirituality* as well (impressive). Seriously, you can be open with your religious hatred you don’t have to cloak yourself in the claim that you are somehow a tolerant liberal.

  3. rajabollah says:

    @Mazmhussein. Wrong. I did not say that. It was YOU who said, each Islamist has a different interpretation of Sharia (political Islam) Law.

    You still have failed to produce a link to Sharia law, and then you want Sharia law to govern over the middle east and eventually America? LOL

    Obviously your knowledge of Islam and Sharia is deficient in that you don’t understand the political essence of Sharia. Very strange for someone who is trying to push Sharia.

    Liberals have no hatred towards minorities, I am minority myself, and unlike Prophet Mohammad who hated women and unbelievers and pagans. I will defend you practicing Sharia in your house, unless if you wish to impose it by force over the helpless.

    Of course I will judge and criticize other people’s religions and spirituality. Not only it is my human right, but as a member of a liberal democratic society, it is my DUTY to criticize oppression and ignorance and superstition found in religions, especially the unreformed, bigoted, and hateful religion of Islam.

    Again, you are free to practice Islam and I will defend you, but take your Sharia (bigoted political Islam) and stuff it somewhere else.

    Will be waiting for your link.

  4. mazmhussain says:

    You continue to ascribe things to me I’ve never said and ignore what I do say while barely being able to control your seething hatred. I suggest you seek some professional advice about the condition of your psyche; internalizing this type of hatred while indulging in rampant self-delusion is bad for you as an individual, I sincerely hope you look into this.

  5. rajabollah, you haven’t a clue what Sharia law actually is. This is like pretending that Christians following the ten commandments want to impose those commandments on everyone- although it’s certainly true that some do, to pretend that all do is dishonest. Your claim that mazmhussain “want[s] to impose Sharia on the public and benefit from your position of power over others” is laughably unsupported.

  6. lorac says:

    what you write about reminds me of Japanese-Americans in WWII. loyal Americans, yet not only ostracized, but imprisoned merely for their ancestry. German-Americans escaped that fate however.

    IMO, there’s (too many) militant groups of all ilks, including Christians, (rajabollah take note) and politicians …..

    • mazmhussain says:

      I agree, militarism takes many shapes and sizes and in my opinion its intolerance that needs to be confronted, period.

      • whydoesitmatter says:

        I think intolerance stems from ignorance. I believe people like rajabollah need to find actual Muslims and speak to them in person. They need to ask them what they believe and begin to see them as people once more. We have dehumanized our discussions in regards to Muslims and no longer see them as people. That is the first step towards tolerance.

        At the same time, I believe that Muslims should also go out and introduce themselves to the general community as Muslims. Regardless of how “religious” they are.

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