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Muqtedar Khan is Assistant Professor of Political Science at Adrian College
in Michigan. He is a Visiting Fellow at Brookings Institution and a Fellow
of the Institute for Social Policy and Understanding.
For a comprehensive resume click here: Resume
"Challenges American Muslims Face"
Michigan Area School for Pastoral Ministry all four lectures August 17-19
"American Muslim Politics"
Religion News Writers Conference, an SSRC Panel, September 11, 2004, Washington DC
A. Muqtedar Khan
analysis has been sponsored by the Institute of Social Policy and
is time for American Muslims, American Jews, American Hindus and
Buddhists, American Christians who are moderate, secular and
liberal, to come together to form a moderate and pragmatic center,
eschewing the aggressive anti-religiosity of the extreme left,
respecting the religiosity of the right, to restore balance, and
preserve American democracy and its traditionally balanced
relationship with what Alexis de Tocqueville called its first
institution – religion.
American Muslims the comprehensive victory of political
Christianity in the American elections holds many lessons if only
they are willing to learn.
months our leaders and organizations have bragged as to how
American Muslims were going to vote for Kerry in large numbers
refusing to acknowledge that there is a constituency for Bush in
the Muslim community. Thus alienating not only George Bush and his
millions of supporters but also those Muslims who support Bush. I
had consistently argued against any endorsement, but our wise
leaders chose to issue a strangely worded “qualified”
endorsement of John Kerry which was welcomed by neither camp and
much pilloried by moderate Muslims.
Muslims who have less than 2 million votes [six million Muslims
are not all adults and citizens] seem to be under the illusion
that they are the only people who have understood and discovered
the power of block voting. The Christian block has sent them a
message that they can ignore only at their peril.
analysis of leading Muslim organizations was very weak, only party
centered and focused only on issues that concern American Muslims
or Muslims abroad. American Muslims cannot become effective
players if they do not immerse themselves into the politics of
this country and engage with it as an inside player and not as an
outsider manipulating it for partisan gain.
identity is gradually changing. What we saw on 11/2 was just the
tip of the iceberg. American Muslims have to think hard about what
position they wish to occupy in the New Republic and fight even
harder to get it. American Muslims must respect the diversity
within the community and use it as a strategic asset rather than
trying to impose a false unity that will crack under pressure.
American Muslims will likely face a tough future. President Bush has clearly conveyed that he sees his electoral victory as an endorsement of his agenda. He will renew the Patriot Act and may even expand it. He will continue to seek regime change overseas with increased vigor. Some of our homelands may have to contend with the enhanced energy in the White House.
Recommendations for the American Muslim Community
cannot fight this agenda on all its fronts. We must prioritize and
throw all our energies behind the key issues. My recommendations
to Muslims is to dump ideology, specially the Islamist ideology
which is the mirror image of political Christianity, and adopt a
pragmatic approach designed to protect the American Muslim
community and work towards integrating it with American
mainstream. Forget foreign policy [unless you teach foreign policy
for a living] focus on local issues. Build local bridges, local
importantly launch joint projects with local churches and
synagogues and I do not mean, “dialogues”, engage in civic and
social projects. Nothing integrates more than doing things
together, fighting battles together.
must learn about American history and American present. It is
important to know and understand what is happening in this country
of ours. American Muslims have tried to create a sophisticated and
a rich Islamic ghetto in America, engaging with America only on
our terms, it is time to come out of this ghetto and meet America
on its terms.
is a battle raging for the soul of America, lets partake in it and
leave our mark on what America becomes.
Recent articles on IJTIHAD
This New York Times Op-Ed discusses how the American Muslim community is changing as a result of the changing condition in America.
"A rare moderate voice" Khaled Ahmed, Pakistan's prominent commentator and reviewer on American Muslims.
Muqtedar Khan Debates Dr. Daniel Pipes on Islam and Democracy