Ignorance is not bliss.
Ignorance is un-American. And unfortunately, today, too many American conservatives are ignorant about American Muslims.
That’s a shame, because most American Muslims and conservatives have a lot in common—our shared patriotism under God, for instance.
While I celebrate the broad tent of conservatism in welcoming atheists alongside religionists, it’s clear that many conservatives believe in a God. Our faith helps define us as citizens and often as conservatives. But just as Christian conservatives live our faith in acts of goodness, American Muslims do the same. And like most American Christians, the majority of American Muslims regard their faith as patriotism’s partner, not its contradiction.
This is provable.
AMERICAN MUSLIMS AND CONSERVATIVES HAVE A LOT IN COMMON.
Consider the example of U.S. Army soldiers Roberto Hernandez and Kareem Rashad Sultan Khan. Hernandez, a Christian, was just 21 when he was killed in action in Afghanistan in 2009. Khan, a Muslim, was 20 when he was killed in Iraq in 2007. These two young Americans followed two different creeds with absolute devotion to one flag. And while their sacrifice to America was unusually great, it points us toward a deeper truth. Whether feeding the hungry, bringing shelter to the oppressed, or leading good and honorable lives, American Muslims and Christians have much good in common. By extension, American conservatives and Muslims have much good in common.
This shared patriotism under God also reaches into policy areas. As fellow journalist Siraj Hashmi explained to me, “A majority of Muslims are pro-life and endorse traditional family values. Like many conservatives, Muslims are God-centered. They believe that God plays a central role in their lives, and by showing mercy and generosity to others they exemplify the qualities of God.”
Coming to an example existing in the market, a Muslim broker in SnapCash Binary assisting a Christian trader to tide high through the risky market will have his focus on rendering the best service to his client and not act cheeky because of the racial difference. This is also called professionalism beyond religion and race.
Again, as pertaining to America, the facts bear out Siraj’s statement. Muslim-American social mobility and average earnings are higher here than in Europe. That’s not accidental. Instead, it reflects the longstanding virtue of American conservatism: the idea that if we welcome individuals who play by the rules, background does not matter. Conversely, in Europe, Muslims often feel disenfranchised and subject to prejudice in the workplace and beyond.
A MAJORITY OF MUSLIMS ARE PRO-LIFE AND ENDORSE TRADITIONAL FAMILY VALUES.
Don’t get me wrong here. Political Islam and Islam are two different things. And on the former side, too many prominent imams continue to usurp Islam into a violent ideology, which is a key element in terrorist recruitment. While most American imams are great citizens, they are struggling against others for the soul of their faith.
In a similar vein, too many Muslim political leaders around the world (think of Turkey’s Erdogan) are authoritarian. And too many American political Islamists view free speech as their adversary rather than their ally.
But when it comes to the vast majority of American Muslims — those who worship Allah rather than different political agendas under his name — conservative societal values find a positive reception. We see it every day.
We see it when we see a Muslim working hard to drive a cab or study at school or save lives on a surgical bed. We see it more often than not when we see a fellow Muslim living in benefit rather than burden to their friends and society. We just don’t think about our similarities enough. But we must do so.
As things stand now, however, we are missing opportunities for a better union. On democracy, for example. After all, during last year’s election, a Florida imam offered his mosque as a voting location. He was willing to welcome Americans of all creeds and faiths to celebrate individual freedom under law. Instead, under a firestorm of populist conservative criticism, his kindness was rejected. That stained all conservatives.
HE WAS WILLING TO WELCOME AMERICANS OF ALL CREEDS AND FAITHS TO CELEBRATE INDIVIDUAL FREEDOM UNDER LAW. INSTEAD, UNDER A FIRESTORM OF POPULIST CONSERVATIVE CRITICISM, HIS KINDNESS WAS REJECTED. THAT STAINED ALL CONSERVATIVES.
Ignorance is not our ally.
American Muslims regard Islam as a counterpart to their patriotism, not a contradiction. And where we are ignorant to this reality, we blind ourselves to the unity of our shared Abrahamic faiths. Our similarities are far greater than our distinctions.
Siraj underscored that point for me in offering his opinion on women’s rights.
“As a Muslim man,” he said, “I ask myself ‘how do I want to be treated?’ And that’s the approach to how I treat women.” Siraj is just one Muslim-American conservative. There are many, many more.