Boston bombings and a Muslim identity crisis
The Tsarnaev brothers had a jumbled identity. I know, because I also had one as a Muslim immigrant to the United States. The challenge of the Boston bombings is for Muslim communities and law enforcement to help create a generation of Muslims with an American identity.
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Dzhokhar should go online from his hospital room to see how both brothers apparently gambled their lives over an illusion.Skip to next paragraph
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Despite his US citizenship, Dzhokhar has been typically described by the media as having Chechen roots – rather than as an American. The Chechen president was quick to remark, “They grew up in the USA, their viewpoints and beliefs were formed there.” So much for the roots.
A Boston Muslim imam says he won’t lead Tameral’s funeral, because “he already left the fold of Islam” by killing innocents. So much for a Muslim identity. And many immigrants are happy that these two young immigrants didn’t belong to their ethnic group.
I am not making any excuses for the horrendous actions of the Tsarnaev brothers. As President Obama said, the “full weight of justice” should come to bear. I am just wondering how to break the trend of seemingly peaceful Muslim-Americans repeatedly morphing into explosive radicals.
For Muslims, blaming America for all the mayhem in the world is disingenuous. Whether at the pulpit or the dinner table, we must remind our children to remain thankful for the liberty and justice America offers us.
For authorities, the answer should not lie in the increased surveillance of Muslim communities, as is being suggested. Painting Islam as an inherently violent religion and all Muslims as suspects is a failed recipe.
The Muslim communities and law enforcement authorities must collaborate so that a new generation of Muslim Americans – or “Muslimericans” as I call them – is raised. This new generation would see no conflict between their pledge to the Quran and their Pledge of Allegiance. My community drilled this message so deeply into my mind that even though I disagree with certain US policies, it never compromises my loyalty to America.
Now under the banner of “Muslimerican,” I have shared this idea through outreach to mosques, college campuses, and media outlets. I air daily radio commentaries titled "Muslimerican" on a Fox News affiliate.
The admirable performance of the local and federal law enforcement agencies last week, to me, signified the killing of one terrorist and the capture of another, but not the long-term closure for one nation.
Closure will come when the ideology of a violent jihad will be completely purged from the admired Muslim scholars who perpetrate and sanction it; when the concept of loyalty to a non-Muslim state will be preached in American mosques; and when American-Muslims will enjoy the same trust as other religious minorities.
That’s when Muslimericans will outgrow their hyphenated status and their true American identity will finally emerge.