Mosque in Iowa. Source.
The American Muslim condition is paradoxical. Muslims in the U.S. live in the best of circumstances and the worst of times. Most tend to be mainstream, moderate and middle class. They are educated and are well integrated into American society. In fact, they are seen as a model for European countries to emulate. But American Muslims also live in a sociopolitical climate in which Islamophobia is steadily on the rise.
Many talk show hosts play on their audiences’ fears by attacking Islam and Islamic values. The U.S. government continues to profile Muslims, spy on them and keep them at arm’s length. And anti-Muslim discourse has become a mainstream phenomenon.
In 2012, presidential candidate Newt Gingrich compared Islam to Nazism. Fellow Republican contender Herman Cain swore not to appoint a Muslim to his Cabinet if he was elected. Prominent social commentators such as Bill Maher often blame Islam for much of the violence in the world. More than half the states are considering anti-Islam legislation under the guise of barring consideration of foreign laws and court rulings. The FBI and municipal police departments such as New York’s routinely spy on Muslims and their institutions…