Islam In America

It never ceases to amaze me that some folks think the way to win hearts and minds is by killing people.

Yes, I’m thinking of Boko Haram in Nigeria. The Islamist militants have overrun an army base in the remote northeast Nigerian town of Baga, according to this report.

Conversion by the sword may have been effective in the Seventh Century, but not so much in the 21st. (“There is no compulsion in Islam.”)

Somehow it’s comforting to know that both Saudia Arabians and ultra-Orthodox Jewish men are stuck in the same time warp.

Saudia is poised to begin seating that does not allow men to sit next to unrelated women. The haredim have the same objections.

Methinks people whose social mores are stuck in the past should stay off airplanes in the first place.

Earlier this week, the Administrative Court of Alexandria, Egypt, banned a festival held each year for decades in honor of a Moroccan rabbi.

According to the report in WorldPost, “local residents…objected to the mingling of men and women and the consumption of alcohol at the festival, and claimed that strict security measures applied during the festival negatively affected their normal daily life”.

That the attendees were Jews from Mediterranean countries certainly wasn’t a factor, eh?

It’s going to be a recurrent problem: older members of a mosque in conflict with younger members.

It’s a situation that has been repeated in religious institutions in the United States since Colonial days (think of the immigrant Pilgrims’ conflicts with their own North America-born children and grandchildren).

This time it’s Sacramento, California, where Mohamed Abdul-Azeez, the popular imam of the Sacramento Area League of Associated Muslims (SALAM) Islamic Center, was forced out by the governing board. According to the Sacramento Bee, “His departure comes after a majority of the nine-member board rebuffed his expansion plan, which included establishing satellite mosques throughout the region, hiring an IT manager to televise his sermons and adding an assistant imam to handle many of the needs of the congregation.”

Every immigrant religion faces the problems of adapting an Old World theology to New World challenges. The American conundrum of Islam is no different in many ways. Like both Christianity and Judaism in the United States, Muslim institutions in the U.S. must reconcile beliefs of congregants from many different originating cultures and their varying views on religion. When age and immigrant/native born status is added to the mix, disagreement seems inevitable.

Your thoughts?