Thought of the Day

Muslim Americans are just the latest iteration of majority-America chastising a relatively new immigrant group, claiming that group will never be compatible to American values. There are blogs, op-eds, and pseudo-academia all making claims that Muslims are fundamentally incompatible with American society.

However, if anyone is at all familiar with American history, then you’ll know the same language was used against the Irish for being Catholic, Italians for being a different sort of Catholic, Jews, and German-Americans and Japanese-Americans during World War II. Using this same language, we’ve even banned the immigration of Chinese (specifically) and Asians (generally) via the Asian Exclusion Act.

Next up, Muslims. I’m sure there are plenty of people who are ready to make excuses as to why and how Muslims are different from all of those other groups; how we haven’t seen this history lesson repeatedly; how this scenario is somehow unique.

For a brief history lesson, Muslims have been in the Americas ever since Europeans have been in the Americas. We’ve been here as African slaves, comprising between 15-25% of all slaves. Some have been here among Columbus’s boats following a freshly-conquered Spain over the former Muslim rulers. Arab immigrants came in the mid-late 1800s from present-day Syria and established the oldest mosque in the US in Iowa. Many African-Americans, as descendants of slaves, began to re-discover their Islamic roots during the 1900s via a number of social movements. By the 1970s, many African Americans found mainstream Islam (abandoning ethnically-based movements only scantly related to Islam). Around the same time, legislation was removed that restricted or excluded Asian immigrants, thereby allowing other Muslim peoples to immigrate to the US. Therefore, if anything, our requisite oppression before entering mainstream society is long overdue.

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