Starting around 2006, it was starting to be cool to be Muslim, the Kiffayah was officially inducted into Hipster fashion, rappers like Lupe Fiasco were putting out songs called “Muhammad Walks” and a Canadian show called Little Mosque on the Prairie was getting noticed around the country.
Recently, shooting hoops in a suburban Long Island park, once the locals found out the Muslim kids went to pray, they responded, perhaps a little too mockingly “Assalaam alaykum”
To me, all these are signs of a growing stream of Muslims consciousness in the social fabric. Any publicity is good publicity. In this case, the more American Muslims are in the public eye, the less society will associate Islam with something from overseas and something a bit closer to home. I can only pray that it isn’t something terribly negative.
While a recent LA Times article on ‘Ramadan time Muslims’ may be unsettling for a Muslims who think the vast majority of Muslims are socially conservative and religiously orthodox; the inverse seems closer to the truth. The majority of Muslims, like folks of any religious tradition lean on to the ‘secular’ side of the scale, rather than the religiously conservative end.
Secular <---Socially Liberal---Moderate---Socially Conservative--->Orthodox
Hmm this scale can be applied to any religious tradition no?
As this fact begins to dawn on the orthodox self-appointed vanguard of Muslims in America; Islamic centers, organizations and community leaders can start to be more accepting of the existing Muslim punk music scene, or Fatiha the Muslim version of the LGBT. Accepting doesn’t mean agreeing with views or a position, but its more so an exercise in accepting differences in a vibrant civil society. Every immigrant community goes through this, and it is exciting to see the emergence of so many different stances and folks still identifying themselves as Muslim.
To end, I’d like to recommend two creative and humorous projects that lean towards the Moderate/Conservative end of things; but nonetheless are genuine expressions of an American Muslim subculture.
Ramadaning – Hilarious anecdotes of Muslims as they continue their spiritual journey of fasting in the American wilderness
30 Mosques – Follow two fellows journey through America as they visit a different mosque in a different state every day for the 30 days of Ramadan