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25 November 2009



"and so "all" Americans join up to fight their evil: Black and white Americans, together, even Latinos, though rarely in America is such integration so easy or so successful as it is portrayed in action movies to be.)"

1st: Non-sense. Ever been to any city, state or federal government. Police force? Corporation? Try that in another country, Europe. Hatin' on America is part of the problem. You want insider/outsider American status as it suits you. No committment. No pride. Fort Hood, anyone? Of course you are treated as outsiders. You demand it.

2nd: The second wave of immigrants to America, post 1980, are largely day trippers. Everyone knows that you are here for the money, a quick, get rich scheme with unfixed plans to 86-out the minute you got what you need. Why should America invest in you?

3rd: True. You can follow the Chinese who have rarely deeply integrated and prefer to live in clusters and go for generations without speaking English or adopting American lifestyle. Hopefully, these people will move back to China now where they can take advantage of the Asian Perestroika and fully participate in their society rather than living as (slightly parasitic) outisiders who refused to join in the Grand Experiment.


3. Very good point - a lot of new media geeks identified this trend a long time ago, although there's still no consensus on how intense or complete this self-selection phenemona will be or how detrimental it will become.

Keeping in mind that digital information and new media is a task -oriented solution-seeking experience for the user, my take on your point is that isolationism breeds more isolationism, so the Muslim community has a pretty good running head start in this regard. That said, it also unwinds itself in much the same way, so if we can take up the challenge of some community engagement, we discover new sets of interests and shared common problems within that sphere, broadening our scope and range of information intake.

"Why go through the hassle of integration... when you can just tune out? " A), because the stakes are too high not to,and B) there are probably several civic issues in your own town that you should be caring about, that spark you as an individual that is worth overcoming "tuning out." Find something in your community that you're passionate about and get involved.


Willow's essay is certainly an intriguing read, and I'll either post comments there or blog on it. There's some points fo hers I disagree with, but I certainly agree with her assessment that Muslims in America are pretty isolationist, which is a problem, from a new media point of view, im trying to think through at the moment. But to your three "ruminations" :)

1 "Who will be the new enemy that allows Arabs and Muslims to integrate? " that's a very far-reaching and pretty provocative question, I like it. My short answer is that we need to have a far stronger stance against violent religious extremism in Islam than we do. As a community we'll blog about it and the major Muslim organizations issue elegant but generic 2-paragraph press releases, but the perception among nonMuslims is that there has been no visible muscle, involvement, commitment or actions behind our stance. I think there's some merit behind that perception.

2 "... we are marked, in an ever more connected age (see third point), by what others sharing our faith do in different contexts and countries?"

We're marked in this way because we've allowed ourselves to be. By remaining isolationist, we've offered non-Muslims no other view or voice or experience by which they can independently evaluate and assess the full range of Muslim identity. If we're not on the school board or the PTA, if we're not inviting the neighbor to dinner, if we're not running for city council, if we're not blogging about community issues (instead of or in addition to blogging about Muslim issues so other Muslims will read about it) --- in short, if we're not known as fellow citizens fully participating in our community, then the only Muslims our community will ever know about are the Muslims that make the news when they do senseless violent acts. Our isolationism has ensured that our communities know no other kind of Muslim.

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