Nov. 15, 2011
Ancient Roman orator Marcus Tullius Cicero once said that, A nation can survive its fools, and even the ambitious. But it cannot survive treason from within. It seems to me that this quote greatly exemplifies what is happening in the United States currently in regards to Islam. In his book Islam in our Midst, author Patrick Sookhdeo informs the reader of what is happening within the walls of the United States and its threat to Christianity. Sookhdeo keys in on four different areas that are being affected by Islam: Understanding the Public Square since 9/11, Western and Non-Western Worldviews, and the impact of Islam on Society. By looking at these three areas, it can be seen that this book is a must-read for those concerned with what is happening within the United States in regards to Islam.
First, Sookhdeo looks at the public square since 9/11. Two key areas that I believe are very important that Sookhdeo talks about in his work would be Interfaith Dialogue and the Lack of Self Confidence in the U.S.A. It seems to me that within these two areas, some interesting points are raised. Interfaith dialogue is most certainly an important area to look at, because in the years since the 9/11 attacks, there has been an urging by those in power for those of different religions to find common ground. At the end of this section in his book, Sookhdeo poignantly poses the question (in regards to these interfaith dailogues) Is this merely another aspect of dawa, Islamic mission to bring about Islamic transformation? While the area of interfaith dialogue is certainly an important one, another that is analyzed is the Lack of Self Confidence in the U.S.A. Sookhdeo points to the long delay in apprehending Osama Bin Laden, the limited success in Iraq, problems in Afghanistan, resentment towards Americans from around the world, and the financial crisis as reasons that lead to a lack of self confidence in the United States. One prime example of this would be abundance of criticism of the United States by those in Hollywoodl. For instance, in 2003, actor Johnny Depp threatened to leave the United States unless the political climate changed. Depp called the U.S. a big, dumb puppy…with teeth..that can bite you…and hurt you. Depp currently lives in France while still making his millions thanks to the wallets of American moviegoers.
Another area that Sookhdeo looks at in his book is Western and Non-Western worldviews. Pointing to the cultural views of both Islam and western cultures, Sookhdeo points to key differences. One of these differences is the aspect of diversity. In the second section of the book, the author states The U.S.A. is both a unity and a diversity.. It seems as though the United States is a unity in the fact that the country, for the most part, stands together in times of crisis and depicts itself as the United States of America. However, while unified under the flag, Constitution, Declaration of Independence, and other key elements to our countrys success, the U.S. is also one that is very diverse - culturally, religiously, geographically, socially, etc. This diversity has been key in the survival of this nation (it was the Pilgrims that left Europe to escape a state-run religion). While the United States celebrates diversity in these areas, the Islamic worldview is not as open to such views. As Sookhdeo states, The communalism of Islam, as opposed to the individualism of American society, leads to a very different attitude to private space and public space. Another frightening thought that Sookhdeo points to is that For Muslims, divine unity means that there can be only one god-approved law, sharia, andone right poltical model for human society. With views like these, tension between Muslims and the societies in which they have acclimated themselves into within the United States.
Finally, Sookhdeo looks at the impact of Islam on United States society. Throughout this entire chapter, he points to the various ways in which Islam has impacted the United States. While many Muslims come to the United States and try to convert U.S. citizens to the religion of Islam, they seem to get offended when Christians try to convert them, and in many Muslim countries across southwest Asia (the Middle East), Christian mission and evangelism to Muslims is prohibited. Sookhdeo points to an event in 2010 when Christians were arrested and jailed on counts of disorderly conduct for distributing Christian materials outside of an Arab International festival in Dearborn, Michigan. By having a number of small impacts on different areas throughout the country, such as these two, Islam can certainly make quite a large impression throughout the entire societal makeup of the country.
In all, this work is certainly informative for anyone whoi is worried about the Islamification of certain aspects of society in the United States. Sookhdeo shows his knowledge of this area of study and gives examples for the claims he makes. For me, the book is certainly an eye opener as to what is currently happening in regards to Islam and its presence in the U.S, and after reading, only one quote came to mine. While this quote came about in regard to World War II, it certainly has its application here:
Niemoller is perhaps best remembered for the quotation:
First they came for the Socialists, and I did not speak out —
Because I was not a Socialist.
Then they came for the Trade Unionists, and I did not speak out —
Because I was not a Trade Unionist.
Then they came for the Jews, and I did not speak out —
Because I was not a Jew.
Then they came for me — and there was no one left to speak for me.
In our country, many may not want to hear about the dangers of Islam. However, George Orwell once said that Freedom is the right to tell people what they do not want to hear. We have that right. Speak up. Sookhdeo certainly has.