Muslims In America: Rewriting The Hijacked Story

muslims in america

Rescuing Ourselves

In March, President Obama’s address was criticized by Muslims in particular because of the lack of applause on the part of Congress when the President talked about rejecting stereotypes and closing Gitmo. I watched it a few times and I saw people clapping at certain points. Granted, the point some are trying to make is that our elected officials don’t seem to care about the Muslim population in this country. As a Muslim woman, I say it is the job of the moderate and progressive Muslims and a responsible media to make them care.

Post 9/11, everybody brown was Muslim and a terrorist. Not only were the planes hijacked, but the narrative of an entire religious group was hijacked as well. Of course, the media will jump on that because it’s intriguing and draws people in. With ISIS and more terrorist attacks exacerbating fear and Donald Trump feeding Islamophobic hysteria, the focus is drawn away from Nobel Peace Prize winner Malala Yousafsai and Muslim clerics worldwide who publicly denounce Islamic extremism. “Muslim terrorist” instead of “Muslim peace activist” is a far more provocative headline that will attract an audience.

What the mainstream media chooses to ignore is that some of their readers want to know the reality of a situation. The reality is that the extremists make up less than 1 percent of the Muslim population. Different factions and different levels of practice are prevalent, just like any other religion. Within those factions the majority of Muslims just want to be free to live their lives like anyone else.

However, it is not just the media’s job to show who Muslims really are. It is the job of Muslims ourselves. We need to be involved in our communities and not sit quietly in our esoteric bubbles. The newly arrived need to stop looking down on American culture and the need to keep their children away from its corrupting influence. If you’re going to live in America, be a part of the American experience. Khizr Khan highlighted this brilliantly at the Democratic Convention when talking about the Constitution and the ultimate sacrifice of his son. Ghazala Khan pummeled Donald Trump’s baseless intimation of a forced silence with dignity in an opinion piece for the Washington Post. After the Orlando shootings, Muslim groups organized fund drives to help victims and their families. We need to keep being positive, visible forces within our communities.

Elevating ourselves from the margins of society and history is not an easy task. The Muslim community needs to educate themselves to related to the issues that affect us to become more active members of American society. We must actively take our own destinies into our own hands and rewrite our own story.

author@sameenakmughal.com'

Sameena Mughal

Sameena K. Mughal is an author, blogger, and educator living in West Chester, Pennsylvania, who is passionate about literature. Her debut novel, Shaherazade's Daughters was a feminist homage to the classic 10001 Arabian Nights. Her second book, The Siddiqui Brothers in Cairo follows the adventures of eccentric scientists who, ironically, are too forward- thinking for a time that is known for its forward- thinking, the Golden Age of Islam. She also writes sociopolitical commentary on her Behind and Beyond the Veil at www.sameenakmughal.com

  • Lady_Lbrty

    Thank you, you have put under a microscope exactly what has went horribly wrong with U.S. immigration policies.
    We should NOT be bringing people into our Country who hate our culture and seek to change it. This is America, this is our culture and NO person should EVER move to another Nation if they don’t share the same common values and core beliefs. No one has a right to come here seeking to change what they view as corrupt. Just because a person seeks to come to America (although for the life of me I can’t figure out why ANY PERSON would move to a place they dislike, it’s, well dumb) doesn’t mean that should take them. The person writing serves as a prime example of the people we DO NOT want to accept.
    Obama’s sold the narrative to the American people that we have no choice, no say in who we allow into country. That’s a lie and it’s very dangerous to our Republic. We have not always had these ridiculous policies, but we have had them for the last 30 yrs and the results have been devastating. We’ve brought people who refuse assimilation, they group up and form parallel societies within OUR society and this cannot be allowed to continue.
    The U.S. is coming closer every day to losing our Country, I barely recognize what it has become and it’s ALL from bringing ppl who seek to change our system of Gov’t and our society.
    It’s time to return to an immigration policy more inline with our core values and who we are as Americans, not who someone from another country thinks we should be.
    We’ve closed our borders before, for the purpose of assimilation and they remained closed for 50 yrs. It’s time to do that again. We’ve been inundated for 30 yrs. We must assimilate those who are assimilatable, repatriate those who are not.
    Regardless of what liberals try to tell you, America is NOT an Islamic Country, Jefferson didn’t welcome Islam, he fought against it. We will not change for Islam anymore than we changed for Christianity, Judaism, or any other religion. If you came to America seeking to change it, you came for the wrong reason.