"This is the story of ... the making of an American imam

Here is a story that may help explain to many Americans what exactly our country is all about.

Welcome to the Great American Melting Pot my middle eastern friends. Please be sure to read the Rules whilst getting comfortable in your new home.
A Muslim Leader in Brooklyn, Reconciling 2 Worlds - New York Times:

"Over the last half-century, the Muslim population in the United States has risen significantly. Immigrants from the Middle East, South Asia and Africa have settled across the country, establishing mosques from Boston to Los Angeles, and turning Islam into one of the nation's fastest growing religions. By some estimates, as many as six million Muslims now live in America.

Leading this flock calls for improvisation. Imams must unify diverse congregations with often-clashing Islamic traditions. They must grapple with the threat of terrorism, answering to law enforcement agents without losing the trust of their fellow Muslims. Sometimes they must set aside conservative beliefs that prevail in the Middle East, the birthplace of Islam.

Islam is a legalistic faith: Muslims believe in a divine law that guides their daily lives, including what they should eat, drink and wear. In countries where the religion reigns, this is largely the accepted way.

But in the West, what Islamic law prohibits is everywhere. Alcohol fills chocolates. Women jog in sports bras. For many Muslims in America, life is a daily clash between Islamic mores and material temptation. At the center of this clash stands the imam."
It is no doubt going to get ever more interesting in the coming years. There are simply too many reasons for so many people to find immigration to the US a compelling notion.

Reading this story gives me more hope for that future, despite the incredible differences and adjustments that are going to be needed. Mr Shata, the imam who is the article's focus, seems like he is taking a sound and reasonable path towards understanding how best to help his folk enable such adjustments in their own lives.

Mr. Shata settles dowries, confronts wife abusers, brokers business deals and tries to arrange marriages. He approaches each problem with an almost scientific certainty that it can be solved. "I try to be more of a doctor than a judge," said Mr. Shata. "A judge sentences. A doctor tries to remedy."
Dealing with change is endemic to being alive in a free and open society. More Doctors and fewer Judges seems like a excellent tack to take to me.

Please though, I would implore the imam, please come to an understanding of the rules of the secular society in which you have chosen to setup a new life. Such understanding can do nothing but aid you and your folk in these adjustments.

Religious laws are respected here. Despite some ignorant fools' obsessions, they are never allowed to be mandated by government. Where ever the two may conflict, Secular Law supercedes religious law. By this mechanism are all religions defended and respected.

So what that we all must all be kidded on occasion? We are all safe and free to kid and curse as we will. It is our physical safety from the Imperious Domination of one subjective worldview over all the others that is the incredibly efficacious achievement of the First Amendment to the Rules in this, the Great American Melting Pot.



  1. Found you at Neil's. I read this article in the NYTimes and posted it, too. Most people are good, but men like him are great.

    The Penguin movie was great. Don't know how old the kid you're thinking of is, but one part made my 5 year old cry for days. When the mommy penguins make it back to the ocean and start going in the water, take him/or her to get a soda or popcorn so they don't see a mommy penguin get chomped on by a seal... otherwise it's awesome.



  2. It's the kind of story, the Imam I mean, that keeps me from thinkin' I can honestly rip on religion unconditionally. Much of humanity's best accomplishment did hinge on superstitious beliefs. Those accomplishments are letting us put it aside, just not as quickly as quite a few of us would like.

    I'm not holding my breath over anything. LOL

    And me stepgirl is 12 now. I do think she'll like the flick, even with the chompin'. Funny kid, that Boogrrrl.

    I'll be checkin' yer post on Shata now. Thanks for leaving a say!

  3. There are simply too many reasons for so many people to find immigration to the US a compelling notion.
    Yeah, especially the young women jogging in their sports bras.
    They were talking on the radio today about an old custom coming around again in Iraq after being discouraged by Saddam: temporary marriages. These are contracted for periods of minutes to years, for any reason--like horny guy or penniless woman. Sound familiar? I wonder if this custom will be brought to America.

  4. Sounds all too familiar Mark.

    (i've really gotta stop gettin' married... {shakin'head}.)


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