True Islam: Only in America?

Ralph Peters has a provocative column today.

Last week, I had an in spiring conversation with a Muslim-Ameri can. An immigrant from Pakistan, he hadn’t yet been granted citizenship, but he had more faith in America than our native-born elite does. “I write to my brothers and sisters,” he said, “And I tell them that they do not know true Islam. If you want to see true Islam, you must come to America.” He meant the social justice and the respect for the individual, rich or poor, prescribed by the Koran. He had not found those qualities in the land of his birth. Nor do they prevail in any Muslim state between Casablanca and Karachi.

Islam sets high standards for the daily behavior of its adherents — but all too often the Koran’s calls for fairness, charity and common decency are rejected in favor of social strictures misinterpreted by bitter old men and fanatics. The oppression of women, terrorism and the police states of the Middle East were not part of the Prophet Mohammed’s vision.

My Muslim friend had recently found yet another reason to believe in America — in a place the rest of us would overlook. Coming from a land where the rich can even murder with impunity, he was thrilled that Olympic swimmer Michael Phelps had to face drunken-driving charges. “Seven gold medals!” my friend said. “He is a hero, sir! And still he must face the court! “It is not hidden away because he is powerful. This is very good, this is Islam.”

Of course, in many ways American culture doesn’t conform to Islam or even the Judeo-Christian ethic that the majority espouses. Still, we come closer to those ideals than most.

FILED UNDER: Middle East, Policing, Religion, Terrorism, , , , ,
James Joyner
About James Joyner
James Joyner is Professor and Department Head of Security Studies at Marine Corps University's Command and Staff College. He's a former Army officer and Desert Storm veteran. Views expressed here are his own. Follow James on Twitter @DrJJoyner.


  1. Bithead says:

    Which, in turn, is what makes us a target to those now using Islam as a fient for their true intents.