30 April 2006

American Culture Shock for Muslims

Arab News recently ran an Op-Ed piece on the effect that American culture has on Muslims living in or visiting America. I was genuinely surprised by the post. The American Culture Shock Works for Sure.

“Would Osama Bin Laden have ended up so anti-American if he had the chance you had to live and study in the US?” the American journalist wondered.

I gave him a long answer (sorry it wasn’t an easy question): “Many Muslims went to America conservative and came back liberal. Others only became conservative, even radicals, after their American experience. A few remained uninfluenced either way.

Said Qutub, the godfather of Islamic radicalism, was a romantic poet before he lived for a short while in Colorado, one of the most beautiful places on earth. Still, he wrote later about his discovery then and there of the Western decadence and how he decided to change course to fight the US influence on the Muslim world. His books persuaded many Muslim generations and led them on the way of confrontation with Western values and with Muslim regimes that do not strictly adhere to the Shariah.

On the other hand, most people I know, young and old, returned from America positively impressed. A prominent anti-US leftist told me after his first visit: I discovered that America is not just pro-Israel Congress and White House. It is also the hospitable, friendly, open and generous people.

During the cross-Atlantic flight from London to New York, my American neighbor told me all about his life and family, showed me their pictures, and discussed everything from the environment to US foreign policies. We agreed and disagreed, but he never showed any anger, arrogance, stubbornness or hostility. Before we parted ways, he gave me his card, invited me home, and ... presented me with a medal of honor he received in the US Army.

The piece goes on to state what a wonderful time the author had while living in Eugene,Oregon, and how some of his best friends were Americans. All this is well and good, but the fact is that many Muslims seriously hate us and our way of life and no Eugene suburb will ever change that.

Open Post thanks to TMH Bacon Bits, Stuck on Stupid, Adam's Blog, Third World Country, Liberal Wrong Wing, Uncooperative Blogger and The Mudville Gazette.

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