“Not Muslim enough for the masjids… too Muslim for Western society”
We continue our conversation with Dr. John Andrew Morrow, an author and a scholar, about Muslims residing in the West. He is best known for his Covenants’ Initiative that aims to create better understanding between Muslims and Christians in the world today.
CI: Do you think Muslims in North America will be assimilated into the broader society within the next 10–20 years?
By and large, they already are. Rather than reject the negative aspects of their cultures of origin, and embrace the positive aspects of Western culture, many transnational Muslims tend to do the exact opposite. In some ways, they are only western in their passports. In other ways, they are more Westernized than Westerners. I remember the case of the gorgeous Yasmeen Ghauri in the 1990s. If the daughter of a Montreal-based imam of Indian origin can become a supermodel who poses nude, how does that bode for the rest of the Muslim community? For many young Muslims in the West, their role models are Zayn Malik along with Gigi and Bella Hadid who, incidentally, were raised as practising Muslims. They are models of successfully integrated Muslims of immigrant origin. For others, their role models are people like Linda Sarsour, a hijab-wearing leftist, and Masuma Khan, a Talibanesque leftist, both of whom support sexual immorality.
“Opposition 2 gay marriage today is same as opposition 2 interracial marriage 50 yrs ago” Sarsour tweeted. No, Linda, it is not. Interracial marriages are permitted according to the law of Moses, Jesus, and Muhammad (a); however, same-sex marriages are not. Or, how about these classic quotes from the Canadian-hating Afghan, “Be proud of this country? For what, over 400 years of genocide… I stand by Indigenous students.” No, you don’t, Masuma. I am an indigenous person and you certainly do not speak for my people or for Muslims. Masuma Khan, who is incapable of independent thinking, is famous for regurgitating the radical rhetoric that she has been taught by leftist college professors, including the nonsensical notion that only whites can be racist and that Caucasians cannot be victims of racism since racism supposedly does not work in reverse. Such notions are both illogical and un-Islamic. Islam denounces all racial discrimination irrespective of who is directing it and who is receiving it. Young Muslims in the West are being drawn to extremes, Salafi/Wahhabi/Takfiri terrorism on the one hand, and radical liberalism, leftism, and secularism on the other whether it is dressed in a burqa like Masuma Khan, a modern hijab like Linda Sarsour, or a mini-skirt and micro-bikini like Gigi and Bella Hadid.
These extreme alternatives are not the product of chance or random development. They are the product of programming. They are the fruit of generations of serious study, including trial and error, conducted at huge cost by powerful think tanks, policy makers, and social engineers. To a large extent, the work in question is “invisible.” Apart from attentive observers, who can put together the pieces of the puzzle, most of the research conducted, as well as its ultimate goals, goes unnoticed by 99.9% of the population since it takes place primarily in private institutions or is spread so thinly throughout public institutions that its interconnectedness is not perceived. Just like the scientists who produced the atomic bomb in New Mexico were unaware of the goal of their research, since they were separated into isolated groups that were assigned to work on very specific tasks, many of the scholars and scientists involved in social-engineering research are unaware of the implications and outcome of their work. Although they believe they are independent actors, they are but puppets on a string, without agency and impetus of their own: ignorant of the script that was written for them and the global design of the directors. Take the “Arab Spring” and the “Color Revolutions,” for example. They were the complete and total creation of intelligence agencies that conveniently exploited the shortcomings, weaknesses, and failings of distinct Arab and Muslim societies. According to Oscar LHpez Rivera, the Puerto Rican sovereigntist, David Rockefeller, and others, said more than 40 years ago that there was too much democracy and that they had to do away with it. That was the origin of the Trilateral Commission and the New World Order.
Although only small numbers of Muslims move toward takfiri terrorism, much larger numbers are dragged into the sludge and slime of secular Western society. According to research conducted by the Family and Youth Institute, 57% of male Muslim college students have engaged in pre-marital sex (48% for females); 45% of male Muslim college students have consumed alcohol (48% for females); and 28% of male Muslim college students have used illicit drugs (19% for females). If we look at individuals between the ages of 17–35, we find that 67% of Canadian and US Muslims have engaged in pre-marital sex. The situation in the Muslim world is not much better. In some cases, it is even more dismal. Some Muslims get livid when I cite these statistics. Some say straight out, “I don’t believe you.” They can stick their heads in the sand for only so long before they will suffocate. To them I say, “Take your head out of the hole, take a deep breath, face reality, and work with the community on both prevention and treatment. Wake up.” We, as Muslims, are losing our children to the secular world order. We, conscious and educated Muslims from the West, can help. Marginalizing us will cost you dearly. Your children are succumbing to the sickness of this godless society. We have the medicine. If 76% of Muslims received sex education from the public school, only 4% received it from the masjid. Muslims are failing their children. They are not Muslim enough for the masjids, yet they are too Muslim for Western society. They are torn. We need to create safe spaces for Muslims in the West: places for those who have lived here for centuries and for those whose families immigrated in more recent times. As Imam ‘Ali said, “Do not expect your children to be like you for they were born for a different age.”
Intelligence is the ability to adapt. Failing to adapt results in extinction. We, western Muslims, can help immigrant Muslims, and their progeny, to integrate, survive, and prosper in the West without compromising primordial principles. Spiritually and morally healthy integration is possible but not for those who live in la-la-land.
CI: How could Muslims balance healthy integration with commitment to normative traditional Islam in North America?
We are supposed to be a justly-balanced Ummah (2:143). That applies to all aspects of life. We need to avoid all extremes. That includes religious extremism; however, that also includes irreligious extremism. We must learn to pick our battles and focus on pillars of faith and practice. We need to be flexible and avoid rigidity; however, we must not bend ourselves to the breaking point. We must remember that Islam represents a spectrum. While we should try to stick to safety of the center as much as reasonably possible, we must also be able to appreciate, and at times apply, aspects from both sides and even peripheral perspectives. When faced with an issue, we should examine the various rulings throughout the ages and adopt the one that is most appropriate to this period. We must consult with scholars who are traditional exponents of Islam but who are equally versed in the challenges of modernity. We have plenty of scholars of the text; however, we have very few who comprehend the context. Minority jurisprudence, which has historically been strong in Malikism, remains relevant.
Rather than rely on rulings derived from regions that were 100% Muslim, and where there was little or no racial, cultural, or linguistic diversity, western Muslims should emulate the example of Islam as it was practiced in places where pluralism flourished: al-Andalus, Sicily, the Balkans, the Ottoman Sultanate, China, and Southeast Asia. We should learn from the struggles and successes of the past, particularly the Muslims in the United States who were first organized here in the early-1900s. I consider it mandatory for all Muslim leaders in North America to familiarize themselves with the history of Caucasian and African-American Muslims in the United States. Patrick D. Bowen’s two-volume History of Conversion to Islam in the United States should be required reading. Let us learn from our failures and triumphs. Let us plan strategically to ensure our future, the future of our children, and the best possible future for the societies in which we choose to live and contribute. Is it possible for Muslims to balance healthy integration with commitment to normative traditional Islam in North America? Yes, indeed. However, it will require serious soul-searching on the part of transnational Muslims along with serious sacrifice. They need to cast off their cultural chrysalis and emerge as beautiful, western, Muslim butterflies.