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Tuesday, July 19, 2005

"How well are American Muslims fitting in?"

With the knowledge that the London bombers were "homegrown", the question for Americans is whether there is a similar possibility that Muslim youth in the United States may pose a terrorist threat to the country. Those in Britain are already attempting to dissect the social condition of Muslim youth there (see e.g., "They are alienated: They don't know how to socialize") perhaps in an attempt to explain why a British citizen would commit a terrorist act against his "own" people.

The Christian Science Monitor thus performs the related task of asking to what extent Muslims in America are socialized and assimilated. The article properly notes at the outset that, "In the US, the attacks and events like the Virginia Jihad case are raising anxieties about immigrants and their allegiances in the midst of a rapidly expanding immigrant population. " The theme of the article is described as the following: the facts regarding the rise in the Muslim population in the United States "in the context of new twists in Islamic terrorism, are raising questions about how well the children of Muslim immigrants are being assimilated."

The answer, of course, is complicated. "[M]any Muslim community representatives say assimilation has become more difficult as Islamic extremism has risen to have an impact on the West. And they add that addressing the isolation and fanaticism that can feed homegrown extremism has to be the work of both the Islamic community and the broader society." In order to properly assimilate, according to one Muslim advocate, "public officials must do more to acknowledge the cooperation they are getting from and relationships they are building with the Muslim community."


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