Taking Our Rightful Place of Leadership In the Muslim World

In the last several years, I have had conversations with a number of leading Muslim scholars—American and foreign—who recognize and advocate the ascension of American Muslims to the role of leadership in the Muslim world. I concur with this observation, not out of heedless pride or nationalism, but because I believe American Muslims are in a unique place to affect real change in the Muslim world; a world that now includes the United States. I will list a few reasons why I agree with their opinions: American foreign policy and how it impacts Muslims around the world; American domestic policy and how it impacts the lives of Americans at home; educating and interacting with the broader American public to not simply state but demonstrate the willingness on the part of Muslims in American to engage the society and invest their human, intellectual and creative capital in the society. These are but a few reasons I believe that American Muslims have the greatest chance of affecting American geopolitical strategies which have the potential to impact the lives of Muslims abroad and at home. What I have written here is more than a laundry list: it is a clarion call to American Muslims to take up the role of leadership that has been foisted upon us and make the most of this boon. In fact, it can be argued that if we do not take up this baton, that it will not only be our children here in America who will suffer, but the Ummah as a whole. I leave this small bread crumb trail with some thoughts of Ebrahim Moosa of Duke University, in a 2006 review of Vartan Gregorian’s book, Islam: A Mosaic, Not a Monolith:

“Today, America is undoubtedly equipped with the best resources in the West to study Islam in terms of the range of scholarship, universities, and research cohorts it can boast, even though more is always welcome. And yet ironically, its public discourses and public policy communities—let alone government—display the most anemic symptoms when it comes to knowledge about Islam and Muslim societies.”

2 Replies to “Taking Our Rightful Place of Leadership In the Muslim World”

  1. I totally agree, but one of the things we (American Muslims) face–especially converts–is the ethnocentricity of other Muslims around the world. My husband’s own relatives in Pakistan have even told him that I’ll never fully be a Muslim because I am an American.

    The good news is that I find most Muslims (from every background/ethnicity) here in America to be pretty tolerant and willing to cross the boundaries of race, social status, gender, etc. which usually keep things from progressing in other countries where there are Muslim majorities.

    If anything, I believe America is the best place to practice Islam today because the rights of individuals are protected and religion can be practiced without interference from either the government or overbearing religious “leaders” who want to control their followers and force conformity.

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