Thursday, January 26th, 2012
In his National Affairs article “The Muslim-American Muddle,” Peter Skerry argued that since 9/11, “America has reached a political and intellectual stalemate regarding the Muslims in its midst,” and that both elites and the general public misunderstand, for better or worse, the challenges Islam poses to America. At an event on Wednesday sponsored by the AEI Program on American Citizenship, leading experts on Islam in America came together to discuss the article and the role of Muslims in America. Skerry (Boston College and Brookings Institution) contended that if Muslim Americans are to dispel concerns about where their loyalties lie, their leadership (such as organizations like the Council on American-Islamic Relations) must acknowledge past Islamist ties and their accompanying “baggage.” Andrew C. McCarthy (National Review Institute) argued that Skerry underestimated the influence of radical Islamist ideology, while Justin Vaïsse (Brookings Institution) questioned Skerry’s focus on Muslim-American organizations rather than isolated, homegrown Muslim jihadists (like Nidal Hasan of the Fort Hood shooting). Hillel Fradkin (Hudson Institute) discussed how past immigrants had assimilated into American society and the important role that public schools once played in this process. Muslim American author Souheil Ghannouchi said the burden was on the Muslim American community to move beyond accusations of Islamophobia and actively engage as American citizens.
You can watch the whole event here.