Introduction of Christianity, approximately the mid nineteenth

Introduction

The United States has generally been viewed as a nation of
immigrants, a melting pot, and a country founded on the principle view of being
accepted as multi-cultural. This is easily founded in view by the reading of
the First Amendment of the United States Constitution. The general concern that
has come to view within recent history is the concepts of Islam within the
Western cultures, and the conflicts that arise with the two different cultures.
The purpose of this report is to give a general view of the immigration of
Islam into the United States, compare the immigration of Islam to the United
States to the immigration of Islam to other western valued cultures such as
European countries, and evaluate the assimilation of Islam into the United
State.

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Migration of Islam to the United
States

Within the United States there is a conglomerate of
religions where which a large majority of Americans practice the religion of
Christianity, approximately the mid nineteenth century the first immigrant
Muslims migrated to the United States introducing a second monotheistic non-Christian
religion to America. Based on McCloud, these first Muslim Americans came from
Syria, Lebanon, Jordan, and Palestine, with the desire of, “…better
opportunities to enhance their personal fortunes, not to build Muslim
communities in America or to proselytize.” (Haddad,
Y. Y., Smith, J. I., & Esposito, J. L., 2003). The intent of the
Immigrants was to come to America produce income and return home with the money
that they had earned, as time passed and more of a stabilization process
occurred their families would later migrate to meet with them.

It was
not until the 1960’s that a substantial Muslim migration movement to the United
States started. There were three migration routes that developed that are
similar to routes that we currently utilize for American immigration policies.
The first was the acceptance to have individuals of desired professions such as
doctors, pharmacist, and engineers. The Second was a student visa program
specified for math and science. The third was the development of special
programs for the under educated to assist with the creation of businesses. This
migration of Muslim immigrants to the United States has swelled to the approximation
population of 3.45 million across the country. According to the Pew Research
Center the Muslim community makes up 1.1% of the total US population and a
projection to reach 2.1% by the year 2050. The states with the most Muslim
adult practitioners by percentage of adults living within the state are New
Jersey (4%), New York (3%), Arkansas (3%), and California (3%). (Mohamed, B., 2018).

In
present day the immigration of Muslims to the United States comes from a wide
array of locations throughout Africa and Asia. The Muslim diversities, as with
most religions, comes with a wide array of languages, cultural and economic
diversity, and a vast amount of differences. The one major commonality that all
Muslims do have is they do not celebrate Christian religious traditions that a
majority of Americans celebrate either religiously or culturally.

Comparison with other Western Value Countries

The
countries of Europe has many similarities to the United States the European
Union has several different types of democracies, with France having the
closest to a republic form of government, most of the European Union is
structured in some form of Judeo-Christian religious beliefs, and for the most
part has very liberal views on the topic of immigration.  Because of the similarities that Europe has
with the United States it is important to analyze the immigration of Muslims
into the European cultures and view the assimilation of Muslim immigrants. This
comparison will cover a wide array of subjects.

Since the era of the
1960’s most European Countries have allowed Immigrant Muslim workers to come to
countries, generally unskilled and uneducated and were primarily male, to work
for a duration of time. Similarly to the immigrants that first came to the
United States the general consensus of both the countries that migrant workers
arrived to and the workers, was this a temporary move and after a few years of
work the immigrants would return home with their earnings. Again similarly to
the United States, overtime Muslim immigrants migrated families. The one
difference that these immigrants had that the Muslims that migrated to America
did not have is that religious institutions were also immigrating in order for
Muslims to support their homeland religious needs. This was primarily due to
the relative difference of distance required to travel. Muslims immigrating to
the United States in the 1960’s required a lot of efforts in order to arrive in
the America’s, although difficult the distance to travel is relatively easier
for Muslims to travel from Asia or Africa to Europe. 

Upon
first migrating to the European Union for work Muslims were not required to
learn the culture as before mentioned this was a temporary arrangement and many
Muslims did not feel it relevant to their situation to learn the cultures.  According to Morag the immigrants would often
live in low income housing with other Muslims, this inadvertently developed
pockets of institutional Islam. Even further discussed by Morag is the Muslim
religion and culture not being accepted by the European society, as
Europeans do not feel they should have to conform to any migrant’s culture and
that the culture should assimilate to European culture. (Morag, N., 2011). 

Immediately there is a
difference between the United States and the European Union that is noticed.
The segregation and liberal attitude that the European Union had with the
migrant workers and not enforcing any type of requirements to learn the
language or culture of the host country made it difficult for immigrants to assimilate
to Western cultures. As before mentioned the United States only allowed for
three specified routes for Muslims, or any immigrant, to come to the United
States. The European countries inadvertent segregation of Muslims where which
they were surrounded by their host culture did not force a sink or swim survival
requirement, resulting in a lack of broadening of the culture(s). The Muslims
that migrated to the United States did not have the same opportunity as there
is no direct evidence of inadvertent segregation, thus forcing immigrant to
learn the language and the culture.

The inability of the
European Union to take their policies of migration seriously and develop early
assistance programs, combined with loose tracking of Muslim immigrants, has resulted
in cultural exclusion. “Contrary to popular expectations, it is the
depoliticization of Muslims and the failure of political Islamism in Europe
that have sparked the rise of radical communal ideologies and anti-systemic
movements.”(Boukhars, A,2009).  The liberal structured immigration policies
within the European countries has had to develop reactive policies in order to
counteract radicalization of migrants, had these countries developed proactive
immigration policies they may have been able to avoid the segregation and
problems with radicalization which have arisen.

The Muslim
immigrants have not fully assimilated to the process of becoming European, they
still hold their host identity and there is evidence of the concept of a
universal Islamic nation. There is some evidence that the European Muslim
immigrants take on a new concept of a Global Jihad movement, “Indeed, this new
concept of a universal Islamic nation, culture, and identity lends itself well
to the global Jihadi movements, whose members outside the West also tend to be
estranged from their national roots and often forgo their own national
struggles in favor of the larger global Jihad, with which they identify much
more readily.” (Morag, N., 2011). This is one
similarity that the Muslim immigrants in America have with the Muslim
immigrants of Europe. The ongoing concern of fully assimilating into the
country in which you now occupy.

Assimilation of Islam to the United States

The
assimilation process is a difficult one for any immigrant to go through. “Assimilation
is the process by which immigrants remake themselves American through the
acculturation of our values, norms, and beliefs; new immigrants are socialized
to believe in the value of equality of all men and women, the norms of freedom
and the pursuit of liberty in America.” (Shaw-Taylor, Y., 2012). Although the
process is not easy, it has been especially frustrating due to the developed
prejudices that occurred after the 9/11 attack on the Twin Towers in New York.  Due to the reaction of the American people
after 9/11 there has been question to whether Muslims should continue to fully
assimilate. “The question has been raised whether Muslims should
continue to fully assimilate their identity or not.” (Halim, F., 2006). This is a counterproductive step to the overall goal
of a unified country based upon American Ideals. “At the same time, Muslims
must realize that to be truly accepted as “good” Americans, they need to more
explicitly embrace American identity, culture and history…” (Shaw-Taylor, Y., 2012). The
concept of embracing the American ideals amongst Muslims immigrants as a whole
is difficult to imagine. Given that there is a multitude of different Muslim
diversity, the individuals would be reluctant as their individual interests are
not in alignment with each other.

The
concern related to the Muslim immigration assimilation has multiple questions
that lay on the immigrants themselves. Halim argues that the Muslim American
second and third generation immigrants, “are struggling to bridge their faith
with American values.” The concept of pluralism amongst these second and third
generational Muslims is a turmoil between the religious practices and their
acceptance as assimilated Americans. Based on this concept, in comparison to
other cultures that have migrated to the United States, Muslims are not
assimilating as easily as different cultures. According to the Pew Research
Center the second generational Hispanic and Asian Americans identify themselves
as “typical American.” Furthermore a total of 37% of second generation
Hispanics and 27% of second generation Asian Americans drop the descriptor of
their parent’s country of origin and describe themselves as “American.” (Second-Generation
Americans, 2013). This does not imply that second generational Asians and
Hispanics do not face the same prejudices, but rather they have accepted an
American pluralistic view of themselves.    

There
are heavy discussions as to whether or not Islam is compatible with American or
Western Societies way of life. The larger compatibility issues fall in the
following general categories of Sharia Law or Islamic Law, gender equality,
sexual orientation, and the viewpoints on rape culture. Sharia law is explicit
that it does not share the distinct separation of Church and state. It is a
well-known fundamental within the United States that you have the right,
protected by the First Amendment of the Constitution, to practice any religion
that you desire as long as your religious practices do not violate common law
practices. Controversial topics under the concepts of Sharia Law women that
practice Islam are denied the ability to marry outside of their religion,
unless the man converts to Islam; in the event of a divorce the man retains all
rights to possessions and property; if an individual renounces the Islamic faith it may
be punishable by death. These are all clear violations of American concepts to
free will and the right to equality amongst men and women. This is at no fault
to the practitioners of Islam as it is the way they were developed but it is a
contradiction to the ideals of America and of the American way of life.

Another factor of Muslims having issues of assimilating is
the matter of religious discrimination while employed. According to the Civil
Rights Act of 1964 employers are required to reasonably be flexible to the
needs of employee’s religious practices. According to Ghumman and Jackson in 2007 the U.S. Equal Employment
Opportunity Commission received a sum of 2880 complaints of employers failing
to allow leave for religious reasons and not pre scheduling allowed time for
prayer. (Ghumman, S., & Jackson, L., 2009).  This is just some of the religious
discriminations that were reported, employer’s failures to accommodate
reasonable religious requirements have furthered the divide of Muslims
assimilation process. A further look into the study of Ghumman and Jackson
found that the Society of Human Resource Management found not only did Muslim
employees report experiences that were bais while at work, but Muslims grew to
expect religious bias while working. (Ghumman, S., & Jackson, L., 2009). This
type of discriminatory factors create strong evidence that the United States
employment fields do not hold the core values of equality and multi culturalism
to the standard that the United States preaches. This religious discrimination
can only lead to the assimilation process of immigrant Muslims to be delayed.

In
general the Muslim communities have not been able to assimilate to Western
values or culture. Host countries have taken to long of a time period to accept
the Muslim immigrants into their countries, the failure to enforce employees to
uphold religious rights has dampened assimilation processes, Muslim immigrants
are reluctant to assimilate into a pluralistic attitude towards being both
American and Muslim, Sharia law does not hold the same values of equality that
the United States likes to uphold.  This has
caused individuals to take severe drastic actions such as extremist acts in
order to establishing a political, cultural, or
religious changes. All these failures of both the United States and the Muslim
immigrants has resulted in a failure to assimilate into the United States and
further developed concerns of radicalization among a Muslim immigrants within Muslim
communities.

Immigration Recommendations

America
must maintain a stringent immigration policy that upholds the concepts of
allowing immigration of desired personnel. Muslim’s have a diverse historical
background that is engrained with mathematics and science throughout the ages.
It is not in the best interest to maintain stereo types and prejudices of
discrimination based on religious practices, this type of concepts is not in
line with American culture or American ideology. It is also wise to continue to
allow student visas to qualifying individuals that have gone through and passed
stringent background checks. Student visas grant the ability to foreign
students to come to America and stimulate commerce, and if the student passes
through an educational program and applies for citizenship we as a country are
better off for it. We have technically poached the best and brightest from
another country and in the process have become better-rounded because of it.

A
further recommendation is to develop a course based on multiculturalism that is
required for young adults nationwide. This course would be required at during
the senior year in high school, so that there is a level of maturity within the
students. This concept is in order to bury the stereotypes that are developed
from ignorance and develop understanding that racism, prejudices, and
stereotyping is a developmental flaw and does not support true American values
or the ideals of American Pluralism.

Another
recommendation is the media could develop aggressive media campaigns to insist
that we as Americans are accepting of Muslims and their cultures. This would
help Muslim immigrants during the assimilation process, in order to not feel
judged. It will also place value on the lives of other cultures through the
American public and encourage people to treat others with respect and dignity.
The anti-Muslim sentiment that is directed by the news media can have negative
impact on the assimilation process, not just for the Muslim immigrants, but
also for the American people. The news media must be cognoscente of the power
that it has over the public through fear and must print and portray a non-bias
attitude to the public. This approach is especially important to the Muslim
Americans as it can have a dramatic effect on social relationships and disturb
the assimilation process, and even worse can drive an attitude of general
Islamophobia. There are already strong links to the media and the development
of irrationalized fear to the American public on the concepts of Islamophobia,
these irrational developments caused from news media does not help the American
efforts to develop a well-rounded multicultural country. 

Efforts
to insure that the Civil Rights Acts of 1964 should be further discussed on the
national political level as estimations of growing populations of
multi-cultural continue to grow. The United States should ensure that every
American regardless of color, religion, or creed, has fair and equal, but
within reasonable, treatment towards individuals religious doctrine. Within
government organizations such as the department of defense, US military, and
other government organizations it is required to have annual mandatory
multicultural training. This type of training should by all means be extended
and even required to the private sectors. This training does occur in large
industries and holds owners, CEO’s, and other top executives, accountable for
actions of Civil Rights violations. This training is primarily put in place to
avoid legal fines through civilian court, a quote “check the box” type of
training. This training should be avoided and training that would secure more
empathy from both discriminating employees/employers should be emplaced. A
training that is more of a “treat others how you desire to be treated” type of
training.     

Conclusion

In order
for the United States to fully, “practice what it preaches” in regards to being
considered a great and diverse multi-cultural country it must develop and
implement programs to better educate the people of the United States in regards
to the diversity of different cultures. The typical attitude of youthful
uneducated Americans is one that stems from entitlement, a typical “America is
number one” attitude. The acceptance of other cultures has greatly increased
the ability of the American people to being a developed melting pot, while
maintaining its core ideals of equality amongst all regardless to race,
religion or creed. The acceptance of the Muslim culture and can only make us as
a society a more well-rounded multi-cultural Country, but we must maintain
appropriate immigration policies that align with American global strategic
policies.

As a
country the American public needs to assist immigrants that have already gone
through the immigration process and help legal immigrants. This attitude will
help all cultures assimilate faster to the American values of equality and
freedoms that the American people enjoy. People in general have to understand
that not everyone is the same as you, and unfortunately some will remain
ignorant to cultures by choice. It would be relevant to state that the society
we live in is the most advanced in human history, but we still struggle with
the concepts that every human at the microbiological level is made up of the
exact same thing. As humans further develop and as the world grows closer and
closer to globalization it would only make sense that the biases of prejudice
and stereotypes be weeded out and the concepts of multicultural societies are
truly accepted. Although America cannot control the rest of the world’s
decisions on topics such as these, America can be the legitimate trendsetter as
it has been on many subjects before.