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Look at the numbers

According to the 2007 World Almanac (I don’t have the current one in the house), there are between four and a half million and five million Muslims in the United States. That’s about twice as many Muslims as Episcopalians, who number about two and a quarter million.

I put it to you, that if the country has learned to tolerate Episcopalians, learning to tolerate Muslims should not prove much of a challenge.

 

 

Posted by John McIntyre at 3:43 PM | | Comments (11)
        

Comments

Funny, but misleading -- I think the count of Episcopalians means church members, while Muslims are Muslims permanently. This way of counting also means more Jews than Episcopalians. I'm just not convinced those numbers are parallel.

Mae, are you saying that a person who is born into a Muslim family cannot convert to another religion or even decide not to belong to any religion?

Islam is a religion, not an ethnicity. Or perhaps you believe that Islam is such a compelling religion that once one becomes a Muslim (or grows up as a Muslim), one will never wish to leave it?

What makes you think we tolerate Episcopalians?

It's also misleading in that all Muslims are being compared to a small part of the Protestants in the US. A more valid comparison would be against all Christians or all Jews, etc.

Perhaps you think the comparison is not apt, but I don't understand how you can call it misleading.


I understand that the town of Dearborn, Michigan, has the highest concentration of folk of the Muslim faith---roughly 40% of the total populace--of any other mid-to-large-sized metropolis in the U.S. .

Hmm........last time I checked, Dearborn was hardly a fomenting hotbed of Islamist insurrection, or jihadist fervor. It's basically much like many struggling rustbelt region working-class cities. Not exactly Mayberry, U.S.A., but pretty nondescript, and mundane, nonetheless.

Last year, I recall viewing a very enlightening, and heartening PBS documentary about a small, but determined segment of Dearborn-based Muslim social activists who were essentially attempting to reach out to their non-Islamic townsfolk, (this was, in particular, a younger, educated, articulate segment of the Muslim fold), in what appeared to be their sincere effort to integrate their community, promoting greater interfaith dialogue, and hopefully mutual understanding, empathy, and shared community social welfare efforts.

I remember their initial outreach attempts were met w/ a mix of suspicion, and skepticism by many in the broader non-Muslim Dearborn religious community, yet thankfully, over time, the barriers slowly began to fall, and major positive strides in acceptance, and greater direct dialogue were being made. It was a very beautiful thing, in my eyes.

Frankly, IMHO, most xenophobia arises from not knowing, or perhaps not wanting to know, much about the 'Other'----basically prejudice, or prejudgement, based on sheer ignorance, or not knowing. (Doesn't mean these haters are necessarily dumb, or lacking intellect, but sadly many have proven to not be the sharpest knife in the drawer.)

The element of fear-of-the-'Other', I feel, also plays a large part in the overall bigotry equation. Therefore, it would appear that the more we can learn about, and experience other cultures, ethnicities, and religion practices other than our own very familiar 'culture', hopefully the more our unfounded fears, insecurities, misconceptions, and misunderstandings about those who may seem outwardly different from us can diminish, and ultimately fade away. Am I being too intuitive, or too polarizing optimistic here, or just outright pollyanna-ish? (I hope the former.)

Prof. McI., I know a minor segment of the Episcopalian 'congregation' might be viewed as a crusty, doctrinaire lot, but I doubt Church of Englanders, as a whole, have been universally either feared, or loathed in the U.S. in more recent times, unlike our Muslim, Jewish, or, for that matter, African-American brethren.

(I realize any, or all African-Americans could adhere to any of a multiplicity of religious faiths, while curiously, many folk still regard Jewishness as an ethnic marker, when in fact, it is not. A person of any ethnicity can adopt, or be born into the Jewish faith---the late, great entertainer, Sammy Davis Jr., being a prime example, in that he converted from Christianity to Judaism well into his adult years.)

Of course, back in the days of the Protestant Reformation, and that firebrand German cleric Martin Luther and his Diet of Worms, the RCs were hardly on good terms w/ their 'breakaway' faithful. Yet Catholics perhaps held some minor solace in the fact that the Protestant Anglicans retained much of the ritual pomp and ceremony of the ancient Roman Church, although the sacred Virgin Mother was no longer put on such an elevated celestial pedestal as w/ orthodox Catholic believers.

As much as I have mixed feelings about the controversial, polarizing LAPD police beating victim, Rodney King, I still commend his sentiments in trying to, in his small way, quell the flagrant racial brouhaha that had erupted after the initial trial of the overly-aggressive L.A. cops when he pleaded in a post-trial press gathering, " Can't........ can't......... we just try to get along?"

Wise words to live by, admittedly from the lips of a once-convicted felon, hardly a choirboy, but never, never deserving that brutal, sustained police beating. But for that fortuitous incriminating video recording their entire dirty deed, the incident would likely have been shoved under-the-rug, and falsely reported, if reported at all*. Justice was duly served in this ugly, very sad case. But I digress.

*I believe the cops who beat Rodney King DID file an official report, which proved totally bogus, making out that the uncooperative King was the deserved victim of 'vigorous' capture, and eventual submission. Of course, when 'the tape' surfaced, post-beating, it was clear that the officers involved had concocted a false report of the events that evening, which was all revealed in the trial(s).

Bloggers all, have a great week.

Ta! Ta!

ALEX


Oops!

Somehow, near the end of the 6th paragraph of my last post, the word "polarizing" unwittingly crept in, thus reading "...... or too polarizing optimistic here," which sounds like your basic nonsense. Toss the word "polarizing", and it hopefully makes a little more sense...... which is a good thing. HA!

ALEX

@JM: Par. 2 is the quote of the week! Well put, sir!

Statistics are powerful. Isn't it a shame that everyone holds a bias because of one group of people that happen to be a bad seed?
Ava

I don't want to be polarizing on this very sensitive topic, but I have read polls from moderate Islamic countries in which a large plurality of those questioned felt that leaving the faith justified execution of those who strayed. Not every country truly has religious freedom.

Dahlink, I gather there are those within Christendom who think leaving the faith justifies eternal torment. Quite a lot of them are moderate Americans, I understand.

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About John McIntyre
John McIntyre, mild-mannered editor for a great metropolitan newspaper, has fussed over writers’ work, to sporadic expressions of gratitude, for thirty years. He is The Sun’s night content production manager and former head of its copy desk. He also teaches editing at Loyola University Maryland. A former president of the American Copy Editors Society, a native of Kentucky, a graduate of Michigan State and Syracuse, and a moderate prescriptivist, he writes about language, journalism, and arbitrarily chosen topics. If you are inspired by a spirit of contradiction, comment on the posts or write to him at john.mcintyre@baltsun.com.
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