“America is more Islamic than my home country of Morocco.” My Muslim friend said this with great joy and assurance all the while I was trying not to appear stunned. How could someone who grew up in an Islamic country for the first 25 years of his life, move and live in America for the next 25 years, prosper with his business and family, come to the conclusion that America is more Islamic than a Muslim country?
Hayat sat in the shade and described his younger years of being raised in the Islamic culture. Like many Muslim youth, his family attended the local mosque because that was what good Muslims do. However, like many Muslims and many Christians, his faith was only a thin veneer of going through the motions.
As his fellow Muslims were flowing in the nearby mosque he quietly answered the questions I posed without any sense of contempt toward me and was genuinely interested in trying to correct misperceptions I might have about Islam.
He shared his story of coming to America 25 years earlier, meeting his wife (Muslim) and starting his business that slowly grew into a successful trading business that took him back to his home country on a regular basis. A family man with several children he talked about his “re-conversion” back to Islam as he prospered economically. In his mind, the only explanation for this was Allah choosing to bless him and therefore as his wealth grew, so did his faith in Islam and Allah.
“When I visit Morocco all I see is corruption, poverty, violence and suffering among the people…that is not Islam. As we sit here in the shade we sit in peace, we are comfortable, there is no poverty to speak of and Allah has blessed me with great economic gain…that is how Islam is to be, peaceful, prosperous and enjoyable.” And there you have it…Islam in a nutshell…”submit” and you will prosper.
As I felt my head exploding I refrained from pointing out to him much of America’s culture would not be allowed in a truly Islamic country, i.e. equal rights for women and LGBT, freedom to choose something other than Allah, freedom to speak or a thousand other things Sharia forbids. My follow up question brought an even more surprising answer, “So you think in 30-50 years the US will replace democracy with Sharia law?”
He quickly but politely discarded my suggestion with a wave of his hand and said, “no, no, too political” which was quickly followed up with this chilling statement, “…but, in 300 years, yes, Sharia will be law of the land in the US.” He said this with the certainty of someone who knows the sun will rise in the east tomorrow.
This unique glimpse into the mind of an American Muslim revealed two fundamental problems that Americans face when discussing Islam with Muslims and non-Muslims. American’s think in terms of hours, days or months but rarely attempt to imagine our culture or country with the yardstick of a century, much less 300 years. To a Muslim, Islam has been around for 1400 years. A country that has been around for 250 years will be just another country that is absorbed into the Islamic tsunami that began 1400 years ago and continues today. After all just 100 years after Muhammad’s death the map of Islamic conquered lands stretched from Afghanistan to Spain.
The second issue is we assume refugees and/or immigrants from the Middle East living here will find our freedoms and democracy preferable to any other ideology. The fact that 51% of Muslims living in the U.S. responded positively in a recent poll to this statement, “Muslims in America should have the choice of being governed according to Shariah” should dispel the myth that among Muslims a large majority prefer democracy over Sharia law. Add to this a Pew Research poll that showed 60% of Muslim-Americans under 30 are more loyal to Islam than America. Where do the majority of jihadists come from? This very demographic group.
Hayat’s neighbors point to him as the “peaceful Muslim” who is the poster child for “all” Muslims and shuts down any questioning of Islam as a violent ideology by invoking, “but my neighbor Hayat is no terrorist” into the conversation. In reality Hayat is more dangerous than the jihadist suicide bomber. Hayat knows the truth behind Islam and is comfortable with that fact. His non-Muslim friends are clueless.
There was little doubt in my mind that Hayat would not be strapping a suicide vest on his chest as we departed. As for his children or grandchildren, becoming jihadists, I’m not so sure. Hayat and I departed on good terms, he returned to his car, I assume drove home and enjoyed an evening with his family speaking about the interesting infidel he met that afternoon.
Hayat sleeps well as a believer in the inevitability of Islam while his non-Muslim neighbors and friends walk around in ignorance and bliss. Time is on Islam’s side and there will be plenty of other jihadists willing to strike terror in the hearts of non-believers and force them into submission. Hayat knows the truth about Islam but more Americans are learning the truth. However will they have the courage to share it without fear of being labeled a “hater” or Islamophobic? Our children’s and grandchildren’s future will be determined by our courage to speak the truth about Islam.