Islam - A Friendly Faith: The Essence of Regime Change in the Muslim Umma
by Dr. Robert D. Crane
Sister Ingrid Mattson’s election to the presidency of ISNA is indeed a major change. Such regime change was absolutely inconceivable as late as ten years ago. The reason is not so much that she is a woman, but that she represents what one might call the American perspective on Islam as well as on America.
The great majority of converts see in Islam a spiritual force based on one’s personal closeness to Allah, and another major minority are attracted by the emphasis in Islam, especially in the Shi’a path, on justice. The overwhelming majority of immigrant Muslims understand neither of these two core aspects of Islam, because they came to America for selfish purposes and brought what can only be called religious tribalism with them.
Such tribalism carries a confrontational attitude toward everything different from it, especially to America itself. Twenty years ago I gave a keynote talk at the annual ISNA convention on “A Strategy for America.” As I learned years later, almost no-one understood my message about the need to help develop a strategy to promote America’s enlightened interests in the world. They all thought that my talk would be about how to counter American foreign policy and defend Muslims against the American-Israeli axis of evil rather than about how to marginalize these forces of evil by presenting something better.
This hostile and tribalistically self-serving attitude was promoted by Syed Qutb, Maulana Maududi, and the Saudi Wahhabis and has had a devastating impact on the second-generation Muslims in America. The majority leave Islam altogether. The majority of the rest are worse than their parents.
A small minority represent the best of Islam. They and the like-minded new Muslims will be the ones to help other Americans understand the traditionalist vision that inspired America’s founders and that needs to be recovered as the framework for America’s global leadership in the coming century.