Based on a couple of small but hopeful developments as outlined in my Freethought Examiner article, “Why Muslims don’t speak out,” is there good news about Islam for a change? I’d like to think so, although others remain skeptical. Let’s give these particular folks the benefit of the doubt for now. Let us also hope that the United States, apparently having a far stronger sense of self than Europe, can stick to its guns in representing one of the greatest social experiments – and relative successes – in history.
While I am not advocating mindless multiculturalism, the melting pot aspect of America is in fact its greatest strength for a variety of reasons:
1. The diversity often has brought with it extraordinary culture with traditions dating to antiquity that are civil, moral, pleasant and colorful, greatly adding to whatever culture was already here.
2. The best of that culture has often been stimulated to grow and move in different directions, producing a fascinating hybrid distinct in itself.
3. People with great minds and abilities have frequently come to American shores in order to express freely their talents and passions. Hence, culture here has reached extraordinary heights in its own fashion, such as being innovators and creators.
And so on. There have, of course, been problems with each culture that has arrived on American shores. Not to mention the difficulties the natives have had since the arrival of all others.
Nevertheless, the beauty of the melting pot is that in exposing cultures alien or hostile to each other in a civil setting where they get used to living peacefully and pleasantly with each other they often develop friendship within each other’s communities and hence cannot imagine killing their neighbors and friends in the name of religious depravity.
Let us encourage all such developments as Muslims standing up to terrorism and making strong statements against the fanatics who have always given Islam a bad name, from its very beginning. The strength of America as a melting pot is that it also serves as a chalice into which cultural metals are poured and the dross removed.