An Attempted Exorcism and Thoughts on the American-Muslim Future

Insha’Allah I will finish the Sharia post when I have time. I have been working so many hours lately I am fatigued and do not have he mental energy when I am off work to tackle such a serious issue.

Business has been slow so I have to work longer hours and besides, with the pregnancy of my wife, my expenses are going up. Maybe these days I am looking a little more intense than I have at other times in my life. A high school teacher once told me that I was one of those students who teachers would never forget because of the intensity of my eyes (whatever that means).

Maybe it was this intense look to lead an elderly black female passenger leaving her home to give me a dirty look before she got into the cab. Before she got in she said “yea I know you…take your hat off…are you a black boy?”

Once she got in she went on a tirade “you are full of evil and you are trying to fool people but you cannot fool me. You have done terrible things and are going to do more terrible things in a few days.” A few moments later she took both of her arms ad put them around my neck and put them on my chest and told me “I don’t want you I am gonna take the devil out of you” and at this point I had been driving about 20 hours with only short breaks for the essentials and I pulled over and told her she had to get out.

That was on Friday and despite having that deranged older lady wanting to perform an exorcism on me, the day ended up pretty good. Things went downhill on Saturday as I just could not catch a decent trip until the end of the night, and by that time I didn’t want it because by that time I was so tired I didn’t know if I was going to be able to stay awake to make it home.

When I left the guys house I was dropping off I stopped at a gas station around the corner and it just so happened that anther driver for my company was there getting gas. He comes from an Iraqi Shia family and came to America as a refugee about ten years ago. He has converted to Evangelical Christianity, Americanized his name, and refuses to speak Arabic in public, and when only admit his heritage if he is pressed on the matter.

Why this is the case I do not know. Regarding the conversion, some people convert because they genuinely believe that they have found a better path. In America it is not uncommon for people to change their religion. I was a Christian and now I am a Muslim and there are hundreds of thousands of people like me in America who have that shared experience of converting to Islam.

However, as Muslims in America we are going to have to brace ourselves that with our new found numerical strength in America, we are going to face the fact that there will be many who leave Islam.  Those who I know who have left Islam for the most part are influenced by their secular educations. They stop practicing Islam or identifying themselves as Muslims and live their lives as secular humanists, as they see Islam as retrograde, chauvinistic and misogynistic ( along with other religions). Guys like this Iraqi driver who became a Christian largely fall into two categories; the poor, uneducated and needy who are evangelized by charitable organizations, and those seeking social acceptance because they do not have the intestinal fortitude to live as strangers in America.

In a place like St. Louis (or many other places most notably in the South and Midwest) where there has not historically been a great deal of diversity, and ethnic identification is very weak, there is a tremendous social pressure to drop anything from your religion or culture that seems strange or out of place. That is why you will find that the Jewish community, as an example, in a place like St. Louis is facing a severe threat of dying out in the next 20 to 30 years as the older generation dies out and there is no one to take their place. Muslim communities tend to be strong in places where ethnic identity is strong and difference is accepted, and weak in other places.

Not too long ago I was talking to Tariq and we both said that in the 1990’s at the height of the Salafi movement in America we were both convinced that one day in the not too distant future Muslims would be a major force in every American city and that one day eventually America would be a Muslim nation. This is not something unique to Salafis though. My wife grew up in an African-American Sufi Muslim group that follows a Pakistani cleric. She tells me she heard the exact kind of talk when she was growing up.

I do not feel that way now. Fifty years from now I see strong Muslim communities in the Northeast (New York, New Jersey, Philly, Boston, Baltimore, and the DC Metro Area), Chicago, Michigan, and the New Black South fueled by black Northeastern transplants and their offspring in places like Atlanta, Florida, and North Carolina. Houston and Dallas I am not sure of; there are a lot of Muslims there and some of the best leadership in the American-Muslim community has came out of Dallas and Houston, so despite the social pressure of Texas they may be able to hold on. I see the rest of the American-Muslim community spread too thin and being too isolated in non-diverse areas in the South, Midwest and West eventually dying out. Maybe in some of these places they will have a “progressive masjid” or something and a handful of the faithful on those lines but that will be about it. I also suspect that California, a land that is diverse but for the most part shallow, decadent, non-traditional, and materialistic, will have very few traditional Muslims and an abundance of Muslim-style New Age Kabala crap.

Message I take from this? If you are raising kids raise them in places where there their deen can grow strong and they will not be socially isolated. Muslims in America need to cluster; Muslims with children almost have to cluster if the preservation of their deen is the goal.

These thoughts kept me awake as I drove home to go to sleep. I missed the Ricky Hatton fight but I heard he looked great; but not better than my bed looked after a long day.

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6 thoughts on “An Attempted Exorcism and Thoughts on the American-Muslim Future

  1. As salaam wa laikum

    I sometimes feel that Islam will increase significantly in America, and sometimes I feel like how you do, that in certain areas it wil be stronger than in others.

    I think overall though I think I’m more optimistic maybe because I’m a little younger than you.

    I think that liberal hedonistic values have become so ingrained in the people of my generation that being hedonistic is in a sense “conservative.” It is more or less status quo to be a materialistic person. We’re taught to make money and party at an early age. Have sex with numerous chicks and then eventually settle down if youre a guy. We’re sold adventure and illusion on the daily.

    Unlike the generation that made this sort of thinking mainstream back in the 60s, there is no background of conservative Christian America to fight against. The 60s radicals used the conservatism of the 50s generation as a foil for their hedonistic ideology. It also helped that racism and sexism were pretty rampant amongst their parents generations. This gave them a background which made their hedonism appealing. It also appealed in a very human way to their sexual instincts.

    However, that era is coming to a close. Because at this point it is dead, it is no longer constructive. It is the overwhelming force that we’ve been raised with. It is a hated burden to a lot of people. People feel like they have to be party animals all the time, dudes feel inadequate because they have to have sex with girls all the time or else they’re not a man, women feel ugly all the time because they don’t attract all the dudes. People are made.

    The same way that the 60s hedonism appealed to peoples lower instincts, is the same way that Islam will appeal to peoples higher instincts. It will appeal to something pure in every human, something sweet, something that you want to take from the earth when you die.

    People know freedom, but they dont know freedom in this country.

    I still think Islam will make a huge dent in the younger generation. That there will be Muslims that will leave or disparage Islam is not a surprise. This whole dunya right now the way it is working with change happening so fast, Allah (swt) is separating the wheat from the chaff. There have always been hypocrites, it’s good that we’re seeing them out in the open now. At the same time,Islam will attract new peoples, more dynamic, more vigilant people.

    I’ve gone on far too long. I always enjoy your posts brother, and Im very happy that you decided to continue writing them.

  2. “California, a land that is diverse but for the most part shallow, decadent, non-traditional, and materialistic, will have very few traditional Muslims and an abundance of Muslim-style New Age Kabala crap.”

    WTF?? lol I’m from Cali and yes we do alot secular “muslims” mainly Persians & Arabs. We do have alot of traditional muslims as well. California, in reality, is really two three states. Northern (farm in towns and widerness, small towns), The Bay area (Upperclass,extremely liberal) and Southern (racially diverse and geographic diverse, mountains,suburbs,ghettos, and beaches). So you can’t really classify CA.

    There are strong muslims from Bay Area to San Diego. Racially diverse local Tablighi groups(masjid Nur,San Deigo), ethnic enclaves (Somali in San Diego, Arabs & Pakis in greater LA area) so I think CA may not be as cohesive a community as on the East coast but I don’t see secular humanists taking control of Islam in California. Especially with all the immigration that exists in particularly Southern California. It’s very doubtful from my perspective of a “Muslim-style New Age Kabala” style Islam will take root here. As far now none exists and I don’t see happening anytime soon.

  3. Good post. I think what needs to happen, and quick, is for the Muslim community in the USA to dump as much as they can of the cultural baggage that has been brought from the Muslim world to Muslim communities here is the USA.

    These cultures are completely disfunctional and cause many people to avoid contact with Muslims altogether. It is my belief that as long as Islam in the USA is tied with “traditional” cultures it will not grow and will eventually fail.

    These cultures are flawed, very problematic and make it hard for converts and “born” Muslims to want to be a part of muslim organisations and communities.

  4. Oh nice, I thought you had stopped posting.

    Your right to come to that conclusion, akhi. As thinkers have concluded in the Nature vs. Nurture debate: Nurture is our Nature. So how (Islamically) our children are raised, will determine who they become (their nature).

    I would leave you with one statistic I heard the other day from a new source. That in 2042, Caucasians (white people) will be a minority in the United states. Now, of course, that’s not related so much to yourself, but to say that, we need to concentrate on establishing Islam amongst colored people (blacks, immigrants, hispanics), if it should triumph. And in sha Allah, it will triumph in NA. :D

    Ciao.

  5. “colored people” wow! Did we time travel back to 1940’s or what. lol
    Well despite your poor choice of words you make a valid point and you have a nice blog. I’ll be adding it to my google reader.

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