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The Islam Moment

A cursory glance yesterday afternoon at the religion sections...

 A cursory glance yesterday afternoon at the religion sections of the New York Times, Associated Press, and National Public Radio revealed a common theme: Islam is the hot religion of the moment.

Even the features having a Christian content focus were built on Islam - the goofy Florida pastor (who ought to be removed from his pulpit) and a story about Indonesian Christians persecuted by local Muslims (no condemnation, just the facts).

The media is all about Islam, and Muslim leaders know it. What's the fascination? Islam is a religion that, historically, has advanced by the sword and kept those who adhere to it largely under one or another form of oppression. Islam in America is somewhat different, as Muslims here practice being Americans first and Muslims within that context.

But besides there growing problem of home-grown Islamic terrorists, there is a move to bring more of traditional and more familiar Islam to these shores, and to give Islamic law more than merely voluntary force in local communities.

Of course, given the nature of the American political process, Muslims will have to use persuasion to get lawmakers to embrace their principles and practices. Unless, of course, they can get a judge or district court to rule in their favor - which almost happened in New Jersey. There, an abused wife was refused rights under the law as the local judge deferred to Muslim law in her case. Happily (for now) a higher court overturned that ruling.

It is the Islam moment in America, and whether that moment has arisen out of respect for the first amendment, fear of Islamic reprisals to any detractors, or simple indifference, it is nonetheless here. Are Christians prepared to argue the merits of their ethics and worldview in the face of a religion which, historically, does not easily take "No" for an answer?

T. M. Moore
T.M. Moore

T. M. Moore is principal of The Fellowship of Ailbe, a spiritual fellowship in the Celtic Christian tradition. He and his wife, Susie, make their home in the Champlain Valley of Vermont.
Books by T. M. Moore

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