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Listen to Muslim silent majority in US

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When Americans think of a Muslim American, most probably envision a bearded man or veiled woman, speaking accented English and holding traditional, conservative views of the world.

Although the reality is much different - most of the nation's Muslims are American-born converts or second-generation immigrants, not particularly religious, and liberal - you'd be hard-pressed to learn this by watching most Muslim spokespeople in the media.

Most Muslim American institutions today, from local mosques to national advocacy groups, reflect an ultraconservative Muslim agenda not shared by most within their community, which at an estimated 6 million now equals the size of the American Jewish community.

The Washington-based Committee on American Islamic Relations (CAIR), the most prominent Muslim American civil rights organization, spends much of its time and money defending the rights of female students to wear veils in public schools.

However, when confronted with the rabid misogynistic policies common in most mosques - such as limited access to main prayer halls or bans on women serving on mosque boards - CAIR makes no such efforts on behalf of Muslim women's rights.

Not only are Muslim organizations out of touch with their supposed constituency, they're far removed from the realities of American life.

Often this can reach the level of the absurd. For example, last month, the nation's biggest American Muslim group, the Islamic Society of North America, which represents a quarter of the nation's mosques, hosted the annual conference for the National Temperance and Prohibition Council, a Christian-based group working to ban the sale and manufacture of alcohol in the US.

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