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How well are American Muslims fitting in?

The suicide bombings in London raise questions of assimilation for the 3 million Muslims in the US.

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It's called the "Virginia Jihad" case: Iraqi-American medical researcher Ali al-Yimimi, who preached in northern Virginia mosques and disseminated his radical thinking on the Web, was sentenced to life imprisonment last week. His crime: inciting followers, many of them young American-born Muslims, to a violent defense of Islam and war against the United States and its intervention in Islamic countries.

Mr. Timimi's sentencing in an Alexandria, Va., courtroom came against the backdrop of the London bombings, which British police now say were carried out by young British Muslims - and not foreign terrorists as in the case of the Sept. 11 attacks. They also say that the mastermind may have been a US-educated Egyptian chemist arrested Friday in Cairo.

The London blasts not only brought the phenomenon of terrorists blowing themselves up to Western soil, but they raise new concerns of home-grown terrorism - not to mention a sense of dread about consequences among Britain's predominately peaceful and moderate Muslim population of approximately 1.6 million.

In the US, the attacks and events like the Virginia Jihad case are raising anxieties about immigrants and their allegiances in the midst of a rapidly expanding immigrant population. With a new report finding that births to foreign-born women in the US are at their highest level ever - nearly 1 in 4 - some experts are warning that the traditional rapid assimilation of immigrants risks breaking down - with potentially worrisome consequences.

"Traditionally you had in the US an immigrant child learning to swim in a sea of native children, but increasingly it is the children of natives lost in a sea of children of immigrants," says Steven Camarota, director of research at the Center for Immigration Studies in Washington. His research of US Census figures shows that in 2002, 23 percent of US births were to immigrant mothers - up from 15 percent in 1990.

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