Can American pluralism make room for an Islam that is truly different?

Shadi Hamid in Comment:

How Muslims make their place in a changing America, then, isn’t just about Muslims but about how to hold to the ideal of religious communities making America great. It is also about challenging the spread and normalization of Islamophobia. This rise in anti-Muslim bigotry has led many to see this as the worst period yet for American Muslims, exceeding even the immediate aftermath of the September 11 attacks. But looked at another way, Donald Trump has unwittingly propelled Muslims into the cultural and political mainstream. According to polling by my colleague Shibley Telhami, few things predict partisan affiliation more than attitudes toward Muslims and Islam. In practice, this means that there are few better ways to signal your anti-Trump bona fides than by being pro-Muslim.

I watched, somewhat in awe, the images of citizens rallying around American Muslims who protested Trump’s first travel ban by praying at airport baggage claims in January 2017. Scenes such as that would have been hard to imagine after 9/11. In Washington, DC, where I live, various cafés and restaurants feature welcome signs at their entrances with a picture of a woman wearing a headscarf. A new crop of Muslim candidates are running and winning elections, including the first two Muslim congresswomen in American history. A Muslim comic, Hasan Minhaj, headlined the White House Correspondents’ Dinner for the first time in 2017. Meanwhile, Muslim characters are showing up in prominent films and television shows, including, perhaps most interestingly, a transgender, observant Muslim in HBO’s Here and Now.

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