Mouthpieces

Over at the New York Times, Laurie Goldstein profiles two increasingly prominent Muslim figures in America, Sheikh Hamza Yusuf and Imam Zaid Shakir, both of them American converts to Islam. It’s an interesting piece. Hamza Yusuf comes across as someone who is still maturing in his philosophy and finding his way. And I can see why Zaid Shakir would appeal to young kids.

But when you get to the end of the piece you find this little nugget of wisdom from the young Imam Shakir:

[Imam Zaid Shakir] said he still hoped that one day the United States would be a Muslim country ruled by Islamic law, “not by violent means, but by persuasion.”

“Every Muslim who is honest would say, I would like to see America become a Muslim country,” he said. “I think it would help people, and if I didn’t believe that, I wouldn’t be a Muslim. Because Islam helped me as a person, and it’s helped a lot of people in my community.”

It drives me absolutely up the wall when people say things like “every Muslim [fill in blank].” Will people please, please, quit talking for everyone? And I don’t care if it’s an imam or if it’s one of those ubiquitous “experts on Islam” who say they know what the rest of us think. Look, I’m Muslim, and I don’t want America to be a Muslim country–or any kind of a religious country, for that matter.

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