CHARLOTTE, N.C., March 30, 2017 – Ryan Mauro of “The Clarion Project” has written a brilliant column about a much overlooked and misunderstood aspect of Islamic jihad. Mauro compares the concepts of “assimilation” and “integration.” In the process, he dramatically defines interpretations that the West has, as yet, been unable to grasp.
Says Mauro in seven simple words, “assimilation is too often confused with integration.”
Citing Alexander Hamilton as far back as 1802, Mauro writes, “To admit foreigners indiscriminately to the rights of citizens the moment they put foot in our country would be nothing less than to admit the Grecian horse into the citadel of our liberty and sovereignty.”
The confusion lies in the fact that too often the term “assimilation” is interpreted as “integration” and that is where the schism lies for many Islamists as well as Westerners.
Mauro refutes former President Barack Obama’s assertion that that a lack of assimilation is poor education, poverty and unemployment since many jihadists come from well-educated middle class environments where, as Mauro puts it, “The message is magnified by left-wingers who embrace the Marxist ‘class struggle’ view of terrorism that depicts Islamist extremists as misguided social justice warriors against imperialism and capitalism.”
While the genesis of Islam arose out of tribal desert conditions in the 7th century with the Prophet Muhammad offering an alternative for the poor and under-educated to have a source of worship, it is the singular monolithic structure of Islam that causes the greatest divide between the religions.
Using the “Merriam-Webster Dictionary” for definitions, Mauro notes that “assimilation (is) to absorb into the cultural tradition of a population or group.”
Because there is no separation between church and state in, Islam, it is, for all intents, a total way of life as outlined by Muhammad in the Koran and the Hadith. Muslims cannot grasp the concept of the Holy Trinity. Allah is the only God. The idea of Father, Son and Holy Ghost is anathema to a Muslim. By giving God two other identities is tantamount to idol worship in the thoughts of a true believer.
Jesus is recognized by Muslims as a prophet, but neither Christ nor Muhammad were divine. Both were merely men who served as conduits for the words of God (Allah) to mankind. Since Muhammad was the last of the prophets, however, Muslims regard his words and ideas as perfect when compared to other prophets.
Broken down to the lowest common denominator, in the eyes of an Islamist, it is the West that should, therefore, assimilate to Islam rather than Muslims adapting to Western cultures when they emigrate.
Too often however, and as Ryan Mauro suggests, that “assimilation” becomes mixed up with “integration” which is completely different.
Again using “Merriam-Webster” “integration (is to) end the segregation of and bring into equal membership in society of an organization.”
Why it is so difficult for Muslims to confuse integration with assimilation is a conundrum for Westerners who, in general, believe in a live-and-let-live philosophy. The West has no desire to enforce its cultural values and traditions on Muslims, but neither do Westerners want Islam to dictate Muslim cultural mores upon them, especially in their home countries.
Herein lies the basic core of misunderstanding on both sides, because jihadists view themselves as enemies of the West. If they did not, there would be no need to wage an anti-terrorist war against them. It also means however, that Islamists, while they may be “integrated,” are not “assimilated” into their new environments and that is where much of the danger lies.
In the simplest of terms, Muslims who are often referred to as a “moderates,” may be treated equally by their new society, but they do not “assimilate” because that goes against their capability to adjust to the new surroundings.
And so the beat goes on. Muslims have a tendency to remain within the shadows of any society when they are not in power or have no control within that society. They will not be your “friend” in the sense that the West defines friendship, but they will not be disruptive either.
This becomes dangerous only when Islam begins to gain strength to the point where its demands will be heard and when they can dictate change by using victimization, Islamophobia or other strategies to gradually take control of a situation.
Once that happens, Islam then becomes the dominant force, and “assimilation” into a Muslim culture becomes the only way the West to survive.
Initially there needs to be greater awareness of the nature of this problem. Next, there must be an open and honest exchange of ideas. How that happens between cultures that are so opposed to each other, however, is the great question of our times.
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Bob Taylor has been traveling the world for more than 30 years as a writer and award winning television producer focusing on international events, people and cultures around the globe.
Taylor is founder of The Magellan Travel Club (www.MagellanTravelClub.com)
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