Muslims & America: So what does it mean to be … 100% American?


What is 100 percent American T
he Ft. Hood shootings and the recent announcement that the trial of alleged “9/11” mastermind Khalid Sheikh Mohammed will be in New York City—a fresh reminder of events eight years ago—have many asking questions about the American-ness of Muslim Americans.
   

Are they “really” Americans?

Here’s what Cenk Uygur, an American-born Muslim, says in defense, excerpted from his article in The Huffington Post.

 

“Muslim-Americans are 100% American. There are no degrees of how American you are. They have the same exact rights, privileges and responsibilities as any other American does. They don’t have to answer to you.
   

“I’m agnostic now, but I was born Muslim. My whole family is Muslim. They’re all Americans. Not one of them is one percent less of an American than any other race or religion in this country. My family became American by becoming naturalized. If anything, that shows that we are even more loyal to this country. Our citizenship is not an accident of birth, we chose America.

“If someone challenges how American I am based on my race, ethnicity or religion (or lack thereof), them’s fightin’ words. These colors don’t run. There is no one in the country more American than I am.”

What’s haunting me about his response is a novel written over 50 years ago, “It Can’t Happen Here,” by Sinclair Lewis, the first American to win the Nobel Prize in literature. Lewis isn’t read much anymore, but this particular novel enjoyed a second life during the Bush years. In short, it describes—in chilling and convincing detail—a right-wing totalitarian takeover of the country. At one point, fearful citizens wore a badge that said “100%”—advertising that they were completely behind the fascist government.

What does it say about America if our citizens feel the need to declare they are 100% American?

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