Two Americas?

Islam in Two Americas

was the title of recent editorial on the op-ed page of the NY TIMES on the Park 51 Project in NYC, a Muslim community center.  The writer describes the two Americas:  “The first America, not surprisingly, views the project as the consummate expression of our nation’s high ideals.  … During the great waves of 19th-century immigration, the insistence that new arrivals adapt to Anglo-Saxon culture — and the threat of discrimination if they didn’t — was crucial to their swift assimilation.”

He concludes, “[Muslims] will need leaders, in other words, who understand that while the ideals of the first America protect the e pluribus, it’s the demands the second America makes of new arrivals that help create the unum.”

In preparation for moderating my OLLI course this fall, "American Expansion," I
opened Reginald Horsman's RACE AND MANIFEST DESTINY (Harvard, 1981) I have yet
to get beyond the first sentence:  "By 1850 American expansion was viewed in the
United States less as a victory for the principles of free democratic
republicanism than as evidence of the innate superiority of the American
Anglo-Saxon branch of the Caucasian race." 

Wednesday morning, John Esposito of Georgetown Univ, a leading expert on Islam, was
on with Keith Ellison, a rabbi who has worked extensively with
the Imam of the Park 51 Project (who is out of the country right now doing work
for the State Dept.) and a Muslim woman whose son died in 9/11 as a first
responder.  Esposito said Islamophobia was not different from Antisemitism and
not only Jews and blacks would get the message but Italians as well. 

Latest seems to be Nancy Pelosi is asking whose funding the anti-Mosque
hysteria.  I suppose she's Italian.

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