This summer Muslims were murdered in Holland, Germany, and Belgium – four victims of hate crimes.
These murders are just the latest examples of Islamaphobia coming out of Europe. But Europe is not the only place intolerant of its Muslim citizens. Even in some Muslim countries, expression of religion is often perceived as a threat to the secular state.
One of the best places for a Muslim to live is the United States. In a lot of ways, conditions are better here than almost anywhere. As a Muslim not permitted to wear my head covering as a politician in my home country, Turkey, I know.
Think about it: In Turkey, where the vast majority of the population is Muslim, you will not find a lawyer with a beard or a student at a university wearing a head scarf, but you can find plenty in New York City. In Tunisia, you won't see a religiously dressed physician at university hospitals – but you can in Alabama.
In the majority of Muslim countries the government is an intrusive enterprise with eyes and ears everywhere. The result is bleak. Countries reward only sycophants of the "divine" state. Muslims feel stifled by the encroachments of the establishment and lack of religious tolerance. If a man or a woman wanted to organize a protest against the government to gain the right to practice their religion more openly or be politically active against the status quo, may God help him to escape from the wrath of the state.
Many Muslim countries promote homogeneity while their citizens yearn for a right to diversity, which will give them the ability to practice their religious rituals freely.
In America, on the other hand, doors open to accommodate people's religious beliefs. And that, along with citizenship rights and the opportunity to exercise the freedom to practice Islam day in and day out, is what makes the US so good for the millions of Muslims here.
American Muslim women can engage in any sport they choose wearing their religious garment – unlike in France and Italy where Islamic-approved swimsuits, and therefore Muslim women, are not welcome in the pools.
The White House and universities alike host iftars to celebrate Muslims' holy month of fasting. Elementary school students can attend Friday prayers without having to worry about absentee records.
These small but significant examples of freedoms attest to the country's sine qua non of inalienable citizenship rights: freedom of expression and freedom of religion.
That is not to say that the US is exempt from the mistreatment of Muslims. Racial profiling and workplace discriminations sometimes do occur. Yet the difference is when American Muslims face an unjust treatment, they have recourse where they can find justice.
Examples abound: The Justice Department sided with Muslim high school students in Texas who weren't allowed to pray on school premises during lunch break in 2005, when they took their complaint to the federal government.
This year, a judge has ruled favorably in the pretrial lawsuit brought by six imams who were detained in 2006 for "flying while Muslim." This would not happen in many Muslim countries since judiciary bodies are generally under the thumb of the regimes that promote coercive secularization.
Post-9/11, the US did mistreat some Muslims. But today, the Obama administration is making amends by probing alleged CIA torture and by closing the Guantánamo prison. There, after early abuses, officials accommodated detainees' religious needs. So-called Muslim nation-states could learn from these steps in their treatment of devout citizens.
As President Obama tries to mend America's relationship with the global Muslim community, he should promote "democratic" change from within, supporting any push from within countries for more heterogeneity.
Supporting the will of the "people" alone rather than the (semi) dictators, even when it is difficult, could make a huge difference.
Dr. Merve Kavakci is a lecturer of international affairs at George Washington University.
Muslims want diversity? Is that the right to wear the same head scarf as your neighbor? Letting kids out of school for prayers? Changing sports uniforms for hijabs? I couldn't even wear different socks than the rest of my relay team in high school track for fuck sake! Most Muslims who want diversity, like those in Iran, want freedom from the oppressions of Islam, i.e. head scarves and such. Religious tolerance is one thing but religious dominance is the only thing they'll take. There are some moderate Muslims I'll admit. The fact of the matter is that if there were more moderate ones than radical ones they should ultimately prevail and every country that is Muslim should be moderate. This doesn't happen, the radicals always take control of the Muslim community and here is no different.
Muslims murdered in Holland, Germany, and Belgium? Islamophobia!? Really, the fear of Islam is irrational? You're fucking shitting me right? So Islamists are not constantly blowing shit up, beheading, and otherwise murdering innocent people for things as simple as verbal criticism of a religion? This shit is all made up? Free European countries are the bad guy? One thing I'll give these Muslim apologists, who are usually the Muslims themselves, you've got some big goddamn balls. In light of what your comrades do and you can still with a straight face, call others irrational... holy shit!
I'm quite sure I can find at least 10 times the non-Muslims murdered by Muslims recently. In fact, I could trace every one of these cases the author mentioned to retaliation for the prior murder of a Westerner by a Muslim to begin with. Don't piss down my leg and tell me it's fucking raining and don't feed me this "Muslims are good people and can't be safe anywhere" horseshit. The Muslim people bring all of their problems on themselves either by actually committing violence, and making ridiculous demands in our countries that their countries wouldn't reciprocate, or most often simply refusing to do so much as stand up and publicly and vocally denounce such violence. If you want the way of life you had in your home countries, if you want to have rules that oppress normal life and stunt social, technological, and other growth, fine, but you can do it in your own shitty country, not in ours.
I for one am going to stand up and say that crying and trying to pretend you are the oppressed instead of the oppressor does not make it so. A hostage taker can walk right out with the "freed" hostages and pretend he's traumatized and nobody is going to know better if nobody knows what the gun in his hand actually is. The only thing that is going to happen is when the "moderate Muslims" get enough numbers and power in this country the radical ones will step in take control of them like they do in every other Muslim country. No, Dr. Merve, You can take your stupid religion and all the the special exceptions it requires and shove it right up your prophet's ass. What a steaming pile... At some point we need to just stand up and say "we don't want that here."