From Issue: 979 [Read full issue]
Culture enables us to be comfortable with who, where, and what we are. Muslim Americans who are comfortable with being themselves have taken the first major step in becoming role models for their children and others and radiate a sense of direction and credibility. Identities that are rooted in deep cultural contradiction are easily thrown into states of confusion and doubt. True religiosity and deep spirituality require inner consistency and stability, which are only possible within a sound cultural nexus. When adults are confused about themselves and live contradictory lifestyles—one persona at work, another at home—they can have little of value to impart to their children, who are likely to be even more confused about who they are, a perilous state of affairs in today's youth culture.
Beyond identity formation, a successful Muslim American culture would serve as the basis of social development and communal self-determination. But this requires not only taking interpretive control of our religion, ourselves, and our community but developing a healthy social-psychology that provides authority without authoritarianism, continuity and tradition without blind conformity. A successful Muslim American social-psychology must be at the center of our culture just as it is at the core of the most successful social classes around us. Our social-psychology must allow for the full and dynamic participation of both genders on an equal footing. It must be genuinely transparent, identify problems honestly, facilitate discourse, and seek real solutions on the basis of mutual respect, co-operation, and collective thinking, healthily rooted in the past with an intelligent vision of the future.
"Islam and Cultural Imperative" - Umar Faruq Abdallah, p. 11