by James Stout, San Diego, Ca

by James Stout, San Diego, Ca

Are we scared of the wrong people?

11 Aug, 2017

by James Stout, San Diego, Ca

One of the overarching themes of the Trump presidency, or at least the campaign because the only overarching theme of the presidency thus far has been incompetence, has been the inability of Muslim people to assimilate to US culture. Indeed, during the campaign, Trump called for a “complete shutdown of Muslims entering the United States until our country's representatives can figure out what is going on”.

It turns out, that what is going on is an increase in tolerant and accepting attitudes. According to a Pew poll, 52 percent of Muslims believe that “homosexuality should be accepted by society” this compares to 63 percent of the general population and about 33 percent of white evangelical Christians. In 2014, when the question of marriage equality was raised, 53 percent of the general population were in favour, 42 percent of Muslisms supported it and only 28 percent of white evangelicals felt that LGBTQ+ people had the right to love and marry.

This has changed dramatically in the last decade, 10 years ago the same question about acceptance of homosexuality solicited only 27 percent support. This seems to be practically a definition of what assimilation means. By coming to the United States, and living in a diverse community, Muslim people become more tolerant than the global Muslim population. The rise in acceptance rates of homosexuality was the same in men and women and showed very little difference amongst foreign and US born survey subjects, there was also a market increase in acceptance (up 28%) amongst muslims who say “religion is very important” in their lives.

It seems that a large majority of US Muslims voted for Hillary Clinton (78%), suggesting that sexism is not as prominent as many would suggest. Only 1% of those surveyed felt that Islam and democracy were incompatible on grounds of gender or sexuality.

Now to be fair to the evangelicals, there is a generation gap emerging between the younger, more accepting church and the older, less tolerant individuals. I’m not one to pit one group against another, I would like to see all faiths and religions come to accept all people. But sometimes it pays to concern ourselves with who wants to take away our rights, rather than be distracted by stereotypes.

Trump has attempted to stoke the fires of culture war and to make both LGBTQ+ and Muslim people the victims, but the facts suggest that both groups are more accepting of each other, and more accepted by society, than ever before. Urooj Arshad, and LGBTQ+ Muslim activist interviewed by the Independent said that ““Since September 11, the Muslim community has been dealing with severe erosion of their civil rights which has made the community more sympathetic to violations of civil rights against other marginalized communities in the US,”