Islam in Two Americas

This NY Times op-ed presents a poignant contrast of “Islam in two Americas”.  The perspective on tensions in American culture over Islam brings to the surface what is often lurking just below. Written in 2010 during the controversy about a mosque and Islamic community center being constructed near the twin towers in New York City, the author says:

“beneath these concerns lurks the darker suspicion that Islam in any form may be incompatible with the American way of life.”

The two Americas contrast the ideals of democracy and freedom with the English-speaking Judeo-Christian heritage.

Muslim American protest
Creative Commons

These tensions seem to be especially prominent in the church where Christians believe in the ideals of democracy and tend towards the conservative. Add in Jesus’ teaching to ‘love your neighbor’ when that neighbor is from the Middle East and ‘love your enemies’ when the perception of many Christians towards Muslims is that ‘they just want to kill us’ and dissonance is sure to surface.  Reconciling patriotism in the “two Americas” and how to ‘love our neighbors’ from around the world will be this church generation’s biggest challenge.

About Scott Gustafson

Scott Gustafson has extensive experience in global ministry and business in the Middle East, having lived or worked in the region for 20 years. He is a PhD candidate at Vrije Universiteit working with the Extreme Beliefs Project. He serves as the Executive Director for a US based ministry and is also the Managing Partner of Purpose Global Strategies, an International Business and non-profit consulting firm. He advises large funding agencies as well as indigenous businesses and ministries in Sudan, Jordan, Iraq, Syria and Lebanon. He teaches as an adjunct faculty member of Cornerstone University. He has an MA in Intercultural Communication from Moody Graduate School, and a BA in Nursing and Biology from Western Michigan University. Scott and his wife have 2 children and they live in Grand Rapids, MI.