This post was originally posted at The New Democrat on WordPress
Because of the fact that Muslims have emigrated from the Middle East and North Africa to the West and developed liberal societies where religion and state aren’t mixed in and where people have the right and freedom to be themselves in these free societies, gives me at least the idea that they decided to leave their native countries that are underdeveloped and a lot more religiously conservative and less tolerant to live in a free society. Where they’ll have the opportunity to build a good life for themselves and their families. They didn’t emigrate to France and Britain to use as examples, to start Islamic theocracies. They moved there so they can have freedom and economic opportunity that they weren’t getting at home.
America at least has already proved that religious conservatism can coexist in a liberal society and liberal democracy. We have a Religious-Right after all and by in large religious conservative are good decent productive Americans who have contributed a lot to America. They just have social views having to do with the women’s place in the world, homosexuality, privacy in general, freedom of speech as it comes to expression and certain forms of entertainment that are way out of step with a solid majority of Americans. And even though they have tried to get their values into law and force others to live under their values they’ve done it through the political process for the most part. Instead of doing it violently.
To me at least it is not a question of can Muslims succeed and live well in a liberal society. The question is do they want to. Do they want the freedom to be themselves and live under their own religious and moral values, while at the same time allowing for others who don’t agree with their values and way of life to do the same thing. Because that is what liberal democracy, the liberal society and free society are about. The freedom for people to be people, for individuals to be individuals. The ability for people to be themselves and live their own lives and not be forced to live a certain way of life because that is how someone wants them to. And these are questions that only Muslims can answer for themselves.