Last night, Eid celebrations, which mark the end of the thirty days of fasting observed by millions of Muslims around the world, came to an end. And even though I had eaten enough to induce an Eid coma, I still found myself curiously awake and semi-coherent at 4 am.
This alertness is only the vestigial remnant of a month spent waking in the middle of the night, drowning in exorbitantly disgusting amounts of food and water, offering morning prayers and sleepwalking back to bed—with the hopes that what has been consumed at 4 am will tide me over for seventeen hours, at which time I can break my fast.
Thus, above explains why I am sitting on my living room floor picking at a plate of food with my fingers at 4 am: it is simply a case of thirty days of conditioning.
But what about the lack of utensils and seating—one could assume I am simply following the sunnah (prophetic tradition) which suggests humbly sitting on the floor and using one’s hands (the right one, please) to eat. But the reality is that everything around me has been packed and duct-taped into cardboard boxes, in preparation for my family’s move to a new place.
So, it is in this state of semi-lucidity that I come across the Pew Center’s recent 136-page report. A report which looks at a topic that is Fox News’s, Michele Bachmann’s, (and just about everyone’s) current favorite fodder for discussion: Muslims in America.
The good and scientific people at the Pew Center, who last year revealed that Muslims will take over America in twenty years, this year add to their tome of investigations some more revelations.
It appears that Muslim-Americans are in fact, incredibly normal. And even though, normal is a setting on washing machines, that is indeed what Muslims are—normal to such extremes that some of us could even be classified as boring.
Of course, the banality of such an obvious-yet-not-so-obvious conclusion makes me want to simultaneously laugh and punch the screen, but I resist these urges, and in true fashion of the Islamic invocation to seek knowledge (even if it takes me to China), I click the requisite buttons to take me deeper into the study’s results.
The major parts of the study can be broken down simply as follows:
§ Muslim-Americans are “distinctly anti-terror,” with 48 percent even placing the onus on Islamic leaders within their own communities for failing to address extremism.
§ And when it comes to extremism—which, 21 percent support as compared to the general public’s hyper-inflated figure of 40 percent—60 percent of Muslim-Americans are significantly concerned with the rise of home-grown and foreign-imported extremism.
§ Simultaneously—despite a longstanding season of irrationality and much difficulty endured by those who find themselves victims of Islamophobia-induced, anti-Muslim hysteria—Muslim-Americans have not become disillusioned with this country.
§ And even though more than half of those surveyed admit that life in the US has become difficult in the post-9/11 era—with 52 percent reporting being singled out for “increased surveillance and monitoring”—82 percent of Muslims living in America are “overwhelmingly satisfied with the way things are going in their lives and continue to rate their communities very positively as places to live.” (Noteworthy is that this optimistic outlook is far higher in numbers compared to the 24 percent reported by the general public).
§ Lastly, similar to their non-Muslim counterparts, a group of Muslims, sitting at 10 percent report believing that the president shares their faith (in comparison to 18 percent reported by the general public). It is at least then refreshing and reassuring to know that what may bring some together is a mutual love for conspiracy theories.
So America, fancy statistical deductions seem to have stumbled across the nation’s worst kept secret. Your friendly neighborhood Muslim, just like you, likes pie and punk, dislikes terrorists and answers surveys.
Now, I return to my early morning meal, with the hopes that someday, soon, in the future, at least 82 percent of you will find such a study unnecessary.