AN OPEN LETTER TO THE MUSLIMS IN AMERICA:THE FACE OF ISLAM IN AMERICAWHO DECIDES?
No other event has affected Islamic Culture and Muslims here in America as we enter the 21st century as did the events of 11 Sept.2001. Likewise, nothing greater that the Islamic worlds “collective” response will ensure our future as a culture and meaningful way of life here in America. To date the ‘FACE and VOICE’ of that collective response here in America has been foreign. Perhaps by design or chance, most Americans view Islam and Muslims as something foreign, something non-traditional. We here at the INNER CULTURAL EVCHANGE INSTITUTE believe in order to affect serious and meaningful social reform in the presentation and representation of Islam in America that face and voice must become as diverse as the mosaic we call America. We believe that entering the 21st century Islam in America needs to be DEFINED ‘in America to Americans by Americans for Americans. In order to dismantle the idiosyncrasies deeply endemic to American Culture.
Call it what you will, racism, Islamic phobia etc. there exist a need to define Islam in American in a langue that is understandable and yet non-threating to (absent the hyperbole, fear inducing phobia associated with main stream media and governmental propaganda) fundamental American values. We here at the Inner Cultural Exchange Institute are a social activist educational non-profit org. founded in 2003 by Americans who are committed to the Moral Rebirth of the Abrahamic Traditions( the Jewish, Christian and Islamic moral traditions)in reforming that segment of American society commonly referred to as Popular Culture. In promoting the growth and development of non-violent means of exchanging educational, economic, social and technological information between these three (3) most dominate moral traditions in America society. Specifically, to cultivate in what is commonly referred to as American Popular Culture (its most dominate and visible expression today being called Hip Hop Culture) a viable means of affecting social and moral reform between these three (3) often contentious traditions.
Our fundamental objective (our vision) being “Enjoining Social Good and Eradicating Social Evil” as defined by the larger society to wit: traditional American Judaic, Christian, Islamic moral values. Our methodology being the Rebirth of the Moral Balance embodied in the Abrahamic Traditions upon which rest Moral Authority in America. Without doubt the 21st century begins here in America with the culture of Hip Hop (popular culture) being the most powerful, most influentional, most recognized expression of American Cultural life styles. The demographics are staggering and cover every statistical category imaginable. Income, educational and career opportunities, multicultural, multiethnic, multireligious to name afew. And yet the Culture as a vehicle for meaningful and serious moral and social reform in the larger society is powerless, ineffective and inept due primarily to its Moral Bankruptcy. The culture in spite of its much success in the areas of business, music, the arts and entertainment also happens to represent the most immoral of America’s subcultures.*(see notes) It is this ‘Moral Bankruptcy’ weHere at the ICE Institute believe the most EFFECTIVE PRESENTATION of ISLAM canAnd will in fact REFORM AMERICA’S approach to Muslim’s and the religion of Islam.*(see notes) as we believe it is through Moral Superiority (enjoin social good and forbidding social ills) that the true battle between these contending traditions will be won. We are in fact in a War of ideas contrary to what’s often promoted as a war on terror.*(see notes)
The late 90’s saw the Culture of Hip Hop reach the eyes and ears of world-wide youth and young adults unlike any cultural phenomenon before and yet this segment of the American landscape is TOTALLY IGNORED in efforts to reform America’s perception of Muslims and Islam. *(see notes) your approach to young people.We say with total and absolute commitment to our vision we intend to do ‘in and for ‘ The Culture of Hip Hop what the Moral Majority did for right-wing Christian Conserveritism here in America in the 70’s and 80’s *(see notes). To accomplish this we need your support. Without doubt the largest segment of the ‘Face of Islam’ in America we spoke of before are young people under the age of 40. Second generation ‘IMMIGRANTS’ BORN IN AMERICA, American Muslims the larger society still calls Foreign. These Muslim Youth are in FACT American’s youth who’s Cultural Expression, Langue; dress etc. is the face of the Hip Hop Culture in America. Members who in fact ‘identify’ with the Popular Culture of Hip Hop more so than Islamic or traditional American culture. They speak, dress, embrace and represent the larger American Popular Cultural lifestyle commonly referred to as Hip Hop. And yet in our approach to redefining and presenting Islam in a non-threating, non-violent culturally inclusive light to the masses in America . We ignore even our own Muslim Youth who have clearly abandoned traditional Islamic Culture for the more’ POPULAR’ American Culture.*(see notes) We here at the ICE Institute believe this is a grave mistake. The stated ‘generational gap’ between first and second generational immigrant Muslims is a Cultural divide that can only be address through a langue, message and lifestyle the youth and young adults understand, embrace and more importantly ‘TRUST’. Their Culture of choice: Hip Hop Culture.
We believe that enormous opportunity for growth and movement towards cross cultural understanding and more acceptances of Muslims and Islamic Culture can exist through second generation youth and young adult immigrant American Muslims’ embracing both their Islamic and American identities. We believe this opportunity for outreach needs to be cultivated. WE understand the belief that POLICY can best be influenced at the academic level and fully support this approach as well. However, we are firmly committed to the reality of Culture always being more important than politics.
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