The Muslim Bogeyman

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In her round-up of anti-mosque protests in yesterday’s New York Times,
Laurie Goodstein found her way to Diana Serafin, an unemployed
California grandmother who’s been frequenting Tea Party events and
anti-immigration rallies.

She said they read books by critics of Islam, including
former Muslims like Walid Shoebat, Wafa Sultan and Manoucher Bakh. She
also attended a meeting of the local chapter of ACT! for America, a
Florida-based group that says its purpose is to defend Western
civilization against Islam.

“As a mother and a grandmother, I worry,” Ms. Serafin said. “I learned
that in 20 years with the rate of the birth population, we will be
overtaken by Islam, and their goal is to get people in Congress and the Supreme Court to see that Shariah is implemented. My children and grandchildren will have to live under that.”

The best surveys of Muslims in America indicate that indicate that they
now constitute well under one percent of the population. The 2008 Trinity American Religious Identification Survey,
the third in a series beginning in 2009, shows that over the past 20
years, the number of adult Muslims i grew from 529,000 to
1,349,000–from .3 percent to .6 percent of American adults–growing
half a fast in the 2000s as in the 1990s. It’s possible, but unlikely,
that Muslims will make up four percent of the U.S. population in 20

No doubt there are some American Muslims who wish to live by Shariah
law, just as there are some American Jews who order their domestic
relations according to rabbinic law–halachah. Or just as other
religious communities, from the Amish to the Roman Catholics, have their
own rules governing the conduct of their members. But the idea that
Muslims in America represent some kind of demographic/ideological threat
to the American legal system is beyond far-fetched. It’s a lie.

  • We often forget that the vast majority of Muslims who come here are escaping something — religious fundmentalism — or simply seeking a better life. It would be absurd for them to want to throw over what they came here for, while at the same time wanting to have their rights to worship freely.