I wish I could get paid to peddle ignorance. (Hush, you.) Seriously. Douthat wants American Muslims to recognize that to fit into the American Protestant religious model, they must reject radicalism in favor of bland assimilationist piety consonant with Western values.
I have an idea! Maybe one of those moderate imams, you know, the trusted sort that Bush’s administration could consult with after 9/11, one of the good guys, should start a, what should we call it, maybe a Muslim Knights of Columbus or YMMA, a-a-a cultural center! and put it in a modest, nondescript building in a major metropolitan area. That would be a good way to show willing. And they shouldn’t name it something foreign-sounding, but maybe pick an easy-to-pronounce Western name that evokes a place where scholars from all religions could come and work and learn together.
(I wonder where Opus Dei’s NYC offices are. Christ on a cracker.)
Update: To be clear, the problem with this is that it’s pig-ignorance wrapped in delicate language:
During the great waves of 19th-century immigration, the insistence that new arrivals adapt to Anglo-Saxon culture — and the threat of discrimination if they didn’t — was crucial to their swift assimilation.
Of course, one can’t write the simplified version and be published in the paper of record as a nuanced conservative:
Many immigrants to the U.S. in the 19th century were met with violence and legal discrimination. That is what is missing from our treatment of Muslims today.
Douthat’s whitewashing the past and ignoring that what allowed immigrants to assimilate despite horrid treatment was the very commitment to liberal ideals that he sets to the side in his first paragraph. Does he think that Little Italy and Chinatown are there because it was really convenient to put all the restaurants together?