In tandem with the launch of this website, I posted my first article on MuslimMatters, a popular group blog dealing with (not surprisingly) any and all matters relevant to Muslims around the world. The essay is as much a call to action as it is a reflection. A “Muslim Livability Index” is an idea whose time has come, particularly given our current globalized reality. Because, while Muslims, like anyone else, seek the comforts of modern life, there are features unique to certain locales – be they cultural, architectural, or otherwise – that make living there more amenable to an Islamic lifestyle. And with the list of viable venues larger now than it’s ever been, Muslims need no longer confine themselves to a limited number of “appropriate” places to live.
In addition to broadly outlining this project, the motivation for which stemmed, in part, from the Op-Ed’s I cite early on in the piece, this post was a means to voice my frustration with the discourse on where Muslims should live. I laid out my thoughts on this line of reasoning in a clarifying comment on the forum:
We’ve become too accustomed to broad brush strokes, I think. It’s either Muslim lands are corrupt and dictatorial, or hijrah [immigration] to them will solve all your problems. It’s either Western lands are full of fasad [indecency] and will break down your iman [faith], or they’re the only place where you can practice your Islam freely.
Beyond this particular topic, I believe that Muslim rhetoric in general needs a healthy dose of nuance and specificity. Not all US foreign policy is oppressive – though, certain facets of it are. Not all Muslim societies are backward and inefficient – though, admittedly, certain aspects of them are. Speaking in absolutes is rarely if ever productive – and this goes especially for anyone (regardless of their religion) who feels that Muslims “belong” in any ONE place.