By: Zareena Grewal
Organizing American Muslims
American Muslims are among the most diverse and heterogeneous national populations of Muslims in the world, made up of many different communities with different histories and priorities, yet American Muslim community leaders regularly refer to American Muslims as a singular community with a shared political agenda. Given the sociological fact of their diversity, consensus among American Muslims, particularly on controversial and divisive religious and political questions, is not a tenable goal. American Muslims do not need to achieve perfect consensus in order to effectively organize around particular political issues of shared concern and speak in a collective voice.
Consider the issue of racial/religious profiling. Although some American Muslims are more aggressively policed and profiled than others, a shared opposition to racial/religious profiling in principle allows American Muslim leaders to organize a diverse range of Muslim communities on this issue. Their collective opposition to racial/religious profiling certainly represents the perspective of the vast majority of American Muslims, although there are American Muslim outliers who defend such discriminatory practices.