Opinion: “Religious Diversity Strengthens National Unity”

January 12, 2006

Source: Official Wire


On January 12, 2006 the Official Wire ran an opinion piece by Alaa Bayoumi, a researcher for the Washington-based Council on American-Islamic Relations. "Religious diversity, when properly understood and promoted, can in fact help strengthen a society's identity and unity. A forward-looking attitude on religious diversity is important because religion is important to most people and most societies. When a nation's religious landscape changes, its national identity cannot remain static... In the last third of the 20th century, 22 million immigrants entered America. Many of these immigrants were Hindu, Muslim, Buddhist, or members of other faiths. Unfortunately, the spread of these 'new' religions tends to raise concerns among a minority of Americans who believe in a zero-sum version of inclusion... Fortunately, our constitution and political culture are on the side of pluralism. Our laws protect all religions and our culture teaches us to look to ourselves as a religiously-diverse nation that should set an example for the rest of the world... America's Muslim community stands ready to do its part in strengthening our nation through creating opportunities for interfaith respect and mutual understanding."