The Rockford Files

What Lies Beneath

According to an article in the New York Times on September 10, “In 2005, more people from Muslim countries became legal permanent United States residents—nearly 96,000—than in any year in the previous two decades.”  Moreover, many of these are not simply Muslims who had been here on guest visas but now have been granted permanent status (students, for instance).  Rather, as the Times notes, “More than 40,000 of [the 96,000] were admitted last year, the highest annual number since the terrorist attacks” of September 11, 2001.

In other words, an increasing number of Muslims are coming to the United States as legal immigrants with the stated intention of remaining here—at the very time many in the Muslim world view our country’s wars in Iraq and Afghanistan as attacks on Islam itself.  But—the Times assures us, without qualification—these Muslims “come seeking the same promise that has drawn foreigners to the United States for many decades, according to a range of experts and immigrants: economic opportunity and political freedom.”

The assumption behind that remark is that Muslim immigrants come to America not because they are Muslims but in spite of being so, and that their religion is either incidental or something that they are attempting to escape by immigrating.  Undoubtedly, that is true for some, and...

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