(below is a diary posted at Daily Kos, in response to one by NYCeve. I repost it here verbatim. I hope more muslims join the community at DailyKos so that our voices are heard as well.)
UPDATE: comments enabled. With over 300 comments and counting, the discussion at DK is starting to become rather initimidating...
I read NYCeve's essay, I am a Jew, with great interest and a strong feeling of identification.
As anyone who follows my blog, City of Brass, knows - I have always been a defender of Israel's right to exist. I have been severely critical of Israel as a nation, for its policies alone, not for its Jewishness. In fact, the very idea of a homeland is one that I can identify with, powerfully.
But there is no such thing as a muslim homeland the way there is a Jewish one - and nor should there be.
I have often said - in response to muslims who argue the need for an "ummah" or speak of political Islam - that America is the greatest Islamic country in the world. My loyalty, my allegiance, my identity - are American.
When another country, to which I may be bound by ties of ethnicity (such as Pakistan) or of religion alone (such as Iran) misbehaves or acts in a manner that I feel is wrong - I say so. I do not feel a loyalty to these governments because I share faith, or history with them. The single nation that receives the most "free pass" from me is India, but I can defend that nation of my parents' birth on the merits of policies alone, and my cultural affinities truly are separable. (I can't prove that to you, so either take my word for it, or discount me.)
So what is it to be an American muslim? NYCeve speaks of rising anti-semitism in the world, and of how "being openly Jewish might engender an unwelcome encounter." I am not a victim - but I think that muslims in America have more to fear than Jews do. Do you think that the attitudes at LGF are fringe? I surf the red-sphere every day; I contribute at RedState; I live in Texas and listen to the callers on talk radio. Muslims are the new Jews in the US. How much longer can I say that the religious freedom which permits my faith to flourish here as no where else, will persist?
And what about Eurabia? please. If muslims in the US are the new Jews, muslims in Europe are the new Mexicans. Bat Ye'or hysterics aside, the demographic reality is quite simple: muslims are headed towards permanent underclass status. Maybe in a sense, then, they are the new Jews there as well.
And what of the world beyond?
Israel must be defended. It has a right to exist. Despite believing these words utterly, despite having repeated them several times, what I write below will earn me yet again the sting of the anti-Semite accusation again. (It doesn't bother me anymore; I get called a murdering Zionist sympathizer about as often). But Jews do have Israel, a strong (nuclear-armed) state supported by a superpower. They are well and truly safe there, a safety that no Katyusha or suicide bomber can really threaten - those are the tools of fear alone and the Jews have long ago learned that fear can be overcome. I wish the American public faced the fear of terrorism with half the composure that Israelis do - we might be sacrificing fewer of our own society's basic principles of liberty were it so.
Muslims in the middle east have nothing like Israel. Ordinary muslims are always caught between terrorists, tyrants, mullahs, and madmen, and now - the wrath of Israel as well. Lebanese people, who have no control over Hizbollah, who have just escaped decades of civil war, and only recently in the Cedar Revolution thrown off the yoke of Syrian dominance and seized their destinies for themselves - are being killed. Why?
NYCeve asks, "could you crawl inside the skin of a Jew, just to read this?" I have crawled inside that skin for four years at City of Brass. I support the Wall, I support the IDF (which I have said has a noble mission), I have condemned in the strongest possible religious terms the slaughter of innocent Israeli children. And I have always critiqued Israel on the basis of policies alone - and yes, pulled my punches for teh past few years after finding that no matter how balanced I tried to be, no matter how fair, I would still be accused of blood libel.
I know some Lebanese. All, as they grapple with fear and pain and concern for their families, still try to make a point of "crawling inside the skin of a Jew". They condemn Hizbollah's attacks on Israel but ask, rightly, "why does Israel attack US?"
I don't even want people to crawl inside the skin of a muslim. I just want people to look at the situation with open eyes.
If you're looking for more detailed analysis of the Lebanon-Israeli conflict, do stop by Nation-Building blog.