Via Meadia readers may be aware of the brouhaha surrounding the reality television show All-American Muslim. The series, which follows five Muslim families in Dearborn, Michigan, has come under fire from a fringe conservative Christian group that, along with a few others, has successfully pressured many advertisers to back out of sponsoring the show.Today, Robert George, the man dubbed by the New York Times as “The Conservative-Christian Big Thinker“, and Jennifer Bryson, a colleague at Princeton’s Witherspoon Institute, published an open letter decrying the campaign against the show:
[T]he vast majority of our Muslim fellow citizens are indeed ordinary folks. They are good people and good Americans. They share our fundamental moral values and our commitments to democratic institutions and civil and religious liberty. They do not promote hatred of Christians and Jews and have no desire to establish an Islamic theocracy. They are as appalled as we are at the rhetoric and conduct of those of their religion who do promote hatred and who seek to undermine democratic freedoms.Please know that in our pro-life, pro-family, and pro-freedom work at the Witherspoon Institute, we have found strong partners and allies in many Muslims. They have joined with us in promoting respect for human life in all stages and conditions; in upholding the virtues of modesty and chastity; in fighting the plagues of pornography and marital infidelity; and in working to protect religious freedom and the rights of conscience both at home and abroad.Of course, there are violent extremists and enemies of freedom who act in the name of Islam—no question about that. They preach anti-Semitism in its vilest forms and seek domination. They have no respect for the dignity and equality of women or for religious and civil liberty. One of us (Dr. Bryson) has first-hand experience in confronting them: she spent two years serving our country as a United States Department of Defense interrogator at Guantanamo. Like you, both of us believe that Islamist terrorists and radicals must be resolutely opposed and defeated. But it is important to recognize that this is a view we and you share with the overwhelming majority of American Muslims…Their moral values are our moral values—and yours.
All too often, the media and partisan polemicists reduce religions and their adherents to their worst caricatures. Voices like George’s and Bryson’s put the lie to such portrayals. Read the whole letter and reflect on the role that strong religious convictions have had historically and still have today in promoting ideals of religious tolerance and freedom here in the US.