CAIR: FOR MUSLIMS IN THE UNITED STATES, IT’S THE AMERICAN WAY
Amid copies of the Koran and Arabic calligraphy, a small American flag sits on a table in a corner of Ahmed Rehab’s office at the Council on American-Islamic Relations here.
“I am proud to be American, and I really mean that,” said Rehab, who as executive director of the council’s Chicago branch spends his days handling civil rights complaints from fellow Muslims. “I’d rather be a Muslim in America than anywhere else.”
At first glance, such patriotism appears paradoxical. The United States led the invasion of Iraq and passed the Patriot Act. It was here that the war on terror was dubbed a war on “Islamo- fascists.” But, for now at least, the violent backlash is in Europe, not America.
The Sept. 11 attacks of five years ago have galvanized efforts by a small but growing elite of Islamic intellectuals and young activists to find their voice and carve out an identity that is as American as it is Muslim.