U.S. RESPECTS RELIGIOUS DIVERSITY, MUSLIM PUBLISHER SAYS
Muslim women living in the United States are finding that religious and cultural differences are tolerated and respected widely, says Tayyibah Taylor, the editor of Azizah magazine, a glossy quarterly written by and for Muslim women in North America.
“I think America is the most religiously diverse country in the world,” said Taylor, who was born in Trinidad of Barbadian parents. “You learn how to get along with people who are very different from you. Your differences don’t really become an issue.”
Speaking during a State Department-sponsored webchat April 23, Taylor said Muslim women are “well-integrated into the workplace” and are “in every professional field, engineering, medicine, business.” Many have been profiled in the magazine, she noted.
“Usually there is no problem in terms of the way you dress or stopping to pray or any small issues like that,” she said. More and more Americans “are getting used to seeing Muslim women in hijabs (traditional headscarfs).” Some Muslim women in America don’t wear the hijab, and that is part of the freedom they have, Taylor said.
Compared with a Muslim majority country, it becomes “a definite conscious choice” to practice one’s Muslim faith in America, she said, “so actually what happens is that your faith can become stronger, and your practice can become more conscious.”
Taylor said she feels that “Muslims in America are really in a very privileged position.” America has a legacy of freedom of speech and movement and support for critical thinking — things that “are not always present in all Muslim majority countries,” she said. “And you have Islamic legacy of spiritual agency, and autonomy, intellectual autonomy, and the combination really goes to enhance your spiritual potential.”