In the struggle for peaceful co-existence between Americans and Muslims, it is important to find a common ground by which both can agree upon and start from there instead of focusing on our differences in religious beliefs and interpretation. This common ground involves universal principles of freedom, rights and democratization, as well as the abhorrence for violence, the backbone of a civilized society.
The first fact that supports the assertion stated above is that Muslim women comprise the majority of university students in several countries, and they expect their full rights and see their religion as essential to progress, justice for women, scientific advancements and protection of human rights. Second, public support for terrorism is at a decline and that a large percentage of Muslims do not support anti-U.S. terrorism based on a disgust and moral objection for terrorist actions rooted in their very own religion. Finally, nine out of ten Muslims are in the mainstream, that is, they want better relations with the West, coexistence not conflict, and the promotion of democracy and human rights.
As mentioned however, there is still that one-tenth of the Muslim community that remains radicalized and continues to feel politically dominated and disrespected. Marginalizing violent extremists and building bridges to and with the mainstream majority can help soften extreme prejudice between two different cultures, but not completely eliminate the rift that divides them. To accept the idea of human rights and freedom, one must also accept the fact that every person is created equal. It is a choice that needs to taken up internally, and it is a transformation of one’s values that cannot happen overnight.
Finally, it is important to note that the greater jihad is the more difficult and more important struggle against ego, selfishness, greed and evil, and for Muslims, whether this is struggle is by the soul or the sword, it is above all, just and ethical.