Commentary Magazine


Contentions

California (Muslim) Girls

Today the New York Times has an article about the many Muslim Pakistani-Americans in Lodi, California who are schooling their daughters at home. At least in the case of 17-year-old Hajra Bibi, her parents had an excellent reason:

Her family wanted her to clean and cook for her male relatives, and had also worried that other American children would mock both her Muslim religion and her traditional clothes.

Substituting hard labor for teasing isn’t a parental approach you’re likely to find on Dr. Phil. However, there is something distinctly American about this phenomenon. In Pakistan there is very little room left to fantasize about the benefits of Koranic society. Failed government, non-existent security, and dilapidated infrastructure have made such preoccupations significantly less appealing. But in the exurbs of San Francisco, where goods and services abound, Pakistani-Americans are as free as other spacey Californians to go after their eccentric sociopolitical dreams .

But this is not as quaint as, say, a communally worked vineyard. The kind of isolationism these families are instituting is exactly what’s brought about the Islamist problem in England. When these communities cut off their children from larger American society, they raise a generation of domestic extremists at odds with their host country. Which, as far as I can tell, is fine with the parents interviewed by the New York Times. As the article points out, “[T]he intent is also to isolate their adolescent and teenage daughters from the corrupting influences that they see in much of American life.”

This cannot stand. America has had an advantage over places such as England, Denmark, and France in that our Muslim immigrants flow, for the most part, into the larger cultural mainstream, whereas theirs recreate their homelands in microcosm. If our liberal attitudes toward other cultures begin to facilitate the fostering of extremists within our own borders, we’re sunk.

The first thing Lodi’s local councils need to do is get some child-advocacy groups involved and investigate the lives of these American girls who cook, clean, and serve their male relatives in the name of Allah. After that, they might want to look into their kitchen table curriculum. After all, al-Qaeda’s own Adam Gadahn was home-schooled in the suburbs of the Golden state.



Join the discussion…

Are you a subscriber? Log in to comment »

Not a subscriber? Join the discussion today, subscribe to Commentary »





Welcome to Commentary Magazine.
We hope you enjoy your visit.
As a visitor to our site, you are allowed 8 free articles this month.
This is your first of 8 free articles.

If you are already a digital subscriber, log in here »

Print subscriber? For free access to the website and iPad, register here »

To subscribe, click here to see our subscription offers »

Please note this is an advertisement skip this ad
Clearly, you have a passion for ideas.
Subscribe today for unlimited digital access to the publication that shapes the minds of the people who shape our world.
Get for just
YOU HAVE READ OF 8 FREE ARTICLES THIS MONTH.
FOR JUST
YOU HAVE READ OF 8 FREE ARTICLES THIS MONTH.
FOR JUST
Welcome to Commentary Magazine.
We hope you enjoy your visit.
As a visitor, you are allowed 8 free articles.
This is your first article.
You have read of 8 free articles this month.
YOU HAVE READ 8 OF 8
FREE ARTICLES THIS MONTH.
for full access to
CommentaryMagazine.com
INCLUDES FULL ACCESS TO:
Digital subscriber?
Print subscriber? Get free access »
Call to subscribe: 1-800-829-6270
You can also subscribe
on your computer at
CommentaryMagazine.com.
LOG IN WITH YOUR
COMMENTARY MAGAZINE ID
Don't have a CommentaryMagazine.com log in?
CREATE A COMMENTARY
LOG IN ID
Enter you email address and password below. A confirmation email will be sent to the email address that you provide.