Who speaks for Muslim Americans? The media have long offered a megaphone to grievance groups like the Council on American Islamic Relations (CAIR). Contrarian, Western-oriented Muslims are rarely heard from. With the election of Donald Trump, however, their voices are growing louder. Some are political conservatives in the American sense. Others simply embrace the separation of secular and religious life. Both are fed up with the monolithic, condescending presentation of Muslims as victims.
Trump's election has opened a new space for such Muslim Americans to express themselves politically. Oppressive sharia codes are as much a threat to these reformers as they are to unprotected American traditions. The new crop of Muslim reformers seek express delineation between Islam as a religious belief system and Islamism as a socio-political regime. They understand the vital need for open and uncensored public debate. They realize that this discussion may determine whether America avoids the fate of Europe, which chose multiculturalism over assimilation and is paying a heavy price.