Why there are Muslim ghettos in Belgium but not in the US

Nevertheless, at the grass-roots level, Muslims in the United States, like other cultural and religious minorities, have had no problem acclimating to mainstream norms. In a detailed 2011 survey, the Pew Research Center found that Muslim Americans are “highly assimilated into American society and . . . largely content with their lives.” More than 80 percent of US Muslims expressed satisfaction with life in America, and 63 percent said they felt no conflict “between being a devout Muslim and living in a modern society.” The rates at which they participate in various everyday American activities — from following local sports teams to watching entertainment TV — are similar to those of the American public generally. Half of all Muslim immigrants display the US flag at home, in the office, or on their car.

Given America’s wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, the bloody battles with Islamic regimes and insurgents, and the threat to homeland security from “lone wolf” terror attacks, it might seem surprising that Muslims in Detroit or Brooklyn aren’t at least as alienated as those in Molenbeek. But they aren’t. For despite the rise of identity politics and the balkanizing pressures of multicultural correctness, America’s melting pot still works. Generations of Muslim immigrants have come to America to escape repression, poverty, or war in their homelands. The life they have made for themselves here has been freer, safer, more prosperous, and more embracing than the existence they left behind. There are tensions, but not enough to keep most Muslims from fitting themselves comfortably into the American mosaic.