Written on July 20, '05
Muslim Immigrants Weigh Risks of Sending Children 'Home'
A new challenge confronting Muslims living in the West is this: How can we ensure that our young and vulnerable children are able to resist the lure of fanaticism and suicide martyrdom?As an American Muslim, I draw a critical lesson from the anguish and disbelief expressed by the families of the alleged London suicide bombers: Only I, as the parent of two daughters and a son, can really know what's going on in the mind of my child. I'm the guardian of my child -- and of the country I have chosen to be our home.
Although we can never decipher everything that lurks in the minds our offspring, we must be alert to any tell-tale signs of extremism. If my son, for instance, were to display a sudden obsession with religion to the exclusion of almost everything else that used to interest him, I would be concerned. If he were to turn his back on his multicultural friends and started associating with secretive Muslims, a red flag would go up in my mind. If denigrating other religions and dissatisfaction with governments that he deemed godless became part of his talk, I would know and realize I had to act.
As an immigrant parent, I, like many of my peers, sometimes think nostalgically of sending my children to the old country for schooling and religious training. Now I weigh the risks.Three of the alleged London bombers had visited, or were sent to, the country of their parents -- Pakistan -- for religious and spiritual training. Immigrant parents are registering this news in a deeply personal way.
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