Muslims Beyond Caricatures

In the aftermath of Boston's tragedy, let's clear up the myths about the face of Islam in the U.S.

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Muslim America is at best a mosaic, and at worse, a loosely knitted tapestry of sewn-together traditions that often clash, compete and come apart at the seams. 

Muslim Americans are good and bad, observant and secular, and white, black and every socially constructed race in between. Like their fellow Christian, Jewish and atheist citizens, they represent nothing but themselves.    

Islam is anything but a monolith, and no Muslim American -- leader or lay individual -- holds the right to speak on its behalf. An apology, logically, accepts the myth of a monolithic Muslim America, which creates a platform for the speaker alone and issues license to drive forward the essentializing of Muslim Americans.  

So, save your apologies. The "black and white" fiction of a Muslim-American monolith must be tuned out.     

Khaled A. Beydoun is the Critical Race Studies Fellow and Faculty at the UCLA School of Law. He is a native of Detroit. Follow him on Twitter.  

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