Huda Al-Marashi writes: My Iraqi immigrant grandfather used to have a small novelty shop where he sold hair accessories, lipstick-shaped erasers and noisy, battery-operated toys. He soon learned enough English phrases to complete a business transaction. All other communication he handled with gestures and the warmest smile.
During his many hospital stays in the last years of his life, his nurses would always tell me he was their favorite patient. They’d pat his hand and say he was just the sweetest. They understood this about a man who said no more to them than “How are you” and “Thank you.”
Last week, Sean Hannity posed a question to Donald Trump about how to vet the hearts of Muslims coming to the United States. Trump replied: “Assimilation has been very hard. It’s almost, I won’t say nonexistent, but it gets to be pretty close. And I’m talking about second and third generation — for some reason there’s no real assimilation.” (Maybe this explains Trump’s support for profiling Muslim, which, on Sunday, he called “common sense.”)
Assimilation is a contentious concept among those who study immigration. (How does one measure assimilation, especially when most of the qualities associated with being assimilated have more to do with assuming aspects of Anglo-Saxon culture than with actual social integration?) Sociological considerations aside, the suggestion that Muslims in the United States have not assimilated is simply not correct. [Continue reading…]