By Brandon Fischer
Brandon is one of AIDemocracy’s 2010-2011 Issue Analysts. Find out more about Brandon below or take a look at the  Student Issue Analysts.

In the turbulent state of affairs along the intersection of Muslim and American culture, the question often arises as to what exactly can be done to allow for a certain progress which will counter the trend of regression which has taken hold of relations in recent years. Evidence is ever the more present, typified today by controversy which has surrounded Park51, a Muslim community and worship center to be erected within walking distance from Ground Zero. Yet, there must be a force strong enough to withstand the hostile rhetoric of antagonists, and that force lies within the hands and minds of Muslim-American and Muslim-sensitive youth of our country.

Progress towards this end, though some may think it to be out of reach, is made wholly possible when considering the capacity of an organized assemblage of well-informed and robust voices. Social media outlets and cross-cultural community organizing may work to build upon and enhance interreligious dialogues of the past, propelling them into the secular realm. The Straight Path Initiative, a youth program brought forth by the Muslim American Society, serves as a model for this through their lessons in civic engagement, social networking and advocacy. The Straight Path Initiative and similar associations have already penetrated campuses nationwide, creating a new Muslim-American consciousness in their classrooms and communities.

In disregarding religious demagoguery and increasing cultural sensitivities, young advocates, Muslim and non-Muslim, may build a visible constituency of change. The knowledge and resources are widely available, waiting to be capitalized upon and to be used as tools of advancement. Constructing a new breed of ecumenical dialogue and activism by young people, if concerted and enduring, may just be enough to dull a tension which has gotten out of hand. Keep in mind, readers, the future of US-Muslim relations has yet to be written.

Brandon Fischer is currently working towards his Masters in International Affairs at the New School in New York City. He received his BA in International Relations and Spanish from St. Mary’s University in San Antonio, TX. His regional interest lies in the Middle East where he intends to explore the intersection of development and institutional accountability vis-à-vis macroeconomic efficiencies in aid flows. Brandon feels strongly that the youth of our day may serve as significant actors in global affairs through community activism and social media which enable political mobility.