But that’s what puzzles me about the current national conversation. I grew up in the United States, in the deep south. I practiced my faith easily and integrated into a community in Georgia that supported Newt Gingrich. And nobody questioned my faith or my commitment to America. Not until after 9/11. That’s when seemingly educated but ill-informed scholars asserted that Islam and the West were caught in an unavoidable clash of civilizations; that there is something fundamentally inconsistent between Islam and western values.