Meanwhile, one Virginia congressman, Virgil Goode, repeats his warning that Americans must do more to keep Muslims from winning public office. And far from worrying that my niece’s chance to win the White House is already lost, I brood that she may not even be accepted in the country of her birth. The problem involves the 39 percent of Americans who recently told Gallup that Muslims should carry special identification. It involves the many callers to Jerry Klein’s Washington radio show who demanded that tattooing marks on American Muslims’ foreheads be a prelude to deporting them en masse. It involves increasing amounts of hate mail I receive when I call for greater understanding of Muslims. It also involves an intellectualized approach exemplified by conservative hero Mark Steyn. “With every passing month,” Steyn wrote in a recent column, “there are more Muslims and fewer Episcopalians, and the Muslims export their manpower to Europe and other depopulating outposts of the West. It’s the intersection of demography and Islamism that makes time a luxury we can’t afford.” I suspect Goode and Steyn have become Osama bin Laden’s best friends – all three endeavor to persuade moderate Muslims that there is no place for them in the West. For their part, moderate Muslims must make tougher choices to ostracize extremists. While moderates have broadly and regularly condemned terrorism, groups such as the Council for American-Islamic Relations must go further, perhaps by establishing philanthropies for communities and families hurt by thugs who have hijacked a religion that championed social reforms in other eras. Our family recognizes that xenophobia is a universal feature of human communities under attack. We brace little Mariam for it. Mariam will grow up understanding that, in spite of its imperfections, America is more gloriously open than any other society. We will not kid her that our native Pakistan would be more tolerant if extremists from India were to bomb Lahore. She will be more pro-American than a Virgil Goode or Mark Steyn. Rob Asghar is a freelance writer based in Los Angeles. Write to him at RobAsghar@yahoo.com.160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set! MY niece Mariam is an all-American 5-year-old. Like most such girls, she is addicted to Disney’s line of Princess products and clothing. But her parents fret that she is becoming too passive and dainty. Relax, my father tells them. Having come to America 50 years ago from a mud-hut village in rural Pakistan, he tells them that Mariam has a not-so-dainty future. “You just watch,” he says proudly. “She will someday be president!” Not if a growing number of people get their way. You see, all-American Mariam happens to be part of a Muslim family. She attends a religious class in a mosque each week, learning about such concepts as compassion, self-restraint and service to others.