From a Brookings Institution paper published earlier this month:
Myth #1: Being Muslim constitutes a fixed identity, sufficient to fully characterize a person.
When it comes to Muslims, people wrongly assume that religion – rather than nationality, gender, social class, etc. – necessarily trumps other identities. To take just a few examples, the Washington Post, in an article on migration to the EU (June 2008), writes about “Muslims arriving from the Middle East and Africa, and Eastern Europeans moving west”, even though a) not all of the migrants from this region are Muslims, b) “Eastern Europeans” would never be labeled “Orthodox” or “Catholics”, and c) that is not the issue anyway, since the article is about immigration. For a couple of weeks in November 2005, the media used the term “Muslims riots in France” to describe the wave of urban violence that resulted in burnt cars and property damage. But these riots had nothing to do with Islam, and everything to do with the social and economic conditions of largely immigrant communities. Muslim groups, who tried to play a mediating role, discovered themselves to be irrelevant and powerless.