" 'Judeo-Christian' - which in 1952 looked like an incredibly inclusive term, doesn't look very inclusive now," said Silk, now director of the Greenberg Center for the Study of Religion in Public Life at Trinity College, in Hartford. Conn., in an interview. "So we probably need a new term."
There are other arguments for change, among them these:
-- Numbers. The U.S. Muslim population is growing. Estimates are disputed but range as high as 7 million. This compares to an estimated 5 million Jews.
"Muslims are here, and there are 7 million of them, even though they're largely invisible to most Americans," said Saeed. "This necessitates some discussion about language."
-- Commonality. Even though many people emphasize the differences, Islam has similarities with Christianity and Judaism.
Osama Siblani, an influential voice among American Muslims and publisher of the Arab-American News in Dearborn, Mich., takes an even broader view. "I believe we should call this the United States of America, made up of Hindus, Buddhists, Sikhs, Muslims, Christians, Jews and others," said Siblani. "This stuff about language has to stop. We are all just Americans."