By targeting Islam and Muslims in the name of terrorism, we indeed provide the terrorists what they want – religious legitimacy.
Two months after Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) renamed itself as ‘Islamic State’ and declared Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi as its caliph in June 2014, the terror outfit carried out a chain of gruesome murders with the beheading of US journalist James Foley. Later, American-Israeli journalist Steven Sotloff and English aid worker David Haines too were beheaded in similar fashion. These acts of modern-day savagery stunned the world. In the past two years, ISIS has killed over 1,200 people outside Iraq and Syria.
A series of heinous acts by the ISIS in the name of Islam has put the world’s second largest and fastest-growing religion under global spotlight. Despite the fact that most of Muslims dislike and detest the ideology of the terror outfit according to a study by Pew Research Center conducted in 2015, the negative perception of Islam has touched an alarming level in the post-9/11 world. Every terror attack by the ISIS further fuels the existing trend of Islamophobia
FULL ARTICLE FROM INDIA.COM
I have been in America for the last 37 years.
Initially when people learned I’m Muslim it would trigger curiosity about Islam and eastern cultures. Sometimes I would encounter misinformation in the mainstream media, but mostly Muslims in America were under the radar.
Since 9/11, I’ve found more interest in learning about Islam and at the same time seen spike in misinformation and hate groups. Myths are behind the misunderstanding. I’d like to tackle a few of those here:
Myth: Muslims are relatively newcomers in America. • Historians trace first Muslims in America towards the end of 15th century. African-American Muslims, who have been here for centuries, make about quarter of the total U.S. Muslim population. A recent estimate in 2016 placed the nation’s Muslim population at over 3.3 million.
Most of the American Muslims who immigrated in last century probably came from
South Asia, Middle East, and Africa in 1960s, when The Hart-Celler Act of 1965 was enacted. This law changed the immigration policies from being nation-based formula to one that lifted restrictions against immigrants from Asia and Africa. It gave priority for relatives of U.S. citizens and legal permanent residents.
It also gave preference to professionals and other skilled workers. Most of Muslims came here for the same reason that brought the majority of non-Muslim Americans: opportunity.
FULL ARTICLE FROM THE ST LOUIS POST DISPATCH
Heraa Hashmi, a Muslim American teenager, was sick of stereotypes of Muslims being passive in the face of acts of violence carried out in the name of their religion.
Last November, the 19-year-old, who is a student of molecular biology at the University of Colorado Boulder, was so irritated that she shared a list on Twitter of every instance she could find of Muslims condemning attacks. Since then her tweet has been shared over 18,000 times and won international attention.
Hashmi speaks with TRT World about what she hoped to achieve, and how she feels about the place of Muslim women in US society.
What led you to compile a 712-page document of Muslims condemning stuff and post it on Twitter?
HERAA HASHMI: It all started from an argument that I had in class. This was a history class and we were discussing violence as it pertains to religion and, obviously, the topic of terrorism and Islam came up. There was a student who believed that Muslims were inherently not peaceful and that we supported terrorist attacks and we remained silent in those times, because we supported the terrorists. And I said that’s not true, we are always speaking to our communities about how it’s wrong. He didn’t believe me, so I went home very frustrated.
FULL ARTICLE FROM TRTWORLD
Apparently, Pew Research projects that Islam will overtake Christianity as the world’s largest religion by the year 2070. This projection is based mainly on birth rates – Muslim women have more children than other religious groups, at 3.1 per woman for Muslims versus 2.3 for others. In addition, the average age for Muslims is seven years younger – 23 – than other religious groups.
Naturally, many American Christians, especially conservative-evangelical types, are terrified. Many already hold persecution complexes, and this knowledge seems to vindicate their xenophobic fear that “they” are taking over (even though by the time Islam becomes the world’s largest religion, Muslims will still only make up about 2% of the US population).
Reactionary violence aside (and no matter what happens, reactionary Christians gonna react), this impending de-throning of Christianity as the world’s largest religion is the best thing to happen to Christianity since the Reformation. Finally, at long last, Christians will have to wake up.
No more can we rest on our laurels, assured that we’ve somehow “won” the game of religion. No longer can Christian spiritual arrogance and chauvinism stand when Christians are a minority.
It will no longer be enough that we have converted the most people, or hoarded the most wealth. Churches will no longer be able to fall back on the argumentum ad populum.
FULL ARITLCE FROM PATHEOS
SAN JOSE — With signs that read “Ask me anything” and “Meet a Muslim,” dozens of young Muslim men and boys in the Bay Area and beyond stood in public places Saturday in hopes of combating Islamophobia simply by talking with people.
The first “Meet a Muslim Day” was held in at least 50 cities and 120 locations nationwide. In the Bay Area, Muslims participated in San Jose, Antioch, Mountain View, San Francisco, Pleasanton, Berkeley and Pleasant Hill. The event was organized by the Ahmadiyya Muslim Youth Association USA, a Maryland-based group that works with an estimated 5,000 Muslim boys and men spread across 70 chapters nationwide.
It was something Iftikhar Khan had never done in his life. The 38-year-old San Jose resident brought his son, Rizwan, 10, and neighbor, Raees Qadir,14. The trio stood on Paseo de San Antonio near the Fairmont Hotel downtown.
“A large percentage of America has never met a Muslim before. And the perception of Muslims is that we’re violent and dangerous — and people are afraid of us,” Iftikhar Khan said. “It’s not surprising, to be honest, that people have that perception because there is a lot of violence in the world, and a lot of it is perpetuated by Muslims. But the vast, vast majority of the 1.6 billion Muslims in the world are peaceful. Our religion means peace. Literally, the word Islam means peace.”
FULL ARTICLE FROM MERCURY NEWS
Americans United partnered with the Bridge Initiative yesterday to host a Facebook Live discussion, “Standing With Our Muslim Neighbors.”
As reports continue that President Donald J. Trump any day could issue a new executive order restricting Muslim immigration and that anti-Muslim rhetoric and hate groups are increasing, we wanted to offer some practical suggestions on how you can be a good ally to the Muslim community.
“We know that Islamophobia has been extremely visible since the Muslim ban was announced,” said Erin Hagen, AU’s field associate, who emceed the discussion. “But [it] has long been present in the United States, and we really have a lot of work ahead of us to fight back against it.”
Kristin Garrity Şekerci, a research fellow with Georgetown University’s Bridge Initiative, offered several resources for how non-Muslims can learn more about Islam and how they can support the Muslim community.
“For me, I think the most important thing you can do and the best place to start is education, education, education,” said Sekerci.
Şekerci recommended reviewing the statistics on hate crimes against Muslims to understand the prejudice they face and looking to organizations that offer resources for combatting Islamophobia. Among them is the Bridge Initiative, which is based at Georgetown’s Prince Alwaleed bin Talal Center for Muslim-Christian Understanding; it combines research into Islamophobia with methods for addressing prejudice against the religion.
Other resources she suggested include South Asian Americans Leading Together (SAALT); Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR); the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC); the Institute for Social Policy and Understanding (ISPU); the Center for American Progress; and the FBI’s Hate Crimes division.
Beyond that, Şekerci said getting to know Muslims is key: “You’re more likely to have more favorable views about Islam and Muslims if you know a Muslim personally.”
FULL ARTICLE FROM AMERICANS UNITED WEBSITE
Note: This is from a blog I just discovered challenging stereotypes about Muslims and other minorities. Good place to visit often.
“What do you think of ISIS?” Smile. Be calm. Be gentle. “Don’t Muslims believe you’re supposed to kill Christians and Jews?” They don’t mean any harm. They don’t know any better. “Do you shower with that on?” Laugh. Take it in stride. “Does your husband make you wear it?” It’s ok. It’s just a question. “I’m not islamophobic. After all, I’m friends with you!” Smile, laugh. Be quiet. You have to give a good impression. You’re the token Muslim, whether you like it or not. These are my thoughts when my dignity is taken away.
It’s so tiring to always be representing 1.6 billion people from all over the world. As soon as people find out I’m Muslim, which generally is pretty quickly because I wear the hijab, they think they have the right to ask me invasive questions. Now, to be clear, I’m not talking about friends who ask sincere, curious questions hoping to learn more about me and my faith. I’m talking about random strangers who interrupt my meal in a restaurant to demand information in an accusatory tone. There is a huge difference between the two.
A good example of this is my friend K. She and I often have conversations about faith and culture. She asks a million questions, and they’re all sincere and respectful. She often reminds me that if I don’t feel comfortable answering, that’s ok. THAT is actually wonderful. She wants to understand me. I love answering her questions.
On the flip side, there’s an incident that happened yesterday. I went to a local gyro joint for a nice Arab meal. The cashier, who I later found out was the owner, asked me why I was wearing a headscarf. I told him I was Muslim. He said he was an Egyptian Christian. I said “Assalaamu alaikum,” and he said “wa alaikum salaam.” We exchanged smiles. I took my food and found a seat. I dug in. A few moments later he pulled a chair up to mine and my husband’s table. He started by asking me why I converted, and I gave him the condensed version of the story. He proceeded to tell me I didn’t understand Christian theology, I didn’t know God and couldn’t know Him or love Him. He told me that ISIS were Muslims, the Quran teaches violence, and Islam is a cult. I patiently gave him simple but logical refutations to his horrible comments. He went on and, during our entire meal. My husband, I should add, stood up for me and told him off. But I knew I couldn’t say anything.
FULL BLOG FROM GENUINEGEMSWRITING