Friday, September 4, 2009

Muslim Stereotypes

One of the biggest deterrents for me in acceptance of my faith for many years is the stereotypes of Muslims that exist in the United States. The anniversary of September 11, 2001 attacks is upon us so I thought it would be a good idea to address the issues of such stereotypes and why they have increased in recent years.

We have all heard stories of Muslims, and people who “appear” to be Muslims, of being harassed or bullied based on the fact the share the same religion of the infamous suicide bombers who hijacked and crashed the planes eight years ago. Despite the actions of a few extremists, Islam is a peaceful religion that accepts diversity of all faiths and peoples. Think about it this way! The Almighty Allah revealed himself to the prophets of the Christians and Jews before he revealed himself to the Islamic prophets (peace and blessings be upon them). Moreover, Muslims accept the teachings of the Torah and the Bible. This sets straight the myth that Muslims dislike people who don’t share their belief system.

Another stereotype, that was ignited further after September 11, 2001, is that Islam teaches violence and that all Muslims are extremists. That is NOT what Islam teaches, and such a belief shouldn’t exist just because a few extremists are newsworthy. Our Glorious Quran teaches us peace and charity. Sadly, the loudest voices in Islam are preaching violence and they are the reason for these negative views. Those people do not stand for the whole of Islam.

Yet another stereotype is that is that Islam is a religion that oppresses women. There are over 20,000 women a year who convert to Islam – there is something to be said about that. Oppression is how the western media portrays Muslim women and by in large, that is not true.

The western media is to blame for the majority of those stereotypes because its portrayal of Muslims does an injustice to the Islamic world fueling anger and ignorance towards Muslims. Now, with that said, I would like to add that there are bad seeds in every bunch. There are Muslims who fuel the anger and add to the ignorance about Islam. All we can do is be good Muslims and try to make our voices louder than those that preach violence, ill treatment towards women, and hate. Insha’Allah and Alhamdulillah.

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The Quran Says:

"And thus preach joy to My servants.Those who listen to the word and follow the best of it. Those are the ones whom Allah has guided and they are the wise people." (39:17-18)