Wednesday, June 8, 2016

Understanding Islam in America

There has been a lot of discussion about Muslims in America and too much of that conversation has been dominated by misinformation (some quite deliberate).

So as Muslims enter their holy season of Ramadan, here are some resources to help in our understanding of their religion:

A Ramadan Lesson for Understanding Islam in America

Fear is a powerful motivator, and American Muslims have the lowest approval rating of any religious demographic in America. That fear isn’t based in education; it’s based in ignorance. Too few Americans have ever met a Muslim, and therefore too few can differentiate between true Islam and what extremists teach.

This Ramadan, Curious George Teaches Kids About Islam and Muslims

Hena Khan, 42, an American Muslim author, thinks children’s books and increased religious literacy might be a partial answer.

“A lot of the Islamophobic rhetoric out there tries to paint American Muslims as a threat, or as un-American somehow. It’s a dangerous and distressing narrative, and an inaccurate one,” Khan, who lives with her husband and children in Rockville, MD, explains. “I hope that my books help to counter these notions and to reinforce the idea that American Muslims are as American as anyone else, that we are valuable contributors to society, and that we have made this country our home since its founding.”

Khan, who holds a graduate degree in International Affairs from George Washington University, has published 13 kids books including Night of the Moon: A Muslim Holiday Story, Golden Domes and Silver Lanterns: A Muslim Book of Colors, and most recently, It’s Ramadan, Curious George.

Five myths about mosques in America
Through their mosques, U.S. Muslims are embracing the community involvement that is a hallmark of the American experience. In this light, mosques should be welcomed as premier sites of American assimilation, not feared as incubators of terrorist indoctrination.

Here is Muhammad Ali’s full statement from last December:

"I am a Muslim and there is nothing Islamic about killing innocent people in Paris, San Bernardino, or anywhere else in the world. True Muslims know that the ruthless violence of so called Islamic Jihadists goes against the very tenets of our religion.

“We as Muslims have to stand up to those who use Islam to advance their own personal agenda. They have alienated many from learning about Islam. True Muslims know or should know that it goes against our religion to try and force Islam on anybody.

“Speaking as someone who has never been accused of political correctness, I believe that our political leaders should use their position to bring understanding about the religion of Islam and clarify that these misguided murderers have perverted people's views on what Islam really is."

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