Thanks to the ban blocking Muslim travelers from a variety of Muslim countries, it’s pretty clear that the people in power in the US don’t hold Muslim people in high regard. Now, more than ever, is the time to stand behind people of all religions. It’s also a good time to learn the truth about the people behind the religion. Here are 5 things you should know about Muslim people:
1. Muslim is not a nationality. Or a race.
A Muslim person is someone who follows the religion of Islam. A Muslim isn’t someone from Egypt or Pakistan, although that may be where they are from. It doesn’t matter what country you’re from…it’s the association with Islam that makes someone a Muslim. And yes, even an American citizen can be Muslim (unless Trump declares that illegal, too).
2. Muslims do not condone terrorism.
Just like there are extremists in any religion, there are extremist Muslims. There is nothing especially violent about Islam, and the religion certainly isn’t based on terrorism. The Muslims who do commit acts of terrorism are the extremists, much like the KKK was a Christian-based organization doing abhorrent things in the name of Christianity. Unfortunately, the media often portrays Muslims as terrorists and murderers.
3. Muslims believe in God, they just call him something different.
You may hear a Muslim refer to Allah. But that doesn’t mean they don’t believe in a god. Allah and God are one in the same. The term refers to who they believe is the creator of the world- a different word, but the same meaning. Islam isn’t really all that different from “popular” Western religions.
4. A jihad isn’t necessarily violent.
In school, I learned that a jihad was a holy war. But that’s not the whole truth. Although a jihad can refer to a violent act against oppression, it also can refer an internal journey of cleansing and self-improvement.
5. Women and men are considered equal in Islam.
That’s not to say that there are no inequalities or injustice among Muslim men and women. But then, there are plenty of inequalities among Christian, Jewish, and even agnostic men and women.
Many of times, the inequality is due to cultural practices and not religious ones. The Quran actually states “Each of you is equal to the other.” Islam countries have even been known to have female heads of state, which is more than we (as Americans) can say.
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