Sunday, June 5, 2011

Why Do I Love Muslims so Much?

I've found myself on several occasions defending my stance on Muslims, more frequently since the wave of Islamophobia that spread across the nation last summer. As a person who enjoys a good reflective thought every now and then I tried to imagine what others thought my reasons were for my stance. Why exactly do I love Muslims so much? Why would anyone want to align themselves with a group perceived as having such a low disregard for life?

I recently got around to watching the CNN in America special, Unwelcome: The Muslims Next Door, a documentary on the battle over the construction of the Islamic center in Murfreesboro, TN. I recommend watching it if you haven't already (I missed it when it first aired).

I don't hold their beliefs, in fact I think they're bunk. But just because I don't agree with their beliefs doesn't mean they don't share and participate in human values I cherish. I love Islam's focus on universal unity (although Muslims believe that unity can only be found under the banner of Islam) and sense of community.  What drives me wild, what holds my interest, what makes me want to defend them is because they're human. And I no sooner want to see they're human diversity extinguished or set aside as inferior than I do Christianity. Both are capable of great horror and tremendous beauty and love. My heart goes out to them because they are one of the most hated groups in America for no other reason than being Muslim.  A lot of people can't see past the labels and misconceptions and see our shared humanity. This is mostly because the negative image of Muslims comes from the constant bombardment of bombings and militant attacks in the Middle East portrayed on the news. Most simply accept violence caused by extremists as the norm for all Muslims.

The biggest fear of Muslims living in America is that our way of life might be drastically altered by their culture and religious background. This irrational fear, held mostly by Christians, is based on the misunderstanding of Islam as a whole and the fear of losing the privileges as the majority faith. The fact is that Muslims have been living in America for well over a century pursuing the same freedom other immigrants have pursued without attempting to "take over" America. There's actually a new DVD out on the Muslim community of Minnesota detailing what it means to be a Muslim in Minnesota. I've already ordered my free copy and hope to watch and review it when it arrives.

So why do I love Muslims so much? Mainly I find their religious symbolism, culture, and history absolutely beautiful. Most assume I'm ignorant of Islam's long history of violence whenever I comment on Islam. But of course those who remind me of Islam's history often tend to be Christians who are themselves ignorant of Christianity's own bloody past. I'm not saying Islam is a "better" faith to follow I'm just saying I want humanity to cherish the beauty, wisdom, and cultural diversity brought to the global table.


Sammy said...

I watched the CNN special when it aired. It was a wonderful documentary. It made me extremely sad to see the terrible discrimination the Muslims of Murfreesboro were facing.

I love Muslims because they are human, just like me. I don't agree with all their beliefs, but I believe it is a fundamental human right to practice your religious beliefs any way you choose, as long as you are not harming or infringing the rights of other people. All of the Muslims I personally know are wonderful people who practice a beautiful and fascinating religion.

Yes, there are Muslim extremists who are responsible for violently harming and/or murdering thousands of innocent people, but they are a miniscule minority of the world's Muslim population. However, as you pointed out, it is disturbingly common in the US to stereotype all Muslims as being violent based on the horrendous actions of that minority, especially when many of those who buy into that stereotype are conservative Christians who are completely ignorant of their own violent history.

As someone whose religious beliefs are also often negatively stereotyped, especially by conservative Christians (although for vastly different reasons), I am immensely sympathetic to the US Muslim community.

captron52 said...

another grreat post my friend

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