Saturday, June 21, 2008

Islamic Reform And American Media

I doubt if many Americans consider the religious diversity in our country. We are told the lie that America is a "Christian Nation". Few things could be further from the truth. Many of the founding fathers were deists who declared no specific religion. Children who have taken American History will remember many of the first settlers came to this nation to escape religious persecution.

That said, it is not surprising that the Muslim community in America is often invisible, ignored or worse, feared. It is unfortunate that the words "Muslim" and "terrorist" seem to have become synonymous in our lexicon. That, I suspect is because of media images and racism both subtle and not-so-subtle. Hate radio talkers like Rush Limbaugh have painted the entire religion as something to be feared. Their limited understanding, or worse, their purposeful characterizations have affected the nations psyche. We have a hard time separating the majority of the followers of Islam from radical fundamentalists.

It is no surprise that a new movement has begin in this country and worldwide as well. It is a movement to reform Islam and to demystify it for the non-Muslim community. The Muslims Against Shaira is a group dedicated to moving Islam into the 21st century. They are rational and seem very dedicated to their task. The goals of the group as stated on their web site are as follows:

  • to educate Muslims about dangers presented by Islamic religious texts and why Islam must be reformed
  • to educate non-Muslims about the differences between moderate Muslims and Islamists (a.k.a. Islamic Religious Fanatics, Radical Muslims, Muslim Fundamentalists, Islamic Extremists or Islamofascists)
  • to educate both Muslims and non-Muslims alike that Moderate Muslims are also targets of Islamic Terror
As you can see, they have few illusions about how Muslims are viewed in the eyes of the world and they intend to take responsibility to change the image and even some of the ideals that have come to be associated with Islam.

I became aquainted with the group when a member posted a comment on this blog. He was responding to the story about Barack Obama's web site that was designed to fight the smears being aimed at him. Rightly so, the comment said thet the term "Muslim" is not a slur and treating it as such validates it's defamatory power.

I would invite all my readers to check Muslims Against Sharia and read for yourself what this group is doing to reform the religion and societies views of it. I found their message to be encouraging and hopeful. I have several Muslim friends who have told me many of the same things I read on the website. It's something every American should understand. Just as fundamentalist Christianity is not the only face of the religion , fundamentalist Islam is not the only face of Islam.

I am a Christian, but I was raised a Jew. I made my decision to convert after a lot of research and careful consideration. In my search for a church I read much about Islam, Judaism, Taoism, Hinduism and more. I really found it enlightening not only in making my choice, but in understanding the diversity of beliefs in the world. I would encourage everyone to do the same.

1 comment:

Muslims Against Sharia said...

Thank you very much for your support and understanding!