Wednesday, August 8, 2007

Muslims, Non-Muslims, and Understanding

Back when 9/11 woke many Americans up to the dangers of Islamic fanatics, I was disappointed at how few Muslims took advantage of this opportunity to educate non-Muslims about their beliefs.

As a Catholic, I do not want people to convert to Islam, but I do believe that everyone profits from an open exchange of ideas.

I think that the enormous amount of attention that news media and the events of September, 2001, focused on Islam was a largely-wasted opportunity. Muslims in America and around the world had access to the ears of non-Muslims that hadn't existed before. This was an opportunity to let America, a largely-non-Islamic country, know what Islam was all about.

A few Muslims did so, but they were overshadowed by people eager to portray their Islamic communities as victims.

I did not, and do not, believe that was the best approach. I thought that Islam, which I thought was a faith which encourages proselytizing, was squandering a publicity windfall.

That seems to have changed. Although knee-jerk racial-profiling charges seem to be the rule for some, Muslims: how to win hearts and minds (Ajmal Masroor, July 12, 2007, in the Guardian, UK, repeated in a page in the Muslims for America website), shows what I see as a much more realistic understanding of the opportunities and dangers that Muslims and non-Muslims face.

Muslims for America's Muhammad Ali Hasan, Founder and President, describes the organization as "a bi-partisan organization. We are about getting Americans, and Muslims more involved and excited about the American political process!"

I've learned to be very attentive when the phrase "bi-partisan" is used, but a quick glance at their News Room suggests that Muslims for America uses the term in the 'not favoring one party over another' sense. Some of the headline links were:
  • "Racism is the real obstacle we face"
  • "Nancy Pelosi Basks in Historic Day"
  • "Nancy Pelosi Calls for End to Muslim Profiling"
  • "'Islam is a part of us,' Rice says"
  • "Muslim concerns about Jerusalem dig justified: Rice"
One linked headline even read "Archbishop backs Muslim veils" - this group may be bi-partisan in more than the political sense.

6 comments:

Anonymous said...

It is not a rhetorical rant but a serious question that needs reflection and introspection that Why wouldn't Indian Muslims leave India to live in Pakistan/Bangladesh?. Read more on Why wouldn't Indian Muslims leave India to live in Pakistan/Bangladesh?

Anonymous said...

Indian Muslims are the second largest community on religious basis (over 20% of India's population is Muslim).Now, of course, to an outsider a Muslim is a Muslim is a Muslim.But is it true?No!, says Mohib. Here is why: Poverty amongst Indian Muslims and the Reasons

Brian, aka Nanoc, aka Norski said...

Anonymous #1,

I'm having pronoun trouble here.

"It is not a rhetorical rant" refers to - what?

I'm not trying to be difficult. I really don't know.

Brian, aka Nanoc, aka Norski said...

anonymous #2,

You've brought up an important point, "to an outsider a Muslim is a Muslim is a Muslim. But is it true? No!"

The link between literacy and economic status, in the (indirectly) linked article is, I think, a very important part of the problems Muslims, and everyone else, face.

Brian, aka Nanoc, aka Norski said...

anonymous #1, and #2,

I glanced over the articles which are at the end of the link chains in your comments.

As much for my convenience as for any other purpose, I'm displaying the articles' URLs here. I intend to get back to them, when I've got a little more time.

#1
http://www.drishtikone.com/?q=why_wouldnt_indian_muslims_leave_india_to_live_in_pakistan_bangladesh
#2
http://www.drishtikone.com/?q=poverty_amongst_indian_muslims_and_the_reasons

Brian, aka Nanoc, aka Norski said...

That didn't work too well. Sorry.

anonymous #1, and #2,

I glanced over the articles which are at the end of the link chains in your comments.

As much for my convenience as for any other purpose, I'm displaying the articles' URLs here. I intend to get back to them, when I've got a little more time.

#1
Why wouldn't Indian Muslims leave India to live in Pakistan/Bangladesh?
#2
Why wouldn't Indian Muslims leave India to live in Pakistan/Bangladesh?

Unique, innovative candles


Visit us online:
Spiral Light CandleFind a Retailer
Spiral Light Candle Store

Blogroll

Note! Although I believe that these websites and blogs are useful resources for understanding the War on Terror, I do not necessarily agree with their opinions. 1 1 Given a recent misunderstanding of the phrase "useful resources," a clarification: I do not limit my reading to resources which support my views, or even to those which appear to be accurate. Reading opinions contrary to what I believed has been very useful at times: sometimes verifying my previous assumptions, sometimes encouraging me to change them.

Even resources which, in my opinion, are simply inaccurate are sometimes useful: these can give valuable insights into why some people or groups believe what they do.

In short, It is my opinion that some of the resources in this blogroll are neither accurate, nor unbiased. I do, however, believe that they are useful in understanding the War on Terror, the many versions of Islam, terrorism, and related topics.