Friday, December 5, 2008

"Bandit - Mr. White" - Culture, Religion, and Headgear

Following up on a previous post's comment, here's a photo of a Muslim cleric:

(from China Daily, used without permission)
'That's funny, you don't look Muslim.'

He's Abu Bakar Bashir, from a 2004 news article. Bashir is Indonesian, and dresses in a way that's appropriate to his culture and position.

He was also being tried on charges related to terrorism - but the point here is that his headgear is very much not the sort of thing men generally wear in downtown Riyadh.

And yet, he's a Muslim.

The point I'm trying to make is that, just as wearing an American business suit and tie doesn't make someone a Christian, I've yet to see evidence that wearing a turban or other Middle Eastern headgear makes someone a Muslim.

It's true that the king of Saudi Arabia like to be called "Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques," and that a lot of people in the Middle East are Muslims. But a lot of people in Indonesia, for example, are Muslims, too. And they don't necessarily dress the way people do in Riyadh.


Pakistan travel said...

He is honest.

Brian H. Gill said...

Pakistan travel,

You may be right.

The point of this post was to demonstrate that the 'all Muslims are Arabs' stereotype - held by quite a few Westerners - isn't accurate.

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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.