Here are 10 myths about Islam.
We are all familiar with the stereotypes associated with Islam. While stereotypes help us make sense of the world to a certain extent, they often preclude us from understanding the complexities that often lie under the surface. Here are 10 common misunderstandings about the world’s 2nd largest religion.
Myth Number 10: The word jihad means holy war. Translated literally in Arabic, jihad signifies “struggle”. Islam implies this to be a struggle on several fronts — against an inner struggle or selfishness, a struggle for social justice or a struggle against an aggressor.
Myth Number 9: If you’re a Muslim woman, you have to wear the veil. According to Neguin Yavari, a professor at Columbia University in New York, the Koran, the Muslim holy book, does not require women to wear veil, it teaches that both men and women should dress modestly.” Certain countries require this, such as Iran, but it is not an Islamic mandate.
Myth Number 8: All American Muslims are foreigners. Islam was brought to the New World by slave traders long before there was a United States. In an article published by the Washington Post, “Historians estimate that up to 30 percent of enslaved blacks were Muslims.”
Myth Number 7: Muslims are rewarded 72 virgins in paradise for suicide bombings. According to the Institute of Islamic Education, “The promise of ’70 or 72 virgins’ is fiction written by some anti-Islam bigots. This belief is to mainstream Muslims as the belief that we will one day be issued wings and a harp, and walk on clouds, is to mainstream Christians.”
Myth Number 6: Muslims worship a moon god. In the Arabic language, Allah is the name of the One True God. This is the same God that Christians and Jews worship, however their concepts of the Almighty God differ.
Myth Number 5: Muslims cannot eat beef. Islam follows the Qu’ran’s teachings that you should not eat pork, drink wine, gamble or do anything that will damage your health. Muslims may eat meat that is ‘Halal’ or slaughtered in a particular way and prayed upon when killed. Some Muslims also eat Kosher meats.
Myth Number 4: Muslims immigrants are angry at society. According to author of The Myth of the Muslim Tide, Muslim immigrants in the United States are more likely to say they are ‘satisfied with their lives’ than average Americans. Most are happy in general and think their neighborhoods are excellent places to live.
Myth Number 3: Muslims do not believe in Jesus. Christians and Muslims, actually both agree that Jesus was born from the Virgin Mary, a prophet and a healer. Muslims do not believe that Jesus was the ‘Son of God’ or ever crucified or resurrected.
Myth Number 2: All Muslims are Arab and all Arabs are Muslims. According to the Pew Research Center, “more than 60% of the global Muslim population is in Asia and about 20% is in the Middle East and North Africa. Furthermore, the Muslim population is projected to increase by about 35%…..from 1.6 billion in 2010 to 2.2 billion by 2030.”
Myth Number 1: Islam is a religion of violence and terrorism. The Qur’an, as a complete text, offers messages of hope, faith and forgiveness. Just as in any religion, there are extremists who will attempt to justify their violent acts through misconceptions of text.
What do you think is the biggest myth about Islam?
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