Lets Look at Stereotypes….

As Salam Alaikum,

Let’s face it, there are many stereotypes about Islam and Muslims, especially here in America. Let me point out that I do not agree with any stereotyping of any person, Muslim or not. No matter what religion, race, color, etc.

Let’s look at the meaning of stereotype as written by Wikipedia:

A stereotype is a popular belief about specific types of individuals. The concepts of “stereotype” and “prejudice” are often confused with many other different meanings. Stereotypes are standardized and simplified conceptions of groups based on some prior assumptions. Another name for stereotyping is bias. A bias is a tendency, most of these are good like knowing to eat food instead of paper clips, but sometimes stereotyping can turn into discrimination if we misinterpret a bias and act upon it in a negative manner.

So you can see it’s wrong any way you look at it. Now some familiar or not, stereotypes of Islam and Muslims…this is only a few because if I put them all here, it would be a darn novel lol.

1. Islam:

Negative images of Islam and Muslims are found everywhere in the media. These negative images are based on one-thousand year old European-Christian prejudices due to ignorance of Islam. American people have overcome their prejudices against the Irish, German, Italian, Jews and blacks. It is time that they shed their prejudices against Islam and Muslims by educating themselves about this fourteen centuries old religion, the youngest of the three Abrahamic religions of monotheism. Some examples of media prejudices and stereotype images are discussed below.

2. Terrorism:

Yes, there are a few hundred terrorists out of a population of 1,200 million worldwide who call themselves Muslim. There are Christian terrorists in Ireland and Christian criminals everywhere in the major cities of the U.S. Does it mean Christianity teaches them to terrorize, rob and kill people? Paul Hill, a Christian minister, killed an abortion doctor and his security man – would you blame Christianity as a source of his crime? If not, please, do not blame all for the terrorism of a few. There are mad men in every society! The term JIHAD is mistranslated and misinterpreted.

3. Women:

The media talks about the abuse of women in Muslim society. Yes, there is abuse but have you seen Oprah and other talk shows, lately? Almost every day one or another show brings cases of women beating, torture and abuse in the American society. Does it mean Christianity and Capitalism teaches people to abuse their women? Women abusers are found in every society since the most ancient times. Despite the twentieth century feminism, women abuse is endemic in every neighborhood of the West. Islam teaches kind treatment of women and expands their civil rights beyond even what is present in Western society.

4. Polygamy:

Another topic commonly misrepresented in the media is polygamy among Muslims. Yes, Islam permits men to marry up to four women provided all wives are treated equally with respect to time and money. Do you think it is possible to have more than one wife and treat all of them equally? Of course not! As a result less than one percent of the men have more than one wife in the Muslim societies of the East. Look at the situation in America! Having a series of boyfriends or girlfriends is common which is a form of serial polygamy, as is divorce-marriage-divorce-marriage. In addition, we find married people having boyfriends or girlfriends on the side and just one-night-stands are common; what do you call this? This is parallel polygamy without taking responsibility for the partner or the child which frequently ensues. Sexual anarchy is rampant in the West. In societies where women outnumber men, multiple wives allows the women the opportunity and security of a legal marital relationship where the husband is responsible for all wives and children. Islam provides solutions for the problems in society.

5. Hijab or head scarf:

Some people attack Islam for Muslim women wearing head scarves. For women to cover hair has been prescribed in Christianity and Judaism, too. As late as the last century women in the West wore scarves on their heads. Some of the nuns still wear head-gear when they are in public. Head scarves are common in Eastern Europe and villages of the West. Amish and Mennonite women in the U.S. continue to wear scarves to this date. If Muslim women opt to wear scarves in public it is their right which should be honored and respected without prejudice. Isn’t religious freedom guaranteed in the U.S. Constitution? Aren’t people free to wear whatever they like?

Like I said before, these are just a few. To list them all would be impossible in one blog. Hopefully you are all safe and protect by Allah from these things but its kind of inevitable that we will all experience these biases.

Let me know in the comment section, below if you have had any experiences you would like to share or add.

May Allah keep you happy , healthy and safe Ameen.

Love, Amani


1 Comment (+add yours?)

  1. arabexperience
    Mar 21, 2012 @ 11:30:15

    Very nice blog! Just stumbled upon your page and like it very much, especially the blogs about what to say and when! Keep up 🙂


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