So let’s get some shit straight about Islam.
I am not a Muslim, and I doubt I ever will be (monotheism and organized religion does not call to me is the reason, not because I dislike Islam itself). However, I hate stupidity and abhor racism justified by ignorant people who claim to be all about human rights.
First things first: very similarly to Christianity, Islam is about being close to God. Islam is about a complete surrender to God and that he is the one and only. Mohammed was his messenger, and is NOT a deity. Islam has something called the Five Pillars of Islam, and these are acts that every Muslim is told to preform. The pillars are as follows:
- Shahada: This is simply saying a statement, and for the average American, can be easily understood if compared to declaring that Jesus is your savior; it is professing that Allah is the one and only god and that Mohammed is his messenger. You cannot be a Muslim unless you say the Shahada. Note: it does not say to kill infidels or beat women.
- Salat: Prayer. That is all it is, is five daily prayers, all facing Mecca. Note: it does not say to kill infidels or beat women.
- Sawm: fasting. Fasting is something that a lot of Christians don’t do, and I imagine that most of us do not understand fully. However, traditional Christian way was to fast during Lent and Jews fast, as well. Buddhists and Hindus do, as well, so it’s not as though that it is something strange around the world, except for maybe Americans (at least, we never fasted in my home). Ramadan is a month long celebration in which you do not eat or drink from sunrise to sunset, unless under certain circumstances, such as being a child, pregnant, having your period, etc. Note: it does not say to kill infidels or beat women.
- Zakat: This is alms giving; a Muslim is asked to give 2.5% of the income to charity every year. Similar to giving a certain amount of your income to a church, just like Christianity requires. Note: it does not say to kill infidels or to beat women.
- The last is Hajj, which is a pilgrimage to Mecca. Every Muslim who can afford to and is able-bodied is ask to make a trip to Mecca. Note: it does not say to kill infidels or to beat women.
Amazing! Did you note that not of the five pillars, the five main parts of Islam, do not say anything about killing anyone or beating women or making them inferior? So far, we’ve taken a brief look at Islam, and rather than seeing a religion or gore and hatred, we have seen a religion which asks you to pray and to give to charity. Oh shit, it’s the DEVIL!
Let’s take a look at some concerns that people seem to always bring up about Islam:
I am a feminist and I fully admit to that and am proud of it, so let’s first discuss something that people in America seem to be unable to grasp when it comes to Islam and its relationships with women: Islam is no more misogynistic than its two “brother” religions - Judaism and Christianity. Cultures which celebrate Islam may be sexist, but the same is true for any religion - even the ones you are familiar with. These same cultures which force women to cover themselves and accept marital violence would be just as violent in the context of any other religion and use that religion to justify their beliefs.
Next, let’s talk about Islam and dress. Not all Muslim women cover themselves from head to foot and are beaten in public with a whip if they dare to show their arms. There are many different kinds of head coverings in Islam, and I honestly don’t know a lot about them. From what I understand, they are unique to culture. But something I do understand is the gross double standard about Islamic women and head coverings. If a Catholic nun wears her habit, everyone calls her Sister and gives her a warm smile, and might think about how great it is that she is so devout to her God. But, if a Muslim girl wears something very similar - a hijab (which covers the hair, but not the face), she is frowned at, and I imagine she normally gets one of two reactions: anger for being a Muslim, or pity because she is “objectified” by her religion. What is this? Why is the hijab banned in France, but not the habit? I think a simple answer can be summarized by a word people hate to use: racism.
Every culture is unique in the way they dress. Hasidic Jews wear certain kinds of dress, and yet these are not banned. Mennonite women are asked to wear bonnets to cover their hair, and yet these are not banned. Dress is a part of culture, and by trying to eradicate others’ culture and belief systems, you are not liberating them from the oppressive grips of a tyrannical religion, you are demeaning them and their ability to make their own decisions as a person.
I might talk more about Islam later, but I just saw a few posts which made me angry. Islam is no more scary or awful than any other religion, and yet Muslims are given such harsh, rude speech that I can’t help but feel that they are as Jews were before WWII. We cannot keep allowing ourselves to misunderstand a religion which causes such great joy for so many to be so misunderstood.
Islam has been used to justify bad things, but is this unique to Islam? Not at all. Christians used to use the Bible to justify slavery, racism, sexism - a great plethora of hatred. We can fight inequality without waging war on cultures.
I probably got something wrong in this great big post, and I’m sorry to those whose beliefs I have confused. I want it be known that I don’t claim to be very knowledgeable about Islam, but am only getting out what I think about it.