Making broad assumptions about anything can lead to confusion and misunderstandings. As most Americans are under-educated about the followers of Islam, today’s article will be about the different sects within the religion of the Prophet Muhammad.
It wasn’t until recently that I discovered that not all Muslims were Sunni. Although they make up the biggest percentage – as much as 90%, there are other factions that comprise the religious following. It came to my attention recently while helping a friend move house. The movers were of Middle Eastern descent and during a short lunch break, we had a chance to talk a little.
With the need for so many peace loving, Muslims taking refuge in countries other than their own, the world is changing en masse. Assimilating one culture into another, both of whom have deep roots and centuries long histories is proving to be a challenge.
Wherever we go we bring with us our cultural heritage in the form of perceptions, clothing, the food we prefer to eat and most importantly our religious beliefs. The Earth belongs to us all, but the planet has always been segregated into different countries and regions. This has been the history of the world since the beginning of time.
However, now more than ever before, we are put into positions as world citizens where we are asked to help the millions of refugees from Syria and other Middle Eastern countries fleeing the oppression of radical extremist groups commandeering their homelands. Mosques are not as prevalent in Iceland as they may be in Turkey, but the roofing doesn’t matter as much as having a roof to be under, and many countries have opened their doors to those forced out of their homes.
I realize that I cannot be totally objective when it comes to being a Muslim in America. Simply because I am not a Muslim. I am a Native born, white, American Christian. Admittedly, my entire faith encompasses more than just Christianity, but there is no denying that I am at the core Christian based. Raised in a Roman Catholic family, I attended parochial schools.
As I’ve grown I have become more spiritual than religious, and have incorporated parts of Buddhism, Hinduism, Sufi-ism, Native American teachings and Pantheism into my personal outlook on life. I’m blessed with what I like to think of as an open mind, and a live and let live attitude towards other who hold beliefs different from my own. We should all have the right to choose where we place our faith.
I have researched enough to know I can’t realize the depths of the religion of Islam. I do know that there are millions of followers of Muhammad that are peace loving, generous, kind people. The unfortunate fact is these fine folks are getting lumped into the pile of dissident, rowdy, radicals that have given Muslims a bad name. Down to the grass roots level, people are buying into the fear.
The other day my girlfriend called a plumber for a leak repair and when he arrived he looked Middle-Eastern. She confided in me her private trepidation of even letting him in her home. She quickly came to her senses and saw she was overreacting, and of course everything was fine. The fact that she was overly cautious is a widespread symptom of what is happening at the hands of a minority group of Islamic radicals.