September 20, 2007

Response to "Islam, Muslims and Amerca, Part 4"

I've been commenting on a blog called The Thinker these past few days; however, one of my recent comments didn't post as normal and WordPress is not allowing a new copy of the comment to post over there. As a result, I've decided to post my response to OMC here. To view the original post and the previous comments, click here.

Are you stating in your position that Islam and, or Islamic standards have not been changing? Are you implying that “all is well in Islam”? From the Muslim perspective now, are you suggesting that there IS NOT any discord or various modifications going on within the faith?

Is Islam or Islamic standards changing? If it is, it's only fractional at the most. Is all well in Islam? Islam is perfect; Muslims are not. In that respect, no, not all is well among Muslims, just as all is not well among Americans. There is always room for improvement. One of my wife's favorite phrases is, "We strive to be better Muslims." Is there any discord or various modifications going on within the Muslim community? Of course, just as there is within any other community worldwide. So? There are one-point-something billion Muslims worldwide, not all of whom see eye to eye. There are one-point-something billion Christians worldwide as well, and not all of them see eye to eye either. I don't see Muslim nor Christian cultures going into "demise" anytime soon, but I do see fewer Muslim identity crises happening and more Christian identity crises happening than perhaps you do.

You seem to be suggesting that Muslims are undergoing a change in identity, a more pro-Muslim identity, as exemplified by the wearing of the hijab and your Muzaffar Christi quotation. But I would say that neither is particularly strong evidence. In some areas, where the wearing of the hijab is not particularly common (e.g., the US and Turkey), there may be more of a wearing of hijab now than there used to be in the past. But for most of the Muslim world (and this is something I've noticed myself in my travels through Europe and Asia), the wearing of the hijab remains relatively static. Meaning, the number of women who wear hijab (or a variant) is and has been relatively the same. If anything, the women in your "backwardness" quotation are young women; I see this type of women (and girls) all the time. They're in their late teens-early 20s, who are still in their "party girl" phase, who are still a little immature. By their late 20s (early 30s at the latest), they begin wearing the hijab on a daily basis and almost always continue to do so for the rest of their lives. They've always viewed themselves as Muslims, but they've matured in their understanding of why they should wear the hijab daily.

As for the people "who have no choice but to see themselves as Muslims," this tends to be the non-practicing, "secular" Muslims. Ironically, these people don't see themselves as Muslims because of Islam, but because of anti-Muslim hate or actions by police. They begin to realize that the rest of society rejects them as one of "us," being instead the "other," the Muslim. Your problem, not ours.

Personally, I do NOT feel that it is in good or proper form to bring up partial quotes from unknown people at an unknown time as I feel that this practice serves to Invalidate your points.

Sorry about that. I though I had included a link to the original article in the comment. Here it is: The Pathologisation of Muslims in Europe. And, incidentally, while I know that you've cited your sources, it would also help if you provided a link as well.

Why would a non-Muslim have problems with their identity? Why is it that Europeans in particular are having an identity crisis?

Ask the German that. I know some Muslims believe that European identity was formed solely by Islamophobia, through the Crusades. I've studied enough European history (particularly ancient history) to know that's not the case. But the European reactions to the growing Muslim communities throughout Europe have created numerous identity crises in a number of countries, many of which have been exploited by right-wing political parties (e.g., the BNP). Europeans see themselves, I believe, as a stagnant (in terms of population growth), irreligious society in comparison to the Muslim community, which continues to grow strongly and is quite devout in their faith (certainly much more so than most non-Muslim Europeans). They feel threatened by this community whose religion they don't understand very well and who are not so easy to socialize with (many Europeans eat food that is haram (forbidden) to Muslims; e.g., beer and pork). And, lastly, I don't think many Europeans (and Americans, for that matter) understand how to create and live in a harmonious society that accommodates multiple ethnic and religious groups; this is one of the areas where I think Asians (and SE Asians in particular) excel at. Governments here work to create identities that everyone can share; not to divide people based on their ethnicity or religion. I haven't seen many (if any) European governments trying to do the same.


Anonymous said...

I think the reason is because your comment is too long, you should divide your large comment into two comments and it should probably work


J. P. Schilling said...


Why am I not surprised that you will display only one side of your response? Why don't you post my rebuttal?

JDsg said...

Anonymous: Wa 'alaikum salaam. Yes, possibly; I hadn't thought to split the comment into shorter pieces.

JP: I only placed my comment here (in the first place) because I could not get it to post there. I've provided my readers with a link to your blog so that they could read your post and the first few comments; I haven't tried to hide your viewpoints from my readers in any way. I'm not aware of any rebuttal of yours, so far, to the above comment; previous comments of yours can be accessed through the link. Certainly I've seen some hits of people coming from your blog to mine to view my response; "the door" is open for them to return.