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A New Introduction to Islam

Question 1

Ward Churchill describes America’s Master Narrative as an “indoctrination of the populace with a mythic (mis)understanding that nothing really wrong had transpired in the course of US history. On the contrary, it had all been a noble undertaking, carried out by a combination of gallant leaders and brave settlers forging a better future.” (Churchill, in Uchmanowicz, p. 85) Churchill says this is a smokescreen for the atrocities that actually took place – a narrow view that simplified the story and silenced the voices of those who suffered during the construction of the country. Using examples from chapter 5 in Koppleman, argue for or against the idea of the Master Narrative: is America’s history a tale of progress or persecution? Why?

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In my opinion, I would say that America’s history is a tale of persecution. European come to America to escape religious oppression and forced beliefs. Instead of practicing fair religion they also started oppressing Americans with their religion beliefs. The desire for religion freedom only played a part in the progress of America (Hill, 2005). Religion was the form of government which was ruling in those days. This is clearly portrayed by how the puritans were treating those who did not follow their Christian faith. Persecution was inevitable if you did not follow what the church is ruling. Puritans also practiced racism and gender inequality as their Christians rules only applied to the whites and not any woman or black person. Persecution of those who did not belief the puritans was inevitable in all the colonies because the church law was ruling everyone. Puritans expelled dissenters from their colonies and those whole defied the puritans by persistently returning to their jurisdictions risked capital punishment. There was no separation between the church and the state at this time. Puritans believed that Christianity was a white man’s religion and others should obey them without questioning or risk persecution. Persecution only ended when the church was separated from state, and people gained the freedom to practice whatever religion they wanted without following the puritans who were mistreating them. After this separation, about nine hundred denominations were started in U.S. this numerous eruption of different denominations clearly explain that Americans were oppressed by the Puritans religion.

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Question 2

Koppelman talks about the struggles that Native Americans, African Americans, Asian Americans, and Latinos have had in becoming part of the integrated American population. Each group has faced discrimination and scapegoating, as the entire group was blamed for the culture’s problems. How has this trend continued, especially following the 9/11 attacks, with Arab and Muslim Americans?

Following the 9/11 attacks Arab and Muslim Americans have faced a lot of discrimination and hate crimes. From that date, American Muslims were viewed as terrorists. There is a lot of discrimination against the non-citizen Muslims. Immigrants from Muslims countries are living in a newly suspicious America (Rabasa, 2004). After 9/11 attacks bank accounts for Muslim American were closed for no other reason because of their faith. Hate crimes and discriminations were perpetuated after 9/11 attacks. The hate crimes include murder, beatings, arson, attacks on mosques, shooting, vehicular assaults and verbal threat. In schools and colleges, American Muslim children face a lot of discrimination. For instance, American Muslim children do not have the same access to hate crime assistance mechanism or even education materials and presentation as other potential victims of hate crime.

The Muslim women are facing discrimination because of wearing their hijab (head scarf), which I do believe they wear it due to religion purposes. In the year 2007, three discrimination cases were reported because hijab wearing. One of the cases is whereby a woman was not allowed to enter a court wearing the hijab, and she was highly fined for that. Another case is whereby a Muslim lady was denied passport because she had won a hijab. The final case involved a female student who had attended an algebra presentation in another school and the supervisor told her to remove the hijab before presenting. Discrimination is also portrayed in the delay in citizenship process of Arab-sounding immigrants. American Muslims and Arabs are discriminated and harassed in their work places. The final case is whereby the western union blocks fund over name Muhammad.

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Question 3

Can you think of certain religious behaviors or practices that when carried out by a member of a Muslim religious group are seen as negative or out-of-place but when practiced by a Christian are seen as positive or normal? Provide some examples.

There are a number of practices which practiced by Muslims are seen as negative but when practiced by a Christian are seen as positive. For instance, If a Christian woman wears a headscarf it is seen as normal whereas if a Muslim woman wears a headscarf which is usually referred to as hijab is seen as a negative practice. An example of the headscarf practice is where the house speaker Nancy Pelosi’s was wearing a headscarf during her April 2007 Syria visit. The former secretary of state Condoleezza Rise and first lady Laura Bush also had worn the scarf and they were not criticized (Brown, 2009). Another practice which is viewed as negative is to have a long beard. Any Muslim having long is viewed as a terrorist whereas having long beard as a Christian is viewed as normal. Religious holidays for Muslims are not appreciated and obeyed as for the Christian ones.

In fact, some schools have considered eliminating all holiday celebrations because Muslim parents were complaining that their holidays are not given priority like those of their counterpart Christian. An example of a school which considered eliminating holidays due to complain of the Muslim parents is Columbus Manor School. Public institutions in the U.S. are not willing to accommodate Islam at the expense of tax payers’ money. This is discrimination of the highest order because the same Muslims are also tax payers and should be accommodated like their fellow Christians. Their religion beliefs should be obeyed like those of the Christian. Critics claim that this kind of accommodation, which is offered only to fulfill Muslims’ needs, is a violation of the constitutional provision separating church and state.