Every culture has different beliefs and may participate in various forms of religions or practice cultural customs. The culture of Middle Eastern people is no different. Many Middle Eastern people practice Islam, and they are called Muslims. Although they may practice prayer and study the Koran, they place high value on the family unit similar to many people around the world. Furthermore, Muslims hope and believe in the American Dream, the dream the United States was founded upon.
For many Muslims, religion is a very important aspect of their lives. It is through prayer and study that they worship the God of Jews and Christians, Allah (PBS: Culture-A Rich Mosaic). Even though not many Muslims currently reside in the United States, there are over 1.6 billion Muslims in the world (Lipka, Pew Research Center). This is a very high number and, as the religion continues to increase, more Muslims will be a part of many communities. The Pew Research Center found that 63 percent of U.S. Muslims are immigrants.
Therefore, it’s important to note that the journey to the United States for Muslims is the same as many other immigrants. They are in search of the American Dream. However, after 9/11 and the ISIS threats plaguing the United States, many Muslims in America feel as if they are not welcome. Far worse, some Muslims feel as if the American Dream was never meant for them even though many Muslims had ancestors that helped build America during its early years (Naqvi, “What’s It Like Being Muslim in America?). Naqvi interviewed a practicing Shia Muslim who said: “ 15-20 percent of the Muslim population is the favorite target of ISIS from the attacks in Beirut” (Naqvi, “What’s It Like Being Muslim in America?)
Still, many Muslims feel as if they are viewed as killers of innocent people or potential suicide bombers. According to the Pew Research Center, in a 2011 survey, 86 percent of Muslims said that suicide bombing and other forms of violence would not be justified in their eyes. It’s interesting to note that Muslims do have a firm belief in one God and the Prophet Muhammad, but this doesn’t mean they would force their views on citizens of a country they came as immigrants to benefit from. However much people want to contain all Muslim people as “potential killers,” gaining knowledge about their customs and beliefs is important to good communication with Muslims.
If Muslim people practice a different religion that includes holidays such as Ramadan, it’s up to the outsiders to inquire about the differences before passing a judgment on them. At the end of the day, understanding other people’s cultures and religions will only help bring people closer. After all, many Muslims claim their religion to be the religion of love, not hate and killings.
- Lipka, Michael. Pew Research Center. 7 Dec. 2015. Web. 1 Feb. 2016.
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- KPBS. Culture: A Rich Mosaic: The many cultures of the Middle East. Web. 1 Feb. 2016.
- Naqvi, Zehra. Huffington Post: What’s It Like Being Muslim in America?. 16 Nov. 2015. Web. 1 Feb. 2016.
- Rodwan, John G. Jr. The Humanist: Should Public Schools Close for Christian, Jewish, and Muslim Holidays? 23 March. 2015. Web. 1 Feb. 2016.
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