The web of ignorance that we weave..
Reader comment on item: Spreading Islam in American Public Schools
Submitted by hajira (United States), Feb 17, 2005 at 06:40I'am appealing to the human side in all of you. And I do not think that freedom or that human rights is a political or religious standpoint, but rather a universal feeling. Please read the other side of this vast forum of opinions so that we may share our similarities and grow to minimize our differences.
The West, whether Christian or de-christianised, has never really known Islam. Ever since they watched it appear on the world stage, Christians never ceased to insult and slander it in order to find justification for waging war on it. It has been subjected to grotesque distortions the traces of which still endure in the European mind. Even today there are many Westerners for whom Islam can be reduced to three ideas: fanaticism, fatalism and polygamy. Of course, there does exist a more cultivated public whose ideas about Islam are less deformed; there are still precious few who know that the word islam signifies nothing other than 'submission to God'. One symptom of this ignorance is the fact that in the imagination of most Europeans, Allah refers to the divinity of the Muslims, not the God of the Christians and Jews; they are all surprised to hear, when one takes the trouble to explain things to them, that 'Allah' means 'God', and that even Arab Christians know him by no other name.
To sc panda:
Islam has of course been the object of studies by Western orientalists who, over the last two centuries, have published an extensive learned literature on the subject. Nevertheless, however worthy their labours may have been, particularly in the historical and and philological fields, they have contributed little to a better understanding of the Muslim religion in the Christian or post-Christian milieu, simply because they have failed to arouse much interest outside their specialised academic circles. One is forced also to concede that Orientals studies in the West have not always been inspired by the purest spirit of scholarly impartiality, and it is hard to deny that some Islamicists and Arabists have worked with the clear intention of belittling Islam and its adherents. This tendency was particularly marked——for obvious reasons——in the heyday of the colonial empires, but it would be an exaggeration to claim that it has vanished without trace. One example is the author you spoke of, Anwar Shaikh.
Furthermore i would like to add that Islam is the most misunderstood religion in the world. Thus we receive views such as the one posted by TA entitled "bedouins conquer America", as a perfect example of the superior notion that is so prevalent here in the states. The blame of course cannot be excluseively directed towards Ta or others like him/her, but rather towards the outside sources as a whole, whether it is the media or a local fanatic.
I find it baffling, that Muslims are criticised and unjustly labeled for trying to increase Islamic awareness, when we have had missionaries, both christian and jewish, spreading their respective doctrines without hindrance for years.
Just one example, taken from the site www.arabicbible.com encouraging more missionaries to spread the word of Christ amongst muslims.
Sharing Christ With Muslims
Islam is one of the fastest growing religions on earth with 1 billion followers, yet ministry among Muslims is by far the most neglected mission field. Some reports claim that as little as one percent of the world missionary force is working among them. Over 80 percent of all Muslims have never heard the Gospel. As compelling and heartbreaking as these statistics are, we have a greater mandate: Jesus said to go to all peoples... One fifth of the world is still waiting.
The Christian church has never seriously attempted to reach the hundreds of millions who are Muslims. The great missionary Samuel Zwemer stated, "One might suppose that the church thought the Great Commission did not apply to Muslims."
This is easily demonstrated by looking at some statistics concerning missions. Only one percent of the church's entire missionary force is ministering to Muslims. This means that there is about one Christian missionary for every one million Muslims. The church has more missionaries working among Alaska's 400,000 residents than in the entire Muslim world!
I understand the tension felt and the overwhelming ignorance that is so prevalent in the west due to many contributing factors but please, let us not be hypocritical in our views or words or actions. I came across this site as part of a research project and had to take the time to address some of the opinions as well as pipe's, because it was too disturbing. Once again, I am appealing to the human side in all of you, let us expand our window of knowledge and rid ourselves of these feelings of superiority and hypocrisy.
I hope I have not offended anyone, as I have been offended by some. I simply wanted to remind that the greatest obstacle to discovery is not ignorance, it is the illusion of knowledge.
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