Understanding Islam Essay

1319 Words Sep 26th, 2013 6 Pages
“Understanding Islam” by Kenneth Jost, pg. 172 – 176

Islam is an ill-perceived religion throughout most of the Western world. Once known as a quiet and peaceful religion, the general perception of people from other religions and most of the world upon Islam is quite distorted. Ever since the 9/11 attacks on the World Trade Center, an influx of discrimination and prejudice towards Islam and Muslims has spread throughout the world. In “Understanding Islam,” by Kenneth Jost, an article about several accounts of how Muslims are mistreated and stereotyped throughout the world, brings up a recent poll within the United States says that 45 percent of those surveyed has an unfavorable view of Islam. The article also states that a CBS poll
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The article continues to back up the aforementioned argument on how Muslims and Islam should be seen in a better light by summarizing general views and behavior towards Islam in the 21st century –
“Those theological and cultural differences are reflected… in Westerners’ widespread view of Muslims as narrow minded and extremist. Many Muslims correspondingly view Westerners as decadent and immoral.
The differences also can be seen in the debates over the role Islam plays in motivating terrorist violence by Islamic extremist groups such as al Qaeda and the objections raised by Muslims to what they consider unflattering and unfair description of Islam in the West (Jost, 173).”

This statement by the author reflects upon Westerners’ views on Muslims and their reciprocal views towards us. Muslims view Westerners as greedy and overbearing as they feel that the military presence in the Middle East provokes more conflict than it presents. Since 9/11, the religion and subsequent culture as a whole has been stereotyped as a religion that is rooted in violence and evil. “Islam, like all religions, has its historical share of violence,” states Stephen Schwartz, an adult convert to Islam and executive director of the Center for Islamic Pluralism in Washington. “But there’s no reason to single out Islam.” Omid Safi, an associate professor of Islamic studies at the University of North

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