Understanding Islam Essay

1769 words - 8 pages

Understanding Islam
Christy A. Goff
Dr. Thornton
REL 212
September 8, 2012

In this paper, I will be reporting on my religious field research of Islam. The research that I have conducted has afforded me the opportunity to speak with, listen, and develop a stronger understanding of the Islamic faith. My research has also helped to dissolve some of the misconceptions that surround Islam. I will cover four major points throughout this paper. First, I will discuss preexisting misconceptions held against Islam. Second, I will analyze how my prior understanding of Islam was altered, or not, upon completion of my field research. Third, I will discuss whether or not I believe ...view middle of the document...

With that said, we can now look at both is the misconceptions that I had before completing my research in more detail.
Altered Misconceptions of Islam
First, I would like to start with the misconception of the promotion of terrorism through the utilization of the Islamic religion. With the attacks of September 11, 2001 on the World Trade Center, Pentagon, and United Airlines Flight 93, I felt Islam was responsible entirely for the horrific act. Without understanding Islam, I simply assumed that any follower of the Islamic faith supported and promoted the attacks on our people. The fact that the nineteen terrorist that were part of the Islamist militant group Al Qaeda were celebrating in the name of “Allah” infuriated me. However, after speaking with followers of the Islamic faith, I now have gained the knowledge necessary to eliminate the misconception that Islam supports terrorism. Muslims do not support the violent acts that are being committed by a select group within their religion. They are against it and should not be discriminated against based on their Islamic faith by those who have the same misconception.
My next misconception of the Islamic faith that I would like to discuss is the oppression of women. The idea Islamic communities are male dominated and women are considered to be second class citizens is a widely spread misconception. After performing my research against this misconception, I found that Islam itself does not oppress women; rather it is Muslim men (Athar, 2012, Common Misconceptions about Islam, para.25). I have always thought that in Islam, women are simply servants to their husband and must obey them at any cost. However, that is simply not the case. It is clear that in mainly Muslim countries Muslim women are visible in the workforce, politics, and are educated. As stated, “They have also become active participants in contemporary Iranian attempts to reconcile Islam with human rights and democracy” (Fisher, 2011, p. 423). My research has given me the opportunity to speak with Muslim women which has brought me to the realization that Muslim women are able to make choices for themselves and work to attain a better life than those who are oppressed. Muslim women, unlike how they are portrayed by the media, are not oppressed by Islam. I have found that in reviewing both of the aforementioned misconceptions, that the media is largely responsible for how we view other religions and cultures. Specifically, it is very unlikely for the media to report to the public on how followers of Islam actually live and how important their family, and community is to them. Instead, the media insists on reporting on the Islamic militants that are committing acts of terrorism. After completing my field research, I am now able to inform others that may have the same misconceptions as I, that Islam does not promote and support terrorism, nor does it commit or support the oppression of Muslim women. I can now...

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