Islam is a religion that gets a lot of attention in the media. Unfortunately, much of that attention is negative or portrays Islam as an evil religion. Terrorism, oppression, war are all images that comes to one’s mind when Islam is mentioned. This post discusses some of the things you may not know about Islam:
Many Muslims Name Their Kids Jesus.
If you are a christian or maybe a non Muslim you have probably been told Muslims don’t believe in Jesus. As a matter of fact Jesus or Isa in Arabic is given to many new born Muslim. Muslims do not believe Jesus is god or son of god but they regard him as a major messenger and prophet.
The First Country To Recognize The U.S Was A Muslim Country.
The first country to recognize the independence of the United States as a free country was a Muslim country. Morocco granted its recognition of the United states in 1777 making it the first country to acknowledge the United States of America as a free souvreign nation state. Morocco and the United States also signed a friendship and peace treaty which is still active making it the longest unbroken treaty in the history of the united States.
The Majority Of Muslims Are Not Arabs.
While many westerners think all Muslims are Arabs it is worth knowing that Arabs only constitute less than 20% of Muslims. The misconception that all or most Muslims are Arabs is largely due to the attention the Middle East gets in the light of Israeli-Arab conflict or American interventions in these areas. It should also be noted that the Middle East doesn’t necessarily equal Arabs. Two major Middle Eastern countries for example are Turkey and Iran. Countries like Morocco and Algeria for instance have a majority of Berbers. Berbers are the indigenous people and have their own language and traditions. Indonesia, Pakistan and India have the majority of the Muslim population and they are Asian countries.
Islam Is The Fastest Growing Religion In The World.
Despite the bad name Islam gets in the media, it remains the fastest growing faith in the world. Major news networks like Washingtonpost, Huffingtonpost, CNN have all made reports about the unusual growth of islam knowing that is being spoken about negatively in the media. While the media always makes it sound like Muslims’ birth rate is high, it is obvious that the conversion rate to Islam is increasing. Incidents like 911 attacks, Danish and French cartoons mocking Islam compels many westerners to read more about Islam. Conversion to Islam has been increasing and this phenomenon doesn’t only apply to ordinary white Caucasians but rather includes influential people, some of whom were opposing Islam in Europe. As an example Arnoud van Doorn who is a previous far-right politician from the anti-islamic Dutch Freedom Party (PVV) converted to Islam after fighting Islam in the Netherlands for years. Another convert is Daniel Stretch who was a former member of the Swiss People’s Party , the party that campaigned to ban the construction of Minarets. The list of influential converts to Islam includes many well known Scientists and American celebrities as well.
The Oldest Operating University Is Founded By A Muslim Woman.
According to UNESCO as well as Guinness World Records University of al-Qarawiyyin is the oldest degree awarding and continually operating educational institution in the world. What is even more amazing about this is that this university was founded by a Muslim woman. Fatima El Fihri the daughter of a rich Merchant founded this university in the heart of Fes in Morocco. As the author in this blog I had the honor of visiting this university where Grammar, Medicine, Geology, Mathematics and of course Islamic Studies were taught. The university also includes one of the oldest libraries containing more than 4000 manuscripts. So, remember when you are told Islam oppresses women, maybe many Arabs do but Islam is one thing and Arabs are another thing.
Muslims Who Saved Thousands Of Jews During The Holocaust.
You have seen many movies about American and Europeans heroes who saved the lives of many Jews during the Holocaust. What you may not have heard about is the thousands of Albanian Muslim who risked their lives to rescue and hide Jews from the Nazis. Albania as a matter of fact had the highest numbers of Jews after the war ended. Muslims hid their Jewish brothers knowing that being caught means execution. A quick google search will reveal hundreds of stories told by Jewish survivors protected by Muslims. In France for example the Grand Mosque in Paris welcomed hundreds of Jews who were given Muslim Identities to escape the arrest. ” Les hommes Libres” (free Men) is a French movie telling the story of Muslims who saved the Jews.
Muslims And The Founding Fathers.
Many Muslims fought in both the Revolutionary War as well as the Civil War. Benjamin Franklin who is one of the founding fathers of our country as a matter of act is reported to have said that “Even if the Mufti of Constantinople were to send a missionary to preach Mohammedanism[ Islam] to us, he would find a pulpit at his service”. Benjamin Rush, one of the Pennsylvania signers of the Declaration of Independence said that he would “rather see the opinions of Confucius or Mohammed inculcated upon our youth than see them grow up wholly devoid of a system of religious principles.”