Islam students at LUC

Archive for January 2012

In class last week we finished the movie “My Name Is Khan”. I thought the movie’s purpose was good even though it exaggerated several stereotypes. I believe that the movie was directed towards all Americans to illustrate the negative effect which 9/11 had on Muslims living in America. It also showed how the vast majority of Muslims aren’t extremists. Several stereotypes were exaggerated such as when Rizwan was praying outside and the Asian tourist starting taking pictures of him or when the white men would randomly curse at the Muslim store owner.

After reading the articles from The Cambridge Companion to Muhammad, I found it interesting that there were a few differences between the Muhammad depicted by the Quran and the Muhammad depicted by post Quranic sources, such as tafsir, Sira, and hadith. This is shown in the differences in the interpretation of the splitting of the moon. Some claim that the splitting of the moon was solely a signal of the approaching Day of Judgment and was not purposely done by Muhammad. However, other sources say that Muhammad split the moon as a sign to the people.

I was reading an article on the New York Times page from January 15 titled “Bomb Targets Shiite Muslims at Service in Pakistan”. 17 people were killed and 25 were wounded after a religious ceremony commemorating the 40th day after the death anniversary of Imam Hussein, Prophet Muhammad’s grandson. I think it’s really sad that anyone could take advantage of such a sad event for the Shiites in order to kill them.

In response to princessprobs, I think it’s very sad that people’s ignorance hinders them from knowing the truth about Islam. Some people fail to see past the event of 9/11 when they look at Muslims. For this reason, I think that the movie “My Name is Khan” did a good job in portraying life after 9/11 from the Muslim perspective.

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In last weeks class we discussed the fundamental aspects of Islam We also discussed the similarities between Christianity, Judaism, Islam. It was interesting that each religion stems from the family of Abraham. It was also interesting to see that with respects to Islam, Christianity and Judaism are of shoots and not base religions.

In the reading this week, it was unfortunate to hear about the death of Hossein and the Muhammad family. What was interesting was the aftermath that ensued after his death. It seemed as if the Islamic world fell into chaos, and forgot the teachings of the Prophet. Instead of extending hands of friendship   to other Muslims fighting and violence broke out between differing Muslim peoples.

In recent news the Council on American-Islamic relations asked Iran’s supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei to spare the life of Amir Hekmati. Hekmati is condemned to death on the accusation that he is a CIA spy. The Iranian government claims that Hekmati received training and served at U.S. military bases in Iraq and Afganistan and was traveling to Iran on an intelligence mission.

In response to BLURZZZZ, I think it’s interesting that the EU is attempting to persuade Iran to abandon its nuclear weapons program by placing an embargo on Iranian imported crude oil. It is an interesting strategy because this desicion will end up hurting the EU in the end. Iran can always find someone to buy their oil, but can Europe really choose from who they get theirs since there are very little oil reserves in Europe.  

In last weeks c…

The previous class Professor Mozaffar demonstrated the links between the beliefs of Jews Muslims and Christians. He shows the lineage of Abraham, and also the Arabic versions of all the major prophets. We also learned the Islamic Paradign, No ilah, but Allah. We then learned the differenced between love, adoration and worship.

The reading material from last class, was also what I wrote my paper on. One God Many Names reveals the links between the roots of many Arabic names through many translations showing how God and Allah are one in the same person. And that there is a common misconception that Allah is some false god.

Some European Union foreign ministers have agreed to a embargo on all imports of Iranian crude oil. The reason for doing this is at pressurising Iran to stop its so called “nuclear weapons” program through the emasculation of its oil exports which account for more than 80% of its national revenue. This is a controversy because many Iranian leaders have had many claims that they intend on making no bombs.

In response to SNOWMAKESMEHAPPY: I also agree that this is not necessarily any sort of discrimination. I think that part of the deal is that people who are inherently similar to each other have a natural attraction to befriend those who are similar to themselves. Another thing is fear of rejection. Many people don’t branch out and be as outgoing as they may want either because fear of being judged, or putting themselves out there

In Class: Last week in class we finished watching the movie “I am Khan.” The second half of the movie definitely had a more serious tone than the first half.  I enjoyed the discussion about the movie, especially.  We talked a lot about the stereotypes that were portrayed in the film.  The class pretty much unanimously agreed that Muslims, Whites, Christians, Hindis and even Obama were portrayed in exaggerated, unfair ways.  The definitely enjoyed the movie and the discussion it inspired in class.

 

Readings: As I am going through the readings for the semester, which is admittedly only two weeks worth, and along with the readings from my Intro to the Qur’an class, I noticed something I had never really thought about.  As a Catholic, I am familiar with the Bible.  The Bible is our source of God’s word, the life and teachings of Jesus all in there somewhere in the Gospels. Many of Islam’s rules come from both the Qur’an but also from Muhammad, whose life is not recorded in the Qur’an the way Jesus’ is in the Bible.

 

Islam: Yesterday, I wanted an episode of the show “Lie to Me.”  It is a show about a psychologist who is trained to read the emotions in a person’s face and can detect lies with his skills.  In this particular episode, Washington D.C. was being terrorized by several bombings.  The suspected culprits were two Muslim college students, who, as it turned out, had no idea they had bombs in their bags and were victims, too.  The show, while it didn’t necessary portray Muslims poorly, it never considered any other suspects.  It was disappointing.

 

Response: to SNOWMAKESMEHAPPY… Your idea corresponds a discussion I had today in one of my classes about how different ethnicities tend to hang out with one another.  I don’t think it’s necessarily discriminatory in nature, I just think that people naturally congregate with people they have similarities with, the most obvious and apparent when first meeting someone being their physical appearance.  With that said, I think more intermingling between different groups could be beneficial.

In the second week of class we completed My Name Is Khan. I thought that it was a great movie and really showcased the important messages about acceptance, kindness, hope, honesty and, most importantly love. The movie serves as good food for thought while still embodying the Bollywood love story genre.

Having grown up studying Islam in school, the Life of Prophet Muhammad is not something I haven’t already read a lot on, but it’s always interesting to get a new perspective and a different author telling the stories. I’ve always found the story about the Hijrah and how Prophet Muhammad spread Islam to the different tribes very intriguing because they showcase the gist of how Islam was spread through peace and the teachings of the Prophet as compared to the belief that Islam was spread through violence.

I’m currently enrolled in an Indian Art History course and one of the points brought up was that in Islamic Art animate objects like humans and animals are not allowed to be portrayed. The concept behind this is something that was always very fascinating. The reason why animate objects like humans and animals are not allowed to be portrayed in Islamic art is that we are not God and if we deign to create one of his creations then we should also bring it to life and since we cannot (obviously) bring any painting of an animal or human to life we should not try to mimic the actions preordained to God.

Going off of lollipopsgumdropsandsunshine’s blog post about ants I read a recent article about a non-human world war taking place right now between ants and how the winter ant, has been using chemical warfare to combat the Argentinean ants’ onslaught.  According to the article “The winter ants… manufacture a poison in a gland in their abdomen that they dispense when under extreme duress. One tiny drop applied to an Argentine ant is enough to put an end to it.” It amazes me the intensity of their will to survive and how even the smallest of God’s creations can be so intelligent. http://en.mercopress.com/2011/06/09/world-conquering-argentina-ants-defeated-and-rolled-back-in-california

I don’t think I enjoyed the movie “My Name is Khan” as much as most of the rest of the class. I understand the attempt of the movie to highlight racism by showing stereotypes in the extreme – for example, once the extreme caricature of blacks in America is exposed the viewer will also think about the stereotypes of Muslim Americans. However, I don’t know that this approach is really that effective. Few people view themselves as being racist and will see these extreme stereotypes as confirmation that they don’t have that opinion rather than questioning their own views. In reality, the prevalence of racism is usually subtle – so subtle that the individual doesn’t even recognize in his or her self.

One interesting aspect of the book Hadith that I have enjoyed is where it mentions that the hadith is like a game of telephone – that a particular quote changes over time. The author referred to this as the narration of the hadith. I appreciate this acknowledgment as it cautions against the simple literal interpretation of a quote. I find it extremely irritating whenever a particular religious leader or faction (happens in all religions) claims to be the person/group that has the “true” meaning based up a literal interpretation of a religious text.

http://www.theatlantic.com/politics/archive/2012/01/singling-out-islam-newt-gingrichs-pandering-attacks/252300/ This article that I read earlier today reminded me of two things. First, I am still shocked that the main argument against the mosque being built near “ground-zero” came from those who generally think the government should stay out of religion (i.e. religions should be able to worship were they choose). Second, the article shows that what is usually at play is really only the pandering of people by playing into their fears of Muslims. Either they are pandering or their argument is completely illogical.

Ilovegoodreads, I agree with some of your statements about Muslim women who wear the hijab, but I wouldn’t say that the women always wear it completely by choice. All of us are raised in an environment that shapes who we are – after all that is why most of us have the religion that we have. The choice to not wear a hijab in some Islamic countries may result in violence against them. However, even in the U.S., for Muslim women to chose not to wear a hijab may not result in violence, but it may result in being shunned by family and/or friends. It is difficult to go against tradition.

One of the interesting things from this past class was looking at how religions from the perspective of different religions. I had always assumed that Christianity was a branch from Judaism, I had never thought about how others would look at the relationship. It was a bit difficult for me to wrap my head around the idea of Christianity coming from Islam (I’m very analytical and chronologically it doesn’t work that way), But I am finding it easier to think of it in this manner.

I find it very interesting reading about Muhammad. I used to think I  knew a little about Islam, but I am looking t it from a very different perspective. In the past, my knowledge of Islam came from conversations with Muslim friends, so reading it and learning about it myself, first hand, is a new and empowering.

One issue that I keep coming back to is the lack of a Muslim presence in the media. I think this can led to some of the misconceptions some people in our country have about Islam. It is easy to marginalize a group when that group doesn’t have a face, an element of humanity.

To princessprobs, I can relate to correcting peoples ignorance about Islam. It is sad how much ignorance is out there about Islam (though I am by no means an expert). And not only is the ignorance present, it is almost fostered in some ways in the public sphere. Less than a year ago, a man who is still in the race for the Republican nomination said that someone’s comment that Islam was evil was a “reasonable statement at the time.” I don’t mean to be political, I am just astonished at the acceptance of ignorance in our nation.