Islam students at LUC

Archive for April 15th, 2012

This week in class we has a discussion about some of the specific beliefs and practices of the Islamic faith.  I found this week’s discussion the most interesting of the semester because I was truly exposed to things I had no previous knowledge about.  Yeah.. I knew that Muslims prayed five times a day.. but at 4:30 AM?!?!! Ramadan also fascinated me.  I’m a Catholic, but not a very devout one.  As a Catholic, Ramadan reminded me vaguely of Lent, where Catholics fast on Fridays (but that means just one meal a day), refrains from meat on Fridays etc.  We didn’t get through all five pillars of Islam in class but just from the first three, I have a new found level of respect (or something… maybe I’m just impressed), for devout Muslims.  They really do a lot to show their devotion to God.  


I did some research into Ramadan after our class discussion last week.  I read an article that discussed five myths surrounding the month of Ramadan.  It talked about how Muslims don’t fast all day, but just during the sunlight hours.  It also discussed how Ramadan follows the patterns of the moon.  It also talked about how  some Muslims choose to fast from things, in addition to food and drink.  Some cut out TV, sex, smoking, music etc. anything that distracts them from their faith.  This reminded me of Lent.  


Like daisysimple I’m going to write a long blog as well because apparently I’m missing a couple.  In class this week we had a little discussion about Ramadan and whether some of the students looked forward to it or not.  Well, I found an article on the New York times that featured Muslim businessmen and women that have changed their ways of doing things in order to assimilate to American culture.  This article also touched base on how Ramadan affected their work.  The article states how young Muslims are starting to make an appearance on Wall Street and how their faith is being tested as they try to socialize with co-workers. Mr. Iqbal (one of the men interviewed) doesn’t drink, smoke, and is always the one drinking a Diet Coke at the bar during Happy Hour.  For another young professional, Aisha Jukaku, wears a hijab and avoids physical contact with men outside her family.  However, she has to make an exception to that here in American because handshakes are the norm for business professionals.  Often times, greetings or settling deals result in handshakes with one another.  Another problem that Muslims come across is that they are unable to pray five times a day everyday.  Getting up during a business meeting to go and pray would be extremely rude and could result in the loss of a deal.  “You can’t just get up in the middle of a deal and say, ‘I have to go spend two hours in a mosque,’ ” Mr. Akbar says.  Despite all of these religious based impediments, being so closely tied to your religion also has many benefits.  Being a devout Muslim shows your employers that you have integrity.  It also tells your employers that while all of your co-workers are out getting drunk and racking up a tab on the company credit card, you will not be and you will also remember the most from that night if there was a business meeting that went down as well.  Overall, there’s pros and cons to every religion with every job.  If you have a job on Wall Street and are making money, no one will care what religion you practice.

Another article I found on the Internet was from the Chicago Tribune.  It basically talks about how we all secretly know that we don’t accept Muslims in society yet no one has explicitly said it.  The author states how we have gone from fearing one group to another.  We feared the German-Americans and the Japanese-Americans and now were fearing the Muslim-Americans.  We secretly want them out of society yet there are Muslim police that patrol our streets, Muslim teachers and professors that educate our children, Muslim politicians that help create and enforce our laws.  We fear Muslims and cannot accept many as Americans yet they play such an important part in our society.  Many of whom hold high-ranking jobs and are very highly educated.   We all agree on the statement “all men are created equal” yet that refers only to those of the right gender, sexual or political orientation, or faith.  It’s almost as if we as Americans need someone to fear or else something is wrong.  The way I see it, is that this is everyday life.  As much as I don’t want to say that this is not happening here in the United States, it is.  You can’t deny that you’ve gone to the airport and felt a little insecure because you saw a Muslim man walking around in their religious garb.  It’s sad that this is what has happened all because a group of radical Muslims, but it’s reality.