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Culture and Diversity: Understanding Islam Essay

Abstract: An important part of this course, this research paper is on diversity and multiculturalism and its social, cultural and ethical impact on individual citizens, groups of people and society at large is about understanding Islam. This paper will contain information on teaching of Islam and how they are interpreted and practiced in different countries and cultures, including the United Stated, Great Britain, the Middle East, India, Pakistan and other Asian countries. Additionally, how is it contrasted with Christianity and Judaism, how do these understandings impact the ways that Muslims and non- Muslims interact and communicate with one another?


Islam is highly controversial and sensitive issue in today’s world and there are many misconceptions about its beliefs, values and goal. Through this research paper, I would like to go over this issues in more detail and I hope to understand the problems and have a correct understanding on Islamic beliefs. For example, many Americans believe that most Muslims live in the Middle East, while in reality Indonesia has many more people of the Islamic faith. This paper will help me and the readers to understand what this means is that Islam, like Judaism and Christianity, is practiced in many different cultures, and it both shape and shaped by those cultures.

In order to have clear understanding, the definition of Islam and Muslim have to be defined. Islam is the religion that Muslim people practice, the same exact way that Judaism is the religion followed by Jews, and that Christians follow Christianity (see http://www.ask.com). I. What is teachings of Islam? (Advanced in Natural & Applied Science. 2012, Vol.6 issue 3, p365-373. 9p.) A. Islam is not merely a religion rather than it is a deen (that is a balance of worldly and godly affairs). Thus, Islam is a way of life where religion and culture are one, not separate.

B. The core elements in Islamic culture are universal; Muslims can take on every elements in every culture that is not against the Qur’an and Sunnah. C. the Qur’an emphasizes that the universe is created with purpose and the creation of physical environment too has its purpose. D. In Islam, humans are encourage to gain knowledge through using all senses, about themselves and the physical environment around them in order to know Allah and obtain faith (Iman) and taqua.The Qur’an is constantly reminding people that every aspect in life is integrated.

II. How they are interpreted and or practiced in different countries and culture including U. S, Great Britain, Middles East, India, Pakistan, Russia and other Asia countries? A. There are many misconceptions and stereotyping of Muslims and Arab are partly rooted with insufficient and through incorrect education. (Culture & Religion Review Journal. 2013, Vol.2013 Issue 1, p143- 158. 16p. B. Middle East people practiced variety of religion by the beginning of the seventh century c.e. One of these deities called Allah 9 Arabic name for God). When Muhammad was born in Mecca around 570 c.e. Muhammad started to receive messages from Allah and soon started to spread God’s messages.

Not all of Mecca citizen were receptive to messages initially, many wealthy regarded as a threat to their power and position. Mecca’s leaders persecuted Muhammad and his followers and Muhammad and his followers moved to Yathrib, where the first Islamic government was establish (Carr, Melissa S. Who are the Muslim? 2003, p4 – 8. 5p). C. Islam’s spread into East and Southeast Asia occurred through peaceful ways, particularly trade and missionary work. Southeast Asian voluntarily and gradually adopted Islam. It was accepted and practiced with elements of pre Islamic religious beliefs (such as animism, Buddhism and Hinduism). It is more tolerant of other religion faith than their Middle Eastern or North African counterparts. Today Muslim missionaries are still active and funded greatly by Saudi Arabia and other oil producing Persian Gulf states (Terrorist Group.2006, pN.PNG.5p).

D.In Cultural & Religious Review Journal.2013, Vol.2013 Issue 1, p143-158. Hosseini, Hengameh stated about several misconceptions and stereotyping about Muslims and Arabs in the U.S. due to historical, political, and education-related reasons. The author stated that many misconceptions and stereotyping is due to influence of media such as TV evangelists and radio talk show hosts. The author stated that through these media many Americans have negative perceptions of Muslims such as: strict religion, long robes, veiled women, always praying, Mecca, holy war, Arabs, violence, terrorism, no women’s rights, Allah, Quran, poverty, dark skin, harems, inequality, military war, anti- American, and strong belief. In Another article by Journal of Alternative Perspectives in the Social Sciences. Dec2010, Vol. 2 Issue 2, p472-494.

By Iribarnegaray, Deanna mentioned that following events of 9/11, the military approach of “the War on Terror” has resulted in the conflation of the mainstream vision of Islam with militant Islam and some Muslim communities in the West are suffering from Islamophobia. But Islam is steadily spreading in U.S and other part of Western countries. E To related Islam to recent bombing in Boston Marathon, I would like to add Russia in this paper and see how Russia is adapting and interpret Islam. According to the 2002 census, the Muslim population of Russia was 14.5 million people. By 2008, the number of Muslim citizens exceeded 15 million, not taking into account legal and illegal migration. ( Alexei V Malashenko. Social Research Vol 76: No 1: Spring 2009)

The Russian Muslim population is multiethnic (Islam is the faith of 38 native peoples of Russia) and multicultural. Each of the two large groups are the Tartars and Bashkir, has its own religious traditions, history, and historically different relations with the center (Moscow and kremlin). Islam in Russia is not only has a role in religion but it has a role in social and political area as well as in financial structures. (Alexei V. Malashemko, Social Research Vol 76.) F. Indonesia has the world’s largest Muslim population; 86 % of its 245 million people are Muslim.

And one the island of Java, where more than half of the nation’s population lives, more than 90 % of the people are Muslim. Indonesia is the one of the largest Mecca for religious pluralism and they keep interreligious relations and continue Indonesia’s tradition of Pancasila –the “five principles”. But Indonesian Muslims, who practice religious pluralism are being threatened by Islamic puritanism by FPI or Islamic Defenders Front. (Pinault, David, Commonweal. 9/28/2012, Vol. 139 Issue16)

III. Contrast with Christianity and Judaism

According to Carr, Melissa S. in Who are the Muslims, 2003, p4-8, the people living in the area of Middle East practiced a variety of religions, including Judaism, Christianity, and Zoroastrianism. During early the early part of the 7yh century a new monotheistic religion, Islam emerged in the Arabian Peninsula.

The similarity between all three of the world’s major monotheistic faith has origins to the patriarch Abraham, Judaism and Christianity through Abraham’s younger son from his first wife, Isaac, and Islam through his older son, Ishmael. This was the major development of the different faith started. Muslims believe Muhammad was the last in a line of the prophets to whom God had given divine prophesies. Despite these similarities, there are major basic differences between Islam, Judaism, and Christianity.

Muslim consider the commandments of the Jewish Torah, that was ascribed to Moses, and Jesus’ teachings as recorded in the Christian Gospels to be divinely inspired, but they believed that although Jesus relayed God’s divine message, Christians later changed the scriptures by adding into them the claim that Jesus was the Son of God. Therefore Muslims consider it Islam’s primary mission to proclaim God’s undistorted messages and replace the older Jewish and Christian traditions with the newer and more original Islamic ones. Islam respect both the Torah and the Bible, they consider the Qur’an, the messages received by Muhammad as the final, and most important messages to humanity from God.

IV. These understanding impact the ways the Muslims and non- Muslims interact and communicate with one another. The understanding of different faith will affirm the importance id dialogue between people of different faiths, it is important not only in multi- religious contexts but equally where there is a large majority of a particular faith. IT is vital to protect rights of minority groups and religious freedom and to enable all to contribute to the common good of all in the community.

In conclusion, I can say that like in many religion and especially as in Christianity, Islam has also come a long ways and took the similar path as many other major religion and have a same mission mind as Christianity. Islam teaching is more readily accepted in more third world where they need financial support and where it is very open to many religion unlike Middles Eastern countries. Many say pluralism is the way of getting close to unity between different religions but that also brings a question of how they will keep the authenticity of original but that also brings question of how they will keep the authenticity of original messages of its religion.


Carr, Melissa S. Who are the Muslims? 2003, p4-8. 5P

Lribanegaray, D. (2010). Considering Relations between Islam and the West in Three”discrpent Experience”: From Ivasion to Retribution. Journal of Alternatitve Perspectives in the Social Science, 23.

Hosseini, H. (2013). International diversity and its problems: Teaching Islamic culture at an American institution. Culture & Religion review journal, 2013(1), 143-158.

Malashenko, A. V. (2009). Islam in Russia. Social research, 78(1), 321-358.

Sicherman, H. (n.d.). Islam in Asia. In H. Sicherman (Author), Islam in Asia. Mason crest. Yaabcob, M. (2012). Islamic Teachings on the Environment. Advanced in Natural & applied science, 6(3), 365-373.

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