Community of Islam: Islam is a worldwide religion that has deep-rooted doctrines. Being a member of the Islam community in the United States of America, I can attest to these claims. Islam has a many customs that each member of the religion is expected to strictly adhere to. One of these customs is chastity. Both girls (women) and boys (men) are expected to uphold a high level of chastity before marriage. This custom is implemented to ensure that the community remains pure and obscured from the world’s ills. As a Muslim, I am also expected to pray five times a day. These prayers include Fajr (prayer at dawn), Dhuhr (prayer at noon), Asr (prayer in the afternoon), Maghrib (prayer at sunset) and finally Isha’a (prayer at night) (Clarke & Tittensor, 2016). All these prayers are meant to bring each and every Muslim closer to Allah whilst offering themselves (their souls) to his will. Therefore, the Islam community is one which is particularly prayerful.
Many Islamic customs are preferable and appealing customs; however, there are a few customs that are appalling to me. For instance, according to the Sharia laws, a woman/girl is not supposed to get a formal education. The case, however, does not apply to members of the opposite sex. This law, in my opinion, is misogynistic and is only meant to repress the females in the Muslim community and deny them from obtaining valuable skills and knowledge. Further, when a girl comes of age, her parents arrange her marriage. The girl’s parents are responsible for choosing a plausible spouse for the girl (most of the times, the groom comes from a respectable family). In addition, a man in the Muslim community is allowed to marry a maximum of four wives. This allowance is not ethically right. I believe that marriage should signify great love between two people, a man and a woman and no more. It is implausible that a person can manage to love two or more wives equally and avoid internal familial wrangles.
Muslims and Christians share a united front in a few societal concerns. For instance, members from these two communities are against people who show signs of irreligiousness. Further, Christians and Muslims agree that an atheist, as well as a person who does not believe in the existence of one supreme being (God in the case of Christians and Allah for the Muslims), will not have a peaceful afterlife (Clarke & Tittensor, 2016). Nonetheless, the war on terror has created and enhanced many stereotypes about the Muslim community in the U.S and other the countries. These stereotypes create a rift between the Muslim community and other communities. Since most of the terror/extremist groups are based on the Islam religion, the world has stereotypically persisted to persecute Muslims because of their religion. As a result, Muslim regardless of the race or country of origin will in most cases viewed as terrorists. It is not uncommon to see an Muslim being placed under immense scrutiny in an American airport for fear of being an extremist.
Growing up, my parents owned a grocery store that sold all forms of spices and groceries. This was the major source of income in my family and, for this reason, all family members helped run the store. Managing and running a store involves a lot of restraint and hard work. The store would be open by five in the morning and closed late at night. Members of our community who also had stores also shared in this set of qualities. However, most of the store owners in our community were prejudiced. Some store owners in our community were prejudicial towards some communities, in particular, the Jews. The prejudice emanated from the Israeli-Palestine border civil conflict. As I grew up, however, I drifted from the family business. Currently, I work with an online marketing company. This status came about as from my interest in sales and marketing. The love for this sector of the economy can be attributed to my younger years whilst working in my parents’ store.
Since my parents were Muslim immigrants, the concept of gender was closely related to that of sex. As a result, some house chores such as laundry or general cleaning were, by default, assigned to girls since they were considered feminine. Duties such as fixing a broken socket or window were designated to the men in the house since such tasks were considered masculine. My mother taught us that girls were the neck of the family; as such, they are mandated to keep the house clean and take care of the family. In this regard, an unkempt house could mean the absence of a woman or the presence of a lazy woman. In addition, the roles of women in the community and family is to provide emotional support. On the other hand, my brothers were taught by my father that the role of a man in the family is to provide for the family monetarily . More so, a man is supposed to provide security to his family and community. My upbringing has continued to shape my concepts and beliefs pertaining to both gender and sex.
I disagree with the belief that only the men in the community are expected to provide monetary support. Women have shown the capability to offer the same support. As a result, I believe that women can be the cornerstones of society in development. Women are as much responsible as men in the development of society, and in some cases offer more developmental resources. I came to this conclusion judging from the number of women who are currently involved in the running of our country. Michele Obama, for instance, was a major aspect in Obama’s election and reelection into the oval office.
Islamic laws strictly forbid any practices of homosexuality. My parents taught me that any person involved in homosexuality is a sinner and should refrain from any contact with such a person. However, now that I am an adult woman, I believe that a person should not be judged or marginalized on the basis of their sexual orientation. The USA is a free country and everyone’s decision should be accepted. The Quran suggests that a homosexual is a person who is possessed by demons and, thus, should not be accepted in the community (Clarke & Tittensor, 2016). Further, the person should be stoned to death.
Whilst analyzing the development of my cultural identity, I realized that I am in the second stage of this developmental model. This is because I am still perturbed by stereotypes that the rest of the American community awards my religion and cultural community. Anywhere I go, people are always staring since I am a Muslim girl dressed in Islamic attire, for instance, the headscarf (hijab) to cover my hair. The thought that people might think that I am wearing a bomb under my clothes makes me loathe the rest of society for its stereotypes. However, I am coming into terms that not all people in the US are prejudiced against my community and that some people are envious of Muslims. Further, I’m self-tutoring myself to come into terms with the fact that some people will insult me because they are afraid or against people from my community. As such, I should come up with strategies to deal with such people to avoid physical confrontations. Currently, the best strategy that I have come up with is avoiding any form of verbal interaction with a person who might insult me based on my religion.
Clarke, M., & Tittensor, D. (2016). Islam and development: Exploring the invisible aid economy. Routledge.