Islam More Than a Religion

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Islam More Than A Religion

Despite its huge following around the world and the growing Muslim communities in the United States, Islam is foreign to most Americans who are familiar with Christianity or Judaism. Because most Americans know little or nothing about Islam, they have many misconceptions about Muslim beliefs and rituals. The negative image many people in the United States and Europe have of Islam and the Muslim world has a long history. Many have judged Islam without making an effort to consider this religious tradition on its own terms, without bothering to become acquainted with its teaching and the ways in which
Muslims practice their faith. Like Judaism and Christianity, Islam is a monotheistic religion, based on the
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After the death of Malcolm X in 1965 and the death of Elijah Muhammad in 1975, many blacks turned to Sunni Islam. While most Muslim blacks identify with the traditional
Sunni Islam practiced worldwide, the black community's history is entwined with the Nation of Islam, founded about 1930. Malcolm X was among the first black
Muslims to turn to Sunni Islam through the Nation of Islam. Most Muslims are known as Sunni Muslims; and all other Muslims belong to the Shi'i sect and are known as the Shi'ah. Today many blacks point to the Islamic faith of their slave ancestors.
Scholars estimate that as many as 20 percent of slaves brought to America were
Muslims. In the early part of this century black communities started to take hold to the Islamic faith. In the Islamic faith the family is the foundation of the Muslim society.
The peace and security offered by a stable family unit is greatly valued and seen as essential for the spiritual growth of its members. A friendly social order is created by the existence of external families; the children are treasured and rarely leave home until the time they marry. Also, Muslim women are seen as an individual in her own right, with the right too own and dispose of her property and earnings. Both men and women are expected to dress in a manner that is modest and dignified; the traditions of female dress found in some Muslim countries are often the expression of local custom. The code in which Muslims eat and drink forbids

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