The Situation of the Muslim Americans
Barack Obama is not a Muslim, but a Christian. Even if he were a Muslim it would have not mattered, or at least the religion of a person should not be a factor upon one should be judged. That is not the case, as there are many instances when the religion of a person has been the reason why that person has been mistreated, and that happens in most of the cases in the United States of America.
It has been said that if Obama would have been a Muslim, then the Americans would have known nothing about him, or about his religion with the exception of the stereotypes associated with it. There are many groups in the United States of America, and the Muslim Americans have become a group both from the social and from the political point of view. There have been numerous people who have tried to find out about his religion, to really see if he is not lying when he is saying that he is a Christian and not a Muslim. There have also been numerous people that said that this quest should stop, because the Muslims should not be associated with fear and with prejudice.
Colin Powell released a statement regarding the situation with Obama’s religion. He said that been if he were a Muslim, he should not be judged for it, because the citizens of the country know better than to judge a person by his religion. Do they? Ever since 9/11, the Americans have started to judge the Muslim Americans, considering them capable of only spreading violence, panic, and terror. Most of the people believe that the Islamic religion is associated with the religious extremists, and that all of the people who have this religion might have some connection with terrorism. Most of the people have stated that they do not know too much about the Islamic religion, but that there are afraid of those people.
Jen’nan Ghazal Read, who is a sociologist at Duke University, has stated that many of the Americans see the Muslim Americans as a serious threat. According to him, there are two assumptions which the Americans make. First of all they believe that there is only one kind of Muslim and one kind of Islam, both being characterized by violence and by the desire of spreading panic. Second, the Americans believe that the main characteristic of the Muslim Americans is that they have this religion. The Muslim Americans are in fact Americans, just like the African Americans, and the Asian Americans, and the Native Americans, are all Americans. They have the same rights as all the other citizens of the country, they have the same jobs, and they have the same opinions. The only difference is that they belong to that particular group.
The Georgetown University Muslims in the American Public Square interviewed more than 3,600 Muslim Americans in 2001 and 2004, and then 1,050 Muslim Americans in 2007. They have found out that four in ten Americans consider the Islam to be a bad thing, and associate it with deeds of violence. Five in 10 Americans believe that the Islam is the religion which has the higher chances of committing violence. Six in ten Americans believe that the Islam is different than their own religion. Read said that all of these opinions are based on misconceptions, and not on facts. She said that in most of the cases, the American citizens believe that being a Muslim is the same thing as being an Arab. This means that they mistake a religious group with an ethnic group.
If one would use the same assumption, it would mean that all the Christians are Irish American, or African American. The reality is that in the United States of America, the Muslims belong to various ethnical groups. For example most of them are African American, but many of them are also Hispanic, Caucasian, Asian, and so on. She said that in most of the cases when people thing about the Islam, they think about Osama Bin Laden. She said that the Muslim Americans are nothing like most of the Americans believes. They are very educated, they speak the language in the proper manner, and they have the same income as most of the Americans.
They can be very similar to the rest of the Americans when it comes to politics as well. For example, they have the same opinions about abortion, or gay marriages as the rest of the Americans. They have a different opinion about the Middle East war than the Americans though. She said that the biggest mistake of the Americans is that they take all the people who belong to the same religion and give them the same characteristics. She said that that approach is wrong; because it is as if one would say that all the black people can play basketball good, and so on. She said that being a Muslim does not mean that every person who has that religion has the same characteristics as all the other people who belong to it.
Read said that the main reason why people have used Obama’s religion during the elections, was because it was known that the Americans were against it, and that they were prejudiced towards it. They wanted to say that Obama wasn’t a true American because he did not have the same religion as the majority of the Americans, which was not true. She believes that the whole country could benefit if the Americans would be instructed that the Muslims are not something to be feared off, as they are similar to all the other people. It is unknown if the situation will get better, but it will probably be solved in time. The same thing happened when the Pearl Harbour incident occurred, as the Americans were prejudiced against the Asians. They stopped with that way of thinking for a while now.11