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Tuesday, November 24, 2015

Learn some basic Islam before going off half-cocked

The right wing anti-Muslim hysteria has reached fever pitch, following the terrorist attacks in Paris on November 13.

From Donald Trump’s Nazi-inspired suggestion of closing all mosques and forcing all Muslims to wear ID to Jeb Bush’s suggestion that only Christian refugees should be allowed into the country, the sheer ignorance and blind hate that underscores the republican party has been on full display.

Presidential contender Marco Rubio trumped Donald Trump himself. Rubio suggesting that America not only close down all mosques, but shutter any place where Muslims could possibly gather. During an interview with Fox News, Rubio, often described as “the most moderate” republican candidate for president, Rubio said:
“It’s not about closing down mosques. It’s about closing down any place — whether it’s a cafe, a diner, an internet site — any place where radicals are being inspired.” 
Republican politicians called for putting Syrian refugees in segregated detainment camps, while every day right-wing bigots in Virginia attended a town hall meeting, where one man was recorded on video screaming at his Muslim neighbors of 30 years, claiming “Every Muslim is a terrorist.”

Ignorance and bigotry always walk hand in hand, as those of us looking on in horror at the GOP freak show already know.

The anti-Muslim hysteria routinely promoted by the right-wing goes beyond your run-of-the-mill republican stupidity. Their ignorance in the areas of Math, Science and American History doesn’t compare to their lack of knowledge on the subject of the Islamic faith.

Here are twenty “myth-busting” facts that prove it.
  1. Worldwide there are 1.6 billion Muslims. That number is expected to increase by 35 percent by the year 2030.
  2. Only 20 percent of Muslims live in the Middle East.
  3. The majority of people who follow the Islamic religion, more than 60 percent, live in the Asian-Pacific region.
  4. Muslims have lived in China for more than 1400 years. (In China a Muslim woman may wear a Tudong and Tudung, as shown in the featured image for this article.)
  5. Less than 15 percent of the world’s Muslim population is Arab.
  6. Two-thirds of the U.S. Arab population is Christian, not Muslim.
  7. Islam is the fastest growing religion in Ireland.
  8. The European nation of Albania has a population that is 90 percent Muslim.
  9. The most common name in the world is not Matthew, Mark, Luke or John. It’s Muhammad.
  10. All Muslim women do not wear hijabs.
  11. The percentage of women in government in Muslim-majority countries such as Afghanistan, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Iraq, Sudan and Saudi Arabia, is higher than in the United States. The youngest female president in the world, Atifete Jahjaga, the president of Kosovo, is a Muslim woman. The United States has yet to elect a female president. We can’t even get the oppressive right-wing Christian congress pass the Equal Rights Amendment.
  12. Muslims give more to charity than Christians, Jews or atheists. They contribute twice as much as to charity as Christians.
  13. No-one knows when the first Muslims settled in the country that would later become the United States, but it was likely well before Europeans settled here.
  14. According to PBS “Many historians claim that the earliest Muslims came from the Senegambian region of Africa in the early 14th century. It is believed they were Moors, expelled from Spain, who made their way to the Caribbean and possibly to the Gulf of Mexico.”
  15. It is believed that when Columbus made his journey to the United States, he carried  a book that was written by Portuguese Muslims who had navigated their way to the New World centuries before him.
  16. In spite of the fact that there are more than a billion and a half peaceful Muslims on the planet, right-wing America’s deep hatred for all Muslims remains insatiable. That’s because their religious bigotry against Muslims is rooted in slavery. The first known wave of Muslims to come to the U.S. were African slaves. At least 15 percent of the slaves, violently kidnapped from their homes and families by lazy, violent and greedy white men, were Muslim. That single fact destroys the myth of “uneducated African savages” Confederate-flag-waving racists love to promote.
  17. There are an estimated six million Muslims living in the United States. About one-third of U.S. Muslims are Black.
  18. According to a report published by the U.S. Embassy in Iraq, “Today’s Muslim American population is an extraordinary mosaic of ethnic, linguistic, ideological, social, economic, and religious groups.”
  19. Muslims range from highly orthodox to moderate to secular. While the number of religious sects probably doesn’t come close to the 33,000 different denominations of Christianity that exist worldwide, there are still many different interpretationsof the religion.
  20. The United States is not and never has been a Christian nation. America’s founding fathers had no desire or intention of enforcing the religious opinions of Christians. On June 10, 1797 the United States signed a compact of friendship with the Muslim population living along the Barbary Coast. The Treaty of Tripoli was commissioned by President George Washington. It was unanimously approved by the United States Congress. It was ultimately signed by the country’s second President, John Adams. Of special importance is Article 11, which reads:
“As the Government of the United States of America is not, in any sense, founded on the Christian religion; as it has in itself no character of enmity against the laws, religion, or tranquility, of Mussulmen (Muslims); and as the said States never entered into any war or act of hostility against any Mahometan (Mohammedan) nation, it is declared by the parties that no pretext arising from religious opinions shall ever produce an interruption of the harmony existing between the two countries.”
Since bigotry and hate ferment with ignorance, one of the most important ways we can combat anti-Muslim hysteria is by using facts to dispel right-wing myths, fantasies and lies.

Author Randa Morris has been a freelance writer for over ten years. She is an active political blogger and administrator for several social media activism groups.