Even in the present times, there is still the lingering concern for the failure of the Western World in properly understanding Islam. There are still significant number of westerners who mistakenly associate the faith with polygamy, fatalism, violence and fanaticism. This article is a list of the top 10 false notions about Islam in the Western World.
1. Most terrorists are Muslims
This is by far the most erroneous notion about Muslims and Islam. Muslims are unfairly being typecast by many as plain terrorists. It is very disturbing that we label as hate crime those violent attacks perpetrated by non-Muslims. However, if the violence involves a Muslim suspect, it is immediately defined as terrorist attack.
2. The Islam faith proliferated by the edge of the sword
There is no proof or any record in our history that can support these claims of forced conversion to Islam during the ancient times. What we can observe is the setting up of synagogues and private churches in non-Muslim communities which led to the conversion of erstwhile non-Muslims because of the positive treatment that they received from Muslims.
3. Unfair treatment of women by Islam
While there are some Islamic states that implement harsh treatments and injustices to their women, these are not supported by any teachings of Islam. In fact, most of these abuses are born out of cultural diversities and are, in most cases, run counter to the teachings and doctrines of Islam.
4. Muslims are barbaric and savage when they engage in war
This is far from the truth and Muslims adhere to strict and acceptable conventions of modern warfare. In fact, they observe 10 tenets of modern engagement that reflect their concern for human life and respect for human dignity.
5. Prophet Muhammad practice pedophilia
Marrying at an early age was the norm during the time of Prophet Muhammad and this practice was not an invention of Islam. Historical records will show that the marrying age of girl is during puberty and such practice does not make one pedophile as it is an accepted practice during ancient times not by their religion but by tradition.
6. Jihad means war in the name of Allah
The real meaning of Jihad is struggle. However, when this is applied to Islam, it oftentimes refers to the struggle to fulfill the ways of Allah. There are different forms of Jihad. It may be a struggle against oneself, struggle by being vocal, struggle though action and struggle by the edge of the sword.
7. Islam does not tolerate other religions
‘Death to the infidels’ is an oft-repeated phrase unfairly associated with Islam. This is not an accurate generalization and is a baseless interpretation of the Islamic Law. Islam is anchored on freedom and respect of other religions.
8. Islam does not give rights to children
On the contrary, the Islamic Law protects and provides various rights to the children. Islamic Laws enunciate that children have the basic right to education, proper growth and existence.
9. There is no love lost between the Muslims and Jesus
This is far from the truth. If we closely study the doctrines and teachings of Islam, we will discover that Jesus is considered in Islam as one of the greatest Prophets of God. In fact, one cannot become a Muslim if he does not believe in the birth of Jesus by the Virgin Mary and the many miracles that were done by Jesus Christ.
10. All Muslims are turbaned Arabs
This is again a false notion as Arabs comprise a mere 15% of the total Muslim population. 69% of Muslims are from Eastern part of Asia with Africa taking second spot. Middle East only takes third spot.