American Idea of Muslims Should Be Less Political

November 28, 2000

Source: The Seattle Times

On November 28, 2000, The Seattle Times reported that "Americans' idea of Muslims and their holidays has been bound up far too much in politics. Americans have associated Muslims with terrorists and fanatics, partly because our longtime support of Israel has made America a target of such fanatics, and because violence makes news. Hollywood, always on the lookout for the politically acceptable villain, has often cast Muslims in that role. But the Islamic belief, which recognizes Mohammed as the greatest in a line of prophets that includes Abraham, Moses and Jesus, is not any more glorifying of hatred than is Judaism or Christianity. It demands prayer, a pilgrimage and the giving of alms. There are some 1.2 billion Muslims in the world, about 10 percent of them Arab, and many others African, South Asian and Indonesian. In the United States, there some 6 million. In the Puget Sound area, one count is that there are 40,000, many of them immigrants from India, Pakistan, Malaysia and Somalia. Their businesses--halal restaurants, and a halal slaughterhouse--begin to take root. Increasingly, they develop their own businesses in the community. They worship at mosques in Seattle, Bellevue, Tacoma and other places. Those mosques are almost always full, especially now at this important time of the year."