South Asian Muslim Scholars Tour U.S., Find Hope to Heal Divisions

June 11, 2005

Source: Los Angeles Times,1,1425967.story?page=1

On June 11, 2005 the Los Angeles Times reported, "When they arrived for a monthlong visit last month, some South Asian Muslim scholars brought with them these perceptions of the United States: It was a country ruled by the FBI, the CIA and the Pentagon. It was a place where Muslims are routinely persecuted. It was a society of free sex and families in collapse. But their trip to several U.S. cities radically changed their perceptions, many of the visitors from India, Pakistan, Afghanistan and Bangladesh said... Zeenat Shaukat Ali, an Islamic studies professor from Bombay, India, marveled at the freedom of American Muslims to practice their religion and the active role of women in mosque life... 'Muslims here are free to follow their own culture, dress the way they want, go to educational institutes and train themselves,' she said. 'American culture has not overcome the culture of Muslims but accepted it.' Quratulain Bakhteari, a Pakistani social activist, read the holy scriptures of Judaism and Christianity for the first time during visits to synagogues and churches here and said she was amazed to find deep similarities to Islamic teachings."