American Muslims include immigrants who came from countries such as Syria, Lebanon, and other Arab countries. The immigrants were looking forward to improving their lives by seeking for greater economic opportunities that could not be found in their homelands. The first mosque to be built in America for purposes of serving Muslims was constructed in 1923 at Ross Town, North Dakota. Most African Americans were converted to Islam during the Great Migration of African Americans from southern states to Northern states. However, there were some African Americans who had embraced Islam long before the immigrants arrived. During the great migration, African Americans moved in droves to states such as Iowa, Dakota, Michigan and Ohio in pursuit of greater economic opportunities. The Great Migration played a major role in reviving of African American Islam; a culture that had been destroyed by slavery. There was a proliferation of mosques in 1930's and 1940's and by 1952; there were about one thousand mosques in North America. A new wave of Muslim immigrants came to the United States from 1952 to 1960's (Kidd 145). The new wave of Muslims was Muslims from Palestine, Iraq, Egypt, South East Asia, and Latin America. Studies have revealed that it was Muslims from South Asia who reached out to African American Muslims to revive Islamic faith among African Americans and define themselves as being separate from the dominant Christian culture. The Muslims from South Asia brought with them English translations of the Quran and gave them to African American Muslims. The Asian Americans taught the African American Muslims about five pillars of Islam and went to the extent of mainstreaming Sunni Islam teachings. Presently, there are over 1,400 mosques in the United States where Muslims worship. African American Muslims constitute about a third of the Muslim population in the United States. A third of American Muslims are of South Asian descent. Muslims of Arab descent constitute a quarter of American Muslims. Studies have revealed that there are between 3 to 6 million American Muslims. American Muslims are characterized as an important part of American society and democracy (Hassan 28).
Since September 11, 2001, attacks, prejudice against American Muslims has increased sharply with the American Muslims being considered terrorists. Given that the population of American Muslims is on the increase, there is also an increase in fear that there is likely to be an increase in terror attacks conducted by American Muslims. The fear is unwarranted since, in actuality, only a small percentage of American Muslims have been reported as having involved themselves in plotting terror. Also, the fear of terrorism is far out of proportion to the actual risk that terrorism poses. Muslims in America should not be considered terrorists. Muslims in America are just like other Americans of other faiths. It is wrong to generalize that all Muslims are terrorists. Most American Muslims are hardworking and honest individuals who would love to see their children have better future. A terrorist is a person who does not care about humanity; most American Muslims care about humanity. Islam is a religion that promotes peace, love, and brotherhood. I know many Muslims who are peace loving and detest violence. Many Muslims have been unfairly blamed for the actions of few radical Muslim terrorists. The majority of the terrorist attacks in the United States in the last twenty years have been conducted by non-Muslims. Studies have revealed that out of 300 deaths caused by mass shootings since September 11, 2001, only thirty-three of the killings have been committed by American Muslims (Michael 371). Few incidences of home- bred terror in the United States have been perpetrated by terrorist organization sympathizers. Although there are some Americans who are sympathizers of terrorist organizations, they are few to warrant all Muslims in the United States to be considered terrorists. Incidences of home-bred terror are sporadic, and most of the sympathizers subscribe to distorted Islamic ideologies that are not adhered to by the majority of the Muslim population in the United States. Only a small percentage of American Muslims have been associated with terror organizations; therefore, there is no justification of labeling all American Muslims as terrorists. It is wrong to generalize that all Muslims are terrorists. Can we, therefore, say that all Jews are terrorists? When was the last time you heard a terrorist being referred to us, as a Jewish terrorist?
The media has created an impression that all terrorists are Muslims, yet this is false. The media plays a major role in perpetuating the notion that all American Muslims are terrorists. The media should stop treating American Muslims with prejudice. In fact, it is only a very small percentage of American Muslims who have been reported as having partaken in terror activities. American Muslims who have nothing to do with terrorism have borne the brunt of being treated as terror suspects. Following incidents of terrorism perpetrated by Muslims, the mass media has been involved in amplifying the coverage of Muslims as terrorists, creating an unjustified hatred against American Muslims by Americans of other faiths. According to an FBI report released in 2006, Jewish Americans are more likely to perpetrate terrorist activities when compared to American Muslims. There are many terrorism attacks that have been committed by Jews. Jews have committed more than 400 acts of terrorism against Palestinian civilians. A 2006 FBI report revealed that 94% of all terror attacks in the United States were committed by individuals who are not Muslims. The media is biased in its reports of terror activities committed by non-Muslims; the media fails to report terror activities committed by non-Muslims with the same gusto that it uses in reporting terror activities committed by Muslims. Surprisingly, Buddhists in Burma have been involved in acts of terrorism against Muslims, yet the media has been less enthusiastic in revealing the religious affiliation of the perpetrators (Morgan and Poynting 46). The paper debunks the myth that all Muslims in America are terrorists and reveals significant contributions that Muslims have made in the American society.
Radical Islamic teachings
Muslims who are terrorists are individuals who subscribe to radical Islam teachings that argue everything western is ungodly.' Muslims who subscribe to radical Islamic teachings constitute a small percentage of the general Muslim population in the world. Radical Islam teachings are not prevalent in the United States, and therefore, it is immoral to consider every Muslim in America as a terrorist. Radical Islam teachings are prevalent in countries such as Iraq, Somalia, Syria, and Afghanistan where terrorist organizations have made a strong footing. It is worthy to mention that not all victims of terror orchestrated by Islamic terrorist organizations are non-Muslims. Muslims have also been victims of terrorist attacks conducted by radical Islamic terrorist organizations; this proves that not all Muslims are party to activities conducted by terrorist organizations.
IMPACT OF AMERICAN MUSLIMS IN AMERICAN SOCIETY
It is important to note that despite the generalized association of all Muslims with terrorism, Muslims in America have played and will continue to play important roles in the American society. American Muslims continue to work hard every day in different fields such as arts, medicine, engineering, politics, and academia. American Muslims continue to play important roles in making America a stronger and better nation. Contributions that Muslims have made in America are very important in affirming the right of all Americans to practice their faith within constraints of the law without interference from the government. American Muslims have made significant contributions to the American society. Muslims have been part of America from the very inception of the nation. Bampett Muhammad, a North African Arab was a Commander in Chief of General George Washington during America's fight for independence. When George Washington became America's first president, there are many Muslims who served in his army. American Muslims have played a major role in building the very fabric of the American people as well as strengthening democracy in the country. American Muslims have effectively held public positions and transformed lives of many Americans regardless of their faith. American Muslims are great businessmen, and they have created employment opportunities for Americans of different faiths. Given that American Muslims have made significant contributions to the American society, they deserve to be treated with the same respect and equality that Americans of other faiths are accorded.
Inventions made by American Muslims
American Muslims have made great inventions that have changed the course of American lives. Ayub Ommanya is a Pakistan-born American Muslim who invented the intraventricular catheter system in 1963; the system is used for delivery of drugs as well as for drawing of cerebrospinal fluid. The catheter is also used to grant chemotherapy for individuals with brain tumors at the site of the tumors. Ayub Ommanya went ahead to develop a coma score that is used in classifying of traumatic brain injuries. Without the invention made by Ayub Ommanya, a large number of people would have been dead or suffering from high levels of pain.
American Muslims have made significant contributions in engineering. Fazlur Rahman Khan, a Bangladeshi-born American citizen, pioneered a structural system where buildings are made out of frame tubes. The pioneering efforts made by Fazlur Rahman Khan have revolutionized how skyscrapers are built. The invention by Fazlur Rahman Khan has led to skyscrapers being built with less amount of steel.
Ernest Hamwi invented the ice cream cone in 1904 during a world fair in St. Louis. At the fair, Ernest Hamwi was selling a waffle like confection, also known as zalabia. He made the zalabia by rolling a waffle into a conical shape so that the waffle could contain the ice-cream. To this day, the ice-cream cone has become part and parcel of the American culture and society.
American Muslims in sports
American Muslims have made significant contributions in sports. Muhammad Ali, three times world boxing champion was a Muslim. Hakeem Olajuwon and Kareem Abdul-Jabbar are some of the other American Muslims who have made significant contributions in sports.
American Muslims in fighting social injustice
American Muslims have for a long time been involved in fighting social injustice. Malcolm X, a world-renowned fighter of social injustice was a Muslim. Malcolm X beseeched African Americans to free themselves from shackles of racism by using any means that they could, even if it meant resorting to violence. Malcolm X argued that use of violence in clamoring for one's rights should not be seen as violence, it should be viewed as self-defense. Malcolm X further argued that use of violence in clamoring for one's rights is intelligence. Presently, American Muslims are at the frontline in campaigns for civil rights and social justice. There are many Muslim-based organizations that are involved in encouraging protection of civil liberties in America. African American Muslims have played leading roles in broadening civil rights of all Muslims in America (Nimer 102).
American Muslims in Science
American Muslims have made significant contributions in science and technology. In 1999, Ahmed Zewail, an Egyptian-born scientist won the noble prize for Chemistry. Currently, Ahmed Zewail is known as the father of femtochemistry. Ahmed Zewail has done a lot of pioneering work with regard to observing rapid molecular transformations. Currently, Ahmed Zewail is a leading scientist in the United States, he is a professor, he has been involved in advisory boards in matters related to science and technology, and he has also been involved in the formulation of policies with regard to science and technology. Ahmed Zewail has also made significant contributions in being a voice of reason on political and social issues that affect the Arab world.
American Muslims have a substantial representation in the healthcare sector. Studies have revealed that there are about 20,000 Muslim physicians in America. An American Medical Association report reveals that Muslim physicians constitute about ten percent of all physicians in the United States. American Muslims have conducted significant biomedical research that has played major roles in improving health standards of all Americans (Grewal 36).
American Muslims in entertainment
American Muslims have made significant contributions to the entertainment industry. Aziz Ansari, a Muslim is one of the top comedians in America. Other American Muslims in comedy include Maz Jobrani, Said Durrah, and Aasif Mandvi.
American Muslims have made significant contributions in film and television. Some of the African Muslims who have made significant contributions in film and television include Aamir Khan, Sayed Badreya, Bassem Youssef and Moustapha Akkad.
Lupe Fiasco is a Muslim, award winning rap artiste known for his thought provoking and conscience lyrics. Fiasco has stayed true to his faith despite working in an industry that is full of people who engage in alcoholism, drug abuse and debaucheries. K'naan, a rapper of Somali descent has made a significant contribution to the United States entertainment industry (as a matter of fact, his song was the official song for the 2010 FIFA world cup).
American Muslims in the financial services industry
American Muslims have played significant roles in the banking and financial services industry. Mohamed A. El-Erian is one of the most successful leaders in the financial services industry. El-Erian is also an expert in matters that pertain to the global economy. El-Erian is credited for having played a major role in resolving the 2008 financial crisis. Islamic Financial industry is one of the most successful financial industries in the banking sector. Islamic finance industry has grown to an extent where its global assets are now estimated to be over $1.5 trillion. The Islamic Financial industry is the most successful faith-based finance system in the world (Livengood and Stodolska 202).
American Muslims in the media
American Muslims have made significant contributions to the media industry. Fareed Zakaria is one of the most popular Muslim media personalities. Zakaria was born in India to working class parents, but he received his university education in the United States.
American Muslims in academia
American Muslims have made significant contributions in the academia. There are many professors in American universities who subscribe to the Islam faith. As a matter of fact, some of the professors were born in countries such as Somalia and Afghanistan (countries well known for harboring terrorist organizations) (Nimer 25).
What American Muslims say about being considered terrorists?
American Muslims have responded to the prejudice being shown against them by engaging in an active political process of educating their neighbors about Islam. American Muslims intend to debunk the stereotype that has been widely circulated in the American society that claims all Muslims are terrorists. American Muslims are of the opinion that all Americans need to rise to the occasion and stand up to the injustice that is being meted against American Muslims in the government's quest to fight terrorism. The injustice is a threat to Islam as a religion, and it is also a threat to American values of inclusivity and respect of religious liberty (Mamdan 35). A large percentage of American Muslims believe that their religious leaders have done very little to demystify the notion that all American Muslims are terrorists. However, Muslim religious leaders have played major roles in denouncing extremism that is associated with terrorist activities. Most American Muslims are concerned about the problem of terrorism in the name of Islam, and they would love to see something done about it. American Muslims have played a major role in thwarting domestic terrorism schemes plotted by terrorism sympathizers in their country (Mamdan 54).
The Fiqh Council of North America is an organization made of Muslim leaders that have on many occasions affirmed that Islam is against terrorism. The organization's principle states that all acts of terrorism are forbidden in the Islamic faith. The second principle of the organization states that Muslims are forbidden to cooperate with individuals who are on a quest of perpetrating terrorism activities. The third principle of the organization states that Muslims have a responsibility of ensuring that they take a leading role in protecting lives of innocent people as well as ensuring that all American citizens are secured (Pyszczynski et al. 54).
American Muslim leaders support religious liberty and freedom of expression. The Muslim leaders are actively involved in encouraging all individuals to worship freely. Muslim leaders have also been involved in condemning threats and acts of violence that are directed to individuals on religious grounds. American Muslim leaders are also concerned by anti- Muslim sentiment that has widely spread in the United States. The leaders believe that offering of counter-Islamophobia resolutions will play a major role in addressing discriminatory laws that have been introduced in state legislatures as a way of combating the threat of terrorism (Hassan 132).
In conclusion, it is wrong and immoral for Muslims in America to be considered terrorists. Muslims have made significant contributions to the growth and betterment of the United States as a country. A very small percentage of American Muslims has been implicated in having involved themselves in activities associated with terrorism. It is, therefore, wrong to treat all American Muslims as guilty of terrorism until proven guilty. As a matter of fact, Jews have been involved in many acts of terrorism when compared to American Muslims. American Muslims should stop being treated with prejudice by the media; they should be allowed to practice their faith as stipulated in the American constitution.
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Kidd, Thomas S. American Christians and Islam: Evangelical Culture and Muslims from the Colonial Period to the Age of Terrorism. Princeton University Press, 2013. Print.
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Morgan, George, and Scott Poynting. Global Islamophobia: Muslims and Moral Panic in the West. London: Routledge, 2016.Print
Nimer, Mohamed. The North American Muslim Resource Guide: Muslim Community Life in the United States and Canada. Hoboken: Taylor and Francis, 2014:25. Print.
Pyszczynski, Thomas A, Jeff Greenberg, and Sheldon Solomon. In the Wake of 9/11: The Psychology of Terror. Washington, DC: American Psychological Association, 2008:54. Print.
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