General Question

eupatorium's avatar

How does the general (American) public view Islam as a religion?

Asked by eupatorium (338points) February 25th, 2009
Observing members: 0 Composing members: 0

20 Answers

adreamofautumn's avatar

To be completely honest…I think the general public is mostly either a. misinformed, b. apathetic or c. both of the above.

Vinifera7's avatar

I don’t know how the general public views Islam, but I think that it’s as bad as Christianity. Possibly worse, since nothing in Christianity directly promotes hatred of people outside of the religion, like Islam does.

cak's avatar

I believe there is a lot of misinformation. People that I’ve talked to – really don’t understand the religion, but then again, they don’t care to learn, either.

eupatorium's avatar

@Vinifera7, I’m curious to know how much you know about Islam.

Vinifera7's avatar

Enough to know that it’s crap.

tinyfaery's avatar

Who’s the general public? Since I’m American and part of the public, I’ll just tell you how I view it. I think of Islam like I do pretty much any other religion. I don’t understand it and I cannot subscribe to it, but I have no problem if anyone else wants to believe. However, someone’s right to believe should not infringe upon my right not to believe, nor should the laws and dogma of said religion pertain to me, a non-believer.

Most of the people I know are non-religious, and as such no one really cares. The only people I really know that are religious are my parents, and I’m pretty sure they think any non-Christian is damned.

kevbo's avatar

Islam the religion is like most other religions, in that most people who practice it are basically good people who are trying to live a moral life. I think the moral codes of Islam are, generally speaking, a little more pronounced and outwardly expressed than other religions and perhaps Muslims are a little more isolationist in terms of communities of Muslims limiting their association primarily to other Muslims (although you could say the same about a lot of Christians).

There’s also some radicalism, of course, and I believe it’s used primarily for political control in countries where radical elements are in power. Then there’s the perversion of the religion that is used to foment hate and fear so that we begin to hate and fear each other. In terms of Islamic-based terrorism, though, I pretty much think the western world encourages it (if not wholly propagates it) to create a fake War on Terror for the purpose of eroding human rights and consolidating power.

Jayne's avatar

I think that a large problem is that many don’t view it as a religion at all. Instead, a significant portion of the population appears to consider Islam as simply an opposing force, which extends far beyond beliefs to morality and way of life. Of course, there are cultural differences legitimately associated with Islam, but some people seem to equate the two, instead of recognizing that Islam, like any religion, can be used to serve any master. When people assume that Islam is an absolute way of life, they begin to see all Muslims as a homogeneous mass, and where they take issue with one group, they become an enemy of all.

kevbo's avatar

Also… here’s what one segment of Amurika thinks which to me is disgusting and frightening. I would bet money that the “former terrorist” is CIA.

eupatorium's avatar

@Jayne, I would argue most religions, including Islam, are complete “ways of life”, and there is nothing wrong with that; self-betterment, love, submission to God are expected to be ever-present in the minds of believers. I do think, however, that Islam and Muslims have become what Communism and Communists were during the cold war. There can be no control without fear.

eupatorium's avatar

Wait. Can you answer your own question? :/

kevbo's avatar

@eupatorium, It’s bad form if you’re asking the question to tell people what the answer is, but you’re just contributing your opinion, which is A-OK.

Jayne's avatar

@eupatorium, that is true; I am referring to the idea that Islam dictates everything about a person’s life and personality to the point that to say that one is Muslim is to describe everything important about that person. In reality, the difference between a fundamentalist Islamist and the average Muslim living in the UAE is vast, even though both might take their religion to be the central pillar of their existence. Islam is a faith, and its fundamental teachings may be universal to Muslims, but the application of those principals to a person’s way of living varies widely between cultures.

wundayatta's avatar

The general public views Islam as a strange game like soccer. It has strange rules, and strange uniforms, and they don’t know anyone who plays it, and they wonder why anyone would play it? They’re furriners, of course, and therefor unAmerican, and you wouldn’t eat at their restaurants, or want them as neighbors, in case they bomb your house.

Oh hell! I don’t know. Is that the answer you want? Take it. It’s all silliness and guesswork, anyway.

artificialard's avatar

American as in ‘western world’ or actually citizens of the USA? I’ll defer as I’m Canadian.

LKidKyle1985's avatar

Yeah, I think there are a few types of people. there are people who are either misinformed or uninformed. These are the people who associate Islam with anti American. And then there are people who actually know what Muslims are about and they realize that like all people they are as good and bad as anyone else in this world. And then the last one are people who are religious, they may or may not know about Islam but it doesn’t matter because they think they are all going to hell for practicing another religion and want nothing to do with them except maybe convert them.

Maverick's avatar

Christianity and Islam are both branches of the same f*cked-up religious tree. Dogma of any kind and a population unwilling to think for themselves are the real problems.

But then I’m not American, so I seem to be excluded from this conversation

answerjill's avatar

I consider Islam to be like a brother or a cousin to Judaism. We’re both Abrahamic religions. One brother in the family tree branched off one way and the other brother branched off that way. I have Muslim friends and I am always impressed by how much our faiths have in common.

steelmarket's avatar

I think that a lot of Americans are beginning to see Allah as a god of anger.

russellsouza's avatar

I grew up in Saudi Arabia, was born and raised there till I was 15. I’m not Muslim, was born an American citizen and lived in an American/international community near Aramco. All I can say is that the first time I ever met a Jewish person was when I moved to the States at age 15. Not only where Jews not allowed to enter Saudi Arabia, but anyone who had a passport stamp indicating that they had ever been to Israel was permanently barred. The muttawas, or religious police, were a constant ominous presence anytime we ventured outside the camp. That being said, it was all I knew at that time and I loved it there. As someone who knows enough about how religion rules that country I can say that it imposes a stranglehold unlike anything I’ve ever seen. While in India a few weeks ago, I saw a mosque, a Hindu temple, a church and a synagogue all within a single mile, all co-existing peacefully and with mutual respect. I don’t think that the problem of terrorism is with Islam; the problem is with politicians and governments that use it as a front for control over the population, and who read its tenets through a lens of hate as opposed to genuine devotion.

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