In the Name of Allah - the Most Beneficent - the Most Merciful

Focus Group Social-Religious Issues:
Islam in the West


Islam is a fast growing religion all around the world, and that is no different in Europe and the United States where Muslims now outnumber many smaller Christian sects.  There are an estimated six million Muslims in the United States today, and many of them are mainstream Americans who participate fully in civic life.  The West (ie. Europe and N. America) tries to practice religious freedom in pluralistic societies that embraces many different religions, and so Islam will most likely come to play a similar role as Christianity and Judaism in the matrix of liberal democracy.  However, Islam in the West brings with it many images of terrorism from the Middle East and religious intolerance. Certain Muslims have in fact been found guilty of terrorist acts in the United States and Europe in the name of Middle Eastern "Islamicist" causes, but the vast majority of Muslims in the West are law abiding individuals.  

Questions to keep in mind:  How many Muslims are there living in the West?  How do Muslims in the West practice their religion in cultures not used to their religion?  How do Muslims feel being such a minority?  How do they feel about stereotypes of terrorists and fanatics?  How do they feel about their representation in the popular media?  How many Muslims in the West are fanatics or terrorists?  Do Muslims fully embrace citizenship in their Western countries?  Do those countries embrace their Islamic citizens?  How can Muslims feel more at home in the West?  How can Western governments make Muslims inside their countries feel more accepted?  What actions have the U.S. government made to make American Muslims feel more "listened to"? What values do Muslim and Western countries share?  Where are they different?  Approximately how many Iranians are there in Los Angeles?  Why do some Iranians call Los Angeles "Tehrangeles?"  Do Iranian-Americans feel allegiance to either country, or to both?  Is it possible to like Iran but disagree with the government there?  What lingering feeling do many Americans have towards Iran today? 

"Islam in America" from U.S. News World and Report.  Check out this article about the Egyptair tragedy as well as this one and be aware of how a Muslim and Western country look view the world differently.  This is also very informative link, as it this one -- and that one dealing with the historical background between Christians and Muslims.  Read these articles dealing with Islam vis-a-vis other major religions.

"Islam and the West: Is There a Clash of Cultures?", as well as this article on the secular vs. religious perspectives.  Also, look at Many World Orders, and calls for a reconciliation between Islamic and Western countries.  Finally, read this article about how supposedly the Muslim world is still dominated by the West.

Read this article about American Muslims and assimilation.  Also check out an Islamic school teaches students to adapt to life in the United States.  Read about a U.S. Muslim leader denies he's terrorist sympathizer and how Albright recently sought to reassure U.S. Muslims after terrorist threats.

This article about a recent U.S.-Iran soccer game gives a good background to how Iranians living outside of Iran deal with the current government and feel as Iranian-Americans. Read itCheck out the results, too!

The Islamic Extremist Threat to America, The Terrorist and the Superpower: Osama bin-Laden

Muslim taxi drivers, Islam Colors Followers Entire Lives, Future of religion in U.S. marked by diverse messages, participants, Politics, religion hard to separate despite Constitutional division, and Changing face of the black church in U.S.  

Theses are a couple excellent websites for Muslims in the United States: Muslim Public Affairs Council, and the American Moslem Foundation.  Check out the following Muslim-American organizations: American Muslims Intent on Learning and Activism (AMILA), American Muslims for Jerusalem, American Muslim Council, American Moslem Foundation, American Muslim Assistance (AMA), American Sufi Institute, Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR), Institute of Islamic Information and Education (III&E)American Muslims Intent on Learning and Activism (AMILA) -

NPR: ISLAM AND VIOLENCE, First Hour: Islam and Democracy,  Islam in Virginia, U.S. Response to Political Islam, Muslims in England, Muslims Open Univeristy in Europe, Living Islam.

Muslims and Loans -- Art Hughes of Minnesota Public Radio reports observant Muslims are forbidden from taking interest-bearing loans, which makes transactions such as buying a car or home difficult in the U.S. (4:00)