In the summer of 2000, I had the opportunity to take the trip of a lifetime with some of our leaders from Mosaic. We traveled to Cairo, Beirut, Istanbul, Damascus, as well as a few other places near these cities. We were impressed with our friends who were serving in these areas and fell in love with the people in those regions.
Even after the terrorists attacks of September 11th, 2001, I knew that this was not a war between Islam and the West. I had too many Muslim friends in the Middle East and in the USA that proved differently.
I think we all know that, but it has been sad to see the response of some well-meaning people to stereotype all 1 billion Muslims based on the actions of a very, very small yet dangerous minority group of extremists.
This past week I heard a story on ESPN about the high school football team that practices from 11pm to 4am during the Muslim holiday of Ramadan. The parents of Muslim students and non-Muslim students have all been supportive of the decision. Read the full story here.
During the story, they mentioned one of the players is related to Miss USA who was crowned in May. She is the first Arab-American Miss USA in history. Obviously, to participate in the Miss USA pageant, she represents a more moderate version of Islam. Rather than a burka, Rima Fakih feels more comfortable in a bikini. Even this week she spoke out against building a mosque so close to Ground Zero in NYC.
I can see her point that the center shouldn’t be so close, but I also heard that the imam spearheading the center wants to help Americanize Islam.
Most of us realize that not all Muslims are extremists, but for those who start to feel that way, at least these two stories offer a differing viewpoint. You almost cannot get more American than high school football and Miss USA. 🙂
For more posts on this topic, check out:
How far should we go to allow religious freedom in our country?
Should we allow for an Islamic Center so close to Ground Zero in NYC?
How can we allow for both diversity and integration?