Farrakhan’s Choice: Militancy or Moderation 4

However, I predict that the NOI is not going to grow but probably shrink if its message remains unchanged. The message is based on a revolutionary fervor, a need to turn one’s back defi¬antly against the system. But the time for that fervor has ended. We no longer have Jim Crow laws, and African-Americans hold prominent positions in society. The ... Read More »

Farrakhan’s Choice: Militancy or Moderation 3

But American Muslims are so excited about a reunion of the two sides that no one has stopped to ask if Farrakhan really is ending Farrakhanism. The differences that caused the original split, about Islamic theology, have not been totally resolved. Another not well-known truth is that NOI’s radical messages cloud their positive deeds that benefit all of society. You ... Read More »

Farrakhan’s Choice: Militancy or Moderation 2

There is a lot more to NOI than the controversy over its rhet¬oric. The connection between Islam and African-Americans is, at first blush, a curious one: why were these black men and women attracted to Islam and Elijah Muhammad? What was it about Islam, this religion perceived to be exotic and Eastern, that appealed so much to so many African-Americans ... Read More »

Farrakhan’s Choice: Militancy or Moderation

On my first day of ninth grade at boarding school, I was thrilled to see two more Islamic names on our class list: Ghani Salahuddin Raines and Umbreen Khalidi. I actu¬ally knew Umbreen from outside of school, but I was excited at the thought of meeting a Muslim I didn’t know who wasn’t a family friend or also attending a ... Read More »

Jesus and Jihad 5

CLOSE-UP The Meaning of the Five Pillars of Islam Islam’s basic beliefs are captured in what is called “The Five Pillars of Islam.” They are almost like the sacraments in Christianity in that they capture the important aspects of the faith in a neat and concise way. Each pillar stands for a major tenet of Islam; the term Five Pillars ... Read More »

Jesus and Jihad 4

As a result, I believe American Islam is a purer form of Islam than is practiced in some Islamic countries, because of the absence of cultural amplifications. If anything, American culture has influenced American Muslims to be better Muslims. For instance, following the example of American Christian and Jewish congre¬gations that use their facilities as community centers, American Muslims also ... Read More »

Jesus and Jihad 3

Nevertheless, God loved Jesus very much, so much so that he refused to let him die a gruesome death on the cross. Again, we are all very familiar with the Crucifixion story of the New Testament. Though as a Muslim I do not believe in that story, I am moved by it and can see how so many people feel ... Read More »

Jesus and Jihad 2

Many people, nevertheless, refer to Islam as an Eastern reli¬gion. It is true that there are many Muslims who live in what we call the “East.” However, Eastern religions (meaning non-Western ones) are actually religions or belief systems, more accurately, that are not monotheistic. Hinduism, for example, is an Eastern religion because it emphasizes belief in many gods and is ... Read More »

Jesus and Jihad

Muslims of different countries bring local culture to reli¬gious teachings, nearly creating their own branch of Islam. The essence of Islam is captured in the Qur’an, but the interpretation of the Qur’an is influenced by two things: native culture and a country’s Islamic scholars, called the ulema. You might think native culture would not be so influen¬tial as to cause ... Read More »

The American Muslim 8

CLOSE-UP We’ve Come a Long Way, Baby American Muslims have undoubtedly come a long way, from obscurity and insecurity to an acknowledged presence on the American landscape. Like other large American communities, we are spread out all over the country. The largest concentration of American Muslims (about one million) lives in California, and constitutes a whopping 25 percent of the ... Read More »