Islam: A Misunderstood Religion

Published: 18th April 2008
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Our finals exam for History 2 was a take home exam. One of the many questions asked was, "Explain why Islam is considered the "most misunderstood religion". What are some historical, sociological and cultural reasons that paved the way for a misunderstanding of the true nature of Islam among non-Muslims and even among Muslims? " And this was my answer:

Islam is considered to be the most misunderstood religion because most of the time it is being considered as a very violent religion and is likely "to encourage violence among its believers." As seen in newspapers and in the television, Islam is often on the front page due to the reasons for violence and crime. In our very own country and also in other parts of the world, when one is a Muslim and he or she did a crime, their religion is being emphasized. Even in my very own home, my parents and also I (until I took History 2) judge the Muslims very unfairly.

We all tend to generalize things without investigating or knowing more about the topic. For all we know, the Muslim criminals do not represent the entire Muslim community just like the Christian criminals do not represent the entire Christian community.

As what I've read, Islam is sometimes intentionally misrepresented. The greatest example would be the media. We all know that media is the greatest factor on how people view their surroundings. Somehow, criticizing the Islam brings them more readers/viewers. I guess it is because of our nature to put down people or we take comfort in knowing that there are much worse people than us that is why we indulge on such things.

The word Islam in itself means peace, so whoever depicts Muslims as trouble makers are just showing ignorance to the Muslim community. On the other hand, Muslim trouble makers should never consider themselves as Muslims because they are going against what their religion teaches. The Quran clearly states that anyone who commits murder when not in a state of self defense, is NOT a Muslim. It would be a shame to represent their whole community when in fact they don't follow the teachings and beliefs of their religion.

As what I've read, most of the "Muslim" criminals are probably just a bunch of people who hijack Islam into a violent way and distorted their ideology for personal and political gains. And this is what the world only caters on. We see the bad in them and refuse to see their efforts towards peacemaking which is very unjust. According to some of my sources, there is also a great misunderstanding not only by the non-Muslims but also Muslims themselves. It's more on the modern Muslims because today, the Muslim community has all kinds of beliefs and then there is this inconsistency between these beliefs and as a result, they fight with each other just to prove whether their belief is more Islamic over the other.

Islam: A Misunderstood Religion is from my personal blog.

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