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RichardGarfinkle
06-14-2016, 05:50 PM
This thread was sparked by a column on the Huffington Post written by an Imam at Howard University dealing with LGBTQ muslims on campus. He discusses a number of issues (http://new.www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/the-gay-muslim-elephant-in-the-room_us_575e0c4de4b0b6c49600f895?ir=Queer+Voices&s ection=us_queer-voices&utm_hp_ref=queer-voices), two in particular stood out.


1. Muslim day-schools need to stop inadvertently highlighting so many historical Islamic battles and Muslim warriors in grade school Islamic pedagogy.
Stop teaching timelines in which, “Muslims fought this group and this warrior defeated this man” etc. etc.
If students are taught like this, we’re inadvertently creating a narrative that justifies violence. You have to create new books in which banking war-dates is out the window and implementing intellectual rigor and emotional engagement from students takes precedence instead.
Students should not only be learning about different religions but also different lifestyles with an emphasis on a non-theological approach. They need to know how the real world works and not have a narrow 7th century middle eastern interpretation of faith imposed on them. If you need help in developing a better approach, go to imamtaymullah.com and I will assist you in creating new strategies.
2. Imams and sermon-givers stop preaching that Muhammad was a one dimensional macho warrior always with sword in hand.
Muhammad was first and foremost a grandson, a husband, a father, a statesman and a good neighbor and friend to Jews and Christians alike. He was assaulted and persecuted for his belief in monotheism and looked for help from Christian nations and sought advice from Jews. Five hundred years later, the Muslims reciprocated this fellowship during periods of religious unrest when Jews and Christians needed protection.



People talk about what a religion teaches, often focusing on holy books and history. But there is, of course, a broad range of events and actions within those books and histories. Each teacher and each school / church / mosque / synagogue etc will likely focus on particular aspects. As a result those who have been brought up in a particular tradition will have a view of the entire religion created by the lens of that tradition.

These lenses are hidden in the sectarian arguments both inside and outside of each religion. Because they are what people are looking through, most people don't even notice they are there. The views created are treated as unchangeable facts, not the results of particular perspective. Worse still, the people who are most firmly attached to a particular lens are the ones who usually speak loudest and most confidently about what their religion must mean. As a result those who are opposed to the religion are most likely to share in the lenses of the most firmly entrenched.

If this imam's view is accurate, the image of Islam as primarily a religion of the sword is at least as much the result of bad early childhood education as it is of any serious theology. A similar case could be made for Creationism in Christianity being sustained by teaching children the story of the Garden of Eden and of Noah's Ark (two very popular biblical kids stories).

Siri Kirpal
06-14-2016, 08:09 PM
Sat Nam! (literally "Truth Name"--a Sikh greeting)

Adam and Eve and Noah's Ark are in the Bible, but my understanding (haven't read the Koran in its entirety) is that the battles aren't in the Koran.

On the other hand, it's easy enough to take Creation stories as metaphors for the larger reality of Creation itself. Not so the battles.

So, I'm not seeing much connection between the two in the way you're referencing. There's a lot more to Islam that could be the subject of classes without emphasizing battles. And Christianity is often taught without creationism thrown in.

Blessings,

Siri Kirpal

RichardGarfinkle
06-14-2016, 08:29 PM
Sat Nam! (literally "Truth Name"--a Sikh greeting)

Adam and Eve and Noah's Ark are in the Bible, but my understanding (haven't read the Koran in its entirety) is that the battles aren't in the Koran.

On the other hand, it's easy enough to take Creation stories as metaphors for the larger reality of Creation itself. Not so the battles.

So, I'm not seeing much connection between the two in the way you're referencing. There's a lot more to Islam that could be the subject of classes without emphasizing battles. And Christianity is often taught without creationism thrown in.

Blessings,

Siri Kirpal

Perhaps I was unclear. My point was that the way the basics of a religion are taught to children can create lasting perspectives regardless of how important or unimportant those teachings are to the purposes of the religion. Children's stories from the Bible rarely touch on the important ideas in Judiasm or Christianity. Similarly, according to the imam quoted above, the battle history and warrior ideals taught to many Muslim children are not really important in Islam.

But someone taught those as a child may have an intrained sense that these are what the religions are about.

Siri Kirpal
06-15-2016, 01:21 AM
Sat Nam! (Literally "Truth Name"--a Sikh greeting)

I'd guess that would be true no matter what the subject was. Take the way "World History" as taught in the US of A (at least when I was young) rarely includes Asia, Africa or South America...and what conclusions that can lead to.

Blessings,

Siri Kirpal

RichardGarfinkle
06-15-2016, 02:48 AM
Sat Nam! (Literally "Truth Name"--a Sikh greeting)

I'd guess that would be true no matter what the subject was. Take the way "World History" as taught in the US of A (at least when I was young) rarely includes Asia, Africa or South America...and what conclusions that can lead to.

Blessings,

Siri Kirpal

Quite true, but in most cases it's easier to expand a knowledge of history than an entrenched theology.

R.Barrows
06-15-2016, 03:03 AM
I'm a proponent of teaching multiple religions. I believe it provides perspective. I'm not particular to any one choice, so let people decide for themselves. To me, all religions are constructs of humanity, and teaching the beliefs of all human religions illustrates that obvious fact far more than anything else could possibly convey. Let children learn and know and decide on their own. I do not disparage religion or discourage it, nor do I promote it in any way. This is social evolution. Let those who need it take of it. Let those who wish to walk away walk their own path.

Before the religions we have today existed, there were others. And after today's religions fade, there will be new beliefs. What concern of it is mine, the evolution of mankind's imagined spirituality? I only ask that they leave me to my own beliefs. Let all, let any, choose their beliefs and faith in things they cannot perceive. Let all believe their own version of what can never be proven. For each of us, what is real is. For each of us, reality is relative. And so it will ever be.

frimble3
06-15-2016, 06:15 AM
If this imam's view is accurate, the image of Islam as primarily a religion of the sword is at least as much the result of bad early childhood education as it is of any serious theology. A similar case could be made for Creationism in Christianity being sustained by teaching children the story of the Garden of Eden and of Noah's Ark (two very popular biblical kids stories).
Or, a parallel could be made to teaching the Bible primarily through the various warlike stories in the Old Testament. Joshua at Jericho, David and the Philistines, Israelites versus various neighbours. You could certain influence children in the belief that relations between nations/religions are chiefly acrimonious, and that if you are right with the 'right' god, you will win.