To begin with, I did not know much about Islam except for all of the negative comments and preconceived ideas that people have here in the United States. So, to spend a whole lecture learning about Islam was very enlightening. What surprised me the most is the many similarities that Islam and Christianity share. The origin story seems to be the same which is also striking. This is surprising to me because with a lack of knowledge (previously), people’s comments made me wonder what Islam was really like. I often found myself thinking that it really must be different from Christianity if so many people have something to say about it. Now it makes me wonder if people are really just lacking in knowledge about Islam. Another thing that surprised me about Islam is how the religion ties into the culture. The conflict that many people struggle with is the gender inequality in countries like Morocco. Time and time again, I’ve been hearing about Fatima Mernissi’s Dreams of Trespass, and it suddenly all made more sense. Fatima’s mother reveals the problem with following just one interpretation of the Qur’an. Learning more about Islam had me questioning if all religion’s follow only one interpretation — a man’s interpretation. Now, I’m starting to see a connection with the way we view/practice religion, society, and the way we treat each other. Dreams of Trespass is a great example of all of these things coming together. It’s still so shocking to me, however, that there are so many negative comments/ideas being spread when it seems like people don’t know much about Islam. The way muslims practice Islam is very similar to how my family practices Catholicism. Sure there are differences, but many of the beliefs are similar. For example, in Islam children are taught from a very young age the way of Islam. This is similar to my upbringing as a Catholic. My mom is a Catechist so I learned how to pray at a very young age and went to Catholic school once a week from kindergarten to the beginning of high school. It always amazes me how similar people, or their upbringings, can be even from across the world. The main thing that continues to shock me is the similarities between Islam and Christianity/Catholicism even with all the negative comments that I hear. The connection between religion, society, and ethics and values is also something that continues to shock me.
P.S. here’s a video I came across on Facebook that I think more people should see.