Critical Thinking Question: What are Islam basic beliefs? What about values morals ethics of Middle East religion and the West? Benefits of critical thinking: good tools.
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Critical Thinking Question: What are Islam basic beliefs? Another question: how did I come to be thinking
Critical Thinking Question on Islam basic beliefs. Critical thinking question on values morals ethics.
WESTERN TOLERANCE and ISLAM
I think, the way other people are moved to dance, to sing, to write music. It isn't something I have to do, need to be pushed to do. It's something natural, fun, stimulating. And also, like those moved to dance, sing, write music, it's something that's taken a lot of learning and work.
But at the bottom of it, there's an inner drive toward thinking. Give me information and inside myself I start asking questions, mull over what I've heard, start trying to make sense of things, get caught on the things that don't make sense to me, get more information, do more thinking.
In this case I've been getting information on the Muslim religion for a long while. I spent some time in Egypt, some time in Turkey. More and more Muslims were moving to Montreal, my home city, building mosques, forming communities. Salman Rushdie wrote Satanic Verses and had to go into hiding, a price on his head. More and more suicide bombers were blowing themselves up, with as many bystanders as possible - often other Muslims. A few Muslims took over 4 jets, flew 2 of them into the World Trade Center buildings, one into a part of the Pentagon. The fourth crashed, thanks to passengers who overpowered the suicide terrorists. A Danish cartoonist published a cartoon of the Muslim prophet with his turban turned into a bomb. The Muslim world, what one could see of it anyway, exploded into offended outrage.
All this was happening alongside the rest of my very full life.
It's a life where, as I've said, thinking has played a big role - along with all kinds of creativity - and along with teaching, a personal life, and so on and so forth.
I read a few books, along the way, about the development of Islam, and comparing Islam to the Western world.
At some point, my own perspective came together enough that I wanted to express it - especially as I didn't see my viewpoint widely mirrored.
This is the usual route for me. If others are saying what I'd like to be saying, I haven't felt the need to join the chorus, or even add my voice as a variation. (I may do this more in teaching - but not when it comes to writing.)
Writing. When I've met mainly silence on a subject, or almost nothing expressing my viewpoint, I've been impelled from inside to explore and write, including about possible reasons for why there has been silence.
I did this, starting almost 2 decades ago, around the impact of social movements - feminism, race rights, gay and lesbian rights, the rights of the physically disabled/challenged. There was a lot out on how people were hurt because of discrimination against women, people of color, non-heterosexuals, etc. There was nothing that I could find on the impact of getting involved in a rights movement if one was a member of that group. In other words, what did it likely do to a woman to get strongly involved in feminism, someone non-white to get involved in race rights, etc.?
I did long interviews. Amazing stuff.
Another time, starting a few years later - for what became my doctoral thesis - I got hooked on something else I could find little information on: the impact of fear of violence. There was a lot out on the impact of rape, battering, incest. But what was the impact of fear of such violence? - like what's the impact of second hand smoke?
This time around, over the past couple of years, I found myself looking at a religion gaining ground in the world, slightly by conversion, much more by emigration - a religion where many parts are against many of my values: equal rights for women and men, for people of all sexual orientations, strong empathy for animals (Muslims have animal sacrifice). Instead of valuing freedom of expression, many Muslim countries have repressive governments. Even in the West, there are threats by some Muslims against people who have spoken critically of the Muslim religion. Further, in the West, some Muslims have asked to be governed, even within the country's legal system, by their religious law, sharia. In Canada there have been legal attempts at this.
Still, all that was flowing by, at the edge of my attention, until something snagged my attention enough to get me to write.
The trigger event: the huge Muslim protests against the Danish cartoon.
One piece followed the other.
I don't know how right I am. I do know the West needs to do much more exploring of this religion, the many branches.
This is my exploration.
I have, over the same time period, done much else, including other exploring - on animal rights, gambling, an American president, my internal moral voice. I've also thought a lot about how Islam uses fear to block exploration - fear, and charges of Islamophobia.
For more on Islamophobia, click here.
For an overview of my exploration of the West and Islam, click here.
For all the articles, both on Islam and a major weakness of the West, click here.
Welcome to the ongoing exploration.
I wish you good thinking.
copyright Elsa Schieder, 2008, 2011, all rights reserved
Critical Thinking Question: What are Islam basic beliefs?