Questions and Answers > Practices of Muslims > General Questions

Are Muslims isolated in Western society?

Muslims struggle to the paths of modernization and development that comes from Western society, based on Christianity. They are afraid to lose their religion and their soul. On the other side there is the attractivity of political, economical, educational and social benefits of Western society. What are the possibilities for a Muslim to adapt to Western society?

1. Some Islamic guidelines are against human rights

Overwhelming majority of Muslims are peaceful people, however a minority give direct support to react to modernism in Western society by violent actions. The take on new identities as martyrs on behalf of a false spiritual cause. The enter in a kind of trance with as worldview a divided world between good and evil, victim and opressor. They believe that the Supreme Being is on their side and they are convinced to protect the population [1]. There is foundation in Islam for this behavior through the House of Islam (dar-al-islam) and the House of War (dar-al-harb) [2]. There is an area with pure Islam and the rest of the world. Overwhelming majority of Muslims is afraid to refute the radical Muslims, because their motivation comes from the Qur"an.

2. Bad image of Islam in Western society

There is much anti-Muslim sentiment in Western society. The terrorist attacks to the World Trade Center in New York and Pentagon in Washington D.C. of September 11, 2001 feeded a more worse image of Muslims. In later decades, because of terrorist attacks and ISIS, the bad reputation of Islam to Western people increaded. A significant number of people in North America do not respect Muslims: 52% in the U.S. and 48% in Canada. In Europe there are less people who do not respect Muslims: 38% in UK and 34% in Germany [3]. U.S. government has identified more than 160 American terrorist suspects and perpetrators from Muslim in the period 2000-2010.

3. Avoiding contact with Western society

It is difficult for Muslims to adapt to the fact that Islamic customs or tastes of their original cultures don’t get respect from Western people, because they are against human rights: alcohol and pig meat are free available, banks are asking bank interest (Riba) and people are using food and drinks during Ramadan. The reaction of many Muslims after migration to a Western country is isolation by avoiding contract with others [4]. It became kind of safety mechanism for self-protection against an unknown and unwanted Western culture with soap films, alcohol, drugs, prostitution and pornography. However the Western Muslim had to admit that the Islamic culture had no answer to the prosperity of Western culture, such as higher quality of life, higher income and fundamental human rights. No Muslim state is able to offer this. Muslim countries are everywhere underdeveloped compared to relative to Western countries, who have their roots in Christianity [5].

4. Identity crisis

Western people have lost their soul in modern society to technomania. Their soul find its way back to God with Christian fundamentalism and born-again Christianity. In Islam, Muslims are still finding their way how to deal with modern society. For most Muslims in Western the question about having a national or religious identity is still unanswered. The doubts can have two ways out. First way is a search back to the religious roots, ending in Islamic fundamentalism. The other way out is to adapt to the moral values of our world [6]. The dream of the Islamic fundamentalists is to have a restoration of the Golden Age of Islam (786-1258 AD) with a just and wise leader in a perfect social and political society. The attractivity has been demonstrated by the ISIS territory in Syria and Iraq (2014-2019). The alternative of a Muslim in a Western country is to adapt and find a way of life with peace in the own mind, peace with other people and peace with God. The problem how to get guidelines in life to overcome the identity crisis and to find the Straight Path (Qur"an 1:6) is to go back to resources and beliefs before Islam. The Qur"an provides a way to search for such resources and beliefs: "If you (Mohammed) doubt what we have revealed to you ask those that have read the Scriptures before you" (Qur’an 10:94).

5. Conclusion

Modernization of our society divides Muslims. Most Muslims are on the way to become secular, others find the way to born-again Christianity or radical Islam. Muslims in Western culture are in an identity crisis, like Muhammad had in Mecca. He went to Medina to find more comfort in life. In the same way, a Muslim has the opportunity of a better life. But true human life is not about comfort, but to save the soul for eternal life. To save the soul implies worshiping God. The Supreme Being is not worshiped by suicide actions against mankind, but in support to his creation as Jesus the Messiah preached (Matthew 5:4-14).

Notes

1. Jessica Stern, Terror in the name of God, HarperCollins, New York, 2003, 282
2. Almut Hoffert, Armando Salvatore (ed), Between Europe and Islam, Shaping Modernity in a Transcultural Space, P.I.E.-Peter LangBrussels, 2000, 20
3. Gallup, Islamophobia: Understanding Anti-Muslim Sentiment in the West, https://news.gallup.com/poll/157082/islamophobia-understanding-anti-muslim-sentiment-west.aspx
4. Tariq Ramadan, Western Muslims and the Future of Islam, Oxford University Press, 2003
5. Ozay Mehmet, Islamic identity and development, Studies of the Islamic Periphery, Routledge, London, 1990, 32
6. Ibid, 9