Monday, April 21, 2008

Misinformation about Islam in the West

Article by Dr. Khalid Tawfik

The repeated anti-Islam campaigns in the West makes one pause and reflect on the reasons for such campaigns. After a careful reading on many sources about Islam, I discovered a lot of misinformation about Islam, some of this information is really shocking and totally unbelievable. In this article, I shall discuss some of this misinformation trying to draw Muslims' attention to correct such distorted facts about Islam or about Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him).

¤ Muhammedanism: Until recently, a lot of people in the West believed that Muslims, God forbid, worship Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him), and this is why they used to refer to Islam as Muhammedanism.

¤ Turkish Religion; Also people in the West used to refer to Islam as Turkish Religion (you will find examples in William Shakespeare's Othello and in the introduction to the first English translation of the Qur'an produced by Alexander Ross in 1649). Some of the people who belonged to the Ottoman Empire ill-treated the Europeans who associated the religion of those people with violence and ill-treatment and this is why they referred to Islam as the Turkish Religion.

¤ During my visits to the USA and European countries, I came to discover that many people living there believed that the Holy Qur'an was written by Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him), especially that they read and gain such information or misinformation from some of the books written by some biased orientalists.

¤ Many of the people in the West believe that all Muslims should marry four women, that is, it is a religious obligation that they should do that!

¤ Most of the people in the West misunderstand the real meaning of Jihad: they think that Jihad means that all Muslims should wage war against whoever does not embrace Islam.

¤ The most shocking piece of information that I read is that Abu Lahab, the Prophet's polytheist uncle, who remained a disbeliever till his death and was a staunch enemy of the Noble Prophet (peace be upon him) is the one who lead the Prophet (peace be upon him) to monotheism and the Prophet (peace be upon him) was ungrateful to his uncle who guided him!!

¤ A lot of people in the West believed that Islam was spread by the sword, i.e. through fighting and war. They ignore the fact that most of the Muslims live in India, Pakistan, Bangladesh and Indonesia (countries located far away from the Arabian Peninsula where most of the wars between Muslims and disbelievers took place).

After this brief survey of some of this prevalent misinformation, I feel it is our duty as Muslims to work vigorously to correct this distorted information.

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