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30 June 2006

the dictionary of islam

let me start by saying, i'm an ignorant american. my ignorance has decreased a bit since i travel for work, but there are still things i'm completely in the dark about. certain regions' politics, governmental uprisings, proper ways to nod your head, stuff like that. i just don't pay attention a lot of times, and, being american, often times i really don't have to. this has changed in recent years, possibly more poignantly under recent presidential leadership, as many places in the world REALLY DISLIKE americans. we are infidels, we are oppressors, etc. i am an infidel to MOST religions as i'm an atheist, so there's no hope for me there. oppressors... that i don't know about because, again, i'm ignorant. if there are black ops, i'm not supposed to know about it, and i have better things to do than dig to find it. i'll let the conspiracy theorists do that.

this all leads up to my impressions of islam. i'm not intending to offend, only give my impression on it. let's start simple; a muslim practices islam. when i think of muslims/islam i think of arabs, and i think of blacks. in the case of the arabs, i envision the long white robes, hood thing they wear with the weighted strap on top holding it on. dark skin and facial hair, at least a mustache. when i think of the black muslims, i think of kufis and long shirts all colored red, yellow, and green. in both cases, i think of people named (or renamed) mohammed, ahmed, kareem, allah, and last names that start with "al-". granted, my exposure to islam is limited to news reports and various television characters (like minister kareem said from HBO's 'OZ'). i've only recently met my first muslim a little over a week ago, as our excitation TA is a muslim born in india. i'm keeping my mind open and willing to learn, but i have certain stereotypes from which to build and modify to obtain a more accurate representation of the islam faith.

still, this is getting way too serious. the reason i wanted to start this post is something i found in the paper the other day. there are several different papers here. i've posted from 'the hindu', but this once comes from one we get a bit less frequently, 'the deccan chronicle'. they have a section called 'dictionary of islam' that gives you a new islam term to learn everyday. i've described above my perception, what i envision, what comes to mind, when i think of islam. if it's wrong or biased or misrepresentative, then i apologize, but i've not been exposed to it so i'm working on it. that being said, i still think that there would have to be a better author for a dictionary of islam than this guy (the book reference is at the bottom of entry in the photo). thomas patrick hughes?!?! didn't he play doogie howser M.D.? or is that stiffler from 'american pie'? i'm pretty sure neither of those guys are muslims.

that's what i was trying to say.


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