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Comparison of Lorraine Adam’s “Being a Muslim in America” and Sheler Jeffery’s ‘Muslim in America’ Essay

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Updated: May 14th, 2020

Introduction

America has had fair share of challenges pertaining to how minority groups are treated. This has run throughout the history of modern America dating back to the 1850’s when Irish and German Catholics were vilified by underground movements that openly opposed their coming to America. Italians who came visiting in 1890 were neither spared.

They were subjected to the most inhuman treatments that included lynching. The Jews were subjected to harrowing treatments at the beginning of the 20th Century in the hands of Klansmen and other anti Jew personalities that included Henry Ford and his ilk.

In modern history and currently, the people who have born the brunt of discrimination perhaps because of the religion they subscribe to are the Muslims. Their predicaments soured after the infamous September 11th terrorist attack in the United States that claimed lives of many innocent people. The more than 2.6 million Muslims living in the US have faced severe hostility.

It is for fact that those who perpetrated terrorist attack at the World Trade Center were Muslims and that people who subscribe to faiths that encourage extremism have to be treated with a lot of caution, but branding all Muslims as fundamental Islamists whose source of joy is to claim life under pretence of assured eternal peace is a wrong precedence. Many Muslims have unfairly borne the burden of prejudice that is wrongly apportioned to them.

That Muslims are resilient is in fact evidenced by the number of them who still chose to come to America despite of the fact that they are wrongly treated. Their numbers have kept plummeting as evidenced by studies that show that the number of Muslims that were granted permanent resident visas increased from 66, 000 at the beginning of the 21st Century to 115, 000 in 2009. A fundamental question to be asked is ‘Why do they keep coming to the United States where they receive hostile treatment?’

The articles critique will first endeavor to give an outline or summary of the whole articles after comprehensive reading of the articles. A critical thought about the articles will be entertained where questions relating to the audience the articles are addressing will be asked, the purpose for which the authors decided to write the article, and whether the authors did manage to achieve this purpose. Of importance will be focus on what the articles similarly do and what they do differently.

Summary of Lorraine Adams Work

Muslims who migrate to America are a minority group comprising only 0.8 per cent of the entire American population. As evidenced by story narrated by Sharif Zaheer, after the September 11thincident, many Muslim children who went to school all over the United States were subjected to very harsh treatments by their fellow students including being called Osama Bin Laden.

American citizens who come from non-friendly nations like Iran have to undergo what somebody would call economic sabotage. The services and goods they sell do not find easy way to the market where they are treated with a lot of suspicion. Some Muslims are arbitrarily arrested and dragged through protracted police investigations. Studies also point out that hard working Muslim Americans are rewarded by American government. These category of people attests that they have never been subjected to discrimination.

Studies also indicate that Muslim women are treated well in America than in their native countries. Adams supposes that such category of people should be given a hearing instead taking radical position by anti-sharia movements and the ilk (Adams, 2011).

Summary of Sheler Jeffery’s ‘Muslim in America’

Jeffery (2011) reports having seen a handful of men saying their prayers facing Mecca in West Warren Avenue, Michigan. They bow, sit, and prostrate in turns on colourful rags. The men are reciting their salat, a prayer that has been there for more than 1400 years.

A group of women with covered faces is also reciting their prayers in a separate compartment. These faithful trace their decent from Iran that they still want to connect with. The purpose of reciting their prayers according the Imam is to thank God because they have managed to come to America. The faithful are however still homesick and constantly think about their kinsmen whom they think are still suffering.

Prayers are also conducted in Ohio cornfields 68 miles away by the upper middle class who come from 20 different countries with the majority of them being American citizens and others second or third generation Americans. An outstanding contrast is that few of the women in these gathering hardly cover their heads outside the prayer hall. However, the women and men are still separated by a partition.

These are progressive Muslims who are very much comfortable in America. Islam in America is very diverse characterized by modern Islamic center of greater Toledo and Karbala Islamic Education. Islam is the fastest growing faith in America evidenced by the number of faithful that have doubled from a decade ago.

Despite of this, Sheler report that Islam has greatly been misunderstood in America as it is still viewed as foreign, mysterious, and threatening to other Abrahamic faiths that it shares some practices with like monotheism and acceptance of Hebrew bible. Islam also elevates Jesus to the level of a prophet.

Audience of the two articles

The two articles target the general American population that has taken to discriminate against Muslims because of the faith they subscribe to. Sheler attests that dispute the fact that Islam Share common roots with both Judaism and Christianity it is still considered by Americans as a threat to Judeo-Christian heritage.

Lorraine laments that anti-sharia movements and other anti-Islamic organizations in America should reconsider their view on Islam instead of undertaking to engage in heinous acts like burning of Koran that only fuel animosity.

The purpose for writing articles

Lorraine’s intention for writing the article is changing the mindset of Americans towards Islam and Muslims. The laments that the fact that the September 11th attack was carried out by Islamic extremist does not imply that everybody who subscribes to Islam is a terrorist.

She appeals to security agencies and the general American population to stop vilifying people because they are Moslem’s as Zaheer Sharif son was treated at school and an Afghan teenager who was maltreated by New York Police Department because he came from a Taliban hotspot (Lorraine, 2011).

Jeffery (2011) on her part tries to encourage American citizens to treat Islamic religion as any other religions like Judaism and Christianity since the religions share certain doctrines. The writer tells readers that Islam in America has wide ranging diversity characterized by modern Islamic center of Greater Toledo and the Karbala Islamic Education Center.

Have the authors achieved their purpose for writing these articles

Lorraine has not achieved the purpose for which she wrote the article. Hostilities towards Muslims is still at its level high but people professing Islamic faith still keep coming to America under permanent residency. This prompts Lorraine to ask why the numbers keep increasing despite the glaring discrimination they face. This shows Lorraine has resigned to fate.

Sheler is not likely to achieve her purpose of writing because Islamic teachings cannot be married to Christian beliefs especially in capitalist countries like America. Islam is against interest rates on loans or saving accounts, which is the backbone of the revenue of the banks.

Similarity and Differences in the two articles

The two articles are similar in the aspect of where they try to appeal for tolerance towards Muslims. However, there is no outstanding difference between the articles.

Reference List

Adams, L. (2011). Being Muslim in America.The New Republic.

Jeffery, S. (2011). Muslim in America: What is Islam? In this country, there are many answers to that question. Web.

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"Comparison of Lorraine Adam’s “Being a Muslim in America” and Sheler Jeffery’s ‘Muslim in America’." IvyPanda, 14 May 2020, ivypanda.com/essays/comparison-of-lorraine-adams-being-a-muslim-in-america-and-sheler-jefferys-muslim-in-america/.

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IvyPanda. "Comparison of Lorraine Adam’s “Being a Muslim in America” and Sheler Jeffery’s ‘Muslim in America’." May 14, 2020. https://ivypanda.com/essays/comparison-of-lorraine-adams-being-a-muslim-in-america-and-sheler-jefferys-muslim-in-america/.

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IvyPanda. 2020. "Comparison of Lorraine Adam’s “Being a Muslim in America” and Sheler Jeffery’s ‘Muslim in America’." May 14, 2020. https://ivypanda.com/essays/comparison-of-lorraine-adams-being-a-muslim-in-america-and-sheler-jefferys-muslim-in-america/.

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IvyPanda. (2020) 'Comparison of Lorraine Adam’s “Being a Muslim in America” and Sheler Jeffery’s ‘Muslim in America’'. 14 May.

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