Muslims frequently ask this because pornography is strictly forbidden is Islam. And much of what the United States exports (TV shows, movies, books, magazines, fashion, alcohol) are offensive to many Muslims.
Muslims remove their shoes, wash themselves to purify before they pray, have set prayers and positions. They perform these rituals out of their honor for God. The prayer room at a mosque is a place of quiet and reverence. Alcohol is also forbidden by conservative Muslims. When Muslims observe our religious practices, they often feel that we lack reverence for God.
Muslims are confused by Christians’ support for Israel, since the Jewish faith doesn’t honor or value Jesus and his teachings. Muslims hold him in the highest regard and consider him one of God’s greatest messengers to mankind.
Muslims remember that Christians have been violent towards Muslims: the Crusades, colonialism, the present day wars in Iraq or Afghanistan, as well as America’s financial and military support of Israel. Muslims tend to view America as a Christian country, so when they see America being violent they may attribute the violence to the religion of Christianity.
Many Muslim women dress conservatively (including covering their hair) to honor God and their families, as well as to protect their virtue. Muslims are perplexed by Christians not teaching modesty and protecting the honor of women.
Muslims fast openly, outwardly, as a community of faith. During the month of Ramadan, whole communities fast together from sunrise to sunset and then break the fast together at an evening meal called an iftar. This is one of the five most important practices (or pillars of faith) in Islam. Our Muslim friends often do not see either fasting or much community in Christians.
Muslims ask this because they would identify themselves first as Muslim (one who submits to God; a follower of Islam) and only second by their nationality. Muslims view their Muslim faith and Muslim community as what defines them rather than their nationality.
Muslims feel that it is shameful to use God’s name disrespectfully. Muslims might not see Christians revering God in how casually we talk about having a relationship with God.
The majority of Muslims are a peaceful, pious, and moderate people. Muslims suffer more at the hands of terrorism than all others. This is a question often asked by Muslims who view terrorists as against their faith.
This misconception is partially due to the media’s stereotyping Muslims. The percentage of extremist Muslims is very low but the media can give the impression that terrorism is supported by the majority of Muslims. Muslims may feel misrepresented and misunderstood by these and other stereotypes.
Muslims believe in the “oneness” of God. During Muslim prayers and in their creed Muslims declare that there is no God but God. Many Muslims think that the Trinity means that Christians worship is three Gods:
- who had sexual relations with Mary
- and their son Jesus
Most Muslims take their faith seriously and work at honoring God with their lives. Muslims may feel that Christians mock and discount their faith and their devotion to God.
Muslim women cover for a variety of reasons but mostly to honor God. They believe it is a religious commitment to live in a modest and dignified way. Many Muslim women feel empowered by covering and that they will be seen for their accomplishments rather than as sex symbols.
Muslims believe in the Torah, Psalms of David, and the Gospels (although they believe those books have been corrupted). They also believe that the Qur’an (Islam’s Holy Book) is the final revelation of God.
Muslims are very careful, reverent, and respectful when handling the Qur’an. You may not lay it on the floor, write in it, or handle it roughly. Many Muslims see how casually Christians treat the Bible and question their respect for it.
Muhammad is held in very high esteem. Muslims believe he communicated God’s final revelation. They grieve when they hear Christians characterize Muhammad as an evil deceiver, abuser of women, and a blood thirsty warlord. They see Muhammad as a protector of women, orphans, and the poor and as a trustworthy example to follow.
Allah is the Arabic word for God, and Arabic-speaking Christians have always used this word. Allah is also the word used for Yahweh in Arabic Bibles. There is no other word in the Arabic language for God. Muslims believe they worship the same God as Jews and Christians.
Muslims believe that God is like nothing he created. Therefore it is forbidden to make a picture or likeness of God, as this could lead to worshiping these depictions as idols.
Muslims may ask why Christians would tolerate their government legalizing abortion or same-sex marriage. Muslims feel that both should be prohibited by those who follow God.
Many Muslims ask this to check their perceptions of our attitudes toward Muslims. i.e. We say we are their friends but would we accept them as relatives? They may also be interested in knowing what we think about marrying for love rather than in accordance with the expectations of our religious community. In addition, some Muslim families are attracted to the idea of their sons marrying a Christian woman to gain a possibility of emigration to her country. Most Muslims feel that a Muslim man can marry a Christian or Jew but do not favor a Muslim woman marrying outside the Muslim community. In either case, Muslims generally think that the children should be raised as Muslims.