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Busting the Top 10 Myths About Islam

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Updated December 21, 2015.

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Islam is a widely-misunderstood religion. Those who are unfamiliar with the faith often
have misunderstandings about its teachings and practices. Common misconceptions
include that Muslims worship a moon-god, that Islam is oppressive against women, or
that Islam is a faith that promotes violence. Here we bust these myths and expose the
true teachings of Islam.

Islam

1. Muslims worship a
moon-god

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Some non-Muslims mistakenly believe


that Allah is an "Arab god," a "moon
god," or some sort of idol. Allah is the
proper name of the One True God, in the
Arabic language. The most fundamental
belief that a Muslim has is that "There is
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only One God," the Creator, the Sustainer
-- known in the Arabic language and by Muslims as Allah. Arabic-speaking Christians use
the same word for the Almighty. More

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While Islam is often associated with Arabs, they make up only 15% of the world's Muslim
population. The country with the largest population of Muslims is Indonesia. Muslims
make up 1/5 of the world's population, with large numbers found in Asia (69%), Africa

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2. Muslims don't believe in Jesus


In the Qur'an, stories about the life and teachings of Jesus Christ (called 'Isa in Arabic)
are abundant. The Qur'an recalls his miraculous birth, his teachings, and the miracles he
performed by God's permission. There is even a chapter of the Qur'an named after his
mother, Mary (Miriam in Arabic). However, Muslims believe that Jesus was a fully human
prophet and not in any way divine himself. More

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Busting the Top 10 Myths About Islam

4/9/16 8:49 AM

(27%), Europe (3%) and other parts of the world. More


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4. Islam oppresses women


Most of the ill-treatment that women receive in the Muslim world is based on local culture
and traditions, without any basis in the faith of Islam. In fact, practices such as forced
marriage, spousal abuse, and restricted movement directly contradict Islamic law
governing family behavior and personal freedom. More

5. Muslims are violent, terrorist extremists


Terrorism cannot be justified under any valid interpretation of the Islamic faith. The entire
Qur'an, taken as a complete text, gives a message of hope, faith, and peace to a faith
community of one billion people. The overwhelming message is that peace is to be found
through faith in God, and justice among fellow human beings. Muslim leaders and
scholars do speak out against terrorism in all its forms, and offer explanations of
misinterpreted or twisted teachings. More

6. Islam is intolerant of other faiths


Throughout the Qur'an, Muslims are reminded that they are not the only ones who
worship God. Jews and Christians are called "People of the Book," meaning people who
have received previous revelations from the One Almighty God that we all worship. The
Qur'an also commands Muslims to protect from harm not only mosques, but also
monasteries, synagogues, and churches -- because "God is worshipped therein." More

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7. Islam promotes "jihad" to spread Islam by the


sword and kill all unbelievers
The word Jihad stems from an Arabic word which means "to strive." Other related words
include "effort," "labor," and "fatigue." Essentially Jihad is an effort to practice religion in
the face of oppression and persecution. The effort may come in fighting the evil in your
own heart, or in standing up to a dictator. Military effort is included as an option, but as a
last resort and not "to spread Islam by the sword." More

8. The Quran was written by Muhammad and copied


from Christian and Jewish sources
The Qur'an was revealed to the Prophet Muhammad over a period of two decades,
calling people to worship One Almighty God and to live their lives according to this faith.
The Qur'an contains stories of Biblical prophets, because these prophets also preached
the message of God. Stories are not merely copied, but the oral traditions are referred to
in a way that focuses on the examples and teachings that we can learn from them. More

9. Islamic prayer is just a ritualized performance


with no heartfelt meaning
Prayer is a time to stand before God and express faith, give thanks for blessings, and

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Busting the Top 10 Myths About Islam

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seek guidance and forgiveness. During Islamic prayer, one is modest, submissive and
respectful to God. By bowing and prostrating ourselves to the ground, we express our
utmost humility before the Almighty. More

10. The crescent moon is a universal symbol of Islam


The early Muslim community did not really have a symbol. During the time of the Prophet
Muhammad, Islamic caravans and armies flew simple solid-colored flags (generally black,
green, or white) for identification purposes. The crescent moon and star symbol actually
pre-dates Islam by several thousand years, and wasn't affiliated with Islam at all until the
Ottoman Empire placed it on their flag. More

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