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Lily Austen All people are equal Discuss.

Equality is a subject that captures attention more than often, creating a lot of controversy on the topic. To be equal is the idea that everyone is the same, no matter what their race, gender, religion or age, discarding any inbuilt prejudices. In Islam, Muslims try not to have these sort of prejudices, but do believe that Islam is the true religion, over any others. Although most muslims think that Islam is the only one to follow in order to be judged beneficially, we see that they share some teachings with Christianity and Judaism, and therefore know them as people of the book. In contrast to the 'people of the book's' belief of Jesus being the son of God, Muslims prefer to believe that Jesus was just another disciple. Although this is true, they follow Jesus's example of spreading the word of God, even though they are unable to force the religion onto others as the words of the Quran states that 'And I will not worship that which you worship. To you be your way and to me mine' therefore implying that everyone has a right to worship in which ever way they wish. Although they understand that people have different views, they believe that they have rejected Islam and Allah from their lives as they were born equally before Allah with the fitrah, or the natural inclination towards God. In this way, if someone from a different religion were to convert to Islam, Muslims would see this as reconverting back to their original state and religion. In my opinion, although Muslims claim that they have no inbuilt prejudices, they do seem to value their religion the most along with Christians and Jews. Although this does not necessarily mean they believe they are better than other religions, I think they some how imply this through the idea that only their religion is the right religion, unlike other religions where we see that they accept all faiths such as Sikhism. My opinion is contradicted in the way that Muslims believe all humans were created by Allah in the same way, through Allah 'breathing' our soul into us. As we have all descended from Adam and Eve, who's names in arabic translate to 'soil' and 'living' we should not 'despise each other' (Surah 49.1), but instead should recognise that we are all the same. The idea that we come from the same source connects us spiritually and in Islam is a way of strengthening Ummah. Often people outside the religion of Islam see the religion as oppressed, especially the woman who seem inferior to the men with set rules. Although people could see Islam in this way, Muslims just describe the genders as 'equal but different'. Islam tries to offer the same opportunities to it's followers, but they teach that some jobs are more suited to one gender than another. This is not to say they are not equal, but could be seen by other religions or atheists as using the stereotypical jobs done in the past by a particular gender, for example, men are to provide while women are to stay at home and look after the children. Although others outside of the religion could see this as inequality, many muslims do their jobs out of choice as they believe it is their responsibility to do so from Allah. This view also accounts for the way Muslims dress, recently there has been a lot of controversy about how muslims dress especially surrounding the topic of berkas, but again wearing veils is often something a Muslim woman chooses to wear. It not only helps them focus more on prayer and

less on the way they look, but it also stops the males getting distracted. I can understand why people could think that woman treated differently to men in Islam, but I feel this is more the case of ignorance and not understanding the religion itself. It seems to me that instead of being treated differently, they are instead perceived differently with their qualities in mind. Islam considers how a woman is different from a man and therefore gives her different liberties, including privileges such as being able to stay at home to pray or not being expected to attend prayer on a friday. Instead of gender that causes inequality, muslims believe that it is our actions that causes it. Muslims believe humans have freedom of will and action, as well as having a soul, and because of this we are each responsible individually over ourselves as all of our actions which are then judged. Muslims say that all humans have the potential to live and love, and therefore stay equal, but also have the ability to hate and do evil, which does not allow us to remain equal. This is something that could apply to not only Muslims, but atheists and other religions alike. It is a moral that everyone can live by and in this way understand that is how you present yourself that makes you unequal rather than your race, religion, age or gender. In our society we will always find inequality, whether this is as extreme as racism or bullying within schools, it can be found everywhere which I feel shouldn't happen. I believe that although people are all supposed to be the same, inbuilt prejudice is able to change this, creating bad views on people that should not necessarily be there. For example, the fear of Islam, Islamophobia, became a more common anxiety after the september attacks. Instead of understanding that only a small percentage of Islam caused these attacks, some people class the whole religion as doing so and therefore judge them on this. I do not think that Islam is necessarily the victim of discrimination, as Muslims do claim that their religion is the only true one which therefore implies that their religion is some how better. In my opinion, discrimination is usually to do with ignorance rather than prejudice, for example, not understanding why women in Islam wear berkas.