Opinion, World, Editor's Choice

Islamic Radicals: What About the 1.7 Billion Islamic Normals?

Do you guys remember the infamous “skittles” comparison? The retweet from the Trump twitter that said: “if you had a bowl of skittles and realized that 1-2 were poisoned, would you eat them?” You guessed it – those two Skittles are Islamic Radicals.

Aside from the comparison of people to skittles, this statement is riddled with errors in judgment and an overall view of humanity. The bad parts of any organization should not be allowed to define the good. Does anyone think it’s really a just comparison to say that the church down the road that helps feed the homeless and provide shelter to them is the same as Westboro Baptist?

Islamic Radicals: A  Myth?

Islamic radicals do exist, but it’s simply a mathematical impossibility to have a group of people so large without ANY bad people in it. There are around 1.6-1.7 billion Muslims in the world; with numbers so large, do you really think that it’s possible for every single one of them to be completely moral and upstanding? EVERY large group of people has some good, some bad. That says NOTHING by itself about the organization.

This is a way of thinking that few people adopt, and it’s a bit sad. Here’s another comparison!

The population of the US is around 320 million, give or take. This is about ⅓ of the number of Muslims in the world. I know it’s been awhile since you’ve done math, but bear with me!

Would you venture to say that all people in the US are normal, nonviolent people? No? Would you perhaps say that SOME are radicals? Maybe like people that shoot up schools, or bomb abortion clinics… Things of that nature? But wait, wouldn’t you also say that MOST people in the US are fairly good people?

Huh.

Now I know it’s not exactly the same thing, comparing a religion to a country. There ARE some factors that make that comparison difficult; for example, a religion will have more uniform ideas about the world than a country will, just due to the fact that it’s a religion. However, the fact still remains: when you have a large number of people, some will be bad, and some will be good. I keep stressing that because I feel that’s an important thing to remember!

Islamic Normals

Speaking as someone from the US, I can honestly say that the Muslims I know are some of the most hospitable, kind, and intelligent people you will meet. Any notion of Islamic radicals will go right out of your head as soon as you meet them. It simply doesn’t fit! Furthermore, when questioned about radical Islam, they FIRMLY disapprove of violence committed by anyone. These Muslims interpret “jihad” in the Qu’ran as a deep, personal struggle against faults in the world and in yourself. That doesn’t sound too different from MOST religious ideas, does it? And certainly not bad for society.

Elements of Islamic Influence Today: No Islamic Radicals

“But!” you say. “We live in AMERICA, and we have our OWN culture that WE created. What if Muslims infect our culture?”

Well, that’s an interesting and compelling argument. Let’s talk about that.

Why don’t we make a list of the things Islamic society gave to us?

  • – Medicine advancements
  • Preservation of the works of Aristotle
  • Algebra (you don’t HAVE to thank them for that one, students)
  • The numbering system we use today (imagine long division with Roman Numerals)
  • The theory of how light behaves
  • Being clean (Europe took baths once a year or so…)
  • Carpets
  • Making sugar

Those are just some examples of things that the Islamic world did a thousand years ago that Europe didn’t really do until much later. The reason you don’t think much about Islamic contributions to modern life is because they are so much a part of our culture.

Will Muslims “infect” our culture? It seems they already did, about 1500 years ago. Unless you really like Roman Numerals for everyday use…

Islam and American Society

It’s not possible (outside of some serious historical revision) to say that Islam hasn’t had a massive effect on American society today. From the mathematics that we teach our school kids all the way to the obsession with cleanliness that we have, Islamic culture has defined many things about society that we take for granted. Western Civilization is worshipped by many of the same people that would love to see Muslims booted from the US. Who do you think largely defined Western Civilization as we know it?

Only a small percentage of Muslims are Islamic radicals and believe in violence against other people. Those Muslims do not define the entire religion. People are so concerned about Islamic radicals, but the fact of the matter is that very few people will meet radicals. The Islamic normals are the people you will run into on a daily basis; they are the people that should define your beliefs about Muslims. Why is that? Because they are the majority. By a LONG shot. Fear is not a good way to respond in most cases.

And that’s just what has been infecting huge areas of civilization today: fear. We are scared of each other. Scared of the opposite political party. Scared of religions we know little about. That fear can be resolved in one great way: Discussion. We MUST talk to each other. We must talk to our Muslim neighbors, learn about them, and dispel rumors. Most Muslims are great people, and YOU can find that out for yourself by engaging people in dialogue!

About Caleb Smith

Caleb is a freelance writer and music student from the United States, with a passion for comic books, reading, and punk rock. He loves writing about often overlooked and under-reported stories to help raise awareness.

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