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A NONRACIST, PACIFIST WORLD RELIGION
Islam is a religion founded by the Prophet Mohammad
in the 7th Century. Adherents to Islam are called Muslims. Today, there
are more than 1 billion Muslims in the world, most of which live in Indonesia,
Bangladesh, Pakistan and India. In the United States there are 5 to 6 million
Muslims, many of which live, for example, in Houston, Texas.
The birthrate among Muslim populations in the Middle
East ranges on an average between 5 to 6 children per women (compared to
an average birthrate of about 1.5 children that is common in the mostly
Christian-dominated Western World). Intermarriage with adherents to other
religions is only allowed when the other spouse also adopts Islam as his/her
religion. These facts lead to an ever-increasing number of Muslims in the
World, and the extended influence of Islam on the world as a whole.
The meaning of Islam encompasses the concepts of peace, greeting, surrender,
and commitment, and refers to an individual's commitment to God through
adherence to the religion by the same name. In ancient times, Islam transformed
a culture of warring tribes into a family of believers in a way of life
that demanded cooperation, peace and understanding. As a consequence, Arabs,
Africans, Persians, Indians, Indonesians, Malaysians and people of other
cultures and nationalities begun to see each other as one community.
Of course, the common idea of community, implies borders-that is, borders
that separates the family/community of believers from non-believers, which
troubles us so much also nowadays. Every religion is based on its boundaries;
boundaries of adherence, culture, costumes, and even food.
Islam was founded by Mohammad who wanted to cure the Arab society from its
terrible social and societal problems. Mohammad lost his parents when he
was very young. But in ancient Arab society this meant almost certain death,
since life and the right to live, the right for shelter and food was based
on kinship relationship, especially the family as the last resort of refuge.
When the husband died, the wive was usually married to the eldest brother
of the husband.
like the young Mohammad who lost both parents faced a hard life, if they
were not deemed to die; mostly, when adopted by someone else, such as their
uncles, they had to serve as servants to other family members. Knowing this,
it becomes clear what has driven Mohammad, and what was the real cause of
establishing the Islamic faith.
When growing up, Mohammad also envisions the plague of permanent warfare
that virtually encompassed all clans and tribes across the Arabian Peninsula.
To end this, he engineered a new religion, Islam, a religion to cure social
Mohammad never envisioned warfare or terrorism as a cause of Islam. Islam
itself was thought as a means for regaining and ensuring peace, peace across
family and blood relationships, before within Arabia and, nowadays, around
the globe. Mohammad, as Jesus and Karl Marx, was a "social policy man",
a social engineer, a caretaker, a revolutionary, and the head of a powerful
sociopolitical/religious movement that transformed the world.
JESUS OF NAZARETH: A SOCIAL REVOLUTIONARY
Jesus of Nazareth was born in Bethlehem as a son of
a working-class family. When grown up, he became a wonder doctor, a faith
healer. This profession was of high demand and, thus, not as unusual as
it may look today. He got famous because of his spectacular death, because
he sacrificed his life for his believes and political agitations.
Jesus of Nazareth was a faith healer that turned into a powerful leader
of one of Israel's first broad-based social movements. He wanted to overthrow
the high priests, the elite of ancient Israeli society. He aimed at destroying
their political, societal, and religious legitimacy; their exclusive rights
to heal people; and their many economic monopolies that created their tremendous
wealth among thousands of poor, socially excluded people who waited in caves
and beside Temples to be finally healed by a chosen one.
Jesus after recruiting some fishermen and craftsmen (but no woman) as his
followers, told them to come with him in order to achieve a greater cause,
that of healing the Israeli nation as a whole. He wanted to put an end to
social exclusion of the sick and the handicapped; who were believed to get
sick or handicapped due to their own failures (quasi as a punishment) and
became untouchables, and were not allowed to return to their villages once
sent away and never allowed to enter temples to undergo the highly important
spiritual ritual of bathing in holy water.
Jesus loved also prostitutes, the poor, and even the enemies of the Israeli
state (as he occasionally, or at least once, healed a foreigner who passed
He was a nightmare to the powerful religious establishment, and an instant
threat to the traditional Israeli way of life. Knowing that, Jesus pursued
with his mission to overthrow the ruling elite; he fought for social justice
and the liberation of Israel's people from the cruel, irresponsible, asocial
regime of his time; also and especially in the final hours of his life.
Jesus of Nazareth was a social reformer, a social revolutionary; he fought
social exclusion and social injustice. Here, the true significance of the
historical figure Jesus is to be found, and not so much in his healing people
with his hands or words.
Christians see in Jesus as the one and only Messiah, the Son of God. Jews
and Muslims see Jesus as a prophet (one out of a number of prophets); Hindus
see Jesus as "avatar" (a reincarnation of a god).
THE MYTH OF RACE
A "race" is often seen as one of the group of populations
constituting humanity. The differences between "races" are marked by hereditary
transmissions of same physical characteristics. The genes responsible for
the hereditary differences are very, very few; in fact, a minimal faction
of a percentage point of all human genes. The concept of "race" is
ultimately unscientific and "racial" categories are arbitrary designations.
All humans belong to the same species, that of Homo Sapiens. Differences
in groups of populations ("races") aroused from mutations, selection, and
adaptional changes in human populations. There has been a common evolution
for all different groups of populations ("races") and "racial" differentiation
occurred very late in the history of Homo Sapiens. Geography and population
movements were possibly the main driving forces behind the process of differentiation
of physical characteristics of different groups of population (tribes, communities,
The "white kind" of people originated in Central Asia, most White Americans
and White Europeans have forgotten that, Irish folks would not like to think
of themselves as having Ukraine ancestors; the English and the Germans are
not delighted in general to think of Uzbekistan as their home country where
they also share common roots with people from Northern India (that is why
scientists refer to Indo-European languages as one group of languages).
Chinese are Mongolians, so are Koreans, Hungarians, and the Finns. Mongolians
may well have originated from population groups living in today's Turkish-dominated
areas, ranging from Turkey to the Western Provinces of today's China. American
Indians, look (and may speak to some extent) like Northeast Asian people.
The further we go back in history, the closer to come to East Africa, the
origin of all Homo Sapiens.
Language in general is hard evidence for common roots of population groups
living today far apart from each other. The Japanese and Turkish languages,
for example, share the same unique grammatical structure. It is for this
reason that Japanese students find is easy to study Turkish. When comparing
a Japanese- and a Turkish-speaker, their similarities become obvious (the
melody, and the endings of sentences, especially).
So, who are we? We are members of the same family, of which sons and daughters
went to far away places a long time ago.
Why do we look/speak different or sometimes the same? Because of geography
and population movements, in combination with different survival and birth
TROUBLED AMERICAN SOCIETY
Today the United States is plagued with a series of
threads to its society. Many of which are still homemade. But, recent terrorist
attacks on America may also help to cushion these further. Americans when
traveling abroad often speak themselves of the "American hell"
instead of the "American Dream", or simply agree when others pinpoint
at particular serious problems America is facing today.
America is also threatened by its own nonresponse to a number of serious
social problems that are caused by "racial" and economic cleavages between
those in command (that is, those controlling the country's economic resources
and political power) and those living excluded from the "American Dream."
Nowadays, these disadvantaged, socially excluded Americans certainly constitute
a majority of the population.
Not only a large share of Caucasian Americans (the "white folks")
has learned to be trapped in poverty, suffering sociopolitical exclusion
from education, health care and political power brokering, but also most
people belonging to America's large minorities, especially African Americans
and Spanish-Speaking Americans ("Latinos"), share the same experience.
The "racial" bias of poverty and social, economic, academic, and political
exclusion is vital for the understanding of social and societal policy in
the US, since solidarity and concern for others often stops when there is
more than one large population group featuring a distinct skin color and/or
In the United States, alcohol and illegal substance abuse cause hundreds
of thousands of deaths each year. It has become a not unusual thing that
primary school children bring real guns and granates to school, and act
as drug couriers. More people have died from non-combat gun violence in
the last two decades than were killed in battles since the country was founded
(NCHS). Each year, one out of every ten teenage women aged 15 to 19 gets
pregnant without wanting to do so (see National Vital Statistics Report).
In America, a woman is raped every few minutes (RAINN); one in five adults
is functionally illiterate (NCES); nearly 45 million people lack any sort
of health insurance (US Census Bureau, Health); and at least fourteen percent
of the population lives below the official poverty line (US Census Bureau,
America is a model for other countries, a model for social disaster. A model
that needs to be studied, in order to avoid its negative outcomes.
In technology, America leads the world, also in military capabilities; but
in social peace, equality of economic opportunities, political participation,
etc. America lags far behind many other countries-that is, most countries
in the developed world, and also many developing countries/economies (like
South Korea, Taiwan, Malaysia, etc.).
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