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Islam is believed to be the fastest growing religion in the world.

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Introduction

1 Shahid Athar, an American physician and devout Muslim said of Islam as a minority faith in the USA, "Although there is no restriction on the practise of Islam in this country, the environment is not always as favourable to new faiths as it may seem." Athar wrote this in an article called 'Reflections of an American Muslim', in the article, he writes about the problems he faces being a Muslim living in a multicultural society. Athar mentions various issues that he comes across in day to day life that he finds difficult to overcome whilst remaining a pious Muslim. Whilst there are many issues that a Muslim may be faced with when living in a multicultural society, it would be very difficult to identify all of them. During this assignment, which concentrates on the issues a Muslim faces when living in a multicultural society (In the west.) I have chosen to look at the most prominent issues that are identified by Muslims and the most documented, by scholars, such as W. H. Siddiqui and Akbar S. Ahmed. These issues tend to have the greatest effect on second generation Muslims who live in the west and those who live in more rural areas compared to the larger cities, where Islam truly is a minority faith. Islam is believed to be the fastest growing religion in the world and as more Muslims emerge, many, who are born in Muslim countries, are choosing to live in the west. (There are also westerners who have converted to Islam and second generation Muslims as well as the children of immigrants.) "...there are over a billion Muslims in the world today. Significantly, over ten million of them live in the west, a number of them are shared about equally between USA and Europe."1 Although this assignment concentrates on the on the issues that Western Muslims are faced with when Islam is a minority faith in the west, (particularly those in the United Kingdom) ...read more.

Middle

The central mosques are full of worshippers, they are beautifully constructed and the hub of Muslim social and religious activity." His opinion on the advancement of Muslim worship in the west is more positive and gives a brighter outlook to the future of Islam in the west, whilst remaining realistic about the size of mosques in Britain. A good Muslim, who was a strict follower of the religion, would want to do what is asked of him/her in the Quran, as it is the word of God. The Quran plays a vital role in a Muslims' submission to Allah as it is revealed by Allah to Mohammed, the last prophet. It is considered to be the last offering of guidance before the day of judgement as to ensuring entrance to paradise and avoiding hell, by pleasing Allah. However, living in a multicultural society means having to live alongside people who have different beliefs, which can cause conflict. The Quran states that Allah does not approve of non-Muslims (non-believers) so it can be very difficult for a Muslim to accept that everyone does not share common beliefs, and this is an issue that any western Muslim is faced with. It says in Surah 13, Ar-Ra'd, verse 14, "...Ad those whom they (polytheists and disbelievers) invoke, answer them no more than one who stretches forth his hand for water to reach his mouth, but it reaches him not: and the invocation of the disbelievers is nothing but an error (it is of no use)." There is clearly a negative attitude towards non-Muslims being depicted in the Quran, which influences a Muslims actions, but when living in a multicultural society, there are restrictions, such as British law which stop Muslims from acting on these statements made. The five pillars constitutes a large part of a Muslims practise of Islam and this, as I have found, can be somewhat effected by living in a multicultural society, however, other factors also are affected, such as the family. ...read more.

Conclusion

John L. Esposito said of the five pillars, "Despite the rich diversity in Islamic practise, the five pillars of Islam remain the core and common denomination; the five essential and obligatory practises all Muslims accept and follow." The five pillars remain to be a basis of belief in Islam and it is important to all Muslims to maintain these but living in a multicultural society does have some effect on how they are carried out. The pillars Zakah and Hajj are effected by a Muslims faith, which can be somewhat effected by the influences of the west. The family is also a core unit in Islam and the issues faced by a Muslim family can all be controlled by leniency. For Islamic families living in a multicultural society, living in the west is all about temptations, being lured away from the practise of Islam and Allah (good) towards what goes against the teachings of the Qur'an. However, to remain pious, compromise is the key term. What a Muslim should and shouldn't do can be determined by their interpretation of the Qur'an, which remains the highest authority in Islam, a guide as to how to be a good Muslim. Social encounters can vary so greatly when a Muslim lives in the UK and not in an Islamic country. There is such a huge cross section of cultures and religions living together, that can, at times, cause conflict; but ultimately, the interactions of a British Muslim, be it a man or a woman, can lead to the exposure of different viewpoints, possibly which oppose the teachings in the Quran. But it is impossible to remain so absolute, at some point a compromise has to be made, whereby, there is a combination of Islam and British culture that merges. It has, today, become the new generation of British Muslims living in the UK, who adopt a viewpoint which is a combination of backgrounds and the influences of British culture which has formed to become a new British Muslim identity for the generations of Muslims living in the United Kingdom. ...read more.

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