This chapter covers the Muslim in the west especially in America and considers Muslim as the third largest religion in America. Esposito argues that the m Muslims in the west can estimated to be between 4 million to 6 million and traces their roots to the time of Christopher Columbus. While the early Muslim to the west were trader, explorers and settlers, it is also clear that there were Muslims who were afraid to show their spiritual, cultural and social identity.
The books also highlights the beginning of the emancipation of the Muslims women living in the west as they were allowed to pace up more active positions in the west in the ministry of the community.
Additionally, the book also rage that one of the fundamental ancestors of the Muslim in the west was one Warith Deen Muhammad and analyses the role of dissent in the development of the Nation of Islam. It is also interesting to note that Wallace and Louis Farrakhan had very different options as Louis Farrakhan publicly rejected the Wallace’s reforms. Despite all these differences, the Nation of Islam’s fundamental beliefs, and policies have been changing over years under both Wallace and Louis Farrakhan as the separatist and black, nationalists doctrines are increasingly accepted as part of the Muslim doctrines.
One of the main topics that the book has completely analyzed include the problems that Muslims in America are facing and Esposito.goes into details to argue that Muslims in amerce are seen as terrorists because of general lack of knowledge and awareness of the Islamic faith and its fundamentals. This ignorance fuels the hatred between the Muslim and the west. It is also worth noting that the hatred and the violence of the minority extremist groups have completely obscured the faith of the mainstream majority.
Apart from the ignorance and hatred, the Muslims in the west are faced with problems such as dietary regulations around the Halal foods. For example, in America, Halal butcher shops are not as common as in the other countries and most of the people depend on fast foods that offer mostly pork based foods. The Muslim have to live with the situation while some have to alternative but to eat the forbidden foods. Finally, the Americanization of the Muslim and the marginalization of the diehard Muslim in America have lead to desperations, and at times violence because majority of American are non-Muslims. However, it is also reassuring to note that even the non-Muslims are also increasingly alienated.
In Europe, the presence of the Muslims can be traced back to the eighteenth century when they were sold as slaves to the European rulers. Despite the fall of Granada in which the Muslims were driven out of Spain and other parts of Europe, it so interesting to note that more than eighty percent of the Muslims still remained in Europe and this can be attributed to the declining cases of execution and slavery. Additionally, in Europe just like in the west, Muslims are still faced with problems such as alienation, segregation and acute policies. Never the less, in the west, Muslims area faced with the forced assimilation especially laws against the wearing of Hijab and carrying out some Muslim practices. Other issues are minority related such as citizenship in the non-Muslim territories, acquiring political positions of power, as well as the most common one- stereotypes.
Esposito, John L.,What everyone needs to know about Islam. 2nd edition. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2002. Print.