Educating Tolerance And Promoting Muslim Inclusivity Sociology Essay Example
Educating Tolerance And Promoting Muslim Inclusivity Sociology Essay Example

Educating Tolerance And Promoting Muslim Inclusivity Sociology Essay Example

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  • Pages: 8 (2107 words)
  • Published: August 9, 2017
  • Type: Analysis
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Chapter three of the book explores how institutions such as schools and media contribute to the inclusion of Muslims in society, while considering Islamic teachings. The author stresses the importance of cross-cultural education and knowledge to prevent controversies and promote positive censorship influences. Multiculturalism should prioritize a deep understanding of those who are different from us, which aligns with the message in the Quran: "O world! We created you from a single pair of a male and a female, and made you into nations and tribes, so that you may get to know one another (not so that you may despise one another)" (Khatib, 1984:687). Tariq Ramadan argues that this verse urges individuals from specific nations and tribes to actively seek understanding among diverse groups. It implies that people from the same state already have some level of familiarity with each other, but this shared und


erstanding along with civic engagement needs improvement. There is currently a lack of Muslim civic involvement due to psychological difficulties caused by the war on terror and general misconceptions about Islam. This will only lead to increased apathy among Muslim citizens. Therefore, promoting Muslim citizenship becomes a significant challenge that requires encouraging both men and women to participate in local and national issues.The text emphasizes the importance of Muslims being actively engaged in political decision-making based on competence and integrity rather than religious affiliation. It highlights the need to avoid selfish attitudes that only consider the interests of the Muslim community. The teachings of Prophet Joseph in the Quran encourage Muslims to participate in societies where non-Muslims are the majority, suggesting British Muslims should adopt this mindset. Acceptance and integratio

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by non-Muslims can be fostered if Muslims show acceptance towards conflicting attitudes. Education is crucial for promoting mutual tolerance, understanding, and harmony. The acceptance of Islam in Bangladesh has not resulted in significant cultural changes for Bangladeshi and Bengali-speaking Indian Muslims who share similarities with Bengali-speaking Hindus. In Britain, Muslims should strive for integration into society while maintaining their individual identities without being solely defined by nationality or culture. Addressing traditions of resistance among oppressed social groups is also vital to ensure minority communities feel included.Mosques need to collaborate with the wider community to address issues like drugs and gang cultures that impact many Muslims. It is also important for mosques and their imams to confront and debunk misunderstandings about the Islamic permissibility of extra-judicial actions without Islamic law. The challenge ahead lies in reforming Muslims' self-image by dispelling misinterpretations, intuition, and rejection while promoting a positive, responsible, and constructive self-perception (Ansari, 2004, p234). Muslim artists in Britain seem to be experiencing a cultural Renaissance (Ansari, 2004, p222), but they lack support from both Muslim and non-Muslim sources who draw inspiration from Islamic heritage at the Victoria and Albert Museum (UK Action Committee of Islamic Affairs, 1993:42). However, this effort requires collaboration with mainstream media and cultural projects. It is crucial to recognize that Muslims have been an integral part of British society socially, religiously, culturally for around 150 years. Their economic contributions are also noteworthy.Bangladeshi restaurants employ more people than the steel, coal mining, and shipbuilding industries combined, with an annual turnover of $1.5 billion (Conway 1997:15). Education plays a vital role in promoting awareness and inclusion by implementing a curriculum based on critical

democratic multiculturalism. This curriculum should encompass a comprehensive understanding of the social world, human diversity, and important skills for engaging in respectful cross-cultural conversation and cooperation. The goal is to cultivate tolerance by emphasizing similarities among differences and developing effective cross-cultural dialogue and collaboration skills. Discouraging blind adherence to one's own culture will facilitate participation in enhancing our democratic experience, which has been hindered by historical misunderstandings between cultures. In a multicultural society, education should focus on fostering a broad understanding of diverse cultures instead of allowing students to be consumed by materialism, celebrity culture, and consumerism. It is crucial that post-11 Muslim religious schools gain a better understanding of democratic society as religion can serve as a catalyst for positive change in restrictive attitudes toward other cultures and religions.The pursuit of knowledge is emphasized, as shown by the saying, "A learned man is superior to a believer as a full Moon to the stars." This superiority is not based on social class but rather on one's relationship with God; learning benefits others while idolization remains self-centered. Additionally, an Arab-centric or Pakistani interpretation of Islam goes against the cultural inclusivity advocated by the Prophet. As he once said, "Seek knowledge even if you have to go to China," highlighting the importance of surpassing cultural boundaries and fostering intellectual diversity seen throughout Islamic history. Britain should fully embrace this concept as well.

The text emphasizes that Muslim societies have been influenced by rational traditions from Hellenic, Persian, Indian, and West European societies. Muslims have also made contributions back to these traditions; thus, it has been an exchange rather than a one-way flow. Moreover, Muslim medieval civilization played

a significant role in the European Renaissance by refining and enhancing Hellenistic works while making advancements of their own.

Teaching collaboration in schools is important to demonstrate that human progress relies on collective efforts across centuries. Islamic seminaries play a significant role within the British Muslim community as they produce imams for mosques.The current Muslim education system in Britain lacks cultural awareness, causing dissatisfaction among British Muslims towards disconnected imams. Islamic seminaries in the country have subpar standards and fail to teach about other religions and wider society. This narrow-minded approach hinders the integration of British Muslims into society. Both Muslims and society as a whole are seeking answers to Islam-related issues that are not adequately addressed by current educational practices. The curriculum, which used to prioritize critical thinking and understanding, now emphasizes rote memorization excessively. This shallow Islamic education disregards the scholarly efforts made by previous generations of Muslim academics, resulting in a fragmented state of confusion and potential danger. However, this breakdown can be fixed; however, it rarely leads to well-respected academic discourse countering extremist narratives. Nonetheless, the main focus should be on improving performance in mainstream schools since around 31% of British Muslims left school without qualifications in 2003-2004 compared to 15% of the total population (Education, 2004). In a culturally diverse society like Britain's, engaging in dialogue requires acknowledging complexities rather than oversimplifying them (Education, 2004).According to Education (2004), shallow information can lead to dogmatism and intellectual absolutism, creating an illusion of knowledge. It is important to foster understanding and knowledge exchange to build trust between Muslims and society (Education, 2004:229). Muslim Britons have unanswered questions regarding national or racial identity versus

religious identity, which need to be addressed through dialogue with joint activities to promote coexistence (Cole et al., n.d.). This approach will empower Muslims to inclusively engage with British social concerns. The Islamophobia report by Conway (2007:17) identified poverty and deprivation as contributors to alienation and social unrest in visited countries. Hostility towards Muslims does not necessarily stem from anti-religious sentiments; unemployment and insecurity play significant roles in scapegoating minority groups (Goddard, 1995:142). Halliday's study (1999:898) aims to highlight the absence of legal diversity concerning freedom of speech and the right to renounce one's faith from an Islamic perspective. The use of the term 'Islamophobia' inhibits dialogue based on universal principles while promoting conformity according to the Alliance of Civilizations report (2006:2.5). Poverty creates desperation, feelings of injustice, and alienation as stated in a report by the Alliance of Civilizations.When combined with political grievances, these factors can foster extremism (Alliance of Civilizations, 2006:2.5). To reduce cultural divisions in Britain and create a more inclusive society, it is necessary to address issues such as poverty eradication, discrimination, and social mobility barriers. Attention must also be given to the disproportionately high Muslim prison population (10% in 2004) by both the government and mosques (Offender Management Caseload Statistics, 2005:105). Muslims need to collectively address these social issues in order to eliminate economic exclusion and prevent fueling fundamentalist hostility (Ramadan, 2001:130). Furthermore, there needs to be depoliticization of the concept of a 'Muslim' identity both within the media and generally speaking. The principle of justice requires increased involvement of Muslims in societal matters, enabling them to be responsible and contributing British citizens (Ramadan, 2001:232). Due to a lack of

trust in wider society's ability to address societal concerns, Muslims have distanced themselves from societal responsibilities (Ramadan, 2001:232). However, it is crucial for Muslims to not solely focus on themselves but also collaborate in addressing community issues like drug abuse and domestic violence. This collaboration will foster a common agenda shared understanding ,and mutual trust (Bauman ,1995 :187 ). Presently there is a decline in civic engagement across generations( Putnam ,2000 :404 ).Meaningful, regular, and integrated community service programs have the potential to enhance participants' civic engagement and may even contribute to the reduction of racism (Putnam, 2000:405). To foster a sense of unity within communities, it is essential for community activists to promote activities that encourage interaction among citizens. Through sharing experiences and engaging in genuine exchanges, common understanding and shared values can be attained (Cantle, 2005:25). However, achieving an atmosphere of equality and fairness requires a shift in underlying attitudes and values; simply relying on enforced systems of equality and equity is insufficient (Cantle, 2005:25).

In West Jerusalem, there exists a project aimed at promoting unity between Jewish and Arab families by incorporating their respective folklore and traditions. This initiative has seen some success in fostering positive interaction while breaking down barriers between communities with mutual fear and ignorance towards one another (Cantle, 2005:60). Nevertheless, solely depending on "visible contact" allows for observation of differences but fails to truly comprehend, tolerate or acknowledge them (Cantle, 2005:14). Racism persists alongside religious dogmatism despite fluctuations influenced by political, societal and economic factors (Cantle, 2005:17). Despite years of legislative efforts, its impact remains limited.The importance of promoting civic education that emphasizes respect for diversity, particularly among young

people, cannot be overstated. Data indicates that many instances of racist violence are perpetrated by children or adolescents (Conway, 2007 p.4). Establishing regular and positive interaction between communities can lead to a mutual understanding of the underlying attitudes and behaviors. Additionally, education will help clarify the ongoing relationship between Muslims and Islam as they strive for greater involvement in British society. The media has a role to play in challenging stereotypes of Muslims, which contribute to societal hierarchies that determine inclusion and exclusion (Ameli, 2007:13). To diffuse tensions and foster trust and belonging, it is important to understand and engage with differences on controversial issues like free speech (Cantle, 2001:11). The presence of diverse groups such as the Orthodox Jewish community or veiled women in Britain does not pose a threat to successful multiculturalism but may give rise to specific conflicts (e.g., MPs being visited by individuals who conceal their faces) (Cantle, 2001:76). However, forcefully removing head coverings may not improve relationships; instead, it would be more effective to understand why women choose to wear them. Engaging these women through dialogue rather than criticizing them in the media is more productive (Cantle, 2001:76). Banning head coverings will not prevent some women from exercising their right to wear them.According to Bert (2006), current policy initiatives may hinder the participation of veiled Muslim women in schools, hospitals, and universities, impeding their integration progress. Ramadan (2001:54) argues that ignorance and illiteracy present greater obstacles to the rights of adult females than non-Islam. Farooq's statement (date unavailable) proudly reveals that 80 of Ibn Asakir's teachers were women, highlighting the role of Muslim women as scholars. Bauman (1995:187) emphasizes the

crucial role of Muslim women in fostering connections between communities to break down barriers and promote tolerance and trust. However, Bauman also cautions that loyalty within certain groups should be balanced with embracing diversity to prevent hostility towards outsiders (1995:221). Miller (1995:139) suggests that radical multiculturalism and extreme patriotism should acknowledge ethnic minorities' desire for full acceptance in the national community. Putnam (2000:184) argues for more investment by governments in social capital, which encompasses interpersonal connections promoting social networks and values like reciprocity and trust. Without social capital, a society composed of isolated individuals lacks civic virtues and tolerance; hence embedding them in dense networks becomes essential (Putnam, 2000:19). Wilde defines solidarity as mutual understanding and duty among group members promoting common support (2007:17). Ramadan highlights the fundamental role played by solidarity in ethics within Islam's moral civilization (2001:248).The Prophet stated that God loves those who are kind to their people (Jurdani, 1998:333). Bauman suggests that in order for tolerance to effectively challenge intolerance, solidarity must be attained (Bauman, 1995:222). It is essential to actively promote and facilitate the integration and inclusion of Muslims in society as discrimination against any group can damage societal unity. Encouraging their involvement in the military could be an effective strategy to accomplish this objective.

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