Kidman J. Williams – A group of adult protesters in Houston gathered to scream about a new Muslim immersion program on the first day of school Monday. This year the Houston Independent School District has joined a popular trend going on in the US right now by teaching other cultures and languages to the students.
The protesters, in true uneducated fashion, held signs that said things like:
“Everything I needed to know about Islam I learned from Muslims on 9-11-2001.”
Another sign stated:
“Quatar out of our school.”
“One of the biggest reasons is that the school was anti-American,” a protester told the Houston Chronicle. “The immigrants should be assimilated.” Another protester stated that they were not against other immersion programs.
The population at the Arabic school is about 30% Hispanic, 30% white and 30% African American according to the HISD news blog.
This is the first semester that HISD has implemented the Arabic Immersion Magnet School (AIMS). The program will offer students the chance to spend half of the day being taught in Arabic and the other in English.
Behind Spanish, Arabic is the second most common language in the Houston area. The Houston Arabic Population sits at about 23,000. It is also known that anti-Muslim ideals are on the rise in this country and around the world. This could be because people don’t actually understand the culture.
The Difference of Muslims
There are two different main branches of Muslims. You have the Sunnis and the Shia. The Sunnis make up the majority, comprising about 85% to 90% of the Muslim population around the world.
The Sunnis and the Shia actually hold many of the same fundamental beliefs. The biggest differences are in doctrine, ritual, law, and theology. Until recent years the two were actually allowed to marry, but that is not common anymore.
The Sunni Muslims are the orthodox and traditionalists of the Islam world. The word Sunni comes from “Ahl al-Sunna,” meaning the people of the tradition. These traditions are based on the actions of the Prophet Muhammad and the ones close to him.
Unlike the Shia, Sunni religious teachers and leaders tend to come under state control. They are the majority rulers of the Muslim world.
The early Islamic history of the Shia shows them as a political faction. They are the party of Ali or “Shiat Ali.” The Shia claim the right of Ali, who was the son-in-law of the Prophet Muhammad, and his descendants to lead the Islamic community.
Ali was killed because of intrigues, violence and civil wars which marred his caliphate. His sons, Hassan and Hussein, were denied what they thought was their right of accession to caliphate. It is believed that Hassan was poisoned by Muawiyah who was the first caliph (Muslim Leader) of the Umayyad dynasty.
Hussein was killed on the battlefield after being invited by supporters to Kufa (the seat of the caliphate of Ali) where they all said they would swear their allegiance to him. This is believed to be the origin of the Shia ideas of martyrdom and their rituals of grieving.
Shia make up about one-tenth of all the Muslims in the world. The Shia are the ones that tend to be a part of the Islamic extremist groups like Isis and al-Qaeda.
Stop Islamophobia and Educate Yourself
Since 9-11 some US citizens have held the idea that if you are Muslim you are bad. If you are wearing a Burka or a Niqab you must be hiding something. There’s an unhealthy amount of American people who still feel that if you are Muslim you must be a danger that needs to be on watch.
The biggest villain in any cultural phobia is lack of education. Muslim extremists are no different than any of the Christian extremists that we have on American soil today. We have anti-abortionists who bomb clinics. Yes, Pro-Lifers who kill people. Yet we do not make them the face of the Christian community. Why do you think that is? It is because the majority of the population in the US knows that not all Christians hold the same insane values.
Not educating yourself about other cultures makes you a danger to yourself and everyone else. The U.S. is one of the only countries that screams about diversity while destroying it in the same long-winded breath.
When it comes to Islam we need to educate ourselves. Instead of fearing it, learn about it. Learn about all cultures and embrace the fact that while we are vastly different, we mostly all want the same things out of life. We should teach different religions in school. Not just one. By teaching kids the differences you can obliterate hate and misunderstanding.
Obliterate the Hate
We see protests like this one in Houston all over these United States. The ignorant proclamations have become deafening. Over what? It is all over a small percentage of an already small percentage of Muslims.
All it will take is a small amount of effort. A little bit of reading and the idea that it is a religion that won’t be going away anytime soon as you can see in the two pictures below.
Read, educate and show a little understanding.