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Some thoughts on Islam after visiting a Placer County mosque

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Recently, I went with my daughters to a mosque in Roseville, which is sponsored by the Islamic Society of Placer County.  This was part of a broader program of religious exploration that my kids have been a part of.  Going there and talking with their imam confirmed to me that most U.S. Muslims, like most U.S. Christians, interpret their holy text in a way that is peaceful and good.  And from talking with other Muslims from around the world, it seems that this is also the case in most places.

At the particular mosque in Placer County, it is broadly open to all Muslims, whether Shia or Sunni, and from any sect and community.  They only require that those who generally attend to be considered a Muslim if they follow the Shahada, which basically the belief in one God, Allah, and that Mohamed is the last and most important prophet.  And they seem to focus a lot on the other “pillars of Islam” as well.

In their view, “jihad” has two meanings.  One is a personal struggle to do the right things in your life, and this is the most important jihad.  The other is an armed struggle, but only in self-defense, and never killing women, children, and other civilians.  Thus, they reject the “Islamic State” and reject Al-Qaeda.

The imam also talked about how Islam brought many rights for women, but that while many of these were originally protective rights, they have now unfortunately become to be be interpreted as restrictive laws.

In all, it was a very enlightening visit.  Of course, it is clear that not everyone who calls themselves Muslims have that same enlightened views.  But, it equally clear that the views of those who call themselves Christians also vary as widely, and there are fringe groups that practice things that appall most others who call themselves Christians.

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Written by Jacob Walker

April 28th, 2015 at 11:59 am

Posted in Religion

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