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Author Topic: Conflict, theology, history make Muslims more religious, expert says  (Read 265 times) Average Rating: 0
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« on: December 06, 2011, 12:17:55 PM »

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(CNN) – Every religion has its true believers and its doubters, its pious and its pragmatists, but new evidence suggests that Muslims tend to be more committed to their faith than other believers.
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But while there's no doubt about the importance of Islam, experts have different theories about why Muslims appear to be more religious than members of other global faiths - and contrasting views on whether to fear the depth of Muslims' commitment to their faith.
 
One explanation lies in current affairs, says Azyumardi Azra, an expert on Islam in Indonesia, the world's most populous Muslim majority country.
 
Many Muslims increasingly define themselves in contrast with what they see as the Christian West, says Azra, the director of the graduate school at the State Islamic University in Jakarta.

"When they confront the West that they perceive or misperceive as morally in decline, many Muslims feel that Islam is the best way of life. Islam for them is the only salvation," he says.
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The depth of the Muslim commitment to Islam is not only a matter of theology and current events, but of education and history, as well, other experts say.
 
"Where religion is linked into the state institutions, where religion is deeply ingrained from childhood, you are getting this feeling that 'My way is the only way,'" says Fiyaz Mughal, the director of Faith Matters, a conflict-resolution organization in London.
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But it's not only the link between mosque and state in many Muslim majority countries that ties followers to their faith, says professor Akbar Ahmed, a former Pakistani diplomat who has written a book about Islam around the world.
 
Like Christians who wear "What Would Jesus Do?" bracelets, many Muslims feel a deep personal connection to the founder of their faith, the prophet Muhammad, he says.
 
Muhammad isn't simply a historical figure to them, but rather a personal inspiration to hundreds of millions of people around the world today.
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« Reply #1 on: December 06, 2011, 12:29:09 PM »

What 'helps' in some places, at least, is that it's illegal or simply very difficult to open up any other houses of worship, and you get thrown in jail or killed if you break the rules. It's easy to win when you cheat by oppressing the competition.
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« Reply #2 on: December 06, 2011, 12:40:52 PM »

Yeah...outside of the Islamosphere, where it is possible to be a Christian, agnostic, atheist, or whatever, you find less commitment to Islam, many times without finding a corresponding decline in mosque attendance, as not believing in Islam is still dangerous if you are within an ethnocultural community that defines itself by that religion. I have a Pakistani friend, born in Qatar, who had to move across the United States to get away from his parents in order to live as an atheist. When he was still living with them, he was compelled to participate in Islamic ritual as any faithful Muslim wood, for the sake of abating his parents' anger, and preserving their honor within the community. Is this what the expert means by devotion?

In these circumstances, it is virtually impossible to find the kind of laxity in Islam that you might find in Christianity or Judaism, but that is not really a faithful indicator of the religiosity of Muslims, particularly around the world/outside of the Middle East (as many forms of Islam in Africa or certain parts of Asia far removed from the Arab center are highly syncretic, making even a large majority population less impressive in reality than they are in bare numbers; we Christians in the West can probably relate to this!)
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