|October 6, 2010|
|Wednesday, 06 October 2010 21:29|
Hi there. I grew up believing America was founded, among other wonderful ideas, offering freedom of religion. I grew up a in a Protestant family and neighborhood, became a Catholic while a Marine (the priest, a celibate, thought of us troops as his family!) in WW2, have known good members of many religions and races, from many levels of wealth, and respected and liked nearly everyone. Mosques have been here since the colonial era. A mosque is a place where Muslims make salat, the prayer performed in the direction of their Mecca. One of the first mosques in American history was in Maryland; Muslim slave and Islamic scholar Job Ben Salomon, a cattle driver, would steal away to the woods for his and his friends prayers.
The temples or mosques of the Nation of Islam, - an indigenous forum led by Elijah Muhammad from 1934 to 1975 – were often converted store fronts and churches. In 1970 mosques numbered slightly more than 100 nationwide. In the last three decades of the twentieth century, more than a million new Muslim immigrants came to the United States, and opened hundreds more mosques. Today there are more than 2,000 places of Muslim prayer, most of them mosques, here in the United States.
According to recent Pew and Gallup polls, about 40 percent of Muslim Americans say they pray in a mosque at least once weekly, nearly the same percentage of Americans who say they attend church weekly, and contrary to the popular belief that mosques are male-only spaces, Gallup found that women attend as regularly as men.
Most mosques don’t teach Islamic law for a simple reason: it’s too complicated. Islamic law includes not only the Koran and the traditions of the prophet Muhammad, which the mosques teach, and how those sacred texts apply to everyday life, but also great bodies of arcane legal rulings and pedantic scholarly interpretretations.
The vast majority of mosques are supported by Muslim Americans themselves, as are Protestant, Christian, and Jewish churches, which were also brought here by people from foreign lands. I think our proud Native American Indians enjoyed joining in our predecessors Thanksgiving feasts, but mostly resented the greed and lethal guns and military attacks that we foreigners brought to their shores - but for the most part, our country today lives in peaceful accord.
If the anti-Muslim prejudice increases – as shown in the recent reaction to the proposed community center near ground zero, I wouldn’t be surprised if feeling alienated, young Muslims will turn away from the peaceful paths advocated by their elders - and we have seen how effective really mad or insane young Muslims can be.
So far, this has not happened on a large scale. I believe we should continue to offer a choice of religious practices here in America, under a government of and by all the people, who, hopefully include each of you and your families, and I hope every one of us will vote for the candidates of their individual choice for elected government officials very soon.
I will look for you on Election Day, I will be working at the Churubusco Town Hall as a clerk, and pray to my God that all will continue to hope to live in happiness, hoping for security, prosperity, good fellowship and understanding - while seeking peace throughout the world and especially at home!
Because I like Black Labs, I called all of them Black Dog, until Doc Welch told me I shouldn’t. When I asked why, he said it confused his records. When I got my last, I named him “Bob”, thinking that if I thought I heard Judy holler, it would at him, and I could keep on working. He ran away 13 times, when I got him back because of the chip in his shoulder, I renamed him “Bob, COME HERE”. Now, when I want them both to get fed, and I holler “COME HERE” – Black Dog don’t think I am talking to him, so he just lies back down”. . . . good gardening