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Myths about Islam

Is Islam Foreign to American History? (Watch)

Hi everybody. This is Danielle LoDuca – The Muslim Next Door.

With all that’s happening in the world, especially in the media, Islam has been shrouded in controversy.

Fears are being stocked and Muslims everywhere are being eyed with caution that often borders on suspicion guilt by association.

Many question, “Is Islam at fundamental odds with American ideals?

Can Muslims peacefully coexist with the rest of the world?

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Is Islam inherently dangerous?”

In this series “Myths about Islam”, we debunk common myths regarding Islam by exploring facts and looking at these questions from alternative perspectives. In part 1 we will deal with myth that Islam is foreign to American history.

Some of those sitting in front of the televisions may get the idea that Islam is new to the west. Foreign and invader even!

But a closer look reminds us that Islam has been a part of America centuries. For example, Bampett Muhammad was just one of the Muslims who served in George Washington’s army in 1775 and 1783. He fought for the American independence at the “Virginia Line”

The American founding fathers promised religious freedom for all specifically mentioning Islam in their writings.

Thomas Jefferson in 1776 says: “neither pagan nor Muslim nor Jew ought to be excluded for the civil rights of common wealth because of his religion.”

Richard Henry Lee, one of the signers of the declaration of the independence said: “True freedom embraces the Muslim and the Hindu as well as the Christian religion.”

Thomas Jefferson owned a translation of the Quran. It still exists today and was used at the swearing-in at the congressman Keith Ellison, one of several Muslim politicians serving our nation as our forefathers and legend.

Hundreds of Muslims fought in the war of 1812 to preserve American independence and later in the civil war.

In 1887, Alexander Russell Webb, son of a Christian preacher, embraced Islam and started a newspaper called: “The Muslim World”. He established a mosque in NY city and was the representative of Islam at the first parliament in the world’s religions in 1893.

Historian Edward E. Curtis writes in his book “Muslims in America” that Alexander Russel Webb used his publications to promote Islam as a religion that expressed some of America’s most deeply held values especially those of rationality, human equality, broadmindedness and acceptance of religious diversity.

In 1935, the Prophet Muhammad was honored in the chambers of the US Supreme Court as one of the greatest lawgivers of history.

Perched above the press seating area inside the US Supreme Court chamber the marble frieze depicting a symbolic image of the Prophet amongst other great lawgivers of history.

These facts and many more prove that Islam is imbedded in the fabric of our American history.

Don’t miss part 2 where we tackle the myth that Islam promotes a clash of civilization.

Help us promote peaceful coexistence through education and critical thinking.

Thanks for watching.

Watch episode 2.

About Danielle LoDuca
Danielle LoDuca is a third generation American artist and author. Drawing inspiration from personal life experiences, her writings highlight the familiarity of Islam in a climate that increasingly portrays the Islamic faith as strange. She holds a BFA from Pratt Institute and has pursued postgraduate studies in Arabic and Islamic Studies at the Foundation for Knowledge and Development. LoDuca’s work has been featured in media publications in the US and abroad and she is currently working on a book that offers a thought-provoking American Muslim perspective, in contrast to the negative narratives regarding Islam and Muslims prevalent in the media today