Wednesday, January 28, 2009
Ask a Muslim!
Image from the Houston Chronicle
I like having "a guy." You know-- friends and acquaintances I call up when I need a special job done. I've "got a guy" (or gal) for when I need to translate something into Spanish, get a free meal, jump my car, figure what's wrong with my computer or get into the bar when I've forgotten my ID.
Yeah, I like having people.
On my "I've got a guy" wishlist is a guy who can answer my dumb questions about religious tenets without making fun of me for those four years I spent studying in the Religious Studies department at CU. Luckily, for questions about the world's second-largest religion, I can call 1-877-WHY-ISLAM.
With lots of post-9-11 misinformation still connecting Muslims with terrorism, Ask A Muslim seems like a pretty simple way to clear up basic questions about mosques and Mohammad and tackle larger issues such as what the Koran says about jihad.
According to a recent Houston Chronicle article, the call center fields 1,000 queries a month. You can also go online to www.whyislam.org, where people can e-mail questions, get in on discussion forums, get free copies of the Quran or find a nearby mosque.
“The idea was to help answer the questions that people have about Islam,” Islamic Circle of North America board member Hanif Harris was quoted in the article. “This way, they’ll get the answers directly from Muslims.”
ICNA says the Web site and hotline are meant is to spread information to non-Muslims and promote multi-faith dialogue without converting anyone, but not everyone is happy with the idea. On just the Houston Chronicle's Web site alone were plenty of idiotic tirades about how the tuuurrrrists are just trying to indoctrinate innocent callers with their violent ways and "take over our country."
Gee, guess I'll have to call the number and ask a Muslim if that's true!
So much for interfaith dialogue.