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Muslim Communities In The United States

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We see people from different backgrounds every day. Just alone in Chicago, we see different cultures no matter where you go, you see people with different beliefs and values. There are so many opportunities to learn something from people, some of whom are your friends whom you interact with every day. You will only understand the culture of a person when you get the chance to interview them. For my interview, I chose Ali who is my father. I have lived with my father my whole life and it never crossed my mind that I would ever interview him. I’ve never really had an extended conversation with my father, so I thought this would be a great way to learn more about him. You would think for someone like me who grew up in Chicago already has a good idea of how diverse the world can be, but this was a great lesson for me. My father and my whole family are Muslim, but there’s a twist he would only consider himself and my mother as real Muslims. Ali is from Iraq and although he hasn’t visited in 20 years he still has a vivid memory of what life was like for him back then.

At first, my father didn’t want to interview because he said he lived in America for 20 years and he wouldn’t be a good example, but after some convincing, he was willing to start the interview. One thing that stunned me was that the main reason he came to America was that if he ever had a daughter it would be for her to have a better education. In the middle east women don’t have a role in society they just stay home, cook, clean, and take care of children. That part didn’t surprise me at all because that’s almost still true in certain parts of the middle east. Men have a higher status compared to women. Men are the leaders of the household therefore they get to make all the decisions. Women often experience little respect and their decisions are considered less valuable.

My father was straight up honest with me during the whole interview. I wasn’t a good representation of our culture. He laughed when I asked that question. I didn’t take any offense to it. I knew I wasn’t a good representative. I barely speak Arabic so right off the bat that’s strike one. The second strike is that I barely follow any of the beliefs such as praying five times every day and the third strike is that I’m not involved in the Muslim community. I don’t go to the mosque and understand why it’s so important to Muslims around the world. I only know one holiday and we celebrate it twice a year. It’s called Ramadan. He accused me of not fasting for 30 days and told me to stop with all the excuses then maybe he’ll consider me a good representation, but for now, I’m far off.

People feel strongly about mores and violating them results in disapproval or blacklisting. For Example in Islam and many other religions prohibit you from having a romantic partner before marriage. If a young adult moves in with her boyfriend then her family and friends are likely to view her behavior as sinful. They might punish them by threatening judgment in the afterlife or refuse to let them back in their house. One of the biggest taboos in Islam is eating pork. Muslims say the pig is considered unclean. You also can’t have tattoos or drink alcohol and men can’t have any piercings. Doing any of these you are going against the culture of Islam.

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One Islamic norm is self-interest vs self-sacrifice every Muslim should put all their effort and energy for the society he belongs to. Good efforts will be rewarded by Allah not only in this life but even in the afterlife. Islam also has many values and beliefs, for example, the five pillars of Islam. The first one is your faith in God and you must believe Mohammed is the messenger of God. Many Muslims recite this in the Quran. Second the prayers. Muslims pray facing Mecca five times a day. They can pray alone or pray together in a Mosque with an Imam guiding them. Third, there are alms in which Muslims donate money to the community who are in need. Fourth is fasting where Muslims are abstained from food and drinks. During Ramadan, they share the hunger and thirst of those less fortunate. Finally, every Muslim who is financially stable must visit the holy city of Mecca located in Saudia Arabia.

Ali affiliates with Islam very closely he wishes that I and my brothers are just as religious as us, but even he knows that’s not possible since we came to America. He makes my two younger brothers go to the mosque with him every Saturday and makes sure we all participate during Ramadan. My father says there’s no way Islam is going anywhere. It for sure can be maintained in today’s society. Muslims are one of the fastest-growing religions around the world with no signs of slowing down. Even with all the stereotypes and hate crimes against Muslims the community is still solid. My father experienced a lot of hate against him and my mother during 9/11. People didn’t want to give him jobs because they were afraid he was going to attack them, our neighbors would tell lies to the landlord just to get us kicked out of our small apartment.

In the current political environment, it’s no surprise you hear about Islamophobia. It is common to see and hear negative stereotypes about Muslims and their place in society. Trump made frequent use of anti- Muslim rhetoric saying things like “I think Islam hates us” Trump even signed an order to stop Muslims from entering the US and it was only a week into his administration. In the UK someone had made up a day something along the lines of “punish a Muslim day” where you just go and attack Muslim people for no reason. Many Muslims are scared to go to the Mosque to pray and break their fast during Ramadan because they’re afraid of someone attacking them.

My father’s home of origin is in Baghdad, Iraq. He came to the US in 1999 a couple of months after I was born. He settled here in the US to have a better life for me and my brothers. He wanted a better education system here and endless opportunities for my family to expand. My Father is the Alpha male in the house and he makes all the decisions and when my father is not there I’m next in line. My mother plays the domestic role she takes care of my younger siblings, cooks, and cleans for the family. My younger siblings attend school and help out by doing housework. We ended this interview by drinking chai which is black tea that Ali drinks throughout the day. I really enjoyed interviewing my father. This was such a great experience for both of us and I see my dad with a whole different perspective then how I did before I conducted the interview.

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Muslim Communities In The United States. (2022, February 17). Edubirdie. Retrieved June 6, 2023, from
“Muslim Communities In The United States.” Edubirdie, 17 Feb. 2022,
Muslim Communities In The United States. [online]. Available at: <> [Accessed 6 Jun. 2023].
Muslim Communities In The United States [Internet]. Edubirdie. 2022 Feb 17 [cited 2023 Jun 6]. Available from:
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