Post #11

Islam’s Assimilation: Italian religion, EU & the U.S.

The Muslim immigrant population in Italy differs from that in other European countries in various ways. One difference is that the first mosques were created not by and for immigrant workers, but by and for an intellectual elite of students from the Middle East (Hunter, p.79). Other distinguishing characteristics that Hunter lists include 1) diversity of countries of origin, 2) rapid pace of entry and settlement, 3) higher number of irregular immigrants, and 4) higher level of geographic dispersion (Hunter, p.80). The Islamic presence in Italy became visible with the entry of the first immigrants, whereas in other countries,  Islam became visible only after the emergence of a second immigrant generation. Also unlike Germany, France, and the UK where one or two ethnic groups for the bulk of Muslims, Italian Muslims come from a wide range of countries (Hunter, p.81). The organization and development of Islam in Italy have been along the same lines in other European countries, but the pace has been more rapid. Since 1970 when Italy only had one mosque, they now have about 150 places of worship for Muslims.

Muslims praying by Colosseum.

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Currently in Italy, the Catholic Church is of the highest regard and is recognized as a religion on the basis of the Concordato. All other religions must sign an agreement with the state (an intesa) to be recognized as a religion. Without the intesa, these religions don’t receive various juridical and economic advantages. Many religions have signed an intesa (E.g. Jewish, Lutheran, Baptist) but the Italian Muslim community has been trying to negotiate an agreement with the state since the 1990s. There are a many factors that have contributed to the lack of an intesa with the Islamic community in Italy. The first is because the state doesn’t actually have any obligation to come to an intesa with a religion, and can discuss/impose the timing and contents of an agreement (Hunter, 89). The state has much more power than the religions, especially the smaller communities like Islam. The second is that most Muslims aren’t Italian citizens, they are immigrants. This might worry the state because they think the Muslims’ will just eventually leave back to their homeland. The third is because Muslims do not represent a powerful political group that converts many Italians. The fourth is because Muslims are perceived as an “alien” community with major cultural differences such as the use of Arabic, not Italian. Lastly, the Islamic religion itself has a weak level of organization, lack of cohesion, lack of adequate public awareness of Islam and the negative nature of such awareness where it exists, and the persistence of Islam’s image as an enemy (Hunter, 90).


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           The reason that the U.S. doesn’t have a “Muslim problem” when comparing to Europe is that the U.S. seems to make it easier for Muslims to assimilate and welcome Muslims into the culture, whereas Europe does not. Muslims seem to be getting a better chance at a good education, which sets them up for better jobs. “In the U.S., Muslims make up 10% of US physicians, are the 2nd most educated group after the Jewish population, are as likely as other American households to report an income of $100,000 or more, and over 6,000 serve in the military” (Jamali, 2016). Muslims are reportedly very content with their lives in the U.S. “Unlike European Muslims the report also found that 80 percent of US Muslims were happy with life in America, and 63 percent said they felt no conflict “between being a devout Muslim and living in a modern society.” (Jamal, 2016). This confirmed sense of inclusion has withheld many Muslims from joining ISIS. Unlike EU Muslims who don’t feel included or welcomed and rebel by large groups of Muslims joining ISIS.

Muslim with U.S. Flag

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The Muslim population in the U.S. differs from that in Europe because according to a 2007 report from the Centre of European Policy Studies, EU Muslims are more likely, than the EU general population, to be poor, segregated and crime-prone neighborhoods (Jamali, 2016). The consistent poverty has contributed to racial tensions between Muslims and Europeans. As already stated above, the U.S. population is much more assimilated and obtains higher paying jobs, which field for a more happy and content life. The author might have biases because he had a good experience assimilating to American life and he compared all his experiences to his brother. The author didn’t bring in any research of other peoples first-hand experience’s, he made large generalizations. Some things that have changed since the article was published is that Trump has been elected, which has reinforced the stereotypes of Muslims and spread the idea of the “the other” further by his racist comments, plans to build a wall and the Muslim ban. This means Muslims are no longer welcome in the U.S. and probably creates a new hate for the U.S., which would lead them to join ISIS, more than raise the American flag up high.


Trump’s Muslim Ban. 

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Works Cited

Jamali, N. (2016, April 3). “Why the US doesn’t have a Muslim problem, and Europe does.” Retrieved from: 

Hunter, S. (2002). “Islam, Europe’s Second Religion.” Print.


Sharia Law // Islamic Feminism

Post 10// Week 11

The jihadi movement is significant because it is when Muslims countries gained independence back in 1950. However conflict was created when westernized elites were in charge of that freedom by suppressing values and tradition. In 1979 the Islamic revolution was stared because of the rise against the Soviet Union. With the hopes of creating an Islamic state the Taliban was born. The conflict with the west has paved the way of the current jihad movement that still exist today.

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The jihadi movement is significant because it is when Muslims countries gained independence back in 1950. However conflict was created when westernized elites were in charge of that freedom by suppressing values and tradition. In 1979 the Islamic revolution was stared because of the rise against the Soviet Union. With the hopes of creating an Islamic state the Taliban was born. The conflict with the west has paved the way of the current jihad movement that still exist today.

Sharia law is the law of Islam, which is a set of religious principles, which make up Islamic tradition however it is not the word of the Qur’an. Puritan fundamentalists are deliberate with it comes to Islamic law. “fundamentalists are only concerned with hudud punishment as demonstrable proof that they state is enforcing the whole of Islam” (Sardar and Davies, 118) These fundamentalist practice punishment as a way to deal with crime and believe that this is a way to deal with crime at the most extreme form.

I do not believe that Islamic law has always been consumed with punishment, however things today are different. Sardar and Davies go on to mention how sharia has little owe to the Qur’an and can not be viewed a divine. They also talk about hubud laws, which are laws that entail punishment in extreme circumstances, the example they give in the book explains that if an individual is committed with theft that they should get their hands cut off by doing this it would further prevent that crime from happening again. In todays world Islamic fundamentalists have taken matters into their own hands by saying which crimes have prosecuted with hubud laws are responsible for the punishment we see.


Islamic Feminism

        After reading the article From Islamic Feminism to a Muslim Holistic Feminism by Margot Badran’ it is better understood what Islamic Feminism is and what they stand for as feminist. An Islamic Feminist is family driven in their views, made by two theoretical advances. “(1) breaking down the notion that the sphere of the family constitutes a separate domain positing instead a continuum of private/family and public/society; and (2) dismantling the notion that Islam ordains a patriarchal construction of the family.”(Badran, 78) Created by Sister in Islam (SIS) who took real life situations, for example wife beating, and showed how the Qur’an didn’t align. Islamic Feminism is different than “Western” and “Secular” as they believe in equality of sexes as well as women’s individual rights in political, economic, and social roles. Secular feminism emerged from a social movement rather then the emerge of discourse. In the late twentieth century a social movement emerged as woman begun to express the discourse of woman’s rights and equality of gender by exploiting their own ijtujad by going directly to the Qur’an and various religious text. I believe that Islamic Feminism has been useful for addressing gender inequalities within Islamic societies and communities’ abroad, as it has brought the attention the unequal difference between the genders.


Badran, M. (2011).  From Islamic Feminism to a Holistic Muslim Feminism.  Retrieved from:

Davies, M. & Sardar, Z. The No-Nonsense Guide to Islam. New Internationalist Publications, 2007. Print.


Zach Post #10 – Jaihadi, Sharia Law, Islamic Feminism

The historic foundation that the jihadi movement is dates back to the 1950’s when many Muslim countries got their independence. When these countries gained their independence, they did not know what to do with leadership. The problem was that the leadership was in the power of Westernized elites, this arose to conflict. The 1979 Islamic revolution sparked in Iran, which the “militant jihadis who brought the Soviet empire to its knees” (Sardar and Davies 115).  When the Soviet empire was defeated many new nations came in to the Muslim world. The jihadis were trying to create a good Islamic state. “The Taliban literally student regime in Afghanistan was an attempt to implement that vision (Sardar and Davies 115).

Sharia, Islamic law was established when the fundamentalist gained power. “The Sharia… is still in practice today, and owes very little to the Qur’an” (Sardar and Davies 117). This is a problem because if it had not really come from the Qur’an it should not be taken as “laws from god” but it is taken that way. “The sharia is intrinsic to Islam and therefor has a claim on the allegiance of all Muslims” (Sardar and Davies 120).  It is odd that sharia laws is essential to being a Muslim because it has not come from the Qur’an, it has come from other leaders trying to gain power over people

“Puritan fundamentalists are concerned with the crime and punishment part of the sharia, or what is known as the hudud laws. (Sardar and Davies 118).  Hudud laws are the punishment, the punishment is the most extreme punishment that is given for certain laws broken. An example of a hudud punishment is that a thief should get their hands cut off so they cannot steal anything again. I do not believe that the fundamentalists were obsessed with punishment. “fundamentalists are only concerned with hudud punishments as demonstrable proof that the state is enforcing the whole of Islam” (Sardar and Davies 118). This being said, I believe that they only used punishments as a way of using a scare tactic. They would do it when a person committed a crime, the reason that they did it was to show other people that if you break the law, you will be punished and humiliated. They are using this tactic to make people not commit crimes.  The sharia is trying to change by these actions of stoning, beheading, and cutting of body parts.

There are also problems between what sharia law says and what the Qur’an says about women rights. “The Qur’an provided women with explicit rights to inheritance, to property, testify in court of laws and rights to divorce” (Sardar and Davies 121). Sharia law did not also this to happen, it was pretty much striping the rights away from women.


Islamic Feminism is about equality in the family. “Islamic feminist discourse has made two potentially useful theoretical advances: (1) breaking down the notion that the sphere of the family constitutes a separate domain positing instead a continuum of private/family and public/society; and (2) dismantling the notion that Islam ordains a patriarchal construction of the family” (Badran 78). While Western Feminism is about the individual rights of women in political roles, economic roles and social roles, and equality of sexes. Islamic Feminism has been a good tool to show that gender inequalities exist in Islamic societies and communities.  Islamic Feminism came from Sisters in Islam they are scholar activists.  “Sisters in Islam proceeded from women’s real-life experience to Qur’anic investigation. They took up the issue of wife-beating, for example, and demonstrated that the Qur’an did not condone the practice as many have been led to believe” (Badran 81).





From Islamic feminism to a Muslim Holistic feminism.pdf from


Davies, Merryl Wyn., and Ziauddin Sardar. The No-nonsense Guide to Islam. Oxford: Ni, 2008. Print.

Post #10

Jihadi, Sharia Law & Islamic Feminism

Muslims obtained independence in the 1950s, but they were still being dominated and controlled by Westernized elites who didn’t have independence for Muslims and economic growth of the country in mind. The Westernized elites neglected all forms of Muslim tradition, which created conflict. Thus the jihad in Afghanistan rose up against the Soviet Union, paving the Islamic revolution of 1979 (Sadar, p. 115) The militant jihad’s then wanted to create an idealistic Islamic state, which is why they created the Taliban. The West is now seen as an enemy of Islam. This history has created the current jihadi movement of today, which is a military movement that is a threat to the West.

“Jihad Against USA is our Religious Duty!!”
“Black flag of Jihad.”

1st Photo Retrieved from:

2nd Photo Retrieved from:

Sharia law is Islamic law that governs the political, social and moral duties of faithful Muslims. Sharia law comes from a combination of sources including the Qur’an, the prophet of Muhammad and the rulings of Islamic scholars. It is know for its harsh hudud punishments such as stoning, amputation or mutilation. Sharia law also diminishes women’s rights because it promotes the idea that women should be silent, secluded, objectified, and subservient (Sardar, p. 121). The fundamentalists are largely concerned with the crime and punishment part of sharia. They are concerned that “hudud punishments are demonstrable proof that the state is enforcing the whole of Islam, not the parameters that define it; or with the notion of balance sharia demands” (Sardar, p. 118).

“Sharia Law.”

Photo Retrieved from: 

I don’t think Islamic law has always been consumed with punishment. I think the US media has over amplified the Sharia’s punishment laws and distorted them to be wrongful and inhumane, before even understanding them. The media has reiterated stereotypical characterizations of a few radical muslims and attributed them to all muslims. However, many Muslims hold a different view of Sharia law. They see it as something that nurtures humanity. “In a society where social problems are endemic, Sharia frees humanity to realise its individual potential” (BBC, 2009)

Islamic Feminists use the Qur’an, a feminist reading of the Shari’a’ and other religious texts to articulate a discourse of women’s rights and gender equality around the 1980s and 1990s. They seek the full equality of women and men in the personal and public sphere. There are many ways that islamic feminism is different from secular feminist. The secular feminism’s emergence was in the form of a social movement, whereas islamic feminism was in the form of a discourse. The secular feminism was created by Muslims and nonMuslims together as citizens in their respective countries. Secular feminism emerged on the scene in the form of organic social movements, while the holistic islamic feminism surfaced as an envisioned movement. Secular feminism was organized by politicized women who were activists, whereas islamic feminism was a product of scholar-activists. Secular feminism began and remained as voluntary and self-funding, preserving in tradition, unlike islamic feminism (Badran, p. 7).

“Islamic Feminist Symbol” (2014).

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Islamic feminism has been a useful tool for addressing gender inequalities within Islamic societies and communities abroad. Women are going back to Islam’s classical texts and questioning they way men have read them. Women are challenging traditional customs about how women pray in mosques and whether they can hold leadership positions. In 2015, the first ever women-only mosque opened in LA (Power, 2015). In the twenty-first century in Turkey and Morocco, the patriarchal model of the family was overturned in favor of an egalitarian model. There was also a push to reform the Muslim Personal Status Code and created the Musawah, a group that focuses on reforming Muslim family laws (Badran, 2011). The secular and Islamic feminists create an unstoppable and powerful force when they work together.

“Islamic Feminism” (2014).

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Works Cited

Badran, M. (2011, January). “From Islamic Feminism to a Muslim Holistic Feminism.” Retrieved from:

BBC. (2009, March 9). “Sharia.” Retrieved from:

Power, C. (2015, March 20). “Muslim Women Are Fighting To Redefine Islam as a Religion of Equality.” Retrieved from:

Sardar, Z. (2007). “The No-Nonsense Guide to Islam.” Print.

Daisy Post 10 – Islamic Fundamentalists and Feminism

Ziauddin Sardar and Merryl Wyn Davies are the authors of the mini-handbook for Islam called The No-Nonsense Guide to Islam. This book is incredibly helpful to students like myself that are not well informed on the ideologies and beliefs of various sects of Islam. For example, they introduce Islamic fundamentalists in chapter 8 in regards to contemporary issues. In terms of the historic foundation of the current fundamentalist “jihadi” movement, it dates back to the 1950s. In the fifties, Muslim countries gained their independence but still ended up being ruled by Westernized elites. Because these leaders were not reformists or traditionalists, the Muslim people felt like their values and attitudes were suppressed. Since then, there has been deep-seeded conflict between the West and those who felt oppressed as Muslims. Sardar and Davies suggest that after the ‘Islamic revolution’ in 1979 traditional scholars were motivated by their success and taste of power. Militant jihadis wanted to create an ideal Islamic state, and the Taliban was an effort towards accomplishing that goal. Now, there are militant jihadis in all Muslim countries and they create uneasiness and fear among their communities. The authors also mention that although this is just the history of the fundamentalist jihadis, 21st century fundamentalists are actually rooted in fear of innovation. These people strive to practice Islam exactly as it was in the medieval times, in hopes that others’ perceptions of Islam will reflect that past time as well.

islamic fundamentalist

These fundamentalists take the Islamic law, sharia, very seriously and literally. In their eyes, “everything must be rejected; and everything must be based on the sharia… it is ‘Islamic law’ that makes an Islamic state Islamic” (Davies & Sardar, 2007). Such avid followers of this sharia law are known as puritan fundamentalists because of their belief in following the word of sharia law literally and with little to no context. (Note: Sharia law is not the word of the Qur’an.) Puritan fundamentalists are mainly concerned with the crime and punishment aspects of the sharia law – especially the hubud laws, which are the most extreme punishments possible for a given crime. They prefer to practice the hubud laws “as demonstrable proof that the state is enforcing the whole of Islam” (Davies & Sardar, 2007).

I personally believe that Islamic law has not always been consumed with punishment. Of course, there are aspects of every religion that address conflict management and “punishment,” but I strongly believe it is up to the individual to determine how literally to take these ancient words. As Sardar and Davies explain, even the sharia cannot be taken as “Divine” because it has little to owe to the Qur’an (Davies & Sardar, 2007). Additionally, when Sardar and Davies discuss hubud, they mention that, although cutting off the hands of a thief is part of sharia, it is only applicable and justifiable in an environment in which there is no need to steal and any effort to do so is of evil intent – and we simply do not live in such a world. Therefore, I believe it is the Islamic fundamentalists, who deem certain crimes as worthy of hubud law on their own terms, that have made Islam so centered around punishment in today’s world.

Another interesting aspect of today’s Islam is the concept of “Islamic feminism” which is different from “Western” or “Secular” feminism. The differences between Islamic feminism and Western feminism are clear. Western feminism focuses on separating religion and government and stresses the importance of women’s rights as individuals. Something worth noting is that there seems to be a pattern of Western women arguing for equality in the public sphere but utilizing gender roles in the home (Badran, 2011). Islamic feminism, on the other hand, is built upon the idea of women analyzing and acting on the Qur’an by their own interpretations of the text. Trailblazers for Islamic feminism do not actually like the term itself, they prefer to be recognized as Islamic scholars. It was not until recently that the term Islamic feminist became more widely accepted. Unlike Islamic fundamentalists, Islamic feminists are not hostile when fighting for what they believe – they are activists but lack the militant nature. A group of women in the 1980s in Malaysia started a community called Sisters in Islam. Women in this community were dedicated to investigating the word of the Qur’an, as it is commonly used to justify violence and oppression to women. They have found that several common acts upon women in Muslim families, such as wife beating, are not condoned whatsoever by the Qur’an. The effort to prove such inequalities is now known as scholarship activism and it has become central to the Islamic feminism movement, sparking change in communities and treatment of Muslim women worldwide.

Feminism Illustration


Badran, M. (2011).  From Islamic Feminism to a Holistic Muslim Feminism.  Retrieved from:

Davies, M. & Sardar, Z. The No-Nonsense Guide to Islam. New Internationalist Publications, 2007. Print.

Tanner Post 9- Refuge’s and Stereotypes

The Dispossessed and “The Escape” gives me a much better understanding of what Syrian Refugees are going through. The Dispossessed allows the readers to somewhat envision the tough life that many refugees are facing during their journey to a safer country. The article provides a storyline that involves real stories and incorporates comics to give the reader a different way to visualize the hardships the refugees are going through. The article expresses how refuge’s face money deficit problems, have to sleep in unwanted places, must avoid getting caught by using fraud identification, and have troubles communicating with family.

The Dispossessed also provides graphs to show the fluctuation in refugees amongst different countries. It is interesting to see where most refugees are exporting from and where they are going to, such as Lebanon. However, Lebanon can only do so much. It is extremely crucial for the sake of refuges that countries such as the U.S., Japan, and other well developed countries put more emphasis on this crisis by giving more help, aid, and even housing to these refuges.

I believe the comic does a great job of explaining the stories and the many problems that the refugees face, as well as expressing the excitement and relief of the refugees when they realize they are safe. A great example of this in the comic was when the police did not board and they were able to depart the train without any harm.

While I do think the comic does justice to the refugee situation, I believe the only thing that can provide a thorough justification of the refugee situation are people that actually went through it. The film “My Escape” does an exceptional job in providing the viewer with an explicit interpretation of what the crisis was like. There is actual footage of refuge’s experiences, because they taped their journey. Somebody actually describing what pain was like is what separates the justification between the video and the comic article. One of the men, Omar, was explaining how he originally had his life figured out, as he was a student who sought to build a life for himself and suddenly it “became a living hell”. His father had been killed and he was forced to leave the country. Omar had to trust smugglers for their safety, which would be extremely difficult to do when these people are trafficking others. It’s amazing to see life through the eyes of some of the refuges and get a better idea of how tough the journey of a refuge is. It’s a crazy fact to digest, but this man was a student like myself, and out of nowhere his father had died and he had to leave his country because of a civil war. It definitely gives me an appreciation of life and gives me a better understanding of how we need to be doing more to help.


The story of Intercultural Confrontation explains the negative perception that the Muslim Middle East and the West has towards each other. The article explains the two sides have an “idea of the “other” as an inferior rival or shadow of the “self” that has led to dehumanizing stereotypes as well as to habits of selective perception in which negative perceptions are remembered while more positive encounters are forgotten” ( Badkhen). The story goes on to explain how occurrences such as the killing of the Jews and Muslims by the Crusader army and the terrorist attacks that occurred on 9/11 are primary events that continue to provoke the stereotypes one side has for the other. Something that sticks out to me is how both sides have individuals who have committed some awful things in the past, but what makes one side worse than the other? With the perspective of the opposing “side” being labeled as “the other,” both cultures are teaching each other to follow along with these negative stereotypes.

This theme is brought up in the story of Intercultural Compatibility as well, because it expresses how there is a double standard held from both the West and the Islam. Mutually respecting one another will begin to transpire if we can refrain from bringing up stories from the past and recognize that each side holds very valuable values, such as respect for learning, desire for peace, esteem for toleration, and partnership on behalf of human dignity. However, no progress will be made with the inferior view of one another if we can’t recognize each person as an indivual rather than categorizing them in a group from what someone in the past may have done.


Caryl, C. (2015). Refugees are flooding countries that can’t protect them. Will the levies break? The Dispossessed Issue. Retrieved from:

Funk, N. & Said, A. (2004). Islam and the West: Narratives of Conflict and Conflict Transformation. Retrieved from:

Islam and the West// Dispossessed

Week 9 // Post 10

      After reading Foreign Affairs The Dispossessed article by Alia Malek and Josh Neufeld I gained a different perspective on migration. External forces are pushing millions of people out of their home country, forcing them to migrate. With the influx of people migrating into a new country comes with a rush of problems. “ Few wealthier countries could survive such a seismic population shift without experiencing enormous political and economic challenges.” (Malek & Neufeld) Jordan is ranked second in the world for the number of refugees and has by far done is excellent job at maintaining economic and social status.

            The article also follows five Syrian refugees and their families who made the journey to a better life.  Capturing their trip through cell phone footage we gain in insight on how hard this journey truly is. From feeling alienated in their own country Muhanid and Mohammed  they knew they couldn’t allow their children to grow up in an environment like this. While on their journey the friends meet Ihsan who was abandoned by his chaperone, they take him under their wing.    Finding a smuggler to start their journey to Germany they still had a long way to go. Getting in a 25 person inflatable raft, which held 50 Syrians and Iraqis, they crossed the Aegean Sea. After floating to Kos, Greece the refuges searched for a place to stay. Across the next couple of days the refugees experienced fear as they continued their journey. Finally making it to Germany the refuges were free, creating a new life of possible for their families. The comic illustration does an excellent job of capturing there journey.

Screen Shot 2017-03-21 at 7.23.00 PM

          Among all of the different aspects that caught my eye throughout the article The New Reorder by Anna Badkhen portion stuck out more than the rest. Cell phones and the advancement of social media have giving an insight to what a trip may look like and how to execute a journey for a potential migrant. We gain insight to the good and the bad “We can friend migrants on Facebook. We can watch on Instagram feeds as dead children float facedown in the Mediterranean surf.” (Badkhen) These technological advancements also allow us to experience the journey. Traditional the media we are used to hearing is negative, aggressive, and is missing the element of humanity. It doesn’t show compassionthat migrants have a story that consists of layers, or the struggle of traveling with three kids and a wife. Social media today adds a level of compassion that has been missing. “Unless the world finds compassion for this new communality, learns to make sense of one another’s voices, its humanity will perish.” (Badkhen) Badkhen addresses the question of, is this a century of dislocated people or dislocated passion? What I gained from the article is that migrations isn’t going to stop, what has to stop is the way we look at migrants and learn to accept it.

         The article Islam and the West: Narratives of Conflict and Conflict Transformation by Nathan C. Funk and Abdul Aziz Said discusses the issues between the United States and Muslim Middle East. The conflict between the two can be descried as “Frictions generated by conflicting interest and desires spill over into the cultural domain, resulting in the politicization of identities and escalatory conflict dynamic in which the basic value commitments, beliefs and mores of the “other” are regarded as threatening and problematic.” (Funk & Said 2004) When we stereotype we divide ourselves in to the “other” and “self” which leads to dehumanization, this only pulls the two further apart. I believe this creates fear due to lack of knowledge between the two. “Clash of symbols” has also posed a conflict between the two Westerners view headscarf’s and other symbols of Islamic religion to be expression repellent, and Muslims see blue jeans and other western symbols to be anti-Islamic statements. “Belief systems are being simplified into images to be either rejected or absorbed in their entirety, resulting in deeply impoverished notions of both Islam and the West.” (Funk & Said 2004) In order for Muslims and Westerners to achieve the cohesiveness they need to stay true to their values and learn to find the common ground that will allow one another to learn from each other rather than focus on differences.



Caryl, C. (2015). Refugees are flooding countries that can’t protect them. Will the levies break? The Dispossessed Issue. Retrieved from:

Nathan C. Funk and Abdul Aziz Said. Islam and the West: Narratives of Conflict and Conflict Transformation. From:

Daisy Post 9 – Syrian Refugees & Differences of West and Islam

As someone who does not know very much about Syrian refugees and the lives of those escaping their countries, I found this week’s sources quite interesting and informative. The article The Dispossessed was one that I thoroughly enjoyed. The visuals and graphics that inform readers about refugee numbers in various countries were shocking. The problem is that Lebanon, in addition to several other countries, do not have the room or resources to continue housing these “dispossessed” folks. The large numbers of migrants to these countries are affecting their economies’ development and political stability, and the affects can only become more burdensome. In general, I believe this article does a good job of highlighting the issues and conflicts about these refugees. The comic is helpful for visual learners, as it shows the tribulations the refugees had to overcome. However, after watching My Escape, I feel a bit differently.

My Escape is a compilation of stories and personal experiences shared by several Syrian refugees. These stories and interviews are augmented with videos and pictures taken on the cell phones of the refugees themselves. Being able to see the real, raw, and uncut videos of the journeys some of the refugees experienced was eye-opening for me. I learned that there are smugglers who are paid by refugees to be trafficked out of the country. While this sounds helpful in theory, it appears that most refugees are actually scared of these smugglers due to their controlling, “sinister,” and threatening dispositions. Some refugees are transported via overcrowded boats and some are crammed into fuel tanks of busses with little to no flowing air supply. Additionally, some hiked through mountains and deserts to flee their countries in hope of a better life elsewhere. The smugglers essentially saw these refugees as a source for potential cash – if they disobeyed or fell behind, they could be sold back for money. One refugee even claimed that dealing in organs of refugees was common. In this sense, I feel that the comic did not really accurately reflect the true torture these refugees undergo. Regardless, after watching My Escape and reading The Dispossessed I am truly moved by the incredible journeys many refugees experience, hoping they can live freely and be respected in another country.

File photo of displaced people from the minority Yazidi sect, fleeing violence from forces loyal to the Islamic State in Sinjar town, walking towards the Syrian border
Syrian Refugees Hiking Through Desert

The article Islam and the West: Narratives of Conflict and Conflict Transformation by Nathan C. Funk and Abdul Aziz Said discusses the issues of intercultural confrontation and intercultural compatibility and how they affect conflict transformation. The authors begin by discussing intercultural confrontation and the dimensions within this topic: images of the “other”, the construction of differences, and the supposed hatred of the West by Muslims. The images of the “other” is explained further as the self vs. other perspective – similarly to the articles from last week. “… habits of selective perception in which negative interactions are remembered while more positive encounters are forgotten” seems to be common and is something that should be addressed. The self vs. others concept was one that particularly fascinated me when we discussed aid for Africa in the first part of the semester. This type of outlook is one that is not progressive and will continue to contribute to divisiveness in the future. The authors write “… Islam has come to represent the ‘irrational’ for Westerners – a symbol for that which cannot be understood, and must therefore be distrusted and controlled. The Muslim world is reduced to a set of forms and images that appear in essence to be antithetical to Western ideals, goals, and values. This generates a temptation to recoil from all things Islamic, and to project a self-image of superiority….” (Funk & Said, 2004). All in all, these stereotypes, images of “other” and general self vs. other perspectives must be changed for there to be any real progress in the relationships between the West and Islam.

Recent Illustration of Statue of Liberty (West) Hugging Muslim Woman (Islam)

After discussing intercultural confrontation, Funk and Said explain the idea of intercultural compatibility in terms of: affirmation of shared values, differentiating between revivalism and terrorism, and fundamentalism as a shared problem. To start, it is important to note the shared values that those of the West have with Muslims, such as, a respect for learning, desire for peace, esteem for toleration, and partisanship on behalf of human dignity (Funk & Said, 2004). It is also important to distinguish between revivalism and terrorism. According to Funk and Said, Islamic revivalism is “a movement to renew the Muslim communities from within through public reaffirmation of Islamic values… [it] manifests a constructive concern with matters of social justice, political participation, and cultural authenticity…” (Funk & Said, 2004). This is different and not to be confused with terrorism, “the use of indiscriminate violence for political purposes… channels feelings of crisis, besiegement, and despair into acts that are intrinsically destructive in character” (Funk & Said, 2004). Once these two concepts are understood by Westerners, the perspective on Islam and Muslims may change and be better accepted. Finally, the authors encourage readers to understand that fundamentalism is a shared problem – not something that only Westerners disagree with. They write, “Fundamentalism implies a closing off of the ability to listen to the ‘other.’ Yet a return to the larger frame of a culture and its humane values, always present if sought for, can open up the space for understanding, cooperation, or at the very least, mutual respect” (Funk & Said, 2004).

In general, I agree with this type of conflict management. I think it is important to rid of the “self vs. other” perspective and try to focus on positive encounters and common ground between different groups. Once this can happen, positive changes and developments can happen between the West and Islam.


Caryl, C. (2015). Refugees are flooding countries that can’t protect them. Will the levies break? The Dispossessed Issue. Retrieved from:

Funk, N. & Said, A. (2004). Islam and the West: Narratives of Conflict and Conflict Transformation. Retrieved from:

Zach Post #9 – Escaping Syria, Islam and The West

My assessment of The Dispossessed article is that it is a great article for telling about how the refugees are being treated and the reasons why they are leaving their home country.  Islam plays a small role as that the Islamic State is threatening them, but this is really just a group of bad people that are trying to take over a country to make it theirs.

Screen Shot 2017-03-20 at 4.23.56 PM.pngThe comic also does a wonderful job of showing the situation that the refugees are in as they are trying to reach a country that will take them in and watch out for them. The comic really showed in a good about of detail the problems endured on the trip to Germany. It showed the emotions of how people felt about missing their family, problems with money, afraid of getting caught and what would happen to them if they did get caught.

The film My Escape is a really emotional film to watch. It shows the hard path to getting to be free, the things that people had to do to get freedom amazes me. Freedom to me is just a given right and to these people it is not, it makes me really think how good we live our lives.

The story of Intercultural Confrontation from Islam and the West: Narratives of Conflict and Conflict Transformation by Nathan Funk and Abdul Said is about how people in America and people in Middle East view each other in negative ways.  “Muslims and Westerners who narrate the story of confrontation seek to place Islamic-Western relations within an “us versus them” framework that posits continuous historical antagonism from the rise of Islam in the seventh century to the present day” (6 Funk & Said). This is a problem between Muslims and Westerners, they are contrasting each other (Muslim vs. Westerner) instead they should be comparing us (how we are the same).

The Story also talks about how people form their views and where they come from. “Like Western ideas about the Muslim Middle East, the images have at least a provisional basis in reality, but are often more representative of Hollywood than of day-to-day life” (6 Funk & Said). This is the problem, people are not actually seeing what is going on in their day to day lives, they are only seeing what Hollywood or the “media” is showing them. This is what they want you to believe even if it is not true.

The story of Intercultural compatibility from Islam and the West: Narratives of Conflict and Conflict Transformation by Nathan Funk and Abdul Said is about how people in America and people in the Middle East are similar and how they could better understand each other. “alternatives to narratives of confrontation exist, and have found expression in Western and Middle Eastern Muslim consciousness alike… Insofar as both the West and Islam partake in a common human heritage of “civilization,” they share many values which provide a basis for understanding and cooperation” (15 Funk & Said). There are values that are shared such as learning, peace, and human dignity. “Islam and the West are dangerously out of touch with each other, and misperceptions and mistrust have led to an ever-deepening estrangement” (20 Funk & Said).  This is another main problem, that we really don’t know each other and that if continue this path we will grow farther apart. This cannot happen because we must know one another before we can say something about each other. People from the Middle East are people, just like people from the West are just people. People are people and everyone should be respected as such.


Nathan C. Funk and Abdul Aziz Said. Islam and the West: Narratives of Conflict and Conflict Transformation. From:

Post #9

Syrian Refugees Fighting for Freedom & Finding Peace between Islam & the West

The Dispossessed article did a great job of explaining why these people were leaving, the desperation to get out of their home countries with the use of the comic strip and the storyline of firsthand reports and real events that happened gathered by journalist Alia Malek. It was also interesting to hear the perspective of the countries who have to take in the refugees. Many of the countries can’t house or feed so many refugees. They talked about how wealthier countries (U.S., China) need to help out with supporting the refugees. I especially liked this quote- “Today’s world is too small to allow a part- any part- of it to sink into chaos and despair” (Caryl, 2015).

I think the comic did a good job of depicting the emotions of uncertainty in the middle- will they open the boarders in Budapest? Will we take a boat, train, walk, what will we do??  It showed the hardship of traveling to safety and the overwhelming relief when they finally make it to safety after worrying if they’ll get caught, sleeping outside, trying to avoid being fingerprinted/checked for I.D. and passport, trying to find enough money to pay for travel and hotels, etc. Of course it was only a few people’s story so it’s hard to do complete justice to the refugee situation, but I think it did the best it could!

“Migrants traveling from Turkey to Greece.” Carillon, Joel. 

Photo retrieved from:

I thought the film My Escape was a really great film that depicted the emotions, fears and horribleness of fleeing for safety. I am not a big news person and I probably need to change that because by not staying informed, it’s easy to ignore problems that are happening globally. This film showed me the terror, uncertainty and loss that many refugees had to face. It was eye-opening and heart wrenching. Three things in particular caught my attention in the film. First, was the fact that people had to walk through the desert to escape. Especially since there was the guy’s little nephew with him too. The young boy said it was one of the hardest walks he’s done and his feet kept sinking into the sand. The second was how scary it was for the refugees to feel like they’re fate is in the hands of the smugglers. Some had tried to escape over 5 times and failed. The third was when the one man filmed himself inside a closed car with about 30 other people to hide from police. He said that just weeks early a whole van full of people died.

“Syrian refugee child sleeps in his father’s arms waiting to board bus to Greece.” 2015. 

Photo retrieved from:

The story of intercultural confrontation depicts how the U.S. and the Middle East see each other in negative ways, in dehumanizing stereotypes and do not see anything in common with one another. The West associates the Middle East with images of desert oases, sword-bearing Arabs, veiled women and belly dancers, etc. “These images are united by the same idea of “otherness” that has haunted Europe’s relations with the Eastern Mediterranean” (Funk & Said, 2004). Middle Eastern images of the West are colored simultaneously by envy and fear, admiration and suspicion. Western technological, economic, and political achievements are appealing, while the assertion of Western military, political, and economic power creates feelings of distrust and resentment (Funk & Said, 2004). The Middle East also think negatively about the West in terms of sexual immorality, family life, crime and public safety. With this continual dichotomy of “otherness,” cultural differences are exaggerated and distorted- furthering each other from peace with one another. The story of intercultural compatibility showed ways in which the West and Middle East could find values they have in common that would provide a basis for understanding and cooperation. These values include respect for learning, desire for peace, esteem for toleration, and partisanship on behalf of human dignity. We can also stop ourselves from reiterating stories that exaggerate our differences, instill fear and inflame conflict. This new perspective offers hope for improved relations. The story of compatibility seeks to counteract misperceptions and double standards,and to bolster cultural empathy and mutual respect with one another.


Work Cited

Caryl, C. (2015). Refugees are flooding countries that can’t protect them. Will the levies break? The Dispossessed Issue. Retrieved from:

Funk, N. & Said, A. (2004). Islam and the West: Narratives of Conflict and Conflict Transformation. Retrieved from: