Sunday, April 10, 2011

Terms that Apply to Sharia Law

The terms that I am going to apply to my situation are Assimilation, Orientalism, and/or The Mark of the Plural.
I have decided to include assimilation as a term, because I have heard it mentioned numerous times in reference to Sharia Law. Assimilation is the idea that the “outsiders” are to be absorbed into the dominant culture, including their beliefs and customs. Many news personnel have used this word to present an implausible solution for Islamic immigrants in dealing with the opposition against them. Calling for an entire culture and religion to assimilate into “Western Life” seems strangely unfair to me. And who's to say they aren't already assimilated?
I am also considering both Orientalism and/or The Mark of the Plural. These terms have similar definition and for purpose of simplicity I would like to choose one, but we’ll see what happens.
Orientalism is a way of regarding the Orient. It is a constellation of false assumptions underlying the Western attitude toward the Middle East. Orientalism has a huge impact on this situation. The American prejudice against the Arab world has been emphasized tremendously throughout the news coverage. Our political leaders are assuming that those of the Islamic faith will practice Sharia Law in a way that will violate our laws. Yet, this hasn’t occurred before. They are basing this piece of legislator off of the extreme actions of a few Islamic countries, even though this is not the norm. Most individuals practice Sharia Law in a peaceful, nonthreatening way. But because we have only seen the extreme side of Sharia (body parts removed, stoning, executions) displayed in the media, we assume that all Muslims follow it in the same way. That’s like assuming all Christians carry out their Sunday services in the same manner, which we all know is not true. Yet, we’ve orientalized these people to the point that they “are all the same”, which leads into the Mark of the Plural.
The Mark of the Plural is the idea that the colonized is never characterized in an individual manner. He/She is only referred to collectively. “They are this” and “They are all the same”. More than likely, I will just stick with assimilation and orientalism, but I would like to keep my options open. The Mark of the Plural applies to this situation in the way that our leaders are assuming that all Muslims practice their religion to the same extent. Sharia Law is much like the moral standard that the Bible leaves for Christians to follow. Do we all interpret and follow the Bible in the same way? No. So, why should we assume that all Muslims are the same?

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