Sorry I haven't posted for a while (or commented on anyone's blogs), I just moved to another country and am still settling in! Just thought I would write a quick post about something I've been thinking about recently: Islam's image and how to react to it.
There's no doubt that Islam has a negative global image, generally. Many non-Muslims have very stereotypical views of Islam and about Muslims, such as "all Muslims are terrorists" or "all Muslim women are oppressed", etc. If you look at mainstream Western media, it's clearly biased against Muslims. Books, films, sitcoms - they usually show Muslims in a very negative way.
My question is: as Muslims, should we be trying to fix this? And what can we do? Should we just ignore this and write it off as ignorance and racism, or should we actively try to fight against it and counter these images? I guess in a way fighting against it is kind of giving it seriousness, whereas ignoring it would be like saying "it's not even worth responding to". If we think we should respond, what can we do?
For me I guess the number one thing is to set an example. When people see you acting a certain way, they'll associate it with your religion, nationality, gender, etc. So if you are a good person, people will probably see Islam as a positive normal thing. If however you are rude, arrogant etc, people may associate that with Islam. This associating thing is something we all do. Each one of us represents different things - our religion, nationality, profession - its human nature to associate people with their statuses in life.
Another thing is to interact with non-Muslims in a rational, calm, respectful way. My previous post about Gary Miller is an example of us - he approaches non-Muslims ina peaceful way and logically tries to show that Islam is the truth. Some Muslims choose to be rude, arrogant, and obnoxious, and this will never make anyone change their perception of Islam from negative/neutral to positive, let alone make them convert.
What do you think?