How has life changed for a Muslim in the 21st century?

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Ashley Kannan | Middle School Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

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I think that one reality that Muslims face in the 21st Century is the constant association of their religion with fanaticism, fundamentalism, and terrorism.  I don't think that this is right or fair.  Yet, if we are examining what life must be like for a 21st Century Muslim, this is a part of their reality.  The Islamic faith being associated with violence and terrorism is part of the reality that Muslims face.  Part of their crucible is seeking to divorce their faith from this.  It is something that is present in media coverage, op- ed pieces, and in the words and actions of those in the position of power who believe they know the religion.  Part of what a Muslim of the 21st Century faces is a commitment to educate those who either do not know better or seek to converge the religion with those who twist it for their own purposes.

In my mind, this reflects a larger reality.  For the Muslim in the 21st Century, there is a challenge to have to embrace identity in a world that is uncertain of it.  Some of the most base associations play with "Islam" and "Terrorism" and combine the two. It is a challenge for the Muslim of the 21st Century to seek to break these two realities apart.  This is something with which a Muslim of the 21st Century has to contend.  Part of their being is to continually have to clear up misconceptions, deliberate or otherwise, that pit their religion and their cultural state of being with a reality that is not reflective of true cultural identity.  This is another part of what I see as the challenge in being Muslim in the 21st Century.

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