Weekly Reflection 1/28/19

McGuire, in the opening chapters of our book, asks some interesting questions about religion and the way it transforms generationally and locationally. Though people may unite under the title of one faith such as Christian or Muslim or Jewish, there seems to be no one way to practice any religion. The way that religion is practice varies as much person-to-person as it does by age, class, location, period, etc. It seems to be that religion does not have a single purpose, and its function very much depends on the environment of the believer.

Of Black-American Muslims, McGuire asks,
“How does this religious commitment constitute a form of protest against the values and attitudes of the dominant US. culture? How does religion figure into racism and other intolerance in US. society?”

In modern American society, American Muslims who reveal their religious identities to the public are forced to practice their religion as a form of protest to combat Xenophobic norms. A person who openly practices Islam, who wears a hijab, sets time aside in their place of work to pray, or who unashamedly wears the crescent moon does so with the knowledge that there are many in America who will look down on their beliefs. For Black-Americans that practice Islam, it becomes even more complicated. A Black-American Muslim not only must face backlash against their religion, but against their race (as America has a long and pervasive history of racism that still persists). These identities are compounded, along with the social issues of racism and Xenophobia which will come to effect Black-American Muslim’s social, political, and socioeconomic lives.

The intersectionality of human identities comprise an important part of the way a person will be treated or fit into a society. It follows then that compounding a person’s religious identity on top of other ways they identify will have real-world ramifications for that person. As sociologists, we should look at how the function of religion varies from person-to-person and how it comes to effect people’s relationship with society.