I’m 67 and a retired combat veteran. The salient point to me here concerns the average Muslim’s attitude toward other faiths. Is he or she willing to let other adherents practice their faith freely, wothout fear of persecution, enslavement, dhimitude, etc.? If so, do truly empirical studies exist to support that proposition?
Dear (name withheld),
Salaam, Shalom, Peace,
I am an American Muslim who is a board member of MRFF. Mikey forwarded your question to me and asked me to respond.
It is difficult to define “average” Muslim or “average” Christian, etc. Muslims like everyone else are a group that holds a wide variety of attitudes about just about everything, and have a varying understand of their own religion and the religion of others.
No one can speak on behalf of all Muslims. I can however say that Islam itself teaches tolerance and kindness towards others.
I can only speak about American Muslims with any real experience. I am also the Editor of The American Muslim (TAM) since 1989, and on our site there are thousands of articles answering the sort of questions you are asking. Here are just a few resources that might be useful:
American Muslims support freedom of faith (see http://theamericanmuslim.org/tam.php/features/articles/apostasy_and_freedom_of_faith_in_islam ), and are opposed to any limits on free speech (see http://theamericanmuslim.org/tam.php/features/articles/mpac-supports-effort-to-combat-hatred-through-free-speech-releases-critique ), defend the Constitution of the U.S. (see http://theamericanmuslim.org/tam.php/features/articles/american_muslims_must_defend_the_constitution_of_the_united_states ), are productive citizens involved in community service and interfaith activities (see http://theamericanmuslim.org/tam.php/features/articles/positive-news ), denounce terrorism and violence (see http://theamericanmuslim.org/tam.php/features/articles/muslim_voices_against_extremism_and_terrorism_2/ ), serve their country in the military (see http://theamericanmuslim.org/tam.php/features/articles/muslims_in_the_military ), and course may share friendship with non-Muslims (see http://theamericanmuslim.org/tam.php/features/articles/can_muslims_have_non_muslims_as_friends_the_concept_of_wilaya_in_the_quran/ )
Sadly, too many people have heard only about extremists in the Muslim community, and of course, like all communities we do have extremists, criminals, and others who bring shame to the community. We have an article on TAM – What everyone “knows” about Islam and Muslims http://theamericanmuslim.org/tam.php/features/articles/what_everyone_knows
that provides links to refutations of these false claims about Islam and Muslims.
I hope that this helps.
Sheila Musaji, MRFF Advisory Board Member