WJBF Extra: Inside Islam - Breaking "Muslim Misconceptions" - WJBF-TV ABC 6 Augusta-Aiken News, Weather, Sports

WJBF Extra: Inside Islam - Breaking "Muslim Misconceptions"

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Augusta, GA -

With more than 1.6 billion followers, Islam is the world's 2nd largest religion after Christianity.

But after the 9/11 attacks, and the Boston marathon bombings, many people have labeled Muslims as terrorists.

We went inside a local mosque to dispel some misconceptions about Islam.

This is a typical Friday at the Islamic Center of Augusta – where Muslims from all walks of life come to pray. The men sit at the front of the mosque, and the women at the back.

"The big misconception is when you tell someone you are Muslim, they think you are connected to Al Qaeda?" said Rabeeya Sarkar.

"Growing up, when a lot of these events would happen like 9/11, we'd get questions like what are our beliefs and if this was a common idea held by other Muslims," said Neelam Chaudhary.

"These people who killed and bombed are not Muslim. They gave Islam a bad name. Quran never gives you a right to kill. You have no right to kill people," said Sarkar.

After the 9/11 attacks, many Muslim-Americans say they were bullied and labeled as terrorists.

"It was a Muslim terrorist never a terrorist who happened to be Muslim or Christian. Look at Oklahoma. But now, terrorism means Islam – that is a horrible misconception," said Sarkar.

 

"One common misconception is just in the name. Islam is the faith and Muslims are the people who follow that faith whether at home or at the mosque.

 

 "Islam means peace – we are here raising our kids, sending them to college, paying our mortgage like anybody else," said Sarkar.

 

Muslims make up nearly a quarter of the world's population and a majority of them live in South East Asia – not the Middle East.

 

"Islam is international so people come from all over including India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Egypt, the Middle East," said Sarkar.

 

The word ‘Allah' means god, and the word ‘jihad' means struggle. Another misconception is about women's rights especially when people see the head scarf or ‘hijab'

 

"In the south, it is so warm here, covering yourself would get you funny looks like why are you wearing pants in July. That's when I'd say I'm a Muslim and it's part of our dress code to dress modest," said Chaudhary.

 

Those who practice Islam hope others learn about it so that the labels can stop.

 

"All I want to say is people open up because everyone is equal – there is no Muslim, Christian, Jew, they are all just human beings and the Quran says learn to love everyone," said Sarkar.

 

Over the last 40 years, the number of Islamic families in Augusta has grown from just 5 to nearly 400.

In 2 weeks, we're taking a look at another religion that's often confused for Islam – Sikhism and dispelling some of the misconceptions associated with that.

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