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Cultural Misunderstanding in “Islam in America” Film


As a matter of fact, the Islamic religion is one of the most popular religions in the world. However, it should be highlighted that a number of people fear Muslims and think that their religion is directed on war, destructions, and promotes murders and violence. Is it really so? Should people be afraid of Islam? Are the majority of terrorists Muslims?

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These and other types of questions usually arise during the debates concerning Islam. Zaid Shakir provides some insights regarding the stated above questions. The opinion of a person who was a Baptist, communist, and then Muslim is essential to be taken into consideration as he chose religion according to personal beliefs, not under the pressure of society. The primary purpose of the paper is to focus on the movie Islam in America and provide reflection regarding discussed subjects.

Attitude towards Islam

Since Zaid Shakir was a child, he was thinking about how people can change the world (Moyers & Shakir, 2002). When Zaid Shakir began to study religion he turned his attention to Christianity, however shortly after that found some answers on his question in communism and was sure that revolution will be the only stimulus for the society to improve living conditions and to change the world around. Nevertheless, in a couple of years, he rediscovered God with Islam (Moyers & Shakir, 2002).

The first things that amaze in Islam are the way the worship is structured and moral teaching. Islam provides people with answers to everyday questions. It guides people every day (Djait, 2011). There are different families, communities, and social programs that Islam takes into consideration. The highest powers that find reflection in the major world’s religion are similar to each other in terms of moral values and ethical principles. It is reflected in humanistic ideas that prohibit murders, violence and stealing. However, the differences are between people who interpret religions and find differences. The movie provides a better understanding of why people value and appreciate Islam.


Bill Moyers asks Zaid Shakir regarding terrorism and September 11. The answers of the Muslims contribute to a better perception of the issue. People should not be afraid of Islam and people who follow it. There are a lot of people that are radical not only in Islam but Christianity as well. However, in most cases, individuals cannot be divided into good and bad based on their religious beliefs (Rustomji, 2009). Moreover, the expert points out that a person who appreciates and values Allah would never do such things. There are a lot of stereotypes and misunderstandings that contribute to the issue. People are just not aware of what Islam is, and following stereotypes come to wrong conclusions that only contribute to the development of the conflict. Islam has a lot to offer to the world, and society should be ready to accept it.

Muslims in America

Muslims have been in America for a long time during and after slavery. Moreover, there were a lot of prominent people that did a lot of good things promoting Islam. In addition, it should be stressed that Zaid Shakir notes that Muslims were not involved in terrorism before September 11 (Moyers & Shakir, 2002). People who support Islam should not be considered extremists as they do not commit crimes in the name of Allah. According to the opinion of the expert, there are not so many people who can do this as the person who is Muslim with all his heart will never kill for religion. It is not the religion of war. Islam aims to create a better world on the social and political levels. In addition, it has a lot to offer to society as Islamic law and philosophy are multifaceted and structured.


In conclusion, it should be stated that the movie proves that an Islamic state can be founded on democratic values. There are a lot of stereotypes around this religion; however, it is peaceful and does not appreciate murders in the name of Allah. Misunderstanding is the primary reason for the fact that this religion is commonly misinterpreted.

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Djait, T. (2011). Islamic culture in crisis: A reflection on civilizations in history. New Brunswick, NJ: Transaction.

Moyers, B., & Shakir, Z. (Contributers). (2002). NOW with Bill Moyers: Zaid Shakir on being Muslim in America [Motion picture]. United States.

Rustomji, N. (2009). The garden and the fire: Heaven and hell in Islamic culture. New York, NY: Columbia University Press.

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