An Imam in America
An imam is an Islamic religious leader of the Muslim community who is in charge with various roles, namely: leading Islamic worship services on Friday at the mosque and providing religious guidance. He poses exemplary knowledge of the Islamic laws and teachings that strongly govern the way of life of Islamists; thus, serves as their divine leader, who presides over the day to day disputes that faces his congregation. He is expected to judge as per the Islamic laws. He should bear knowledge of the Koran and the language in which it was publicized which is Arabic and be wise in his decision making. With the increasingly significant rise of the Muslim population in the United States over the last half century from all over the world, Islam has turned into one of the nation’s fastest growing religions with an establishment of an estimated 1,200 mosques spreading across the nation from Boston to Los Angeles. Based on Andrea's (2006) estimate, “as many as six million Muslims now live in America” (para. 11). Islam being a different entity from Christianity, such a huge flock needs a leader. That is where the Imams come in. With Islam being a legalistic faith (Andrea 2006) whose divine law as observed by Andrea (2006), governs their daily lives on what to eat, wear and laws governing marriage (para. 13), the imams in America are faced with the task of reconciling Muslim tradition with American life. This possesses a great challenge to the imams where Andrea (2006) points out that, in the west, what Islamic law prohibits is everywhere. From alcohol fills, chocolates, to women who jog in sports bras to pornography, to divorce that is characterized by the American way of marriage (para. 13). As Andrea (2006) points out, it is clear that for many Muslims in America, their day to day life is a clash between their Islamic morals and material temptation that the cultures of the west have to offer. And at the center of this clash stands...
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