Islam: A Mosaic, Not a Term Paper

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D., various rulers expanded the religion in what was known as the Golden Age of Islam. Muslims made huge advances in military might, the sciences, and the arts. However, the different factions of Islam haunted the religion, even in the Golden Age of its existence. Gregorian then goes to explore the territorial dispute which led to the centuries of fighting with Christian nations in what was known in the West as the Crusades. However, it was not the Christian Westerners who did the most damage to the Muslim strongholds but barbaric Mongols who eventually ended the Golden Age of Islam. The rise of the Ottoman Empire in the 15th century revived the greatness of the Muslim tradition. The modern era, with the culmination of the Industrial Revolution, later diminished the grandeur and power of the various Muslim empires in the Middle East and Asia. With this decline many empires which, were once powerful, then had to deal with European colonization in an era of imperialism. After the European powers abandoned their colonies, many Islamic nations faced the hardships of rebuilding their communities. Many nations implemented strict religious-based laws to re-establish themselves apart from Western influence. The concept of jihad, or the holy war, first emerged with the Ottoman Empire with the dawn of World War I. Ancient rivalries re-emerged on a more global scale with the technological advances of World War I. The Ottoman Empire was eventually defeated, but the resentment never disappeared. In recent years, there have been major divisions in traditional, conservative Muslim nations, and more liberal ones. The later half of the twentieth century saw many conservative Muslim states begin violent campaigns
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against Western powers that were thought to be poisoning the Islamic religion. Many nations experienced extreme religious revivals which only deepened the gap between conservative Islam and the West. Recent terrorist attacks according to many scholars, show the desperation of isolated nations to preserve their ancient heritage in an increasingly globalized world. Many leaders have been abusing religious ideologies as a way to gain power. In today's modern world, ancient rivalries still haunt the world in the dawning of the twenty-first century.

Most Muslims are found in Africa and Asia, only a small percentage are found in the Middle East. Early Islamic strongholds did not practice a unified religion. Many early divisions still influence different factions even today. Most Muslims follow the Sunni tradition, which follows a rational theological approach to spirituality. Shii Muslims practice a complex hierarchy much like Catholicism. The Sufi tradition has fractured into many divisions since it first surfaced around the tenth century. These followers are similar to Buddhists, in that they believe they can communicate with God through meditation and spiritual ceremonies.

Gregorian believes that it is essential for the Western world to familiarize itself with the long history of the Islamic religion in order to find peace between the two traditions. He believes that increasing communication between nations could minimize threats of future terrorist acts. Gregorian also believes that new Muslim American citizens should be fully incorporated within American society to help ease tensions at home. Like the grand daughter of Mahatma Gandhi, Ela Gandhi once said, "The different faiths are but different paths to the same end... The sooner we realize this important message, the sooner we will be able to…

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