One fifth of the world’s population is Muslim. That’s more than a billion people. Islam is the dominate religion in the Middle East, an area that has a daily affect on the United States.

But Islam is still a religion vastly misunderstood by most Americans. And hear in the Heartland there are Muslims who say they believe in Jesus, helping their fellow man and say terrorism is not Islamic.

The Adan is what Muslims know as the call to prayer. It’s the beginning of this meeting at the Islamic Center in Cape Girardeau. Every Friday, these Muslims meet to pray together and listen to a short talk. The lesson on the day we visited was about the excess of every day life and how it can lead to obesity.

This is a glimpse into a religion that is the second most popular in the world behind Christianity. Muslims pray five times a day, they believe in one God, in Arabic Allah, and follow the five pillars of Islam. But what may surprise you is they also believe in the prophet Adam, the prophet Noah, Moses, Abraham and Jesus. They believe Jesus is a prophet just like Mohammad. Muslims consider Mohammad to be the last prophet and he is who they say brought them the Qur’an, the rule book of Islam.

When praying, Muslims face east toward Mecca in Saudi Arabia. It’s their holiest city and every Muslim is required to take a pilgrimage to Mecca if they are physically and financially able. In Islam, women are considered equal to men and in some cases superior to them.

Tahsin Khalid, a Southeast Missouri State University professor and practicing Muslim, says Muslims like the Taliban who look at women as inferior have let local beliefs cloud their religion. Khalid came to the U.S. from Pakistan in 1992. He’s been teaching at Southeast Missouri State for six years. He’s an example of the Muslim community we have in the Heartland. A far cry from some of the Muslims we see on TV. It bothers Tahsin that some people think all Muslims believe in terrorism, he says for anyone to kill innocent people, like a suicide bombing, is not Islam. It’s against Islam.


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