As an American Muslim, I can truly say that most issues that relates to Islam from a western perspective are from culture-differences.
Growing up in America for the most part was simple and easy. I was born in one of the best countries in the world, and I believe that everyone must experience the freedoms provided by the US. That everyone in the world has the right to be free and happy. But this naive view of the world as being without conflict evaporated after Sept. 11, 2001. My world changed.
Back then, I was very open about pretty much everything. I would answer everyone's questions as truthfully and modestly as possible. I never held back any of my past. But that changed. When I was asked the common question of where my parents were from, I replied with the same usual answer, but it was then received much differently from what I expected. I would then be asked a following question in an almost fearful tone,"...so does that mean they're muslim?" I never realized this back then but those who replied with that question had some doubt that I shrugged off as mere stupidity . That couldn't of been further from the truth. They were afraid.
My parents are foreign as so is my background. The logic that they use to base their common-sense is actually different from my own. I'm western. I live and think like someone from the US. I would be lying to you if I said that relations with my parents were smooth on various issues. After years of giving this much thought, the only answer I can come up with why my parents thought in the way they did and why would muslims from eastern countries be angered over the burning of their own book or ex cetera is culture
Tell me, what makes us human? Is it our large brain, or is it because of our thumbs? Instead of thinking it from a physical perspective lets talk about from a more mental, philosophical perspective. What makes us Human in relation to each other? Why do the actions that I perform on a daily basis be considered normal, humane as opposed to someone else from a foreign country who may think differently? Does that make me less human then he or just different?
Culture. Is the driving force behind our every day to day actions and thinking. Tell me when you woke up this morning getting yourself dressed, did you ever think about not wearing clothes to your next destination? Or did that even cross your mind? Exactly, culture defines our actions by being able to state what is right from wrong. And the deeper we get into what acts are considered more heinous than others you can clearly see that a few deeds are even considered unforgivable.
Many from the west have asked the question,"Why do eastern muslims answer to issues relating to their religion with vehemency anger?" To build upon my answer to that question, I would like to ask you one first. What's the worse act/deed that you can think of? For most in the west, the answer would most likely be the rape of an innocent underage boy/girl. Its such a terrible crime that my blood boils just thinking about it. However, for those in the east, this may not seem like the worst crime you can commit.
With so many cultures throughout our beautiful world, its almost certain that there will be differences in ideologies and schools of thought. What one act may seem to one group may be seen differently to another and vice-versa. This isn't wrong. Its just a different view created by different factors and influences. Its this difference that confuses many and creates conflicts for some.
My world hasn't been changed since then. I've just broaden the range of my attention and interest. I've realized that this issue won't go away anytime soon nor will a mere thread help to end it. But I feel as though I must speak my mind on this matter for I've read many responses from individuals from Islamic-related threads, and I didn't want to stay quiet about this either. Our culture has made us to many things. It has made some become fake-martyrs for their own cause. It has defined our decisions, actions, and even our love interests. But one thing that culture cannot do is hamper our ever curious minds. For as we further continue to seek knowledge, we'll never truly shut ourselves to a singular view upon our tiny world. A world that seems to get larger and more diverse with each passing day.