page 10 Surprising Similarities Between Islam and Judaism
In my previous blog entries, I addressed poll results indicating that a surprisingly large percentage of Americans are unaware of the fact that Judaism is older than both Christianity and Islam, and are also unable to identify which Islamic countries actually have the world’s largest Muslim populations (to the surprise of many Americans, they’re not even Middle Eastern countries).
Such gaps as these in our common religious knowledge (or in popular “religious literacy”) are merely symptomatic of an even deeper and more widespread general unfamiliarity, on the part of many Americans, with some of the most basic characteristics of both Judaism and Islam (to say nothing of our similar widespread lack of familiarity with the basics of even more exotic yet equally prominent major world religions, such as Hinduism or Buddhism). Many average Americans would therefore probably be very surprised to learn that Judaism and Islam actually share a pretty substantial amount of religious ground in common with each other. Certainly a sizable percentage of the students who enter my community college world religions courses each semester are often startled to discover that so many similar religious beliefs and parallel religious practices are actually shared between Jews and Muslims. For example, just off the top of my head, I can think of at least ten significant things that Judaism and Islam either share in common outright, or for which both religions at least possess some strikingly similar mutual parallels.
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