When Muhammad made the Hirjah, or immigration to Medina, he formed the Ummah. The Ummah is the community ruled by the one God. In the very beginning this included Jews and Christians, as they were also followers of the one true God. Muhammad saw Islam as a continuation of these faiths, not something different.
Another confusing aspect of studying the Middle East are the people. The terms Muslim, Middle East and Arab are often used interchangeably. However, not all Arabs are Muslims and not all Muslims are Arab. In fact, only about 20% of Muslims are Arab. As for Arabs, the vast majority are Muslim, but there are also … Continue reading Class Notes
One way the arrival of the Spanish changed Indians lives forever was the introduction of the horse. When you live a nomadic life style and had to physically carry everything you owned, your possessions were limited. Yet a horse and carry 200 pounds and pull another 300. Think how much your way of life improved … Continue reading Class Notes
Now that the national conventions are over, it is time for the Republicans to comment on the number of Hollywood celebrities who spoke and performed at the Democratic Convention. Of course, this is not new. Hollywood has always supported the left much more than the right, and Democratic conventions and rallies can parade out an … Continue reading Political Celebrities
We tend to think of the Middle East as a rural desert setting, but in fact the region is quite urban. Some of this is Hollywood. There is a scene in Raiders of the Lost Ark, where Jones and Sallah are looking over the city and Sallah said, "Cairo, city of the living." The only … Continue reading Class Notes
In order to tame the West, the government created a system of Land Grant Colleges, as part of the Morrill Act in 1862. Each state was to establish a college, where their principle focus was on agriculture and engineering. If you want to help the West, they needed to find better ways to farm and … Continue reading Class Notes
We struggle with immigration issues in our country today, but it is not a new thing. By 1880, there were over 200,000 Chinese living in the U.S. To combat this growth, the government passed the Chinese Exclusion Act in 1882, which decreased the Chinese population by 40% in 40 years.
If you try to understand the Middle East first, you need to understand that for the last couple centuries they have always been acted upon by others. Even their name was given to them by the outside. The Middle East is called the Middle East because it was half way for Europeans to travel to … Continue reading Class Notes