I'd like to note that I welcome letters from any Islam practitioners residing or formerly residing in Japan!
TW for racism and xenophobia.
Did you Know????Have you ever read in the newspaper that a political leader or a prime minister from an Islamic nation has visited Japan ?Have you ever come across news that the Mullah of Iran or a Saudi Arabia prince has visited Japan ?Japan , a Country keeping Islam at bay.
Japan has put strict restrictions on Islam and ALL Muslims.
The reasons are:
a) Japan is the only nation that does not give citizenship to Muslims.
b) In Japan permanent residency is not given to Muslims.
c) There is a strong ban on the propagation of Islam in Japan .
d) In the University of Japan , Arabic or any Islamic language is not taught.
e) One cannot import ‘Koran’ published in Arabic language.
f) According to data published by Japanese government, it has given temporary residency to only 2 lakhs Muslims, who need to follow the Japanese Law of the Land. These Muslims should speak Japanese and carry their religious rituals in their homes.
g) Japan is the only country in the world that has a negligible number of embassies of Islamic countries.
h) Japanese people are not attracted to Islam at all.
i) Muslims residing in Japan are the employees of foreign companies.
j) Even today visas are not granted to Muslim doctors, engineers or managers sent by foreign companies.
k) In the majority of companies, it is stated in their regulations that no Muslims should apply for a job.
l) The Japanese government is of the opinion that Muslims are fundamentalist and even in the era of globalization,
they are not willing to change their Muslim laws.
m) Muslims can not even think about getting a rented house in Japan .
n) If anyone comes to know that his neighbor is a Muslim then the whole neighbourhood stays alert.
o) No one can start an Islamic cell or Arabic ‘Madarsa’ in Japan
p) There is no personal (Sharia) law in Japan .
q) If a Japanese woman marries a Muslim then she is considered an outcast forever.
r) According to Mr. Komico Yagi (Head of Department, Tokyo University ) “There is a mind frame in Japan
that Islam is a very narrow minded religion and one should stay away from it.”
s) Freelance journalist Mohammed Juber toured many Islamic countries after 9/11 including Japan .
He found that the Japanese were confident that extremists could do no harm in Japan .
Now you know...
The Secret of Happiness is Freedom and Secret of Freedom is Courage.
I... wait, what?!
Hold on here. Let me break this down for ya'll.
- Arabic and/or Muslim Officials Who Visited Japan:
We're pretty biased about what we cover in mainstream news. The story of Marissa Alexander wasn't widely covered in the major papers here (and I would know- I live in FL), but plenty of stories about sports, roadwork, and the war on Iraq were. So I'm not surprised if we don't hear about the political happenings of another country. And oh, no Arabic and/or Muslim person has ever visited Japan... except for all the VIPs from Saudi Arabia alone, listed here.
- Attaining Japanese Citizenship:
Once, a long while back when my friend lived there, it was a requirement that you own property to gain citizenship. (Being a permanent resident is totally different from being a citizen, by the way.) Now, the rules are much more lax! You have to live there for five years, be at least 20 years old, and you have to be able to support yourself and your family. However, this changes depending on prefecture. Thus, the former property requirement, but now it just means proof of a job, residence, etc. The government will ask you to prove your income, check your criminal background records, talk with your neighbours about your behaviour (they do this in Canada too, as far as I've been told), and ask for other documents. It doesn't matter what your religion is. Japanese-descent citizens are expedited on the process, and have different rules, regardless of religion. There is no dual citizenship. Once you're Japanese, you're Japanese; love it, or live elsewhere.
- No Sharia Law?
Well, duh. When in Japan, you have to follow Japanese law, and speak the Japanese language. Find me a country where it states "Oh, you live here, but it's okay if you follow your own rules and ignore ours!" No. You can have your religion, but your beliefs end where the law begins. You can choose to disagree, of course; you have free will. But expect consequences for your actions. Most Muslim folks are not extremists. Just as you'll find Christian women wearing pearls and gold, or braiding their hair, which goes against Biblical law, you'll find plenty of Muslim folks who DO live by their country's law and many of their social customs without a problem, regardless of what their holy book says. This should be no problem.
- No Importing the Koran? No Arabic Being Taught?
I call BS. According to the export laws listed on the USPS site, Japan has some of the most lax laws I have seen in over a year of international selling. I check these listings every time I mail something to a foreign country to ensure that it's legal. You can import any book you like, in any language you like. I can't say that for my father's country. No teaching Arabic in Japan? Ha! Here's a helpful list of Arabic or Egyptian teachers in Japan, many right in Tokyo! The only "University of Japan" I could find is the Intl. University of Japan, which only teaches English and Japanese... likely because they are a relatively small, focused business school. Todai is a far larger, respected, and well-known university. And oh, look! Kamada Shigeru is a professor of Islamic Studies! He studies sacred texts for a living. I'll bet he knows something about the languages used in those books.
- Pray in Your Closets
In Japan, Muslims aren't allowed to pray outside of their own homes... Except for in all of these places. And just about anywhere else they want to pray that isn't interrupting someone else, like in the middle of a street, or in the middle of a call centre at work. You know, common sense places/times. A medarsa is simply a school on Arabic laws and beliefs, structured around a courtyard with a specific architecture, much like Sunday School for Christians. I am certain that these exist in Japan, and they are perfectly legal.
- Muslims Can't Rent or Work in Japan!
Renting in Japan is difficult for ANY foreigner. There are no special restrictions on Muslims, unless they are created by a fearful, racist landlord. We foreigners are expected to not know or understand the rules, either socially or actual rules of being a tenant. For example, many places do not allow shoes to be worn indoors because of dirt and damage to the interior. They have entryway storage for them, but many foreigners wear shoes inside. Walls are thin, and loud noises are disturbing to neighbours. We are socially inept compared to the standards of a native Japanese, and our prospective landlords do not want to deal with other tenants complaining about our rudeness or mistakes. They don't have time for that! Many people need another person to vet their behaviour before they can rent; whether this be their employer, another Japanese resident, or someone else trustworthy to the landlord, it goes a long way in interpersonal relations. "Cold introductions" themselves are difficult and somewhat rude at times. Having someone else introduce you is more 'smooth', socially-speaking. Renting a house is even more difficult. There aren't very many to rent!
Working in Japan is also difficult for a foreigner, ANY foreigner. Most of us will work for an outside company. That's how you get to Japan to begin with! For example, the JET program will employ you, ensuring income and a place to stay. This is the first step to fulfilling requirements for a permanent residency, if you choose to go this route. I have been told by some foreigners working and living in Japan that it is difficult or impossible to get a job that a Japanese citizen can do. If you do not have certain degrees in specialized fields, your best bet for employment is working as a host/ess in a bar, teaching English, or if your Japanese is fluent enough, working as an OL (Office Lady) doing low-level secretarial work.
If anyone has actual proof of "most companies" banning Muslims, let me see it, and I'll post it... to expose their racist and xenophobic attitudes.
And I highly doubt that someone is going to hire a non-native as a doctor of medicine, simply because Japanese is nuanced and subtle about rankings, masculine/feminine language, and various other topics, and talking to someone about a medical condition that the doctor might not be able to explain in proper language is not a good idea. I feared for my life when a Spanish-speaking nurse asked (in Spanish) what the difference between Vicodin and Vytorin/Vitorin is before attempting to dish some out. One is a painkiller. One is a cholesterol drug. The labels only come in English. The wrong one can KILL SOMEONE. This is exactly the sort of crap you want to AVOID in a medical setting. That means having a VERY thorough understanding of the language of the country you practice in!
- Mr. Komico Yagi, "Head of Department"
... is actually Kumiko Yagi, a woman, who is a professor of Arabic/Islamic Studies at Todai. Looks like her statements were taken out of context and misconstruen. She is talking about Muslims being harassed and discriminated against because the media has depicted Muslims as savage, hostile people associated with wars and Al-Qaeda... just like the American media has. Lesson to be learned: people are alike all over.
The Japanese also had problems with Christians when the religion was first introduced because the first Christians were generally dirty and rude, compared to Japanese standards. They also forced Japanese to convert to Western social customs and habits upon 'converting' people, as they do everywhere else. Christians were seen as a threat to the social order of the government, and many Christians were executed. Freedom of religion is a relatively recent thing there, being introduced during the Meiji Era. Attitudes have changed little; only laws preventing outright murder based on religion or nationality have.
- Social Relationships
Japanese are a little curious about any 'outsider'. We aren't exactly common, outside of Tokyo. I recall getting many stares and comments when I was in Japan for a few weeks as a high school student. Most weren't malicious, just curious. Others sounded more worried because of the difficulties caused by my many social deficiencies; legitimate concerns that would put them in a bad position. After all, a person has a social responsibility to look out for others who need help! People with non-white nationalities are generally looked upon with more derision and suspicion, thanks to all sorts of racist crap in movies, TV, and news, but most people know that "real life" isn't like that. Things like blockbuster movies that only feature black men in gang-related roles, Middle Eastern folk cast as jihadists or poverty-stricken illiterates, I could go on for hours about this... and it's the same as in America. These things do nothing to improve an ethnicity's social image when that is the only image presented! It isn't surprising to me at all to find that some people harbour strong fears or anxieties towards a person because of those portrayals, but this is no different than the way some white people clutch their purses tighter to them or lock their car doors when driving through a black neighbourhood. Fear of the unknown, the "other"; a fear which can be overcome. On the whole, however, the vast, overwhelming majority of Japanese folks have been hospitable, polite (even when they might not feel like it), and kind to outsiders. My homestay family could tell you how many mistakes I unknowingly made while living with them, and they dealt with them all with grace.
Marriage, however, seems to be a different story. Some parents of the people getting married (on either side) prefer their offspring to marry someone of the same race and/or religion, either for practical reasons or inculcated xenophobia. International/interracial marriages are on the uptick, but then, so are divorces. Divorce is becoming more accepted, and the reasons for the divorce between interracial couples tends to be culture/lifestyle differences. This happens in every country and culture, regardless of religion.
- The Identity and Existence of Mohammed Juber
There are several Google hits for variations on Mohamed Juber. Mohamed, Mohamad, Muhammed, and many other variations exist to become the most popular name in the world. One is a younger man with a Twitter account, claiming to be a freestyle journalist. The other is Mohamed Jaber, an older gentleman who is part of the Lebanese-American Heritage Club. Which one made that statement? Because the only record I can find of it after half an hour of searching are just more copies of this stupid e-mail.
- Islam in Japan
This article at Wikipedia will give a brief history of the Islamic religion in Japan. I suggest you read it when you can.