Muslim Students Connect With Society

Intent on building bridges and washing away misconceptions, Muslim students at the Minnesota University are organizing an "Islam Awareness Week" of lectures, seminars and workshops.

Muslim Students Connect With Society

Intent on building bridges andwashing away misconceptions, Muslim students at the Minnesota Universityare organizing an "Islam Awareness Week" of lectures, seminars andworkshops.

"We just want to connect with people,"co-organizer Alia El Bakri, Vice President of the Al-Madinah Cultural Center,which serves Muslims on campus, told the local Minnesota Daily onTuesday, April 3.

"We're regular students just like anyoneelse," she said.

Bakri hoped the awareness event, which runs untilApril 6, would help reach out to non-Muslim students on campus.

The week features a variety of lecture son suchissues as social security and human rights to all citizens living under Islam,the relation between science and religion as well as Islamophobia.

Al-Madinah Cultural Center isa non-profit student organization that aims to create a better understandingand appreciation for the diverse culture of Islam through educational, social,and community activities on campus.

Muslims in Minnesotaare estimated at 30,000 out of about six to seven million Muslims in the US.

Five years after the terrorist 9/11 attacks, manyAmerican Muslims complain that they continue to face discrimination andstereotyping because of their Islamic attires or identities.

Breaking Silence

Al-Madinah President Mus'ab Husaini said the eventseeks to counter the negative images of Muslims portrayed by and in themainstream media.

"We're presenting the overall idea of Islamwith the overall idea of peace," said the computer engineering senior.

Nandita Rahman, an active member of co-organizer theMuslim Student Association, said they wanted to break the state of silenceimpeding the development of relation with non-Muslims.

"We don't want to come off as cold anddistant," asserted the cell biology and genetics junior.

"There is this fear if (people) ask ussomething, they'll offend us."

Professor Samir Saikali lectured around 35 studentson the role of social welfare in Islam.

He also addressed misconceptions about Muslims andtheir faith, taking the much stereotyped term Jihad as a case in point.

Saikali said Western culture and media usuallyrestrict the meaning of the term to "holy war," which is not thecase.

"The highest form of Jihad is to speak thetruth," he told the attentive audience.

"That is the concept of Jihad - going out ofyour comfort zone to achieve something good."

Karen Armstrong, a prominent and prolific Britishwriter on all three monotheistic religions, has criticized the West's abuse ofthe word for certain purposes.

She stressed that jihad is "a cherishedspiritual value that, for most Muslims, has no connection with violence."

Molly Slovnik, a non-Muslim student, found thelecture useful and believes more such events are needed to bridge gaps.

"I think America is involved in so many waysin Muslim countries but with very little understanding with what their culturesthink of human rights."



Güncelleme Tarihi: 20 Eylül 2018, 18:16