In the United States, Muslims have been misunderstood and portrayed adversely in the media due to the increase of protests. On Oct. 23, the Muslim Student Association (MSA) hosted a discussion in the Academic Forum to help students view these issues in a different perspective.
Along with the MSA, guest speakers Moustafa Zayed, Dr. Mustafa Ahmed and Iftekhar Hussain led the event. The purpose of the discussion was to inform students that the violent, hateful acts associated with the Muslim religion are completely false. In fact, Muslims are very peaceful, humble, respectful people.
Zayed began the discussion focusing on the idea that newscasters, reporters and journalists have portrayed cultures in a negative perspective.
“American citizens trust people who give information and know nothing about the topic,” said Zayed.
A common topic in the discussion focused heavily on the fact that Muslims are very religious people. Their loyalty to their religion is something to be truly proud of. For the entire discussion, when each speaker addressed a holy figure, he would add “peace be upon Him” to every name. They would each say, “Moses peace be upon Him” and “Jesus peace be upon Him.”
Zayed also commented that the Islamic dress code is “that of Mary.” Their long robes reflect their religious beliefs, which is rarely covered.
Dr. Ahmed also spoke about Muslim religious beliefs. He said that honesty, fairness and humility are all very important values in the Muslim culture, and that they “work according to God’s rules, because He made the world.” Dr. Ahmed made references to Adam, and said that all humans are working together in the same system.
Hussain tried to reason why the faces of U.S. media often depict Muslims in¬ a poor light. He said that focusing on the repression and lack of expression that Muslims have deflects from other disturbing news that is happening in America. “Muslims are taking the brunt of behavioral patterns,” he says.
Overall, this discussion was helpful and enlightening.
Freshman Ryan Harrington, who also attended the discussion, said, “I’m really glad I attended this today. I feel like I have a better understanding of Muslims.”
Kate Pohlman, also a freshman said, “I think that Muslims are misunderstood. Our society should start treating them with more respect.”
By Gabriella Ciaccio