Blog Archives

Far, Far Away (from Muslims) You Say?

By Heba Abdel-Karim, Engage Minnesota

Heba Abdel KarimYou have an everyday link to Muslims. Yes, you do. You may not realize it, but there are many things we use in our daily lives that come from a “Muslim” background. From math and science to education and commerce, it may surprise you how much Muslim inventions have influenced the world, starting centuries ago and making their overlooked way into our day-to-day lives.

You were taught that the Greeks were the developers of trigonometry, right? Not exactly. Take out the word developers and replace it with “continuers.” Trigonometry was “developed to a level of modern perfection” by Muslim scholars, meaning that it’s of Muslim origin, even though the Greeks take the credit.

Such inventions vary from equipment, to concepts, to food, to science and medicine—you name it. Read the rest of this entry

Interfaith Panelists Recognize and Accept Differences

Five University Groups Discuss How They Can Work Together to Improve Humanity’s Future

By Heba Abdel-Karim and Lolla Mohammed Nur, Engage Minnesota

“Imagine a world where people from different religious backgrounds come together to create understanding and respect by serving their communities.” – Interfaith Youth Core (www.ifyc.org)

Lolla Mohammed Nur Heba Abdel Karim

On April 9, the Hillel Jewish Center, in union with the University of Minnesota’s Muslim Student Association, hosted and organized an interfaith discussion that brought together people of different faiths. The topic of the event was “humanity’s future,” and representatives of a number of different faiths spoke about how they see humanity progressing, and how our differences, as well as similarities, can better the community.

A little over a hundred people entered the room, determined to try something different: to go beyond their normal routine, talk to others of various faiths, and get to know them. Unsurprisingly, that’s what made the event—believed to be the first of its kind at the U—such a success. Attendees left politics aside and peacefully interacted with one another. In the end, they saw how similar, yet diverse and unique, we all were.

“I think that what group representatives, members, and the audience all liked the most was the atmosphere: nobody was on the defensive, nobody was being hostile, no group was being labeled with negative stereotypes,” comments EngageMN writer Lolla Mohammed Nur, pictured above to the left of Heba Abdel-Karim.

“The positive atmosphere was almost contagious!” says Mohammed Nur. “Some asked very insightful and sincere questions, and it was obvious that all audience members were there to genuinely learn about different faiths and beliefs. Everybody was there to help promote the message of religious tolerance and awareness.” Read the rest of this entry

The ‘True’ Act of a Muslim

heba-only.jpgBy Heba Abdel-Karim

Sitting at Borders on an early Saturday morning, I noticed an elderly couple coming to sit in an area near me. It was crowded, and the only two seats were quite far apart. One of them was right next to me. Being raised to respect the elderly, I happily gave up my seat for the man to sit by his wife. Not expecting a response, I started walking away to find another seat. He stopped me, however, and said something that amazed me, yet left me feeling cheerful until today. He said: “By the way, that was a true act of a Muslim.”

At that time, I was very happy with his comment, and I still am today. But now that I think back and reflect upon it, I am left pondering a question: How are we to know what is considered a true act of a Muslim and what isn’t?
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Bridging the gap between Muslim and non-Muslim neighbors

By Heba Abdel-Karim

Heba Abdel-KarimImagine this scenario: You live in the same area with your Minnesotan Muslim neighbor. This person, his actions, beliefs, and practices seem a bit peculiar to you, as you have not encountered many Muslims. All you know about Muslims is what you hear others say, from the media and the like, but they are otherwise unfamiliar.

You wish to get in contact with him or her—even with a simple “hi”—but you may subconsciously have second thoughts because of how Muslims are negatively labeled by others. This, along with some other reasons, makes it seem like the gap between you and your Muslim neighbor is too large to even give it a try.
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Religion vs. culture through the eyes of a newborn

By Heba Abdel-Karim

Heba Abdel-KarimHave you ever wondered why a newborn cries when he first sets eyes on our world?
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