I remember in 8th grade, my school hosted an inspirational speaker, Calvin Terrell. His presentation had a lot to do with racism, discrimination and the grotesque realities of today regarding these things. There was one point in the presentation when he would flash words onto a screen and we students would have to say the first race that we associated with that word. The list went on, and the reactions of the students were highly stereotypical. Then came the last word, “terrorist.” I remember bracing myself for the worst; students around me stared yelling not only races, but religions, people and countries. After hearing them repeatedly saying Islam, Muslims, Pakistan, Afghanistan, Iraq, and so on, I became mortified. People need to know what Islam really is, not what the media and stereotypes spell it out to be. Islam is drowning in the misconceptions placed upon it, and it is being distrusted and hated for what it is not. There is no teaching in Islam that condones hate and violence against non-Muslims; in fact, all of the teachings prohibit aggression and injustice towards not only other human beings, but also every creation of God. Read the rest of this entry
By Fedwa Wazwaz, Engage Minnesota
The conversation with Shaykh Qays Arthur will continue with an exploration of the meaning of faith and guidance in Islam. This will be covered in a few blogs as there are many angles to this issue that I would like to explore. This blog will deal with the angle of the importance of acknowledging our ignorance and that what we do not know is tremendously greater than what we do know about ourselves, others and the universe we live in.
Read the rest of Fedwa’s article here.
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)
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
By Rafi Sohail, Engage Minnesota
The teachings of Prophet Muhammad (p.b.u.h.) point toward conservation, sustainable development, and resource management. The Prophet Muhammad (p.b.u.h.) remarked, “The Earth is green and beautiful, and God has appointed you his stewards over it.”
This holistic environmental philosophy assumes a fundamental link and interdependency between all natural elements; if one of these is abused, then the natural world as a whole will suffer on account of this.
The following article is a humble attempt to help the readers conserve energy. This effort is inspired by Islam’s exhortations to safeguard the rights of the environment and to adopt moderation in the use of natural resources.
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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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