When the Twin Towers fell on Sept. 11, 2001 at the hands of an Islamic militant group, there was a sharp rise in the world’s fear and mistrust of all Muslims.
People began to view those belonging to the Islamic religion as extremists who were out to destroy all non-Muslim people. These two ideas have lead to a discrimination against the Muslims which three professors are attempting to dispel through education about the religion.
On Jan. 12, a faculty panel composed of three Muslim faculty members, Dr. Ruhul Kuddus, associate professor of Biology; Dr. Farid Islam, associate professor of Finance and Economics; and Dr. Amir Kia, associate professor of Finance and Economics, met with students and faculty to address this issue and urge students to gain a greater understanding of this culture.
Dr. Kia began the discussion by addressing two main misconceptions that many people possess. First, he discussed the fear of Islam extremists. He explained that one could not be an extremist and follow the Islamic beliefs at the same time. The Qur’an teaches that one should act with moderation in all ones doings and never commit any excess. Among every race, nation or religion, there are those who misinterpret, misunderstand or purposely mislead others for their own gain. Just because a few of people express their beliefs in a certain way does not mean that it is the way that everyone else belonging to that group believes.
The second issue that was addressed is the idea of jihad. Many people tend to look at this word as the representation of evil. However, this idea is not the promotion of Muslims killing non-Muslims.
Dr. Kia defined jihad as “exerting the best efforts involving some form of struggle and resistance to achieve a particular goal.” Dr. Islam addressed the idea that jihad is about fighting the evil that is within each of ourselves.
These two definitions can be seen in many different people’s actions, not just by those of the Islamic religion. “We are all jihad in this way,” Dr. Kia said. Like this statement, this discussion emphasized that despite differences in our race or beliefs, the human population shares many similarities that connect us when we learn to accept others.
These faculty members share the hope that over time Muslims will be embraced as a pivotal part of our community as we can begin to overlook our differences.