MSU to set the record straight about Islam


Kat Sarafianos

Muslim Student Union is hosting “Muslims in America,” a panel open to the public where they will discuss the life and culture of Muslims in America. The panel takes place Nov. 20, at 5:30 p.m.
The panel will consist of four active members of the Muslim community in Columbia, who will take questions from the audience on questions they have relating to Islam and will be followed by refreshments and a chance for audience members to speak with panelists one-on-one, according to the vice president of MSU, senior Fariha.Rashid
The panel, according to an email from Rashid, has planned to discuss a lot of misconceptions of Islam like Sharia law, Jihad, and even the role of Jesus in Islam.
MSU members have wanted to do something like this for a while and they hope that this event will be a chance to educate everyone, Muslims and non Muslims, on what Islam is. The addition of 5 new non Muslim students in MSU inspired the idea, and they wanted to let them hear about Islam from more educated and experienced Muslims.
“As a Muslim, you encounter people who try to bring you down with false ideas, but the best way to approach them is to show you are educated on the subject,” Rashid said. “I think if people took just a couple minutes to learn about Islam, there would be a lot more understanding among us all.”
Some non Muslim members came to the club with misconceptions themselves, which has solidified their belief that the Muslims in America panel is important to promote understanding of Islam.
“When I came to MSU for the first time, I was weary. I thought it was club only for Muslims when really, it’s a club to learn about Islam,” first-year MSU member sophomore Rucsanda Juncu said. “I thought Islam was like a really strict, conservative religion that wasn’t outsider friendly. With this club I’ve learned that Islam really is a religion the promotes the spread of knowledge and peace, which is a lot different than what I thought it was.”
The intended effect of the panel is not only to educate but also create more accurate representation of Islam in what is a predominantly non Muslim community.
“People can get the wrong ideas about Islam, but not take the time to find out what Islam is really about. I tend to tell people that bad people don’t make a bad religion. There will always be a handful of people misrepresenting their religion, but that’s the thing, it’s just a handful,” Rashid said. “I can name you dozens of people of various religious backgrounds who are some of the best people I know. They are an accurate representation of their religion, not the deluded people bombing buildings and killing innocent children.”
Admission is free and refreshments will be served.
By Kat Sarafianos
Photo by Renata Williams