The Independent Voice of Southern Methodist University Since 1915

The Daily Campus

The Daily Campus

The Independent Voice of Southern Methodist University Since 1915

The Daily Campus

The Independent Voice of Southern Methodist University Since 1915

The Daily Campus

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Students promote religious tolerance

In an effort to educate the SMU community about its faith, the Muslim Students Association is devoting a week to Islam awareness.

Wednesday’s event in Hughes-Trigg Commons carried the theme to media. The MSA hosted speakers Nahayia Javed and Hoda Said, two Muslim students from Baylor University desiring to spread tolerance around university campuses.

They talked about the ignorance perpetuated by the media’s unfair coverage and the lack of protection for the Muslims rights involved in the Danish cartoons controversy.

“Muhammad was not a terrorist,” Said said.

Said gave what she called a “Pressure Cooker” analogy, referring to the world’s reaction relating to the cartoons. Said felt the tension built because the Muslim community’s perceptions were being misrepresented. Said believed the “hatetoons” infused an attitude of injustice and prejudice.

The recent case of a 22-year-old Iranian Muslim man who intentionally ran his SUV Jeep into a crowd of students at the University of North Carolina is recent example of how members of the Islam faith are misrepresented by extremists.

The suspect claimed to “avenge the deaths of Muslims all around the world … I was doing the work of Allah.” High profile incidents as these are what portray a wrong Islam, according to junior Shakeel Mehdi, a member of Muslim Students Association.

“There is a right Islam and a wrong Islam,” Mehdi said.

According to the MSA’s Web site, Islam in Arabic means peace. The faith of a Muslim is to follow a practice of tolerance. The acts of suicide bombers and terrorists contradict the practice of Muslims.

A student mentioned the incident on the North Carolina campus to Mehdi. He believes every religion has a few fanatics that give a bad name to the religion and that they will conduct extreme acts that will portray their religion in a wrong way. This was the purpose for Wednesday’s program on Islam Awareness.

” Because there are a few bad apples that portray Islam in a negative way, doesn’t make the whole religion negative,” Medhi said. “No religion can be negative, religion is a pure divine thing that cannot be negative, it is always positive.”

Medhi does not believe that Islam supports terrorist acts. He says the faith does not equate terrorism. Islam is to promote a non-violent message and to support a community of peace.

Islam has struggled to portray a message of peace with the acts of terrorism that some Muslim sects act out.

The Muslim Student Association believes this is its biggest issue with the media. Aisha U-Kiu, secretary of the Muslim Student Association, thinks that the media is passive in representing Islam. She believes that the overall rhetoric of the media is negative.

“The media should take a more proactive role to bridge gaps,” U-Kiu said. “Muslims are oppressed because they are misrepresented.”

U-Kiu recalled the civil rights protest Martin Luther King led to promote an understanding of a certain races inequality. She believes that today the Islam community is fighting for equality. U-Kiu believes the media can play an integral role in assisting Muslims to achieve a more tolerant place in America.

Media and Islam was the third event of the week with two events left: “What is Jihad” and “Islamic Art and Culture.” For more information, visit the MSA Web site at http://people.smu.edu/msa.

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