Sunday, May 20, 2007

Muslims in America

Covering the Muslim Community was a great session. It was very small and intimate and became more of a discussion rather than a session. At one point, Amjed asked everyone to go around the room and introduce themselves which made everyone, or at least me, a little more comfortable. While growing up in a small town I was never introduced to this religion in any way, shape, or form besides what I had seen on television. This made the session very informative and interesting.
Abe Levy started it off with a brief introduction leading the group into a general knowledge of issues and problems that Muslims face.
The Miami Herald's Donna Gehrke-White spoke first. She addressed the fact that there are many Muslims in America. She gave examples of great women from her book, and discussed her book explaining what information it covered. Donna stressed the fact that Muslims are just like Americans. The children especially are alike in the fact that they deal with generational gaps and trying to fit into society while still maintaining their strong Muslim faith. She spoke of the strong family and spiritually oriented community that fits right into American society. It was obvious how passionately she felt on that subject by the way she addressed this topic.
Amjed Baghdadi finished up the session. He began his portion by joking about actual issues that people associate with Muslims today. He made a crack about the problems he faces when carrying an unmarked box in public. Even though he said it humorously he was completely serious. He discussed some of the many problems and prejudices he faced after 9-11 and still faces today. He said that for up to two months after 9-11 he was still calling in to radio stations trying to get the truth of the Islamic faith out to the public. One DJ even claimed Amjed was an anomaly when he could not beat Amjed in their on-going argument. It was amazing to hear how people can really be treated for being different. Amjed did leave the group with one "take home" message. He said there is a huge difference between culture and religion. The majority of what we see and hear today on television and in the media is not really Muslims. Usually they are other types of people or the images are taken out of context or distorted. He also told the actual definition of Islam which means attaining peace by your submission to the word of God. Amjed included the rules of war that the Islamic faith follows.
This session was incredibly enlightening and eye-opening. The panel was very knowledgeable. It was great to get a different view point on the subject from those who know the truth and the faith.