Islam panel educates, promotes tolerance
By Kelsey Nevius
With the election fast approaching, many events at the University of Findlay begin to take a more political tone. Groups on campus are hosting more political-based events as the important day draws near, and such events try to get college students educated and involved with politics.
One of these event days, which took place Oct. 27, helped students to identify key issues in politics and increased political discourse. The event, titled Islam in America, featured expert panelists and the conversation focused around what Islam is, the Syrian refugee crisis, and Islam in America.
“This conversation is timely because anti-Muslim rhetoric has become a factor in American presidential campaigns,” said Song-Chong Lee, Ph.D., associate professor of religious studies and panelist for the event. “Despite the fact that Islam is the fastest growing religion in the world, and the growing presence of Islam in American society, our misunderstanding and fear of Islam has not been properly addressed.”
According to Lee, other panelists in the event were Imam Eid, Ph.D., director of religious affairs for the Islamic Center for Greater Toledo, Elizabeth Buchanan, Ph.D., assistant professor of history, and two students, Nada Bahammam and Ahmed Aleteiwi.
“It’s time to put our serious effort to figure out what’s going on with our understanding of Islam and our relationship with Muslim Americans and Muslim world,” said Lee.
Lee said that political discourse is extremely important both in the election season and for general education to understand key topics and issues. Understanding Islam is key to understanding candidate’s views and strategies on foreign policies, domestic policies, and international relations, said Lee.
“Although starting as a discussion on Islam, this conversation would naturally lead the audience to a variety of issues ranging from religion and culture to domestic politics and international relations,” said Lee. “It will also help reflect and assess our understanding of multiculturalism/diversity as the cornerstone of American society and hopefully reconsider or update our notion of American identity.”
College campuses are the best places for this political discourse, Lee stated, because it is constantly changing, learning, updating, and expanding knowledge for more social progress. As more political events are added, the more information college students gain about politics, culture, and religion in and outside of the U.S.
“Monday night, Nov. 7 at 7 p.m., Rick Polhamus from the Christian Peacemaker Team will give a lecture on his years of work in the West Bank,” said Lee. “Rick will be talking about the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.”