Today I will be giving a talk about Islam at the local YWCA. I will be speaking with about 30-40 people.
In April, I will be speaking about Islam to a communications class at IPFW then to an Introduction to Social Work class at Manchester University.
This comes on the heels of a lecture about Islam that I gave to counseling/psychology students from the University of St. Francis which was within a short time span of my regularly scheduled, once a semester, lecture about Islam and caring for the Muslim patient that I give to healthcare students within the area. Not to mention my recent conversations about Islam with the Allen County Democrats and some soldiers deploying to Muslim majority countries.
These are lecture that I have given, and will give, within few short months. If we go beyond that short period of time then I am not sure I can count all the talks about Islam that I have given to various groups such as local, state and federal law enforcement and police chaplains or the interfaith panels in which I have been involved.
Each and every one of these talks were upon invite. Meaning, I was approached and asked if I can discuss Islam and give additional insight about the faith from particular angle (healthcare, counseling...etc) from which the audience can understand the basic principles of the Islamic faith.
I approach each and every one of these talks with the simple underlying premise of "I am here to talk with you about what Islam is, not what it's not" and then follow my talk with Q&A that spans the stereotyping spectrum. We have honest, open, non-apologetic conversations about the faith and its dynamic impact in the lives of those who call themselves Muslim.
Why do I mention all this? This certainly is no marketing ploy as I do all these talks pro bono.
I mention this because no matter how high the waves of Islamophobia may become (think Trump, Cruz, Pamela Geller and their likes) they will eventually come crashing upon the rocks of understanding, coexistence and humanity.
I mention this because we hear about the (blank)ophobes but we don't hear about the hometown heroes. The ones who reach out and inquire. The ones who reject the wide net of fear mongering and hate being cast on a people, a faith, a color.
I mention this because I refuse to surrender to a few hijacking my faith, whether from the inside or out.
I mention this because I refuse to surrender to a bleak, ugly future that we are being conditioned to accept as inevitable.
I mention this because in these dark times, I choose to light a candle.
Palestinian, Muslim, American, Husband, Father, Academic, Pharmacist, Coffee Addict, Nutella phene, Pseudo writer, Soccer player, former Canadian, Community servant, Pinch hitter imam, interfaith ninja, Intellectual vigilante, and the undisputed KING of snark