“How have you grown in understanding and compassion toward one of the groups studied in this section of our course?”
This was a question asked of students at a Manchester class in which I guest lectured. The below is an email from the course faculty who invited me. I share this, and really anything I share on here, not to brag or highlight things I do but rather to highlight the power of connection and communication. Granted not everyone can, or have the opportunity to, stand up before people and give a lecture but even the simplest of conversations about the most basic of things would help educate and illuminate.
I am humbled to be useful in such a way and I encourage all to focus on the impact they can have on those around them. That's your anchor in such tumultuous times.
"Below are the essay answers I am so eager to show you. I actually wept over a few of them. For a group of young students whose only education on Islam before this class was likely a bunch of fear-stirring propaganda and hateful misrepresentations, I personally feel they have grown exponentially. The perspective you gave them has been planted…these students will take their new found understanding and humility and pass it along to grow in others they meet. I hope you read each answer, and notice how many of them mentioned you specifically (even though I know they all had you in mind).
This was the exam question: “How have you grown in understanding and compassion toward one of the groups studied in this section of our course?”
This following students applied this question to Muslim Americans:
“I really enjoyed hearing Dr. Abdelmageed’s stance on all of the controversy that is going on about his religion. Then to hear that the Islamic religion is very peaceful and non-violent, just made my heart break. Soooooo many stereotypes for the ethnicity and religion, and to just know that is the ignorance of our culture that stabs at it…”
“I know and understand that not all Muslims are bad or terrorists; in fact, most are gentle people who have strong values of family and giving to others…With discussions in class and reading about them, I’d like to help others understand that most Muslims are good people and that only a small community uses the word of Allah against people.”
“I have come to know more about Muslim Americans. At the beginning of class I said they made me uncomfortable, but I think now I could get along…They are a peaceful religion, not the scary ones you hear of in the media. I think I grew in that way immensely.”
“After listening to Professor A come in and speak about Islam, I now see it just as I see any other religion: just a religion. Most Muslims are peaceful and respect human life and follow certain laws, like: do not kill –just like Christianity. Most Muslims denounce all these extremists on the news and have “excommunicated” them from Islam. They regularly donate extra money to the community or charities and are very respectable people. If everyone got to know a Muslim, then they would see that they are good people who are misrepresented by a very small percentage of their faith.”
“When the class began, we were asked if we knew of any personal biases. Mine was Muslims. Mostly out of fear, thinking most of them were terrorists. As class went on we learned about their culture and how they live. Once Dr. Abdelmageed spoke with us I understood the difference between the radical terrorists that are often in the news and the Muslim faith: that they are good people; praying often; donating [a percentage of] they money to the poor; cleansing themselves of even the smallest sins everyday; and most of all, war is a sin, killing is a sin.”
“Learning about Muslim Americans gave me a whole new view on them. I honestly thought that the bad Muslims showed what all of them believed in. After learning about their beliefs and what they deal with on a daily basis with people being negative towards them, it made me look at myself and my morals and how I looked at someone I knew nothing about.”
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