A Message from the East: Communication key to stability, harmony, peace

As we approach the first observance of Sept. 11, many questions about the attacks and responses to them continue to rise.

The Muslim Student Association at Ball State is making an effort to answer Islam-related questions and respond to any concerns Ball State students might have about their Muslim professors and classmates.

The annual Islamic Awareness Week is held on campus on Sept. 10, 11 and 12 to identify the standpoints of Muslim students who attend Ball State. In particular, there will be three activities: social, political, and religious.

These are all held at Cardinal Hall in the Student Center.

The beginning is Sept. 10, with a panel discussion of four Muslim women from different cultures who will speak about their life, how they managed to observe their religious duties in a non-Muslim society, and what changes they encountered after Sept. 11 events.

The four participants are Saudi, Afghan, African-American, and Asian-American. They were born in different places and raised in different ethnic environments. Yet they share many things that are above culture. Come to know more about these things.

On the same day and in the same location there will be an exhibit about a variety of issues related to the faith of Islam and the life of Muslims.

The exhibit will be ready for viewers at 2 p.m. If a picture is really worth a thousand words then you will learn a lot from this exhibit. It is worth visiting.

In the next day, Sept. 11, there will be another panel discussion under the title "American Muslims after Sept. 11." The first panelist is R. Tiny Adams, who represents Delaware County in the State Congress. The second panelist is Dr. Samory Rashid from the department of political science at Indiana State University.

The focus of this discussion is how members of the Muslim community in America feel they have been targeted in the war on terror. There has been periodic harassment, the constant fear of bodily harm and the frightening possibility of being incarcerated at any time.

Finally, on Sept. 12, Yusuf Estes will speak about "Islam: the religion of tolerance." Yusuf Estes is a white American who accepted Islam in 1992. He will speak about the concept of tolerance and how it is a basic principle in religion. He will speak briefly about his story of converting to Islam, the factors that led him to take this decision and the changes that he experienced after entering Islam.

I'm sure some of you are familiar with the assertion that Islam exhorts its followers to be violent against non-Muslims. Believe me, it is no more than a part of a rising cacophony of vicious criticism that is not based on any objective judgment.

The Islamic Awareness Week is a great opportunity for Ball State students to share thoughts and discuss different issues with Muslims. Engaging in dialogue with others is the easiest way to understand them. Mutual understanding and reciprocating appreciation of each other's religious beliefs is a significant step to enhancing social stability which makes us live in harmony and happiness.

Write to Fahad at fahad765@yahoo.com