Teaching realities of Islam and American Muslims

In an attempt to educate the community about different cultures and debunk some of the misrepresentations of Islam, Mara Ahmed, producer/director will be speaking at an event called “The Muslims I Know: Myths, Movements, and the Media.”

Sinclair Community College’s Courseview campus partnered with Mason High School to hold the event which will be held on Oct. 28 from 7 – 9 p.m. at Mason Middle School Auditorium in Mason, Ohio, according to George Sehi, executive dean of the Courseview campus.

Mara Ahmed produced the 2008 documentary series “The Muslims I Know” that tries to answer the question “Where are the moderate Muslims?” by focusing on a small American Muslim community.

“This is a lady who has been speaking throughout the nation and some of our folks have heard her and thought she did a really good job,” Sehi said. “We felt that someone like her who is an American Pakistani American who can be objective would be good to bring in for some healthy dialogue. Her documentary series has been very popular.”

According to Sehi, the workshop is free and will provide students, faculty, staff and community residents the opportunity to explore the many facets of America’s third largest practiced religion/culture, that of the Islam/Muslims. They will be able to investigate, educate and culturally explore the basic tenets of Islam in order to highlight the similarities with the Judeo-Christian tradition while making their own perceptions and assumptions.

“There is a perception out there then when somebody says ‘Muslims’ you immediately imagine somebody with a machine gun coming to your house or something to blow you away,” Sehi said. “We are just trying to take the myth out of the Islam’s being terrorists. We want to educate people and tell them “there is more than one way to look at this,’ and open their eyes to these kinds of issues.”

The event is funded by a grant awarded from Sinclair’s Diversity committee that will cover Ahmed’s expenses and incidental costs.

Prior to the event a session will be held for faculty who wish to learn more about diversity in the classroom called “Dealing with Religious Differences in the Classroom,” at the same place from 5 – 6:30 p.m.

“Interfaith Campus Minister Rev. Dr. Barbara Battin will facilitate a discussion on how faculty can help to create the atmosphere of respect that is necessary to productively handle religious differences that may arise in classroom interaction,” according to an e-mail from Suzanne Roberts, administrative assistant at Courseview campus.
Faculty interested in attending should register at  www.apps.sinclair.edu/ctl/courses.cfm.

Sehi said he believes it is important for the community to continuously educate themselves about diversity and that there will be more events in the future for them to attend.

“It is our hope that in the future we will have a diversity or international week where we would be celebrating different cultures and different languages,” Sehi said.

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