Wednesday, October 17  

Islamic faith presented at workshop
Wednesday, October 17, 2001
By: Lindsay Welter

(Courtesy of the Collegiate Times)

Members of the Virginia Tech community gathered last night to discuss the religion of Islam in a workshop held in the Old Dominion Ballroom of Squires Student Center. The event was sponsored by the Islamic Student Assembly.

Halide Salam, professor of fine arts, said the goal of the discussion was to reaffirm the grief felt by all Americans, including Muslims, after last month’s terrorist attacks and to provide a place for people to learn about the religion.

“We do this with a solemn and steadfast heart,” she said.

Sidiki (Sedki) Riad, professor of electrical and computer engineering, defined Islamic terms and addressed some of the misconceptions about the religion.

There are about seven million Muslims in the United States.

He said a Muslim is a person who acknowledges there is no other God but Allah and Muhammad is his prophet.

“We know God through what he revealed to us in the Quran,” he said.

Riad said Islam is about peace and submission.

“Islam is a way of life that adds every aspect of human physical and spiritual needs,” he said.

The Quran, the holy book of Islam, is said to be the word of God, Riad said.

Riad also dispelled some of the misnomers connecting Islam with terrorism.

“Islam is a religion of peace and moderation and recognizes the critical need for human tolerance,” he said.

He said terrorism is not a religious issue and Muslims are obligated to protect people.

“The judging of an individual is not an Islamic attitude,” he said.

Mark Hamazah (Dougherty), a civil and environmental engineering doctoral student, said Tech is becoming increasingly representative of world demographics with an increasing number of Muslim faculty, students and staff.

Hamazah also discussed Muslim beliefs.

Muslims believe only Allah is perfect and they seek to please Allah through Islam, he said.

Muslims engage in prayer five times a day, adhere to a diet free from pork and alcohol and have social conduct rules, he said.

Hamazah stressed that Islam encompasses all races and crosses many borders.

He also gave suggestions of many sources people can access information about Islam, including English translations of the Quran.

Waleed Faris, an engineering doctoral student, spoke about relationships between Islam and social movements.

He said the majority of Muslims are in Africa and Asia. There are fewer Muslims in the West because there are different seeds of civilization and different codes and standards, he said.

He said in Islam, civilization is not based on materialistic things. Materialism can help in life, but it is not a measure.

Faris also said Islam is not a social movement.

“There is no elite in Islam,” he said. “Civilization is not related to a certain ethnic group or a certain people.”

He said, in Islam, all people are viewed the same by Allah and Islam differentiates between people and their actions.

“There is no single work in the Quran having the implication of racism,” he said.

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