Multicultural Center hosts Religious Discovery Series event on Islam

Rashed Nizam gave a presentation about the Islam religion.

The Multicultural Center hosted an educational event about Islam on Tuesday evening, featuring a presentation about the religion and a social aspect. The event was part of the “Religious Discovery Series.”

The presentation was given by Rashed Nizam, chairman of the board at the Islamic Center of Central Missouri.

“There are a lot of misunderstandings about Islam,” Nizam said. “ People should learn about it from the source, from people who practice it.”

Multicultural Center graduate assistant Cynthia Kanagui said the Religious Discovery Series is an opportunity for students to understand religions that are the minority in this region.

“Learning about religions allows us to have a closer connection to people who are different,” Kanagui said.

During the presentation, Nizam provided information about the five pillars of Islam and the religious obligations of Muslims. He also made points such as the fact that “Holy War” is not a Muslim term or ideal, and that reason behind the Hijab (the head scarf worn by female Muslims) is not oppression but modesty.

“The presentation clarified some terminology that is often misunderstood,” Kanagui said.

Multicultural Center staff member Carlos Huezo said the goal of the presentation and the Religious Discovery Series is to raise awareness.

“People are encouraged to ask questions,” Huezo said. “It’s meant to be both a discussion and a mixer.”

Aamer Trambu, a first year graduate student, said he thought the event would be a good place to meet people. Trambu also said he thought the presentation was good opportunity for people to learn about Islam and to help break stereotypes, most of which are wrong.

Trambu said he knows there is a long way to go for people to understand Islam.

“People should understand that Muslims are different in that a Muslim is always a full-time Muslim,” Trambu said. “We pray five times a day and eat food that is permissible.”

Trambu said Muslims are approachable and want to talk about Islam and foster understanding.

He also said the media contributes to the stereotypes, such as the idea that all Muslims are Arabs.

“I’m from India and people assume we are Hindu by default,” Trambu said.

Trambu said Columbia is a place he feels comfortable practicing Islam.

“I think Columbia as a city is quite open to Muslims,” Trambu said. “People don’t treat us like others here, and it means a lot. It’s good to know they have respect for us.”

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