Islamaphobia lecture tackles fears of Islam

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Stephanie Marie Santore, Staff Writer

Haroon Moghul, from New American Foundation, spoke at a lecture titled “Confronting Islamophobia” in the Nazareth Student Center on Thursday, Sept. 13.

Moghul has traveled nationally and internationally to speak on Islamic history, culture, religious identity, extremism, and politics in the Muslim world. The turnout for this lecture exceeded expectations, requiring the addition of multiple chairs to accommodate the crowd.

Dr. Erkan Acar, academic adviser for International Students at Marywood and coordinator of this lecture wanted to bring awareness of the irrational fears surrounding Islam and Muslims.

“This event is an attempt to distinguish between reasonable and irrational criticisms of religion, religiosity, politics, and extremism. It will also touch on the approach to Islam that is bigoted because it confuses one type of Islam for all of Islam, or the actions of some Muslims, with the action of all Muslims,” Acar said.

Moghul touched on the misconceptions of the Muslim population, global demographics, political affiliation, Muslim identity and background, the Islamic faith, and all the variations in between. He pointed out that Islam is a very “decentralized religion,” contrary to the belief that all Muslims are excessively religious and act out violently because of Islam.

Moghul explained that there are influential Muslims, who are highly educated in both Muslim culture and belief, that condemn extremism and openly speak out against the violence it can bring. Moghul added that most of these extremists lack an educated background in Islam religion and the Muslim identity. And, with a media focus continually attentive to the extremes, the general consensus held by the public about Muslims and Islam will remain.

Moghul’s lecture was meant to dispel irrational fears, replace controversy with truth, and provide facts about Islam to the general public.

“Some people are uncomfortable asking the tough questions, but I welcome them,” Moghul said.