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The North Wind

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The North Wind

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Hey. My name is Caden and I'm from the Chicagoland area.  I'm currently going into my 3rd year at NMU.  I'm a multimedia production major with a double minor in journalism and criminal justice. For as...

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The North Wind is an independent student publication serving the Northern Michigan University community. It is partially funded by the Student Activity Fee. The North Wind digital paper is published daily during the fall and winter semesters except on university holidays and during exam weeks. The North Wind Board of Directors is composed of representatives of the student body, faculty, administration and area media.

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Women’s spring soccer comes to an end this weekend
Lily GouinApril 19, 2024

Imam speaks on issues of Islamic faith

Northern took time to learn about the role of Islam in America and the misconceptions that American Muslims face throughout the nation from a prominent Muslim leader last night.

Imam Sayid Hassan al-Qazwini addressed a large group of people as his brothers and sisters, students and community members alike, at the Reynolds Recital Hall on Wednesday night at 7 p.m. The audience filled the recital hall to standing room capacity.

Qazwini is a Muslim religious leader who often speaks to inter-faith communities. He spoke to Northern of the importance to embrace all communities of thought and that it is important to understand that the media is portraying Islam as a violent religion when in reality it is not.

President Les Wong said that students and faculty have begun to speak about the misinterpretation of Islam throughout campus.

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“We don’t do nearly enough to help people understand Islam, particularly the much bigger mystery of Islam in America,” said Wong.

Qazwini founded the largest mosque in the United States which is located in Dearborn, Mich. He was born in Iraq though was forced to flee under Sadam Hussein’s dictatorship at age seven. He studied to become an Imam in Iran, afterwards coming to the United States where he found a great amount of religious freedom.

“I had to search for peace around the world . and I found peace here in America,” said Qazwini.

Unfortunately, he told the audience, Islam is the most misunderstood religion in America though there are six to eight million Muslims who live here. These misunderstandings are due to a lack of knowledge and an adherence to a stereotype that is false, he said.

Wong also said that this is more reason to bring Qazwini to campus. Wong acknowledged that Northern does not represent Islam largely on campus, though there are Muslims on campus and in the community.

“It would be like being a Christian, third or fourth largest religion on the planet, and your country doesn’t talk about you. It just doesn’t make sense,” he said.

In his speech, Qazwini compared Islam to two other prominent religions in America, Judaism and Christianity. Islam, like Christianity and Judaism, is a monotheistic religion. He informed the audience that Muslims worship the same God as Christians and Jews but simply call him by a different name – it is a matter of the language one uses to determine what that God is called.

“Your God is no different than mine,” Qazwini said.

He said that three parities are to blame for the misconceptions of Islam: Islam extremists, the American media, and Muslims themselves. These three groups have not taken enough action to prove the non-violent nature of Islam and Americans have, in time, associated Islam with brutality. He insisted, however, that there are extremists in all religions, citing Adolf Hitler and Timothy McVeigh with Christianity. He said that he would never consider these men spokesmen for Christianity, just as one should not think Muslim extremists to be spokesmen for Islam.

“These men do not speak for my faith,” Qazwini said.

Qazwini’s speech was followed by a question-and-answer session

In this session, people asked him about the difference between Sunni and Shi’as, who Muslims in general hope to become president in the upcoming election and why women wear scarves to cover their hair.

Qazwini informed the audience that a common myth in America is that Muslim women are forced to wear the scarf, but in the majority of cases, women prefer to wear it and make this decision themselves.

Students were glad that the Imam had visited campus because it offered new perspective that isn’t ordinarily offered at Northern. They believe that people’s ideas of Islam can change because of Qazwini’s speech.

“Marquette has limited diversity, so I think it’s really good to have people such as (Qazwini) to come and . enlighten (us),” said Jessie Price, a sophomore and international studies and political science major.

Wong agreed that bringing Qazwini to campus is important because bringing this knowledge to the students helps complete what a college education should offer. He said that it is the university’s responsibility to make students as aware of the world as possible.

“It almost seems like it would be irresponsible for the university not to help all of us understand,” Wong said.

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