By Nabiha Asim
With the rise of Islamophobia, Muslims Americans have been making efforts to respond to the hate that is being spewed. This called for the unison of Muslim communities to come together and understand their problem as a whole.
Last Thursday, Benedictine’s Muslim Student Association (MSA) invited Sheikh Syed Sulayman Hasan Abidi to talk about the importance of building bridges with the Sunni and Shi’a Muslims communities to tackle the issue of Islamophobia.
“The Muslims at Benedictine come from a wide variety of backgrounds, and this event with Molana Syed Sulayman Hasan Abidi was one of the MSA’s steps towards uniting them. Events like these help remind Sunnis and Shi’as that we are stronger together than we are apart,” said MSA President, Naila Yaseen. “Muslims won’t stand a chance against anti-Islamic sentiment if there is tension, misunderstanding and prejudice within the ummah (muslim community) itself.”
For MSA member, Gull Ali, who coordinated on recruiting Sheik Syed, this event was a dream come true. Questions needed to be addressed were brought to attention and discussed with particular insight from the Shi’a tradition.
“What can we do as students to break down stereotypes and hatred to become one as a people; remaining distinct but yet facilitating love for the ummah and all?” wrote Ali on her Facebook. “I am so thankful to my fellow classmates and friends who came through. For once, I was able to get all the Sunni and Shi’a Muslims united at Benedictine University.”
According to MSA member, Areeba Asim, a main point that was discussed was the fact that in the past, the Sunni and Shi’a were able to get along. This was because, despite their differences, they still respected each other’s opinions.
“[The sheikh] discussed that the reason we are school is because it gives us an opportunity to open up and see other people’s school of thoughts,” said Asim.
Asim also said she learned that before attempts at dealing with problems, overcoming differences and understanding between the two communities is crucial.
Similarly, Yaseen said discussions must happen so Muslims can unite towards their common goal.
“I hope Sunni and Shi’a Muslims at Benedictine continue the conversation Molana began and join together to tackle Islamophobia,” said Yaseen.
For more information on upcoming MSA events, contact the Coordinator of Student Involvement, Daniel Turano, at email@example.com.
By Nabiha Asim