By Adil James, MMNS
Rochester Hills–November 11–Oakland Universityâ€™s Islamic Studies minor and associated courses are a necessary means of fostering understanding and reducing conflict between Muslims and non-Muslims–this was the underlying theme at a fundraiser for the program held this past Sunday at Oakland University.
Andrea Brandon, a non-Muslim student in the program, explained the importance of the Islamic Studies course given that â€œIslam is the fastest growing religion in the US.â€ She said that the Islamic studies courses are â€œincredibly refreshingâ€ and said that â€œI am thankful that we have much more than an academic teacher, we have a religious teacherâ€ in Professor Salie. She spoke of increasingly being able to see the similarities between Islam and her own Christianity, and said â€œI hope that everyone can experience what I am experiencing.â€
Given the current climate of anti-Muslim hysteria and rhetoric, keynote speaker Dawud Walid praised Oakland University and especially Professor Gary Shepard, director of Oaklandâ€™s Religious Studies Program, for their courage in calling the program â€œIslamic Studiesâ€ rather than, as some universities do, â€œNear Easternâ€ or â€œMiddle Easternâ€ studies. He spoke of the vital importance of the program to reduce animosity and distrust, quoting Sayyidina Ali (kw) in saying that â€œPeople are enemies to what they do not knowâ€ as evidence of the importance of mutual understanding.
There was a video introducing the universityâ€™s surprisingly accomplished history, and Imam Salie discussed the multi-faceted curriculum that he has developed. About 60 people were in attendance at the function, held at Oakland Universityâ€™s Banquet Rooms in its large Student Center.
To donate, please contact Imam Salie at 248-370-2436 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.