NORMAN, Okla. – In this time where President Donald Trump’s government and mainstreams media are pointing at Islam, a talk was organized by the Muslim Students Association of the University of Oklahoma to talk about Islam misconceptions with guest speaker Imam Imad Enchassi last week.
Enchassi started first by showing the similarities between Christianism and Islam such as the fact that both believe Jesus Christ will come back at the end of times and the Virgin Mary will be the first lady of heaven. Moses and Abraham are the two most mentioned prophets in the Quran when Mohammad is the least cited. Enchassi added that 33 percent of the Muslims in the U.S. are African American, and the biggest Muslim country in the world is not Saudi Arabia (only 30 million) but Indonesia with over 240 million Muslims.
The first out of 10 misconceptions reported by Enchassi is Muslims are violent people, saying that if that was the case there would be no Christians living in countries with a Muslims majority such as in the Middle East.
“Half of my family is Christian,” Enchassi said. He noted several Nobel Peace Prize winners were Muslim.
Concerning the word “Jihad” often interpreted as “holy war,” Enchassi said it has been proven that the real meaning of Jihad was “struggle,” saying, “There is no holy war.”
He said, therefore, Jihad is only used for self-defense and to repel oppressors. And concerning the verses in the Quran inciting to violence, Enchassi said not all verses should be taken literally because a lot of sentences are Arabic idioms from centuries ago which can have a totally different meaning today, especially when translated in other languages.
“No one thinks the Ku Klux Klan is Christian, so why should we say that ISIS members are Muslims?” Enchassi asked, adding Muslims and Christians worship the same God; Allah is the Arabic word for God and is used in the Bible translated to Arabic.
Then, concerning women oppression in Islam, Enchassi said Islam authorized the vote of women and inheritance to women long before it was legalized in Western countries. He added Muslim women wear the head scarf to imitate the Virgin Mary.
Further, Enchassi said only a very small minority of Muslims are practicing polygamy and need the approbation of the first wife saying, “I have only one wife.”
Enchassi finished the presentation with the last misconception that Muslims are backward people, an argument swept aside by Enchassi who said most of modern science has its origin from the Muslim world 1,000 year ago. (see a previous article on the subject)
Responding to a question about how to react when someone is verbally offense, Enchassi said, “Repelling hate with hate is not a good strategy.”
Talking about Trump’s policies and discourse against the Muslim community, Enchassi believes it helps people to be more united than ever and more open-minded towards Muslims.
“There is some negative but there is also a lot of positive things, people from diverse background coming together to help one another,” Enchassi said.