By Adil James, MMNS
St. Clair Shores–May 10–The crux of all misconceptions about Islam is the status of women in this religion. This subject was the focus of an open-invitation meeting at the Islamic Cultural Institute mosque in St. Clair Shores this past Saturday afternoon.
ICI is a mosque comprising a diverse body of Muslim ethnic groups, but started several years ago primarily by Egyptian expatriates, professionals who live in the area the mosque serves.
â€œThe purpose is to tell people about the truth in Islam–we just canâ€™t let people know about Islam from the media,â€ explained Fawzi Moustafa, one of those at ICI who arranged the event.
About 30 people (about half of whom were non-Muslims, whether neighbors or others who were interested in hearing the presentations of the Muslims) attended the event, but quality rather than quantity may have been the order of the day, as the panelists gave powerful speeches and the non-Muslims who were present appeared genuinely fascinated by the speeches.
Imam Achmat Salie gave a powerful speech that showed true conviction, saying â€œI donâ€™t believe the Qur`an says to beat women,â€ explaining the word translated as â€œbeatâ€ has many other meanings. â€œWe are hostage to the translation we are exposed to,â€ he explained.
Professsor Jacqueline El-Sayed, a professor of mechanical engineering at Kettering University, gave an impassioned speech about her own conversion to Islam and the beauty she saw in Islam after growing up as a Christian.
â€œThe stories of the Prophet (s) were so peaceful, so heartfelt–my questions were easily smoothed out,â€ explained Professsor El-Sayed of the process of her conversion. The theme she emphasized more than any other in her powerful invitation to study Islam was to â€œdistinguish between what Muslims do and what Qur`an says,â€ so as not to be veiled from the reality of oneâ€™s personal experience of Islam by what anyone says about it, even Muslims.
ICI is located at 30115 Greater Mack Ave., St. Clair Shores.