Feb 21, 2020

Event promotes cultural patience and tolerance

On Tuesday night Oct. 18 about 30 students gathered in the University Student Union to hear Sheikh Ramadan, leader of Masjid Fresno, speak about the importance of patience in Islam.

Ramadan, who was born in Egypt and memorized the Quran by the time he was 14, talked about why it is important for Muslims to be patient in all situations.

He also spoke about common misconceptions and stereotypes that Muslims often deal with.

“We need to learn how to become patient first, so that we can apply it in all areas of our lives,” Ramadan said.

In the religious text of Islam, the Quran, Ramadan said several types of patience are mentioned and referred to in many stories involving prophets.

Some of the types of patience include patience when facing dangerous enemies, when facing accusations from people, when separated from parents, family or loved ones and patience in accepting the fate of Allah, the God of Islam.

Walid Hamud, president of the Muslim Student Association, said that events like this one are important for Muslims and non-Muslims because they encourage mutual understanding.

“There’s a lot of prejudice and fear from us as a religion,” Hamud said. “When people see the repeated images on the news they are only hearing one side and so they tag us as violent and become ignorant. This ignorance breeds the conflicts and hate crimes that we see so often today.”

Hamud, a Fresno State biology major, thinks that the best way to put an end to this ignorance is events like this one.

“Events regarding our religion and increasing the awareness about Islam will only help people,” Hamud said. “Interfaith dialogues and student panels are also very helpful.”

A few weeks ago, Hamud attended an interfaith dialogue event at Fresno State.

“It was really helpful because I spoke for the Muslim Student Association and there were all of these other religions there as well,” Hamud said. “There were Jewish and Catholic students present and we all engaged in a healthy dialogue that helped us to put aside our differences.”

Michelle Marquez, a Fresno State undeclared major, did not attend the event but thinks that it is very important for people to be aware of other religious beliefs.

“If you don’t understand the way that somebody thinks, the best thing to do is learn about them,” Marquez said. “That’s really the only way that you can come to terms with your differences.”

Toward the end of his presentation, Ramadan briefly talked about the killing of Muammar Gadhafi.

“Gadhafi shouldn’t have been killed,” Ramadan said. “That’s not Islam to kill someone after they are captured. They should have presented him to a judge instead because that is what the religion calls for.”

Hamud said that the Muslim Student Association will continue hosting events like this throughout the semester in the hopes of increasing awareness about their religion, teaching of the importance of patience and what Islam really is versus what the media portrays it as.

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