Speakers to Demistify Islam

In recognition of International Education Week, Northern Kentucky University will be hosting a lecture by Reza Aslan, author of “No god but God,” and a discussion with the Cincinnati chapter of Muslim Mothers Against Violence, which was formed after the July 2005 bombings in London.

“I believe that these events will trigger students to further explore issues within the Middle East and Islam specifically, and perhaps other aspects of international issues in general,” said Amy Bode, International Programs specialist at NKU. “It is an opportunity to promote awareness among students about issues which might be unfamiliar to them.”

Both Aslan and MMAV are seeking to dispel myths about Islam and to explain the difference between peaceful followers of Islam and extremists.

“This is an opportunity for people to find out (about Muslims) by talking face to face with American Muslims and ask what is on their minds instead of taking sensationalist sound bites or abnormalities presented in the mass media as being representative of 1.3 billion plus Muslims across the globe,” said a founding member of the MMAV, Shakila Ahmad.

Aslan will be coming to NKU to talk about the religion, politics and contemporary culture of the Middle East. His book will be available to purchase and can be autographed after the lecture.

MMAV will be coming to NKU as a follow-up program to Aslan’s lecture. There will be a discussion between a panel of three members of MMAV and the audience about their organization, and misconceptions or questions about Islam.

“In the end hopefully we can find our common ground while understanding each other’s differences,” Ahmad said.

“(The discussion panel) is providing a different experience of the Islam religion. From growing up in a prominent Islam society versus growing up as a Muslim in primarily Christian society,” said Maggie Stevens, director of Service Learning.

Karen Dabdoub, a founding member of MMAV, will also be visiting college classes throughout November. Dabdoub has done nearly two-dozen presentations for the MMAV in the last year.

“My goal is always to present Islam and Muslims in a way that clears up misconceptions and presents accurate information,” Dabdoub said.

The Aslan lecture will be held at 2 p.m. Nov. 13 in Otto Budig Theatre. The book signing will take place outside Budig Theater following the lecture. Students can purchase a copy of “No god but God” for $14.95 in the campus bookstore.

The discussion with Muslim Mothers Against Violence will be from 12:15 to 1:15 p.m. Nov. 16 in Lucas Administrative Center 506. Both events are free and open to the public. International Week is Nov. 13 through Nov. 17.