Sharia Law presentation focused on understanding

By Morgan Eads

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A program geared toward both Muslims and non-Muslims with a focus on increasing understanding about Islam and Shariah law comes to campus Thursday.

“Shariah Law: The Myth and Reality of Islam in America,” hosted by UK’s Muslim Student Association, will take place at 7 p.m. in the Student Center Grand Ballroom.

A free dinner will be provided at the event, and the first 100 people to arrive will receive a free T-shirt.

Ihsan Bagby, associate professorof modern and classical languages, will be giving the introduction.

Shaykh Abdul Nasir Jangda, founder and director of the Qalam Institute, an Islamic institution of higher education, will be delivering the main speech.

After the speeches and dinner, there will be an opportunity for guests to ask questions or write questions on cards to be answered.

Some members of the MSA hope being able to submit questions with cards will allow people to ask things they may fear would offend Muslims.

“It is the perfect opportunity for students who have concerns to ask a professional who is educated, rather than talking to someone who maybe researched on the Internet,” said Faria Morshed, secretary of MSA.

One MSA member hopes to see a repeat of the success the program saw last year.

“I hope people will be more educated about Islam,” said Emaan Qureshi, MSA representative to the Islamic Society of Central Kentucky. “Last year people left feeling more educated. Hopefully we’ll have a great turnout and people will be able to understand what is going on.”

Humza Qureshi, president of MSA, believes students are open to other groups of people but could gain a better understanding of Islam by attending the program.

“I think for the most part, especially on a college campus, people are very understanding and tolerant and open to new ideas, but at the same time they are sometimes not as informed as they maybe should be,” he said. “It’s not really somebody’s fault if they don’t know any better, to assume something about a religion or a group of people.

“Basically, we want people to have a clearer understanding of Shariah and realize that Muslims don’t want to implement Shariah law in America. Part of Shariah itself is that you are not supposed to supersede the law of the land unless you are being forced to do something against your religion, which we are obviously not in America because there is religious freedom.”

Qureshi would like to see increased solidarity and understanding result from the event.

“We want to get the idea out there that Muslims are just like any other group out there in America and they’re an integral part of American society,” he said.

Qureshi said he thinks students owe it to themselves to look deeper into people and cultures different from their own.

“I think as educated people we have to question things that we hear and see. We shouldn’t just take things as fact without any further investigation or trying to find the truth,” he said. “As educated people, we have to educate ourselves.”