Stepping outside of your bubble

By Jennifer Abreu

Islam brings about a different meaning for everyone.

Most likely something that is not accurate or truthful about the faith.

There are many misconceptions about Islam just as about any other religious group.

The Muslim Student Association at UK brought speaker Abdel Rahman Murphy to speak about the misconceptions of Islam on Thursday night at the Student Center.

Murphy touched on the most popular misconceptions about the faith and gave specific examples of how both Muslims and non-Muslims can help eliminate them.

The event was held in the Grand Ball Room, where dinner was served as well, and the MSA had a full house.

There was a great diversity among the attendees.

First generation Muslims wearing their traditional hijabs and kufis accompanied by their daughters and sons who had a more “Americanized” style, as well as non-Muslims.

The speaker started out by welcoming the crowd with a traditional Arabic phrase “As-Salāmu `Alaykum,” translating to “May peace be upon you.”

He then warned he was going to be bluntly honest.

“This speech should no longer be given. It’s tired, it’s old. The fact that we have to have a discussion about misconception in a country like America is saddening,” Murphy said.

Murphy said he did not only want to inform everyone present about Islam, but he also wished to transform the way they viewed it.

“I hope that everyone in here today can learn something and pass it on to others who need the enlightenment,” Murphy said.

Murphy recommended reading the “Quran” and “The Life of Muhammad” are the best ways to learn a clean, unbiased Islam.

Throughout the speech Murphy gave those present many advices.

“You should not judge a faith by its practitioner,” Murphy said.

One of the biggest mistakes that create misconceptions about Islam is that things, or text in this case, is taken out of context (from the Quran) Murphy explained.

“We are used to looking at the people from the outside in,” Murphy remarked.

One of the biggest misconceptions about Islam is Jihad. Disturbing the peace and fighting. Murphy said.

“It is very common in our (American) society to link Muslims to war and ‘killing people,’” Murphy described.

This is one of the examples that are taken out of context, according to Murphy.

“If you have read the Quran and the life of Muhammad, you know that war is deception,” he said.

The speaker then went on to mention specific text in the Quran to exemplify how misconceptions are created.

One of the most famous phrases among Islamic misconceptions is found in chapter two, the chapter of the cow, verse 191, according to Murphy.

“It says ‘kill them where you see them. But if you look at the verse before that, God says ‘Those who attack you, and transgress against you and are harming you,’” Murphy said. “The next verse says if they desist, then you must stop as well’.”

Murphy believes that those who believe in such misconceptions are the ones to blame for not searching for knowledge before judgment.

However, he also pointed out that Muslims themselves are not helping eliminate the stereotypes.

“It is our fault, the blame falls right onto our shoulders. As Muslims we need to educate ourselves first, and speak up our faith,” Murphy said.

Those who attended seemed pleased with how the speaker approached the subject.

“He used examples to show our reality,” Abdullah Aldahlan, chemical engineering freshman, said.

Aldahlan, a Muslim himself, liked the spontaneous way the speaker spoke of the misconceptions.

“The specific examples he mentioned illustrate exactly how people perceive the faith without knowing about it,” Aldahlan said.

Not only did Murphy talk to non-Muslims educating the crowd about Islam, he specifically mentioned ways Muslims themselves could help change this reality.

“He talked in both perspectives. He spoke directly to us, Muslims, and that opens our eyes too,” Aldahlan said.

Academic Director of the Lexington Universal Academy Robin Farlow became a Muslim at age 17 by choice and believes speaker Murphy touched Muslims in a positive way.

“It is encouraging for us Muslims to get out of our bubble and reach out there,” Farlow said.

Farlow mentioned it might be a challenge, but one worth working through.

“We are used to being in our communities, but spreading the word and teaching about Islam is what we need to start doing,” Farlow added.

Murphy ended the speech with an invitation to all.

“Please, please, please educate yourself. Only by knowing can we end bigotry,” Murphy exclaimed.