Next Thursday, October 23rd 2014, CAIR-DFW and MSA-SMU will host a public panel discussion at SMU’s Hughes-Trigg student center from 6:30 pm till 9:00 pm. The panelists include academicians Professor Sahar Aziz and Dr. Robert Hunt, and seminarian Sheikh Abdul Nassir Jangda. The subject of discussion will be “What ISIS means: Religious extremism and the politics of fear.” The event is free and open to the public.
Enough condemnation of all forms of religious extremism including that of ISIS has been announced by Muslims all over the world. American Muslims were the first to protest the propaganda of fear that ISIS has used over the summer, while committing all kinds of cruel crimes from mass killings to beheadings of Muslims and non-Muslims. As more American and international Muslim voices joined the protests of condemnation, more than a hundred Muslim religious scholars jointly issued a letter of condemnation of ISIS and its leader. Muslims on social media, newspapers and magazines, radio and television, as well in public and private discussions have continued to condemn ISIS and all kinds of religious extremism while declaring this kind of radicalism as totally un-Islamic.
So how much more condemnation does the world require? Can we now move on to action?
More and more interfaith communities across America are joining hands and boarding the caravan of action rooted in understanding. For people of all faith to decide how to precisely act in the face of religious extremism, they need first to be educated about the ideologies and orthodoxies nurturing extremism. Know your enemy. Several panel discussion and public lectures already took place in Dallas and North Texas, facilitated by both Muslim and Christian partners. Next week’s event at SMU is another one that will add more understanding to this current problem.
What CAIR-DFW aims at accomplishing in next week’s panel discussion is to give a chance to the voice of religious scholars, academicians and politicians to discuss and analyze the roots of ISIS. Their perspective will offer another narrative, going beyond the media narrative, and delving into scholarly fields.
CAIR-DFW has become a pioneer in civic engagement in North Texas and a national model for American Muslims to imitate. Since the chapter welcomed its new Executive Director, Alia Salem, a Texan woman, the organization has been revamped with activism and persistent non-stop chasing of issues facing American Muslims and hampering their civic engagement. Last month, CAIR-DFW held a press conference where local Muslim leaders condemned ISIS and declared it un-Islamic.
As Dallas understands better the issue with ISIS next week during the panel discussion, I am sure some ideas for action will surface shortly after. This would be a great learning opportunity and a chance to build community relations and support.
What: What ISIS Means panel discussion
Who: Speakers: Dr. Robert Hunt, Director of global religious studies at SMU; Professor Sahar Aziz, Texas A & M law school; Sheikh Abdul Nasir Jangda, Qalam Institute. Moderator: Alia Salem, CAIR-DFW Executive Director
Where: SMU Hughes/Trigg Theater. 3140 Dyer Street, Dallas, TX 75205
When: Thursday October 23rd, 2014. 6:30 pm- 9:00 pm.