Panel member speaks about the facts of Islam at Saddleback College. The presentation is in high hopes of changing campus culture to be more accepting of Muslim culture. (Lariat/ Austin Weatherman)
Saddleback College hosted the International Languages department on Feb. 9, educating the student body on Islam. The meeting was held in Student Services room 212, providing free lunch to the attendees and a two hour presentation on Muslim culture presented by the International Languages department and guests.
“In the recent months, there has been a backlash, a misunderstanding of Muslims regarding what is going on in the community, about the religion, and about the people. Today is just a gathering to teach or explain what is Islam and the legacies of Muslims that were left and women’s roles,” said Yassine.
Amina Yassine, co-chair of the International Languages board, coordinated the event in hope of changing thoughts about the Muslim community.
Students of foreign language classes and some other departments were invited to learn about the culture, creating a chance for change.
“We hope to see an open conversation. An hour and a half, we’re not going to be able to do everything. It starts critical thinking with what they see on the news and process things differently because of this opportunity,” said Yassine.
Student at Saddleback Ashley Lehaf heard about the meeting through her speech teacher and thought it would be informing.
“I’m part Egyptian and I want to know more about the Middle East, and I think this is going to an informing event for that,” said Lehaf. “Change? I hope so, but only the people who attend will truly know.”
For some attendees, Islam was no stranger to their life. For Saddleback Muslim student Ameen Ascha, Islam has been majority part of his life.
“For me personally, it is a refresher because I used to go to Muslim school, and now I sort of lost my ways so this is a nice reminder,” said Ascha.
Ascha sees this meeting as a great opportunity for students to understand his culture and not to hate what they do not understand. Yassine has made it clear that in order to reach understanding, we must break the boundaries of our safe space and communicate in an intellectual fashion.
“We want cross talk amongst the religions so we can have a multicultural community. All three of the monotheistic religions are based on the same thing; Islam is just a reboot, just a continuation of the old ones. It’s not a new religion,” said Yassine.
The department plans to do more informing events on other cultures and organizations in the future.