The Spur

“Islam in post-Trump America”


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The newly popular speaker Dr. Ayaz Virji came to the SMSU Campus the evening of Nov. 13, accompanied by Reverend Mandy France. Their talk was centered around what it is like to be a Muslim in America today.

What sparked this conversation was the 2016 presidential election.

“The majority [of Dawson] voted for me on a registry,” said Dr. Virji.

After that, he felt that he needed to educate the American people on the Muslim religion, and make it better understood.

“I don’t want to do this. But, if not me, then who?” said Dr. Virji

Reverend France also added that the two of them working together and being of two different religions caused some community issues right away. Some people thought that she was not a good Christian for helping him, and many people protested their first talk that they did in their hometown of Dawson, Minnesota.

At this point, Dr. Virji made it clear that he was not trying to convert her, or anyone in the audience to the Muslim religion. He also shared that he did not have anything against Christianity.

“Christianity is a religion of love and peace, and I would not question that,” said Dr. Virji.

Dr. Virji cited his upbringing in a Catholic school for eight years of his childhood. He used his knowledge of the Bible and Christianity to explain how some terrorist groups, like Al Qaeda and ISIS, twist some Bible verses to make it seem like the religion is bad.

“If I wanted to stoke the fire, I’d use Matthew 10:24, or Ezekiel 9:6,” said Dr. Virji.

While explaining this, Dr. Virji also condemned the terrorist groups that use this tactic. He believes that these groups promote the idea that all Muslim people act that way.

“They are not me, and they are not the 99.99 percent of Muslims,” said Dr. Virji.

Even though ISIS and Al Qaeda are two of the most well-known, and two of the worst terrorist groups, they are not actually behind the majority of terrorist attacks.

“The Department of Justice has shown that 94 percent of attacks are not [done by] Muslim terrorists,” said Dr. Virji.

He believes that even though this statistic is from the U. S. government itself, the media here still portrays as Muslims the masterminds of these mass killings. Part of what he sees the problem to be is what President Donald Trump says about all Muslims being bad, and wanting to hurt Americans.

“Donald Trump is lying, and he is wrong,” said Dr. Virji. “When a terrorist act happens, we bleed too. We’re Americans too.”

Another aspect of his religion and culture that he sees to be wrongly construed is the women, and the idea that they are oppressed. The headscarf that Muslim women wear was a prime example that he used.

“Why is it okay for a nun to wear a headscarf, but not okay for Muslim women to do it?” said Dr. Virji. “Have you ever seen a picture of the Virgin Mary without a headscarf?”

After asking these questions to the audience, Dr. Virji shared the reasoning behind the headscarf.

“Islam thinks of a society that is not so sexualized,” said Dr. Virji.

Once Dr. Virji finished explaining his reasoning, Reverend France added on to what he was saying.

“Whatever Ayaz says is questioned,” said Reverend France. “They ask what his source is, and he has to have them, or else he is a liar. But, as a Christian, whatever I say isn’t questioned.”

The two combined statistics and questions of each religion/culture to try and open the audience’s mind to the Muslim religion.

“When we open our minds, we open our hearts,” said Dr. Virji.

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“Islam in post-Trump America”