by Humera Gul
Central Connecticut State University held the event, “A Conversation with Connecticut Activists, Being Muslim in CT,” this past Monday, that incorporated four Muslim panelists and a Muslim moderator.
The event started with Ms. Samia Hussein, a CCSU alumni and President of Muslim Coalition of Connecticut, an organization aimed at bridging the gap between Muslims and other faiths and communities.
“25 percent of Muslims in America are African-American Muslims and 60 percent of Muslims in America are born in the United States. There is a campaign rhetoric to show Muslims are mostly from Middle East and they are a threat to the American way,” Hussein said, to the students who filled Memorial Hall.
Student Government senator, President of the South Asian Student Association and active Muslim Student Association member, Sawera Hussan then took to the podium.
“Conversations like these are so vital and it’s important for everyone to stand together against oppression of any marginalized group,” said Hussan.
The moderator, Dr. Saud Anwar, a physician who specializes in lung disease and critical care medicine, serves as a Chair of the Department of Internal Medicine of Manchester Memorial and Rockville General Hospitals.
The panel consisted of Mrs. Mubarakah Ibrahim, Mrs. Lejla Duric, Mrs. Shazia Chaudhry and Dr. Khamis Abu-Hasaballah.
Ibrahim is a health and fitness expert with 20 years of experience in the personal wellness industry.
Duric is a community organizer and the youth coordinator at the Boston American Islamic Cultural Center of Hartford.
Chaudhry is the Director of Community and Family Relations of the Alzheimer’s Resource Center of Connecticut, and Abu-Hesaballah is assistant Vice President for Research IT Services at UConn Health.
“When people talk about Muslim, they think of this angry young Middle Eastern man and is that who we are?” first asked the moderator.
“You just have to look at the group of panelists to see how diverse Muslims are,” said Khamis, who is an Arab American.
“Why don’t Muslims condemn attacks committed by Muslims most often?” then asked the moderator.
“I don’t understand why I have to condemn attacks committed by Muslims. If I don’t publicly condemn the attack, people make me feel like I did the attack. The FBI states that Christian Males are the highest percentage of perpetrators of domestic terrorism. Does every Christian condemn an attack every time?” said Ibrahim.
Duric also stated that she is against anyone that causes harm, whether it be physical or emotional.
“Sarah is a young Muslim girl at CCSU and she was carrying a heavy backpack to school. Her teacher noticed Sarah was carrying a lot of stuff in her backpack. She was carrying her school stuff, dolls, toys and a blanket. The teacher asked Sarah, ‘why are you carrying all these other items with you?’ Sarah said, because I have been told that my family will have to leave and Trump will kick us out. I have all my stuff and I just want to make sure I have my toys when I have to leave,” said Hussein, recalling a story.