NY: POST GROUP MEETS WITH MUSLIMS
For one of the students from the C.W. Post Campus of Long Island University involved in the mock hostage video that some Muslims found offensive, visiting the Islamic Center of Long Island on Sunday opened his eyes to a culture he knew little about.
And members of the Islamic Center in Westbury said they welcomed the opportunity to start a conversation.
"I hope for continued dialogue," said Omar Chaudhry, a Huntington lawyer who was one of the center members who met with the students. "The more we talk, the better America becomes."
Center president Habeeb Ahmed called the students' appearance "a good start." Chaudhry added, "I really think they're likeable guys. I think they were very brave for coming. It also shows that, no matter what happens, we can all come together."
Dustin Frye, 22, of San Antonio, Texas, said yesterday that the students met with four members of the center, after hearing a center member extend the invitation on a news program last week. Frye is one of the "C.W. Post Five," along with Robert Bennett, William McDermott, Bert Estrada and Jordan Marmara.
Bennett couldn't attend because he had to work, said the students' lawyer, Frederick K. Brewington, of Hempstead.
Campus administrators fired the students from their jobs as resident assistants Feb. 2 over the video. It showed the masked students holding hostage a rubber duck, which is a campus dorm mascot. The students said the video was made as a team-building exercise. A State Supreme Court justice rescinded the firing temporarily, pending a hearing scheduled for today; it has been postponed to Feb. 28, Brewington said.
Frye said the Post students talked with Islamic center members about the video and found a "very welcoming" reception. "I really knew nothing about Islamic culture."
He said he and his fellow students also apologized, particularly for using background music and a chant in the video they have recently learned was the Muslim call to prayer.
"If I were to go back and do it over again, I definitely would not use the prayer song," Frye said.