In a lecture sponsored by the University of Rhode Island's Muslim Student Association, a panel of speakers said that poor relations between Americans and Muslims are due to faults from both sides.
Bill Bartels, a philosophy professor at the University of Rhode Island, Omer Bajwa, a Muslim Chaplain at Cornell University, and Dr. Mohamed Nimer, a member of the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR), spoke for nearly three hours Saturday night at the lecture "Islamophobia: Myth or Facts" in the Memorial Union Ballroom.
The lecture, which attracted about 90 people, was MSA's response to the College Republican's Islamo-Fascism Awareness Week.
The speakers described American sentiment as "Islamophobia," and discussed Muslim anti-American feelings.
"There are people who want to see a clash of civilization," Bajwa said. He added that it could become a self-fulfilling prophecy, and described the prophecy as a "lose-lose situation."
Nimer said that Islamo-American relations are complicated, and there is "a lot beyond cultural misconceptions." . . .
Nimer was the final speaker, and attributed "Islamophobia" to misconceptions and grievances. Nimer said that anti-Muslim feelings arose in the U.S. after the Sept. 11 attacks. Nimer labeled those feelings as "the most remarkable wave of anti-Muslim feelings in the history of the U.S."
He added that in five major Muslim countries, 51 to 79 percent of the population expressed negative feelings towards the U.S. . .
Nimer said the problem lies in the generalization of Muslims and Americans, which leads to justification of hostility.
"[Generalizations] must be confronted as wrong and harmful," Nimer said. . .
Nimer joined Bartels and Bajwa in pointing out the similarities between Christianity, Islam and Judaism.
"All three [religions] implement the golden rule," Nimer said. "This universal principle offers grounds for peaceful coexistence." (MORE)