Written Brian Williams, Staff Writer
VSU’s College of Arts and Sciences kicked off its annual Speaker Series with its first installment of “Understanding Islam” Sept. 20 at 7 pm in the Hugh C. Bailey Science Center Auditorium.
Professors Dr. Cristobal Serran-Pagan, Dr. Babacar Mboup, and Mariya Chakir as well as Dr. Mouyyed Hassouna of Tallahassee Community College and Dr. R Kirby Godsey, the chancellor of Mercer University, gathered to speak to a full house of students and guests about various aspects of understanding Islam.
Topics included a brief history of the Islamic religion, Muhammad’s life, roles Islamic women play in society and “how do we save our religions.” Power point presentations were given, a video explaining the history of Islam was played and parts of the Qur’an were interpreted as believed by the speakers.
Symbolism in Islam was discussed, from the relevance of the moon and stars to Muhammad’s journey to aspects of the lunar calendar. The Five Pillars, guidelines to the religion, were also explained.
Dr. Godsey said “Christianity and Muslim religions have been hijacked.” He went on to discuss the “dark side” of religion that is being controlled by “fear and ignorance.” The speakers identified religion as two things: an answer to all problems in human lives and a challenge to all answers in human lives.
In the end, a goal of a common world religious tolerance was announced and ways to achieve them is hoped for by the speakers. The panel wishes to continue having “Understanding Islam” events in the future in hopes that our school, country and world will understand Islam.
Islam has over 1.6 billion followers. It is the world’s fastest growing religion because, according to the speakers, it “is not forced” and the majority of conversions are self-instigated.
Contact Dr. Mark Smith, associate dean of the College of Arts and Sciences, at (229) 333-5699 or firstname.lastname@example.org for future events and any questions you may have.