Students, faculty and community members gathered to discuss the way Islam is perceived in today’s local and global society in a workshop sponsored by the Muslim Student Association and the May 4 Task Force.

During the workshop, the topic of women and hijabs, and how their value differs in each society, but are fundamentally revered in the Muslim faith.

“(The) hijab is never meant to be a restraint on women,” senior integrative life sciences major and former MSA president Rami Kalash said. “In general, on the most basic fundamental level, the purpose of the hijab is not meant to institute some sort of control.”

Kalash discussed the basic fundamentals of Islam, including the Six Pillars of Faith: Monotheistic faith in God, belief in angels, belief in all messengers of faith, belief in all divine revelations or texts, day of judgement, and the will of God.

Furthermore, there are also practices in Islam, including taking Shahada, or the testimonial faith, Kalash said. Other practices include prayer, charity, fasting from dawn to sunset during the holy month of Ramadan and participating in Hajj, a pilgrimage to Mecca in Saudi Arabia if one is physically and financially able to go.

Kalash focused on the way Muslims are perceived and how not all actions reflect the morals of Islam.

“I can’t rip open your chests, look into your hearts and see what you believe right?” Kalash said. “But your conducts are out in the open, and your conduct can be analyzed. And to claim to do something for the sake of Islam and what you do (does) not line up with what Islam teaches, then we’d have problem.”

Kalash also explained how learning about Islam and acceptance also related to lessons from May 4.

“How can we relate this to May 4?” Kalash said. “One goal should just be building tolerance. You can learn that from what happened during May 4, and even something like this and building tolerances to different races, different religions, different cultures. It’s always important especially in the times and society we live in.”

Contact Skye McEowen at smceowen@kent.edu.

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