A little more than a week after the bombings at the Boston Marathon, Muslims in the Triangle came together Tuesday to promote Islam as a peaceful religion.
The event, held in the Frank Porter Student Union and attended by about 60, was organized by the Research Triangle chapter of the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community. It aimed to portray Muhammad and Islam as peaceful, using the phrase “Love for all. Hatred for none.”
Marriam Azam, a member of the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community who is enrolled at UNC and also has a daughter studying at the University, said UNC has a very open-minded student body.
“It’s a great opportunity for people to learn more and feel comfortable asking any questions they have,” she said.
The event featured recitations of excerpts from the Quran, a holy text of Islam, and religious singing.
The keynote address was given by Yahya Luqman, imam, or leader, of the Virginia chapters of the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community.
His speech focused on common misconceptions about Islam: that the world would be better off without Islam and that the religion has a message of hate and intolerance, as practiced by Muhammad.
Luqman used examples from Muhammad’s life and the Quran to dispel discrepancies.
He also said the term jihad means “the struggle” and in context refers to an inner struggle or striving for righteousness. The word jihad is commonly associated with violence and “holy war.”
“There is nowhere in the Quran where jihad is used in the context of war,” he said.
Nasira Sayed, president of the women’s section of the Research Triangle chapter of the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community, said she thought the event came at a good time.
“We want to spread the word of the prophet and show his character,” she said. “He was a peaceful prophet. He did not make his claim by the sword.”
Freshman Rachel Woods, a religious studies major and member of a religious pluralism group, said when she heard about the event she was immediately interested.
“I just want to learn something about the prophet and why he’s considered a peaceful prophet.”
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