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Public forum to explore lives of American Muslims

Today as a citizen in the fast-paced world of the United States, being a Muslim American is an experience all its own. That unique experience will be explored in a forum titled “What it means to be an American Muslim” today at 7 p.m. in Sheslow Auditorium.

“We will talk about the balance, the opportunities it provides, the challenges and the advantages of being a Muslim American,” said Professor Mahmoud Hamad, who will be moderating the event.

As an assistant professor of politics and international relations at Drake, Hamad hopes to inform students of all things Islam. He will be moderating a distinguished collection of people for this one time event.

The forum features Luai Amro, the president of the Islamic Cultural center of Des Moines; M. Zuhdi Jasser, M.D., the president and founder of the American Islamic Forum for Democracy; Bill Aossey, the president of Midamar Corporation; and Abdirizak Bihi, who is a Somali community activist and social worker.

Each of the guests will speak for no more than seven minutes, and will then have an open question and answer session. Students are encouraged to ask any questions they may have in order to seek out more knowledge of the Muslim faith.

He maintains that knowledge is power in gaining a better understanding of this culture. It helps students sort through the hearsay that they take at face value from the media. Hamad also said they will touch on the subject of media and how it portrays American Muslims, and the lack of Muslim representation in American media.

Others may continue this forum in Drake’s future. Hamad hopes to have another speaker or forum by next semester. But for now, if students are interested in enjoying this one-time event, Hamad stresses that they are perceptive of the topic at hand.

“My advice is to come with an open mind and an open heart, listen to what people say,” Hamad said. “Hopefully it will be a very democratic exchange of ideas.”

If students are interested in learning more about the Muslim faith, they can contact Hamad after the forum.

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