Diversity scholar addresses myths surrounding Muslims in U.S.

Dr. Amer F. Ahmed provides insight on Islamophobia in the United States

Dr. Amer F. Ahmed discussed Islamophobia and the stigmas that surround Muslims in the United States on Tuesday at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville.

Students, faculty and staff gathered in the Toyota Auditorium to listen to Ahemed’s experiences and knowledge with Islamophobia.

Regina Tisdale, senior at UTK, said this event was one she had to attend.

“This is one of those uncomfortable conversations that I feel needs to be had,” she said.

According to Ahmed, a common misconception among Americans is that anyone wearing a hijab or turban is a person of Muslim decent.

“Obviously all Arabs are not Muslim and vice versa,” he said.

Ahmed’s main goal with this lecture series, is to break down barriers, myths and stereotypes against Muslim people. Ahmed describes his own personal struggles with being Muslim in the United States.

“It’s like how long do we have to be here to be considered fully American?” he said.

Ahmed describes his and his family’s personal dealings with racial profiling in difference scenarios, specifically in airports.

“Every man in my family that has ever ridden in an airplane, including the male children, have been on a flight watch list,” he said.

Ahmed spent the majority of his lecture on educating his audience on the differences between the religion and culture of Muslim people. He wants everyone to know the difference so that all Muslim people are not treated as a monolith.

There is a common hypothesis that Muslim people want everyone to convert to Islam, but Ahmed said the concept of being Muslim as being a “Free-will religion,” meaning no one can be made to believe something he or she does not.

To participate in more education week events, check out the university’s event calendar.

Featured Image by Arial Starks

Edited by Vanessa Rodriguez and Kaitlin Flippo