Muslim students speak out against Islamic State

Daniel Maraccini, Features Editor

Members of the Islamic State group claim to be followers of Islam. But they also enslave women, kill children and behead journalists. Their actions have left several Muslim students at Diablo Valley College pleading distance between their religious practices and those of the group.

President of DVC’s Muslim Student Association Omar Fazli is one of these students.

“Their actions are causing more Islamophobia in the West,” Fazli said. “People are associating (the Islamic State) with all Muslims.

The group has been known as Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS) as well as Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant (ISIL).

“Whenever ISIS does something and they say it’s an act of Islam, that bothers me,” undeclared major Lina Mathkour said. “In no way does Islam represent violence. It represents peace.”

In a Sept. 10 public address, President Barack Obama condemned associating the Islamic State group with religion. “ISIL is not Islamic,” he said. “No religion condones the killing of innocents.”

Zaina Abubeker, a 19-year-old economics major, also expressed frustration with such terms. “I hate when they tag ‘Islamic’ to it,” she said. “Because then people automatically associate that religion with that group.”

According to all three students, the media has disrupted the peaceful message they associate with Islam. “Fox News,” in particular was mentioned as a source of these misconceptions.

“Unfortunately [Fox News is] really promoting a lot of ignorance,” Fazli said, “They’re showing a minority and trying to display it as a majority.”

“It just drives you crazy after a while,” Abubeker said of “biased” news coverage on ISIS. “It’s really narrow-minded and pretty ignorant.”

Dr. Amer Araim, a DVC professor and author of the book “Understanding Islam: 50 Questions,” believes the key to defusing such ignorance lies with those being attacked.

Araim spoke of the need “to clarify,” and to “convince [a] person that your position is not different than that of him.”

Fazli, who is often found in front of DVC’s Liberal Arts building tabling for the MSA, encourages students to learn more about Islam. “We’re friendly, we won’t bite…  Everyone is always welcome to come ask questions.”