Seminar analyzes roots of Islamophobia

Haroon Moghul, a Musilm-American writer, speaks on the causes and effects of Islamophobia in the United States at the first of three seminars on Islam at 6 p.m. Wednesday in 100 Morrison Hall. Photo credit: Liesje Powers

By Taliyah Clark | Reporter

Haroon Moghul, a spokesperson on Islamic issues and a voice for the Muslim community, spoke about the roots and longevity of Islamophobia in the first of three seminars over Islam at 6 p.m. Wednesday in 100 Morrison Hall. The series is hosted by the Baylor Indian Subcontinent Student Association in partnership with the Ismaili Student Network.

Moghul, who is also a writer and commentator for major news networks such as CNN, TIME and the Washington Post, spoke about his life a Muslim-American and how his religious identity became his full time job.

“This is not something I asked for or even intended,” Moghul said. “I went to college at NYU, and I got involved in the Muslim student association and I found myself really passionate about it.”

Moghul said it is important to have these conversations about crossing racial and religious lines. Considering the state that our world is in now, it is important to him to break up set notions in people’s minds.

“I chose to come to Baylor, because I have never been here, and I thought it would be a cool opportunity to interact with new people, and right now in this political climate I think it’s really important to have these conversations, especially with different people,” Moghul said.

Many of the audience members resonated with Moghul’s personal accounts of the stereotypes he’s faced, such as different political figures he’s worked with making assumptions about how he would respond to certain issues because of his faith.

Plano junior Sahir Amlani said a lot of the stereotype are fueled by fear and that other faith communities and Muslims should interact more.

“I think the more people get to know each other, the more they learn that we are really not that different,” Amlani said.

Dubai freshman Areesha Velani had the same takeaway from the seminar.

“A lot of times, Islamophobia is because of human instinct and fear, and I feel that everyone should develop an open mindset of other religions and other faiths,” Velani said.

The next seminar on Islam will be held in February 2017.