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Imam Salie and Oakland University Team Up to Tune Up Islamic Studies Program

November 15, 2007 by  


By Adil James, MMNS

Rochester Hills–November 11–Oakland University’s Islamic Studies minor and associated courses are a necessary means of fostering understanding and reducing conflict between Muslims and non-Muslims–this was the underlying theme at a fundraiser for the program held this past Sunday at Oakland University.

Imam Achmat Salie prepares to give his presentation as Professor Gary Shepherd, Director of Oakland University's Religious Studies Program, speaks at the lectern.

Andrea Brandon, a non-Muslim student in the program, explained the importance of the Islamic Studies course given that “Islam is the fastest growing religion in the US.” She said that the Islamic studies courses are “incredibly refreshing” and said that “I am thankful that we have much more than an academic teacher, we have a religious teacher” in Professor Salie. She spoke of increasingly being able to see the similarities between Islam and her own Christianity, and said “I hope that everyone can experience what I am experiencing.”

Given the current climate of anti-Muslim hysteria and rhetoric, keynote speaker Dawud Walid praised Oakland University and especially Professor Gary Shepard, director of Oakland’s Religious Studies Program, for their courage in calling the program “Islamic Studies” rather than, as some universities do, “Near Eastern” or “Middle Eastern” studies. He spoke of the vital importance of the program to reduce animosity and distrust, quoting Sayyidina Ali (kw) in saying that “People are enemies to what they do not know” as evidence of the importance of mutual understanding.

There was a video introducing the university’s surprisingly accomplished history, and Imam Salie discussed the multi-faceted curriculum that he has developed. About 60 people were in attendance at the function, held at Oakland University’s Banquet Rooms in its large Student Center.

To donate, please contact Imam Salie at 248-370-2436 or email salie@oakland.edu.

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