Sheikh Yosof Wanly:Islam is a religion of peace and Muslim extremists are distorting the message

SHAFAQNA – These are examples of extremism and backlashes against Muslims because of extremism. Because of these and more news items, for many across the world, Islam is more closely connected to violence than peace, according to Sheikh Yosof Wanly. Wanly spoke at the Muslim Student Association’s “Violence and Islam” about the need for knowledge and understanding of Islam—that Islam is a religion of peace and Muslim extremists are distorting the message.

“Some philosophers say in our day and age we need less religion because of extremism,” Wanly said. “I disagree. I say we need more religion. … I say we need more scholars.”

Wanly, who received a Ph.D in Islamic Studies in Medina, Saudi Arabia, and is now in Corvallis, spoke about how extremists use some verses from the Quran to justify their actions by taking them out of historical context or using unreliable narratives.

Wanly spoke about the media’s negative portrayal of Muslims.

In attendance were students from the MSA, the Arab Student Union, the body of UO students, the Veteran’s Association and other friends and interested members of the community.

Don Kimball, a UO alum who graduated in 1950, has been hosting Muslim international students since 2002. He’s had students from Yemen, Dubai, and Riyadh, and he said it’s destroyed any stereotypes he’d developed.

“If day after day you get negative stuff in the media, it’s hard not to start being swayed to that persuasion,” Kimball said. “I think that the more you know about them, the more it broadens your view.”

There was also a performance by Baba Ali, a Muslim comedian who riffed on the TSA, joked about going on the no-fly list and being racially profiled.

After that, a member of the U.K. Nasheed band Labbayk performed contemporary religious music.

“I was kind of worried about it at the beginning,” Fahma Mohammed, UO student and one of the event’s organizers, said, “I had high hopes, and after talking to people during dinner, it seems like people really love it.”

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