US Muslims in Michigan, East Lansing gather to share experiences

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SHAFAQNA- Muslims from Michigan State University (MSU) and East Lansing communities came together and were given the opportunity to share their experiences, both positive and negative, in an event sponsored by the Committee on Diversity of MSU College of Osteopathic Medicine called “Visions for the Future: Stories from your Muslim Neighbors,” on Tuesday.

Speakers came from faraway countries and cities like Dubai and Pakistan in addition to metropolitan Detroit.

The panelists answered a list of prepared questions from the event’s moderator and then answered audience questions audience members had.

Some of the panelists touched on what being a Muslim meant to them.

“Being a Muslim is integrated into everything I do, every action must benefit society or please God,” graduate student Heba Osman said.

All of the student panelist members were graduate students enrolled in either MSU’s College of Osteopathic Medicine or College of Human Medicine.

Some panelists said they felt Islam had influenced their career choices.

“One verse in the Quran really influenced my desire to be a doctor,” graduate student Faraz Khan said. “It says, ‘If you save one life, it’s as if you saved all of humanity.’”

Many audience members expressed curiosity about two of the female panelists’ choice to wear the hijab.

“I’m not a better Muslim because I wear a hijab, but it reminds me that I’m a Muslim and of my responsibilities,” Osman said.

Second year human medicine graduate student Susan Edlibi said the hijab allows her to not be judged based on how she looks.

Some of the panelists expressed sadness over the beliefs some Muslims abroad hold about the U.S. treatment of American Muslim people.

“I volunteered in a refugee camp and one of the women asked me how I could wear hijab in America,” Osman said. “Because of the media’s portrayal she thought Americans hate Muslims. She was going to turn down an offer to immigrate and chose to stay in a refugee camp because of this.”

As a whole, the panelists expressed appreciation of the diversity in the U.S. and acceptance they have found here.

“America isn’t a melting pot, it’s a salad,” Edlibi said. “We’re all separate but we come together to make something great.”

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