Special lecture series aims to debunk myths about Islam

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BURNABY (NEWS 1130) – In hopes of breaking any stereotypes around Islam, Simon Fraser University is hosting a week-long series on the religion.


Feeding the poor and needy is an act that draws us closer to Allah. We earn His forgiveness, mercies and blessings through this act of charity.

“Anyone who looks after and works for a widow and a poor person is like a warrior fighting for Allah?s cause, or like a person who fasts during the day and prays all night. (Bukhari)

This falls during United Islam Awareness Week and follows two separate incidents that happened at the university last year during the holy month of Ramadan. For this series, speakers will rotate through universities in Western Canada with the goal of teaching people about the faith.

Ahmed Khan, president of the SFU Muslim Students Association, feels Islamophobia is still an issue. He explains following the mosque attacks in New Zealand last year, the topic is prevalent.

“We feel these two incidents, both internationally and local, have caused us to go [on] with this event.”

One lecture is called ‘Killing us Softly,’ which is about deconstructing Islamophobia. “How demystifying it can lead us to new global standards for true equal rights to humanity and a more just society. Another [lecture] is titled ‘Is Jihad Lit?’ This will help us discover the truth about the concept of jihad that is often thrown around and taken out of context. We will examine it, not just as a personal, spiritual practice, but also as an ethical form of conduct during geopolitical and military conflict situations,” adds Khan.

The lecture series is happening at Burnaby’s main campus. Each nightly lecture gets underway at 6 p.m. It’s free and open to the public.

Biographies of this year’s list of speakers:

Mohamed Yaffa: Member of the Health Care Human Resource Sector Council, the IWK Health Centre Diversity Committee and the Halifax Police Diversity Committee. Over the past 15 years, he has worked with several organizations in the area of social justice, supporting communities that face systematic and social barriers in Canada, such as immigrants, African Canadians, Aboriginal people and people with disabilities.

Dr. Reda Bedeir: is a religious scholar who currently resides in Western Canada. Shaykh Reda holds two Bachelor’s degrees, in English and Islamic Sciences from Al-Azhar University in Egypt, one Masters Degree in Simultaneous Translation between Arabic and English, and a Ph.D from Al-Azhar University in Applied Linguistics.

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Dilly Hussain: He’s a journalist, university lecturer and podcaster. He is currently the deputy editor of 5Pillars, the only independently regulated Muslim news site in Europe, Australia and the Americas. Dilly has written for numerous mainstream publications like the Guardian, the Independent, the Huffington Post and the Foreign Policy Journal. He regularly appears on domestic and international news stations like the BBC, Sky News, CNN, France 24 and Russia Today to discuss Muslim current affairs.

Dawud Walid: is currently the Executive Director of the Michigan chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR-MI), which is a chapter of America’s largest advocacy and civil liberties organization for American Muslims and is a member of the Michigan Muslim Community Council (MMCC) Imams Committee. Walid has been interviewed and quoted in approximately 150 media outlets ranging from the New York Times, Wall St Journal, National Public Radio, CNN, BBC, FOX News and Al-Jazeera. Furthermore, Walid was a political blogger for the Detroit News from January 2014 to January 2016, has had essays published in the 2012 book All-American: 45 American Men on Being Muslim, the 2014 book Qur’an in Conversation and was quoted as an expert in 13 additional books and academic dissertations. He was also a featured character in the 2013 HBO documentary “The Education of Mohammad Hussein.”

Abdullah Al-Andalusi: is an international speaker, thinker and intellectual activist for Islam and Muslim affairs. His work involves explaining and demonstrating, by rational argument, the intellectual proofs for the Islamic belief system, and promoting the Islamic way of life and Islamic solutions for contemporary problems. Abdullah has delivered talks internationally on the question of the purpose of life, the existence of God, the Miracle of Quran, the superiority of the Shariah as a social and political system, and Islamic Economics.

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