Spring SAVY 2013 Week 4: World Religions
This past Saturday our students were treated to a guest speaker. Hasina is a current PhD student at Peabody and a Muslim. She regularly represents the ummah at Islamic Center of Nashville, delivering talks to various groups about Islam. Hasina was able to cover not only the history of Islam, but also help the students understand a bit about what it is like to be a Muslim today. Obviously some of the political issues surrounding Islam can be a bit sensitive, but Hasina helped our students see Islam not as a religion in the abstract, but as a collection of real people whose lives are impacted by acts of vandalism, and even arson, that mosques in the Tennessee area of experienced. Thus Hasina was able to help our students understand a bit about what it is like to be a Muslim in America today.
After her talk, several students noted that their impression of Islam had changed. They were able to see how Muslims might view Islamic terrorists in the same way Christians might view those who commit crimes in the name of their religion. This led to a fruitful conversation about the way perspective shapes understanding. For instance, though many Americans might view hijab (a woman’s head-covering) as a kind of sexist thing, many Muslim women appreciate the way that it frees them from western standards of beauty and makes others judge them on their minds more than their appearance.
We also discussed models of religious diversity – exclusivism, inclusivism, and pluralism – which allowed us to evaluate Sunni Islam’s stance toward other religions and will help us as we move toward Hinduism next Saturday.