Students in Michelle Rivard’s Intercultural Communications class at MSB-Brooklyn Center recently had the opportunity to hear a presentation from Zafar Siddiqui about Muslims and the Islam religion. During the one-hour talk students were educated about the religion, while many of the misperceptions about Muslims were also discussed.
An engineer by trade, Siddiqui is the co-founder of the Islamic Resource Group, an educational outreach organization that seeks to build bridges of understanding through education between Muslims and the Minnesota community at large. Originally from India, he also is a contributor to the Star Tribune and the EngageMN.com blog.
“Students were initially unsure what to expect from the presentation,” Rivard said, “Afterwards many students expressed appreciation for Zafar’s thorough explanation of the religious customs, the Five Pillars of Islam, Ramadan, Jihad, and other concepts central to a Muslim’s belief.”
At the conclusion of Siddiqui’s talk he opened the floor to questions from the students, who were eager to learn more.
“I think that students were surprised at some of the similarities (between Islam, Christianity and Judiasm).” added Rivard.
The presentation was a great tool for learning for Rivard’s Intercultural Communications class, which focuses on how students can become competent communicators with individuals from different cultures.
“In today’s global, highly diverse job market, it is critical that we know how to effectively interact with persons who are different than we are and who may have vastly different world views.” Rivard said. “Education and tolerance are the first steps towards respecting views that are different than our own.”