Planners were forced to rethink the height of the minaret
is more than 500 years
since the Spanish,
killing or expelling every confessed Muslim who could be found and
conclusively ending 800 years of Islamic rule.
But on Thursday, a muezzin is calling
Spanish Muslims to prayer at the first mosque to be opened in
Granada , the culmination of a 22-year-old project that has been
plagued by controversy.
For those who built the Great Mosque
of Granada, which looks out onto the once highly symbolic Alhambra
Palace, its inauguration - attended by a string of Muslim and
non-Muslim dignitaries - heralds a new dawn for the faith in Europe.
"The mosque is a symbol of a return to
Islam among the Spanish people and among indigenous Europeans that
will break with the malicious concept of Islam as a foreign and
immigrant religion in
Europe," says Abdel Haqq Salaberria, a spokesman
for the mosque and convert to Islam.
"It will act as a focal point for the
Islamic revival in
It is precisely this which has caused
some discomfort among the local population, but it appears that the
mosque's insistence on harmonious co-existence has gone some way
towards calming fears.
At a time when the Islamic faith is
viewed with some suspicion within
Spanish Muslims are hoping to remind the continent of the vast
cultural and intellectual contribution made by the Moors, to art and
architecture, astronomy, music, medicine, science, and learning.
Their rule is also seen by some
historians as an example of religious tolerance in medieval
The city of
Cordoba became a cultural centre , while universities sprang up in
cities across Andalucia. Trade and industry also flourished.
The new mosque intends to offer a
series of courses on subjects such as education, law and medicine,
as well as Arabic language classes, and is planning on issuing its
own degree in science to European Muslims.
The mosque and its extensive gardens
will also be open to the public.
It will serve as a spiritual home to
500 Spanish Muslims, the majority of whom have converted to the
faith in the course of the last 30 years.
It has taken a long time to get this
The land on which the mosque has been
built was bought 22 years ago, but city authorities continually
objected to the planning proposals.
The project has taken 22 years to see through
When it was finally accepted that the
land could be used for religious purposes, objections were raised to
the layout of the building.
Planners had to rethink the height and
design of the building's minaret.
But opposition to the scheme, which
received financial backing from
Libya, the United Arab Emirates and
Morocco, gradually subsided.
The mayor, a member of
Spain's ruling right-wing party, will attend Thursday's
The king of
was also offered an invitation.
some photos of designing in Islamic civilizations period in
Around 180 people convert to Islam All
at once - in Flint, Michigan. TWO OF THEM WERE PRIESTS
Bismillah Rahman Raheem
Salam alaykum dear
I miss you man. I hope that things are going better for
Anyway, there are many more coming into Islam on a daily
basis and we need to get our share of the rewards.
Can you believe it? = Last Sunday we gave shahadah to
around 180 people === All at once - in Flint, Michigan. TWO OF THEM WERE
PRIESTS. NO JOKE.
Jazakalah khair was salam alaykum,
Prophet MOHAMMAD Legacy of
This is the title and main picture of the film about
prophet mohammad that airs in the channel of PBS .The film clarify the
influence of prophet MOHAMMAD and how his legacy passed down from
generation to generation for 1415 years and will continue for future
time until the end of the live on earth (the judgment day ) . the
story of the film talking about the prophet's born ,merchant ,his parent
,....,... millions of viewers will see this great film.
Exploring the holy ' Qur'an
This early 14th-century manuscript is one of the finest
Qur’ans of the Mamluk period. It is considered a masterpiece of Islamic
calligraphy and illumination. The script is written entirely in gold.
This Qur’an was commissioned by Rukn al-Din Baybars al-Jashnagir, who
later became Sultan Baybars II. This version was made possible by the
generosity of The Noon Foundation.really it's great
Click here to turn the pages.
Interest in Islam
mounts after 11 September
Sunday September 1, 2002
by The Observer newspaper
A year ago they feared their religion would be
tarred by the attack that left over 3,000 dead in on New York and
Washington. But Muslims across
now crediting an '11 September factor' for the upsurge of interest in
From Islamic bookshops and university
comparative religion courses to the dusty corridors of
non-Muslims are rushing to find out more about the beliefs of Islam and
the life of the Prophet Mohammed.
Sales of the Muslim holy book, the Koran,
have gone through the roof. Penguin, the publishers of the best-known
English-language translation of the Koran, registered a 15-fold increase
in the three months following 11 September and sales have held up well
Meanwhile the Foreign and Commonwealth
Office has been overwhelmed by the response to new Islamic Awareness
courses they have set up for diplomats being posted to Muslim countries
and London-based staff with an interest in the wider Islamic world.
Not since the Satanic Verses affair in
1989, when novelist Salman Rushdie was condemned to death for blasphemy
by Iranian leader Ayatollah Khomeini, has Islam been such a sensitive
political issue in
The rise in Islamophobia and even racist
attacks has been matched, sometimes in the same geographical area, by a
thirst for knowledge of a religion which many are surprised to find has
common links to Christianity and Judaism. Moses and Christ are both
considered prophets in Islam.
Dilowar Khan, director of the
mosque which holds open days for non-Muslims four times a year, said
that visits from schools, university students and even tourists had
increased over the past year. At the same time he said there had been an
average of two or three people asking to convert every month.
'A similar thing happened during the
Salman Rushdie affair. A lot of people converted to Islam as they
struggled to understand what was happening. Of course, there has been
the opposite effect as well, some people have become more hostile, said
mosque now plans to publish a magazine Discover Islam to cater for the
demand for information. The first issue will contain an article on the
attractions of the Muslim faith by journalist Yvonne Ridley, held
captive by the Taliban last year and now considering converting to
Dr Abdulkarim Khalil, director of the
Al-Manaar Cultural Heritage Centre in Kensington,
London, which opened shortly after 11 September, said: 'In a sense it
was a natural reaction to the events. People wanted to know more and we
expected that, but no one expected the scale of the interest, not just
here but across the world.'
Dr Khalil said that there had been some
minor incidents immediately after the terror attacks, when women were
verbally abused for wearing the headscarf, the hejab. 'But we've been
surprised that nothing serious has happened. We've even had non-Muslim
members of the local community coming to reassure us and express their
support for the centre.' Although some experts talk of a 'know thy enemy
factor' in the rush to find out about Islam in the aftermath of 11
September, the panic has now settled into genuine interest.
At the traditionally Arabist Foreign
Office, the fascination for Islam has filtered down throughout the
department over the past year. Trial Islamic Awareness Training sessions
have proved so successful that Foreign Secretary Jack Straw has decided
to offer them to all Foreign Office staff likely to come into contact
with Islamic issues. The courses consist of a lecture on the basic
tenets of Islam followed by a speech by a visiting expert on
contemporary Muslim issues and a visit to a mosque.
In a speech to the Oxford Centre for
Islamic Studies earlier this year, Straw urged a greater understanding
of Islam. Last month the Foreign Office also hosted the largest
reception for the Muslim community ever held by a government department,
although many thought they were being softened up for a planned attack
A Foreign Office spokesman said: 'The
cultural element has always been a central part of the training of
diplomats, but it has usually been part of language courses. We wanted
to extend the training and make it become systematic throughout the
" ISLAMCALL.COM" now is asking you why they finding what they are
looking for on Islam ?!!!!!!!
be with them
to save your live now and after death while you are alone no one with
you just Islam can save you .
NUMBER OF HISPANIC MUSLIM CONVERTS GROWING
TARA DOOLEY, Houston Chronicle, 8/17/02
HUEVOS rancheros for breakfast; fasouliye for dinner.
It was not an unusual menu that graced the table one recent Thursday at
Patricia El-Kassir's west Houston home.
For El-Kassir, a Mexican-American convert to Islam, starting the day
the Mexican egg breakfast and ending it with a Lebanese meat-and-bean
dinner meant nothing more than the merging of cultures easily found in
"One of the things that brought me to Islam, that I think is so
is that Muslims come from all nations," said El-Kassir, whose husband is
native of Lebanon.
"You can be Mexican and be a Muslim and be happy," she added. "You don't
have to be torn between two things."
Though Muslims may live in all nations, when El-Kassir first accepted
16 years ago as a 15-year-old student at Bellaire High School, she was
of few Hispanic Muslims at Houston-area mosques, she said. She didn't
another Hispanic Muslim until she was an adult living in Lebanon.
Now when El-Kassir looks around at local gatherings of Muslims, she sees
others with roots in Mexico and Central and Latin America. She even has
friends with whom she can discuss the ins and outs of halal meat in
A study of mosques in the United States published in 2001, indicated
about 6 percent of converts to Islam in the United States are Hispanic,
said Ihsan Bagby, an author of the report and associate professor of
Islamic studies at the University of Kentucky. About 27 percent of
converts are white, 64 percent are African-American and 3 percent are a
mixture of other backgrounds, according to "The Mosque in America: A
Some of what is now available for Hispanic converts comes from Latino
American Dawah Organization, a group started about five years ago in New
York City by Samantha Sanchez and five friends.
Sanchez, who is studying for a doctorate in cultural anthropology, had
become a Muslim and was interested in discovering whether she and her
friends were the only Hispanic Muslims out there.
The organization has grown into a support network and an information
outreach that provides Qurans and pamphlets on Islam in Spanish and runs
www.latinodawah.org. The group now has a chapter in Austin and is
working on chapters in Illinois, Massachusetts and Arizona
British journalist Yvonne Ridley, detained by Taliban last year, has
embraced Islam, saying Islam is the religion of salvation, according to
BBC Pashto service.
Ms Ridley, 44, working for the British "Sunday
Express" newspaper - was detained in September 2001 near the eastern
city of Jalalabad, for entering the country illegally. She was released
after ten days.
"Taliban had told me to convert to Islam after
my release and reaching London. I had told them that it is not possible
now but promised them to study and understand Islam," the BBC quoted her
as saying. She said she studied the Holy Quran and several other books
and converted to Islam.
In a book written after her release, Ridley
said that she met Dr. Zaki Badawai, head of the Islamic Center in London
and discussed with him Islam. In her book, she has explained how she was
arrested and how much Taliban respected her in detention.
The British journalist said, "There is no real
Islamic system in any of the Islamic country".
The 44-year-old mother-of-one was seized near
the northeastern city of Jalalabad on September 28 after traveling to
the region with two local guides. She was held in solitary confinement
in a house for her first seven days in captivity before being moved to a
prison in the Afghan capital Kabul. She had been in the Middle East
since the US suicide attacks on 11 September.
Yvonne Ridley had been reporting for the
Sunday Express and Daily Express from Peshawar and Islamabad in Pakistan
after the September 11 attacks. She was the paper's chief reporter and a
highly experienced journalist who covered several conflicts in many
countries around the world.
Sunday Express Editor, Martin Townsend, says:
"She is an experienced and courageous journalist."
Ms Ridley, originally from Stanley, County
Durham, is a former assistant editor of Newcastle's Sunday Sun and
deputy editor of Wales on Sunday. Sunday Sun Deputy Editor, Colin
Patterson, says: "She is a very warm, gregarious person who is very
determined and tenacious." Ms Ridley also worked for the News of the
World, the Daily Mirror, The Sunday Times, The Observer and the
Independent before joining Express Newspapers three years ago.
After the Lockerbie disaster nine years ago,
Ms Ridley got the first interview with Ahmed Jibril, the head of the
Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine, which had been among the
to ask wise readers why she embraced Islam the religion of who
detained her even after she released?!!!!!!
The answer I think
she did that because she found the truth and
spirituality in Islam.
University of North Carolina Study the Quran
officials say they have not only the prerogative but the responsibility
to open students' eyes to the Muslim religion and culture. Indeed,
pundits here on campus say UNC's experiment should be a call to other
institutions to follow suit – for the good of the country.
question is, what's the big role of the university here?" says Carl
Ernst, the religious-studies professor who recommended the book to a
selection committee of faculty, staff, and students.
will be a first step toward understanding something important about
Islamic spirituality, and to see its adherents as human beings."
about the "early revelations," which includes a CD of reciter prayer,
delves into the mystery and poetry of the spoken Koran. It explores how
the text has wended its way into the hearts of 1 billion people and deep
into the framework of politics and culture in the East.
purpose of this book is to promote the Qur'anic message," Mr. Sells
writes. "Rather, the goal is to allow those who do not have access to
the Qur'an in its recited, Arabic form to encounter one of the most
influential texts in all human history in a manner that is accessible."
ACLU is watching
parents of freshman Jennifer DeCurtis of Asheville, N.C., the choice of
a book that focuses on a major world religion is appropriate – even
during a war with religious overtones.
it will open their thinking up to what Islam is really all about," says
dad David DeCurtis. "And I think that's an appropriate role for a school
more, the ACLU has vowed to oversee some of the discussion groups, which
will be led by about 180 faculty volunteers who were trained this
summer. School officials say the program will "pass the smell test."
Sanders, a fellow at the conservative John Locke Foundation in Raleigh,
N.C., which has long questioned a variety of university actions, says he
wouldn't have a problem if the school was merely urging teenagers to
read the text (quran) before they come to school. It's the requirement
Professor Fred Eckel says. "It's a positive thing to discuss issues in
the Koran, and it may also further discussions that need to be going on
within the Christian community."
heart, however, the assignment is meant to give insight into why the
Koran has such a strong hold on its adherents, UNC officials say. They
point out that the book also makes clear that the Koran condemns using
the term jihad, or struggle, as a justification for politically
Sells writes: "At the day of reckoning ... meaning and justice are
brought together. The Qur'an warns those who reject the day of reckoning
and who are entrenched in lives of acquisition and injustice that an
accounting awaits them. And in Qur'anic recitation, all Qur'anic
passages on alienation between humankind and God are dominated by a
tone, not of anger or wrath, but of sadness."
To learn more about holy book Quran please
click in this link below and you will learn new wonderful things about
A New Minority Makes
Itself Known: Hispanic Muslims
A Growing New Minority -
Three Hispanic women were among the worshipers observing the
end of Ramadan in Los Angeles on Sunday. By some estimates
there may now be as many as 40,000 Hispanic Muslims in the
ANGELES, Dec. 15 — They file into the mosque when Sunday
school is over and the conference rooms are cleared, staking a
small piece of turf in the main hall. For many, Spanish is their
only language, and this is a whole new world. They are new
immigrants, new to the big city and new to Islam.
Over the last
year, the Islamic Center of Southern California has been
conducting these weekly 90- minute Spanish-speaking sessions for
new Muslims by popular demand. Marta Galedary, who converted after
immigrating here from Mexico two decades ago, has helped lead
them. She finds that the group, which can include 20 to 50 people
in any given week, is intensely interested and a little nervous.
these Latino meetings that we keep telling people," Ms. Galedary
said, "is that you don't leave your culture because you convert to
Islam. You have to continue to be proud of whatever part of Latin
America you are from."
They come from
all over. Each week, immigrants from Mexico, El Salvador,
Nicaragua, Peru and Costa Rica — just a handful of the countries
represented — come to the Islamic Center, relieved to find that
they are not alone. Far from it. In recent years, Latino Muslim
groups have formed in most large cities in the United States,
stretching from New York to Los Angeles. Latino Muslim groups have
also formed in smaller cities with large Spanish- speaking
populations, including Fresno, Calif.; Plantation, Fla.; and
Somerville, N.J. Though exact figures are hard to come by, since
people tend to drop in at mosques and may not appear on any
membership rolls, the American Muslim Council, an advocacy group
in Washington, estimates that 25,000 Hispanics in the United
States are Muslims.
It is a small
fraction of the nation's Muslims — estimates of the total number
range from 4 million to 6 million — but a figure that appears to
be growing by the year. (Several Latino Muslim organizations say
the number is closer to 40,000, with the largest Hispanic Muslim
communities in New York City, Southern California and Chicago,
where Hispanics and Muslims are plentiful.) Indeed,
Spanish-speaking immigrants, the nation's fastest-growing
minority, are converting to Islam to such an extent that a
national organization, the Latino American Dawah Organization,
founded in 1997 by a handful of converts in New York, now claims
thousands of members in 10 states.
Why Islam, a
religion cloaked in mystery in Latin America — as it was in this
country before Sept. 11 — is attracting so many Latino converts
has several answers. For many women who attend the Islamic Center
of Southern California here, the path is a relationship with a
Muslim man. Many others say they chose Islam because they
preferred a religion without the trappings of a vast hierarchy or
the complicated dogma that they saw in the Catholic Church.
immigrants, Latino Muslim leaders say, the close-knit Hispanic
Muslim community is also an attraction, helping Latinos understand
the society as the Latinos help Muslims become more mainstream.
scholars say that Islam also attracts those who prefer a more
rigorous way to worship than what they find here in the modern
"There are those
in the Roman Catholic tradition who are somewhat discontent with
the modernizing trends of the Catholic Church," said Wade Clark
Roof, chairman of the religious studies department at the
University of California at Santa Barbara. "To those people," Mr.
Roof said, "a religious tradition such as Islam, that attempts to
maintain a fairly strict set of patterns and practices, becomes
Ballivian, 27, an aspiring film producer from Falls Church, Va.,
whose mother is Bolivian and father Armenian, Islam was a natural
progression from Catholicism.
religion," said Ms. Ballivian, who converted to Islam eight years
ago in Virginia and now practices in Los Angeles. "I was very
religious in Catholic high school. I told myself that I would
study philosophy and religion. I remember getting in trouble in
Catholic school for debating things like the concept of original
sin at a really young age. When I actually studied Islam, it made
it all simple."
who has been working on a documentary on Latino Muslims, sees two
distinct groups of converts. One is composed of new immigrants,
poor and usually with little education, who come to Islam out of
an emotional connection. The second, she said, is made up of
young, usually first-generation, middle-class, college-educated
Americans of Hispanic descent who make a deliberate,
have a lot of women who convert because they're married to a
Muslim," said Ms. Ballivian, who married a Palestinian Muslim two
Ballivian, Juan Galvan, 26, a senior at the University of Texas at
Austin, came to Islam in a deliberate way. One of eight children
born and raised in a strict Catholic household, he remembers never
being truly comfortable with some of the church's tenets and
"When I was
growing up in the Texas Panhandle, I read a lot, and even then I
had a lot of questions," Mr. Galvan said.
"I was a very
strong Catholic," he said. "I did all my sacraments and I lectured
as a Eucharistic minister. But even when I was young I had a lot
of problems with the Bible, ideas like original sin. So coming to
Islam solved a lot of problems for me."
Three years ago,
as he began seriously questioning some Catholic doctrines, he came
across a man praying on campus. "I asked him his name and I could
not believe it when he said his name was Armando. What was this
Hispanic guy doing praying to Allah? He told me some things about
Islam — how Spain had been Muslim for 700 years, how so many
Spanish words had come from Arabic."
president of the Texas chapter of the Latino American Dawah
Organization — dawah, he said, means education in Arabic — has
found that it is sometimes lonely being a Muslim. He connects with
other Latino Muslims, including Ms. Ballivian, through e-mail and
Web sites like www.latinodahwah.org. "Sometimes it feels like I am
in the wilderness," he said.
For many Latino
Muslims, the hardest part of converting is handling the reaction
of relatives. Ms. Galedary, 45, a nurse from a particularly
religious Catholic family — one of her sisters is a nun — had to
convince her mother that she had not joined a cult. "I told her to
ask her priest about Muslims," she said, "and she did, and he told
her that it was a good religion. That's what I recommend to people
— to ask their family to ask their priest, because they know since
they've studied comparative religions."
Latino Muslims —
before and after Sept. 11 — said they have been confronted by
peers who ask how they could trade in their culture for another.
"I've been asked why I adopted an Arab culture," Ms. Ballivian
said. "That's just a lack of knowledge about Islam."
longtime Muslims, there are challenges. Vita Abdelmohty of Miami,
who goes by her Muslim name, Sister Khadija Rivera, converted to
Islam in 1983 in New York City. She helped found a Latino Muslim
women's organization and is preparing a radio program that will
help people understand that Islam is a religion, not an ethnicity.
Is is to be broadcast on a Spanish-language station in Miami.
"Islam is still
a mystery to most people, and we want to reach out so people
understand, especially that it is an Abrahamic religion," said Ms.
Rivera, who wears the traditional Muslim head scarf. She said that
like other Muslims, she has been harassed since Sept. 11. "I was
insulted in the supermarket, on the street. I would be waiting for
a bus and people would see me and just yell obscenities. I have
had dirty looks from Latino people, too."
Ms. Rivera, like
many others who came to Islam from a Catholic background, said
that as a girl she was not always comfortable with the teachings
of the church.
"I always wanted
to read the Bible and learn more, but it was all about the
catechism," she said. "You just have to believe it, not understand
it. For me, Islam gave me answers, made sense."
Islamic convert says Quran
offers 'strong challenges'
Texas native tells WVU audience to keep an open mind and heart
Even with his cleric's beard and more than
passable Arabic, Sheikh Yusuf Estes still looks like a fun-loving
guy from Texas.
That's because he is a fun-loving guy from Houston
-- one who just happened to embrace the Muslim faith 11 years ago,
capping off a life that included stints as a laborer at NASA, the
owner-operator of a chain of successful music stores in the
Southwest a nd a prison chaplain (of the Christian variety).
Estes ambled into WVU's Clark Hall on Wednesday
night to talk about Islam as part of the university's "Discover
Islam Week," presented by the Muslim Students' Association on
He even recorded his remarks for broadcast on his
"Islam Today" radio show, which airs every Friday at 2 p.m. on the
Washington, D.C.-based Islamic Broadcast Network, which was
launched in January 2001.
The title of his talk, "Islam and the Final
Revelation," was weighty enough, but Estes managed to have fun
with his remarks -- without losing the reverence of the faith that
the self-described "good ol' boy from Texas" converted -- or
"reverted" to, as the Quran says -- in 1991.
Before the 120 or so people who had filed into a
classroom on the first floor of the building that houses the
chemistry department, he held both the Quran and the Bible, and
quoted freely from both.
Sometimes he talked about Allah, sometimes God. No
matter, he said. They're both one and the same. And just as
Christianity is built on the tenets of unconditional love and
faith in God, so too is Islam, he said.
And while he was able to offer detailed
interpretation of the Quran, he didn't always speak like a
scholar. He spoke like a human being trying to make sense of it
Islam isn't a religion of murderers and
terrorists, he said. It's a gentle, loving faith, even if the
Quran does deliver some "pretty strong challenges," he said.
"God is saying, in effect, 'I created you to
worship me alone, no more, no less,'" Estes said. "That's the
purpose of life right there. The Quran is making some strong
challenges. If you really recognize that there's a God, why not do
what he asks?"
For the non-Muslims in the audience, Estes said to
keep an open mind and heart, while also reading a good English
translation of the Quran.
Take some time, he said, and reflect and pray.
And realize you aren't perfect, he said,
especially in a post-Sept. 11 world, where distrust, hatred and
violence against others runs rampant.
"As we go through life we're going to make
mistakes," he said. "There's always going to be lying, cheating,
stealing and killing. You can't undo things, but you can stop,
"Discover Islam Week" concludes today with a 7
p.m. lecture in Hodges Hall, Room 259 by Dr. Ahmed Saifuddien:
"The Image of Muslims in the U.S. Media."
WVU speaker traces oppression in Islamic and Western cultures
Danya Welmon, a Syracuse, N.Y., resident who converted to Islam in
1992, compared the state of Western and Islamic women Sunday to
kick off WVU's "Discover Islam Week."
Danya Welmon grew up in a household where her
parents showed her the Christian way in the 1950s and '60s.
Through much of her life, Welmon studied the Bible
and taught Bible classes at a Methodist church.
On Sunday night, however, the Syracuse, N.Y.,
resident stood before a small audience at the WVU Gluck Theatre in
a hijab, the headscarf worn by Muslim women, including a veil that
only exposed Welmon's eyes.
Welmon offered her views during a lecture, "The
State of Women in Western Civilization versus Islam," in the first
night of "Discover Islam Week," sponsored by the WVU Muslim
Welmon, who converted to Islam in 1992 (her
husband and three children converted shortly thereafter), compared
women's roles in both cultures and poked some holes in stereotypes
about female oppression in Islam.
"How many people have looked at a Muslim woman and
thought, 'That poor, oppressed woman. I feel sorry for her,'"
Welmon asked the audience Sunday. "I thought that 10 years ago.
Then I knew nothing about Islam. I was totally wrong."
Welmon, who's spent more of her life as a
Westerner, said that three concepts have shaped the Western woman
-- Greek/Roman ideology, Christian faith and the feminist
"Aristotle and Plato first debated if women were
even human," Welmon said. "Women in these cultures were looked
down upon and these ideas were carried into the early Christian
tradition. I grew up as a Christian and I can remember Bible
verses that were negative toward women."
But in the 1900s, women organized efforts to free
themselves, Welmon said. Gender roles today can be
"Western women have gone from one extreme to
another, where they have some rights, but have lost their personal
identity," she said.
During Islam's "Golden Age" (the sixth-12th
centuries), women enjoyed the same rights as men.
"(Muslim) women excelled in all areas like math,
astronomy, religion and medicine, unlike their counterparts in
Europe at the time," said Welmon, a medical technologist.
Welmon said more people correctly interpreted the
Quran during this era. It states that men and women should not
submit to one another, but submit equally to God, she said.
After the 12th century, changes in Islamic
leadership led to the downfall of female equality, Welmon said.
Now Muslim women are engaged in a "reform period," as their voices
But women have a long way to go, Welmon said.
Women will not have equal rights "until Muslim societies go back
to the true teachings of Islam."
Though she admits that the state of women in Islam
is far from perfect, Welmon said that the Western media helps
little by skewing the public's perception.
"The Western media latched on a few unjust
countries and branded Islam as a backward religion," Welmon said.
Welmon claimed that "Islam is the only religion
that gave women rights."
Studying for a bachelor's degree in Islam, Welmon
came under fire from a few audience members when she said that
Western women are more prone to rape, sexual harassment, "latchkey
kids," AIDS and pregnancy.
"Rape is a crime of violence," one attendee said.
"Your garb will not protect you from a rape."
Welmon said the veil provides a Muslim woman with
modesty, honor and integrity.
She became intrigued by the religion while working
for a Muslim doctor.
"I was impressed that he would stop five times a
day to pray and showed a great deal of respect for everyone,"
Welmon said. "I asked him about his religion and he gave me some
books. I got answers to my questions that no one else was able to
answer. Islam answered questions for me, and then reason and heart
came together in harmony."
Discover Islam Week continues at 7 p.m. Tuesday
with "The Concept of Jihad in Islam," at Room G21, White Hall.