Everyday Muslims have been saddled with a lot of strange questions as the profile of radical Islamist terror groups grows, Shirin Elkoshairi said, recalling growing up with Egyptian parents, Americans who happen to be Muslim.For the longest time, he said, that he and his family are Muslim mattered little to others.Elkoshairi, a practicing Sunni Muslim and member of the Circle of Peace interfaith organization, jokingly compared it to dealing with the antics of that drunken, black sheep uncle.Except that uncle is on TV all the time, for the worst reasons, and doesn’t speak English.“We have our drunk uncles, and that’s exactly who we’re going to talk about today,” he said.The Circle of Peace group put on the event, called Conversations with Muslims, to chip away at misconceptions about the religion.Elkoshairi and other Muslim speakers joined a full crowd at the Vancouver Library Sunday afternoon, in a three-hour presentation and dialogue that ranged from the history of early Islam, to late 20th century geopolitics, to where that 72-virgins-greeting-martyrs-in-heaven concept comes from.Khalid Khan, an engineering professor, explained there are roughly 2.3 billion Christians and roughly 1.8 billion Muslims in the world.“If you put all the Christians and Muslims together that’s more than half the population of the planet. Doesn’t it make sense that you start talking to each other?” he said. “There’s so much commonality between faiths, rather than differences, that we need to talk about.”MisinterpretationsThat latter concept, the notion of a promised bevy of virgins greeting martyred holy warriors entering the afterlife, came as a question from the audience, and, Elkoshairi said, it gets at the crux of what’s happening with radicalization and terrorism in the global Muslim community.
Muslim speakers clear misconceptions about their faith
Last Updated on: September 19th, 2019 at 7:40 am, by