interest in Islam
JOE ATKINSON, Courier & Press staff writer
For the last two weeks, people have been asking Mohamad Alhomsi about his
In the last three weeks, there is a lot of curiosity about Islam,
Alhomsi said. A lot of people want to know, What is this
Tuesday night, Alhomsi, the prayer leader for the Islamic Society of
Evansville, got to answer all of those questions and more when he spoke at
the Understanding Islam seminar at the University of Southern
About 50 people turned out for the event, scheduled to educate people
about the religion in the wake of the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks.
Doug Carneal, a graduate student studying German and Spanish, decided
to coordinate the event to make himself feel better after an incident the
day after the attacks.
I was in the Eagles Nest (student lounge) to study that morning, and
a Middle Eastern student came in, and he was walking around real fast,
acting nervous, left, came back in, knocked over a chair and then left,
I got to thinking, what was going on in his mind, and I just got to
thinking, how would I feel if I was in another country and terrorists from
the United States attacked it?
Alhomsi said he hasnt had a problem with being in America, but has
gotten a slew of questions about his faith. The demand has been so great
that the Islamic Society ran out of copies of the Islamic holy text, the
Koran, for a while, he said.
Tuesday night, he spoke for about 45 minutes on subjects including the
Koran, the benefits of fasting and the differences between Islam and
One of the most misunderstood facets of Islam, he said, is the place of
Jesus within the religion.
Islam is very close to Christianity, Alhomsi said. We love
Jesus. We respect Jesus, peace be upon him. But we do not worship
Instead, Jesus and several others are viewed by Muslims as prophets, he
But perhaps the most important message of the night, Carneal said, was
one of those that inspired the gathering in the first place that
not all Muslims are like those portrayed on television.
If you see people from the Middle East, you cant help but relate
it to what you see on television, Carneal said.
But its like with the KKK in America; if all people can see about
Americans is the Ku Klux Klan, they would think we all were like that.
So we cant think that all the images we see on television are
representative of all Islamic society.
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