Presenter discusses religious similarities in Islamic faith

A Muslim speaker at Coffman Union said the film “The Passion of the Christ” has reawakened many Christians’ faith.

“The Passion of Jesus: An Islamic Perspective” took place at Coffman Union Theater Thursday. Presenter Asad Zaman said Christians and Muslims have common roots and it is his mandate from God to find a common ground.

“We are all from the same place,” Zaman said. “We have common blood in us. We are relatives. We are cousins.”

He explained that while Muslims agree with Christians on many points about Jesus, there is one substantial difference.

“We Muslims believe that Jesus was a messenger of God, not the son of God,” he said.

Zaman graduated from the Carlson School of Management and is a member of the Muslim American Society.

The presentation was part of Islam Awareness Week.

The week is an annual event put on by the Al-Madinah Cultural Center and the Muslim Student Association. Other events during the week covered topics such as “Islamic Character: Who is Your Muslim Neighbor?” and “Islam 101.”

S. Mahdy Amine, the president of Al-Madinah and a second-year law student, estimates there are approximately 3,000 Muslims on campus, and said the group has an e-mail list that contacts approximately 1,000 people.

Amine said this year’s theme, “Meet Your Muslim Neighbor,” was chosen to help build and foster relationships between Muslims and non-Muslims. He said many people shape their view of Islam in light of the media’s negative portrayal of Islam.

“I think it’s unfortunate that the fastest-growing religion is necessarily related with terms like ‘terrorism’ and ‘extremism,’ ” he said. “Those terms do not depict the reality of Islam.”

Instead, Amine said, Islam teaches believers to find peace by submitting themselves to God. He said Muslims foster their relationship with God by praying five times a day, fasting and giving to charity.

Arif Iftekhar, vice president of Al-Madinah, said these rituals are more than just a routine.

“With everything I do, if I do it to please God according to his principles, that makes it worship,” Iftekhar said.

Iftekhar said the scripture of Islam is called the Quran, which was revealed to the Prophet Muhammad in the seventh century.

Amine said Muslims believe God has no partners or offspring and God alone should be worshiped.

Paul Barli, a Catholic and Metropolitan State University student, said non-Muslims should try harder to understand the Islamic religion.

“I think everybody talks about what’s going on with the war and politics,” he said. “If they were to put that much energy into understanding other cultures, we wouldn’t have this great divide between.”

Imam Alaeddin Albakri, the speaker originally scheduled for the event, was unable to attend because of a family emergency and Zaman filled in.