The Muslim Student Association held a Q&A session in the Mellon Board Room featuring Iman Abdusemih Tadese discussing “Women in Islam.”
Tadese set out to tackle a number of frequently asked questions about Islam. Much of the speech was focused on drawing a distinction between Islam as a religion and the cultures that exist in many Middle Eastern countries–a distinction that those in attendance agreed needed to be addressed.
Iman Tadese’s goal was to dispel myths about how Islam views women, since as he stated, “there is a lot of misinformation in Western cultures.” Along with emphasizing the difference between religious practice and cultural norms, he went into specifics about the religion by quoting passages from the Quran.
Tadese has been studying and speaking on this issue, and others like it, for most of his career. Originally from Nigeria, he has been living in the United States for over 20 years and has traveled all over the world. It is this extensive multicultural experience that makes it easier for him to draw connections to traditions in other religions.
This was especially important when he tackled modesty, something that is always a hot button issue among feminists. He emphasized that Islam’s notion of modesty is meant to elevate the woman beyond the body and put a spotlight on her personality and achievements. Similar to other aspects of Islam, choosing to wear hijab or not is based on the individual’s conviction and what she is comfortable with.
Iman Tadese showed sensitivity while helping those in attendance explore these complicated issues. Though most of those in attendance were already affiliated with MSA and thus had a familiarity with Islam’s practices, he made the presentation accessible even for non-muslim students. He dealt with each question with thoughtful responses, even though it was clear many of these questions had been answered in other lectures he has given.
This event was the first in the MSA’s series of the Spring Semester. All students are encouraged to come and learn about Jihad at the next Q&A session scheduled for February 26.