Nothing Muslim about the Islamic State, according to Islamic affairs specialist Elmurad Kasym

Elmurad Kasym, University of Denver graduate and security and Islamic affairs specialist, spoke to full auditorium about misconceptions in the media about the Islamic faith in an event titled, “The Media and Misconceptions of Islam.” 

This election year Islam has been at the forefront of presidential debates and public discussion.

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The public’s “demands” for Muslims to issue an apology for atrocious acts are creating the impression that that Muslims have yet to condemn these acts, according to Kasym.

In reality, the majority of Muslims have and continue to denounce these acts, he said, citing the “Open Letter to Dr. Ibrahim Awwad al-Badri, ‘Alias Abu Bakr Al-Baghdadi,’” in which numerous Islamic scholars from across the world condemn the Islamic State.

Moreover, Kasym criticized shows in which pundits from both sides of the aisle are invited to comment on Islam. The anchor of the show would make an outlandish statement, which would then be bolstered by the invited expert, Kasym pointed out.

“And then, there will be a guest, who speaks either on behalf of, or in defense of a topic … in our case it would be a Muslim or a Muslim advocate,” he said.

Meanwhile, the guest would often be interrupted with off-the-cuff data that is fed to the anchor through an earpiece by the producers.

Before the show’s guest has the chance to speak “and make a coherent and comprehensive argument, the time for the segment is up,” Kasym said. He pointed out that viewers are often left with the impression that the guest is “completely unintelligent when it comes to his religion, or her religion.”

“Guests do not have a production team behind them,” Kasym said.

Another common theme in Kasym’s talk was the idea that the majority should not be painted the same color as a small minority, such as ISIS.

When asked if the group could be given another label that would not associate Muslims with the Islamic State, Kasym found it difficult to fit them into one specific category.

“Oblivious idiots? I don’t know. Uh, extremists? I don’t know. But, it’s definitely lack of knowledge,” Kasym said. “I do not know how to categorize them,” he said.

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Others, say that the word “Islam” should be taken out of the dialogue altogether.

“We have to omit the name ‘Islamic’ when talking about terrorism, said Hala Amro, a student who attended the talk quoted Queen Rania of Jordan. “Because they do not represent Islam in any way — especially, they’re killing Muslims more than they’re killing any other people.”

Collegian Reporter Eleonora Yurkevich can be reached at news@collegian.com or on Twitter at @EleonoraWriter.