There are currently more than 270 Middle Eastern students who have made the 8,000-mile voyage from home to attend Southern Utah University, bringing with them a unique culture that is unknown to most in the southern Utah community.
On Wednesday, February 20, however, the SUU Multicultural and International Center, along with the Michael O. Leavitt Center for Politics and Public Service and the SUU Saudi Club, is bringing Islam to Cedar City for a night of open discussion about the Islam culture and Muslim religion.
As explained by Mark Taylor, coordinator of International Student Engagement at SUU, “Many people know very little about the Islam culture and more often than not fill the rest of their understanding with misconceptions.”
This event, conceived to dissolve stereotypes and misconceptions about the Islam culture, provides a venue for important conversations among SUU students and community members concerning the international students in their midst.
“By creating an environment, such as this one, where one can feel comfortable to ask questions, the two cultures can come together in mutual understanding and prevent future misconceptions,” explained SUU Saudi Club president Yousef Alturki.
The “Islam Comes to Cedar City” panel discussion will be conducted at 7 p.m. in the Great Hall, located in SUU’s Hunter Conference Center, where University Provost Brad Cook will moderate the discussion, which will cover topics such as the five pillars of Islam, similarities with Christianity and Muslims faiths, women’s rights, and the correct meaning of Jihad. A question-and-answer session will follow the moderated panel discussion, with refreshments to follow.
“If you have a questions about Muslims, why not ask a Muslim?” said Taylor. “This panel discussion will create a space for correct information and an unfiltered version of the culture that lives right next door.”
Panelists contributing to Wednesday’s discussion will include the worship leader of the Las Vegas mosque, Imam Ahmad Fayed; SUU graduate students Tarik Albouri and Yazeed Alhayyaf; and SUU chemistry professor Hussein Samha and humanities professor Kholoud Al-Qubbaj.