Open discussion

FSU addresses women and democracy in Islamic cultures

On Feb. 3, Ferris State will be holding an event based around the statement, “Is Islam compatible with democracy and women’s rights?”

The discussion will begin at 11 a.m. in FLITE 408 and will focus on the status of women in various Islamic countries, as gender equity is essential for democracy.

In this panel discussion, Meral Topcu, associate professor of psychology, Dr. Kali Majumdar and Dr. Donald Roy will be moderators.

Krishnakali Majumdar, associate professor of anthropology, hopes to discuss countries that have adopted democracy, such as Turkey, Iran, Indonesia and Bangladesh.

“The goal is to make open dialogue,” said Shana Beisiegel, administrative assistant. “We want to make everyone feel open and relaxed.”

Muslim Ferris student Nabila Taufig feels everyone has different views and is entitled to their opinion.

“I do believe that everyone should at least respect the other person’s beliefs and try to understand different perspectives to see where the other person is coming from and why they believe the way they do,” said Taufig.

Taufig also sees this as an opportunity clarify any misconceptions that might exist.

According to the Pew Forums, about 23 percent of all people on Earth follow Islam. “Islam calls for democracy and women’s rights,” said Taufig. “However, sometimes due to cultural practices, they may not be recognized.”

The Muslim religion consists of praying five times a day in order to constantly remember God.

“When you pray, you feel that you are with God and talking to Him and you feel peaceful and pure,” said Muslim Ferris student Laila Alhuzaim.

For most people, their religion gives them a sense of individuality.  

“I love feeling the presence of God in daily life, feeling like everything we do is tied to something bigger, with a bigger purpose,” said Taufig.

Beisiegel hopes the discussion helps people understand religious decisions and offer insight into how religion plays a part in their lives.

“The benefits are education,” said Spencer Saxton, communication coordinator for the Office of International Education. “The idea of these discussions is to educate people of other cultures.”

“Media is not always accurate,” said Alhuzaim. “It tends to give off the wrong message. Therefore, people from different ethnicities have to make their voices heard and explain and speak the truth.” n