Islamic practices face obstacles in the West


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Criminal justice senior Rick Burton learned about eating pork and wearing headscarves at the on-campus lecture about Islamic law fiqh al-aqalliyyat.

Burton and more than 100 other Loyola students, faculty and visitors attended the Fall Yamauchi Lecture series, a bi-annual event hosted by the Religious Studies department. Adil Khan, assistant professor of Islamic studies, gave the presentation on Sept. 21 in Nunemaker Auditorium.

Burton said he believes that “awareness is key” in finding harmony in the diverse interfaith community.

“Islam is one of the most misunderstood religions on the planet, even though it’s one of the biggest. Some people don’t understand and are afraid of what they don’t understand. Things like this give people a glimpse of what it actually means to be a Muslim,” Burton said.

Khan said that strict laws in Islam become controversial for those practicing outside of Muslim dominated societies. It is important to consider how ideals and prejudice vary around the world.

“I hope people who are unfamiliar with Islamic studies or Islam in general can develop a sense of appreciation for Islamic intellectual tradition,” Khan said.

Maryam Libdi, sociology sophomore, is a practicing Muslim who also wears the hijab. Libidi said she felt like the lecture was informative but said that she wished Khan would have expanded on his knowledge of Islam.

Khan said Muslims face dilemmas about eating pork, getting a mortgage, women marrying non-Muslims and hijab etiquette in the West.

“In the West, if the headscarf draws more attention to Muslim women than allowing them to go unnoticed, causes them to get harassed, then maybe it’s OK for them to take it off,” Khan said.

Haroon Waseem, pharmacy major at Xavier University, said the notion of deviating from tradition in order to practice Islam freely, such as that the idea of “watering down tradition,” was a thought-provoking concept.

Diana Mirfiq can be reached at [email protected]


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