The point of the Saturday night discussion, sponsored by the Muslim Educational Trust board of directors, was to analyze Islam and discuss whether it is inherently a religion that promotes violence. The 11-person panel included Muslim professors, scholars, activists, religious leaders and followers of the faith as well as city Commissioner Amanda Fritz.
A common theme of all the speakers, aside from focusing on youth and making them aware of everything outside of their culture, is to create a dialogue with non-Muslims who might not understand Islam. The speakers said the negative stereotype around Islam is largely a political agenda and has nothing to do with the faith, since the Qur’an says inflicting any kind of violence on anyone for any reason is a tremendous sin.
Fritz noted how important it is to be responsible for youth and ensure they grow up in a positive environment and are provided with activities out of school to stay busy and engaged. Fritz suggested summer internships for teens. In coming together, said Fritz, “we realize we’re all similar in our community. [Mohamed Osman Mohamud] is in our community. He is in my community. He is an Oregonian. We need to look after him.”