MIAMI VALLEY – Living in Springfield, Ohio, for two decades, Samina Ahmed is working with members of her local mosque to explain her faith to people and clear misconceptions about it.
“There’s a need for people to know what Islam is all about,” Ahmed told Springfield News-Sun on Monday, February 6.
“It’s not a scary religion. It’s not a hateful religion. It’s not out to get anybody or convert anyone because there’s no compulsion in Islam.”
Born in Pakistan, Ahmed moved to Canada as a child and later to Illinois, US.
She and her husband, Dr. Aijaz Ahmed, belong to the Miami Valley Islamic Association, which has a mosque on South Burnett Road.
Last Monday, she met with members of the Springfield Rotary Club to explain her Islamic faith to them.
Meeting with her neighbors, she said that the US has more than 5 million Muslims and there’s more than 1 billion Muslims worldwide.
Muslims believe in one God, she said, and that the Prophet Muhammad (peace and blessings be upon him) was His last messenger.
For her, meeting with non-Muslims was key to breaking ice and changing misconceptions about her faith.
Ahmed said there’s often misunderstandings about the religion’s message. One typical point of confusion is Shari`ah Law, but Ahmed said it’s best described as a pathway made up of teachings that believers can follow to protect life and honor.
“Muslims living in the West follow the law of the land and maintain Sharia mainly in personal matters such as prayers, marriage and inheritance concerns,” Ahmed said.
The Qur’an rebukes violence and terrorism and anyone doing those acts doesn’t have a good understanding of Islam.
“Hatred arises from misunderstanding and lack of education of faith,” Ahmed said.
“There’s a common theme of respecting others and following the golden rule.”