Chichester University Visit 2016 - Know your Muslim Neighbour

Dear Mu'mineen

Salamun Alaykum,

Click here to find out more about the know your Muslim Neighbour event.

The reflection for the event can be read below.

Know Your Muslim Neighbor 2016 : A Reflection

Wessex Jamaat annually hosts students from the University of Chichester, undertaking Teacher Education and Religious studies, to the 'Know your Muslim Neighbour' event,.

I had been invited to attend the event held on 8th November 2016. I only knew the students were studying Islam and were coming to visit us to know more about Islam from the perspective of Muslims. This made me slightly nervous as I was worried about what they would think of me if they asked me a question and as a Muslim I didn't know the answer. However, I also saw it as an opportunity for me to learn more about my religion. Herebelow is my reflection on my attendance at the event:

As the students walked in, I was immediately surprised that the ladies had come wearing headscarves. This was fascinating to me as it indicated that they understood hijab for females in our religion and even valued it. The arrangement was a café style setting where Adam Dorey and I were seated with two guests, including a Christian Priest. As the conversations went on, I was amazed by their etiquette and I realized that is something all of us could learn. It really made me reflect on how my manners reflect on other people. Towards the end, when Sheikh Fazle Abbas quoted Professor Cantwell Smith when he was asked if he was Christian and he responded stating, "Ask my neighbor", which really resonated with me. In fact, it reminded me of the hadith by the 6th Imam J'afar As Sadiq (a.s.) Instructing the Shias to be examples/ adornments for us Ahlul Bayt) and calling unto people without using your tongues. This really made me contemplate about how we, Muslims, should behave towards others to portray a good image of ourselves particularly in these times of islamophobia.

Another thing I took from the night was the great dialogue I had with those on my table. We spoke about a variety of topics such as women in Islam, organ donation, existence of Satan and the nature of God. The conversation was very thought provoking and gave me a new perspective on certain topics I had taken lightly before. The event has made me keen to want to visit a church in the future and has really made me respect the Christian priest.

As a student, I truly respect the guests from University of Chichester who have chosen to take what would normally be seen as an unorthodox course. It is truly brave and commendable that they were interested in reading about Islam in their course on Teacher Training and Religious Studies. I truly hope that they will be inspired by the "Know Your Muslim Neighbor" event, and that they found it insightful.

This is truly a fantastic initiative; I feel events like these are beneficial for our society as they encourage dialogue, increase understanding and tolerance and makes us appreciate our diversity. I look forward to attending more events like 'Know Your Muslim Neighbour' in the future. The food was also great and, as a bonus, I got some takeaway – which made my day!

Fazle Abbas Nanji, ICP Student, University of Portsmouth.