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We should know not all of Islam is hostile

The Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS), is a large group of followers of hardline religious teachings of Islam. Followers of ISIS align themselves to the teaching set out by the Sharia law. 

Moderate Muslims would disassociate themselves from the images being broadcast by various news agencies. 

The moderate followers of Islam are greater than extremists that we see in the media.

In this year alone the Muslim community has been given a darker image due to the terrorist attacks in both Paris and in recently in Belgium that ISIS has claimed as their own.

Those joining ISIS range from the United States, the United Kingdom, France, Germany, Turkey and as far as Australia. 

These countries and more are worried about the seeds of this organization growing an extremists branch within their community and committing the atrocities such as beheadings, stoning those who are adulterers, throwing gay men off buildings as a way of demonstrating their power. 

These recent events, along with people leaving their countries to join in this group of terrorist, have raised concerns of security in America.

But what do the students here on Grambling State University think? What do these students feel about the negative stereotypes that are portrayed in the news media?

With hostile situations like these being so crucial in the Middle East, American citizens and representatives are being cautious of “certain religions” migrating to the US. Stereotypes have always been placed on the Middle Eastern community since the 9/11 attacks, but ISIS only makes matters worse. 

“If you’ve never met a Muslim,” says Ahmed Berikaa an international student from Jiddah, Saudi Arabia, “you’re only getting the images that you see in the media.” 

Berikaa, a junior at Grambling State University majoring in engineering technology, is one of many Muslim college students that are pursuing an education in the United States. 

Every day in colleges across the country, young Muslims like Berikaa are confronting the stereotypes that endure about Islam. 

“I want people to understand that we are just human beings,” Berikaa said. 

The problems Berikaa faces are conflicts any student could relate to — choosing schools for financial aid and the perfect distance from family, adjusting to coed dorms, dealing with final exam timing conflicts. 

“I think if I wanted non-Muslims to know anything about my student life, it’s that although we have struggles that are particular to following our faith, such as finding time to pray in between classes, we are for the most part going through the same phase in life as any other college student is. 

“We are trying to come into our own personalities, find out who we are and where we fit into our communities. The one thing that may differ is that at times it feels like we’re trying to carve a space into communities that seem to fundamentally misunderstand us and reject us on face value because we are Muslim.

“So I’d say it’s the same struggles, just nuanced differently, depending on our context. 

Overall, Muslim students are trying to accomplish the exact same goal as every other college student: to find their space on campus and make it to graduation.