“Islamerica” Brings Knowledge to Students

Muslim American Amer Ahmed spoke about the issues of Islamaphobia in America to students at the Union Cinema.

Although the color of one’s skin is a very touchy issue in today’s society, a very delightful speaker spoke to students this afternoon about the color of his skin, and the effects of Islamaphobia. “Islamic people are seen as people of color, essentially. Misrepresentations of our Muslim background and community give birth to the epidemic known as Islamaphobia.” says multi-cultural activist Amer Ahmed.

Ahmed was born in raised in Springfield, Ohio. He currently serves as Associate Director for the office of Multi-Ethnic Student Affairs at the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor. Throughout his life, Ahmed has been influenced by friends, colleagues, and people that he knows. Ahmed has been a part of Hip-Hop Congress, which is an international grass-roots network that deals with art activism.

The informal question-answer session began with Ahmed presenting the origins of Muslim influence within Hip-Hop. He stressed the impact that Muslim ethnicity has made upon sanctions of hip-hop. “We are a huge part of the following known as Hip-Hop today. Cultural denominations have seen Muslim artists rise to popularity, not because of mainstream media, but because of the will to change. It is my belief that people should be given a choice to hear what they want to hear, or follow who they wish to follow. The choice makes a difference.”

One student commented on racial discrimination that Islamic people face in Hollywood. Ahmed was asked how he felt about the commonality of Islamic people always playing the bad guy in cinema and television situations. He responded, “Yes. We are typically represented as the ‘villain’ in many action-hero flicks. Let me say that our society is demonizing civilization by doing this. We forget ancestry and heritage in our habit to point the finger at somebody of a different color than you. Hopefully, this is a commonality that will soon fade away.”

Other issues discussed during this program include different levels of equality in peoples’ reality, economy and religion, and how Muslims have become a part of the social dynamic of Hip-Hop on a global scale. Ahmed ended the presentation with a “spoken-poetry” piece entitled The Grid, in which he described the racial tension of our society.

Many students enjoyed this presentation, and perhaps by attending this program, will become aware of an ever growing racial tension within our society.

Article by Bobby Johnson

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