City College Times

Ground Zero mosque debate

Analicia Najera

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The San Jose City College Philosophy Club hosted an open forum on Sept. 9 in the Student Center discussing the controversial planning of the Ground Zero Mosque in New York. Also discussed was a history of Muslims. Philosophy and Comparative Religion Instructor Dr. Gerald Grudzen and long time practicing Muslim and Chemistry Professor Sam Ibrahim discussed with students the various questions asked about this topic.

Grudzen opened up the discussion with a brief background on Muslims. Then Ibrahim explained further and said, “Muslims believe in one God and one humanity”. Muslims pray five times a day facing the Kaaba in Mecca. It is considered to be the only holy Mosque.

Ibrahim explained that in Islam, Muslims, Christians, and Jews all lived in harmony in Isreal and treated everyone with respect.

After the Sept. 11, 2001 attacks in New York, Islamophobia brought senseless fear and prejudice towards Muslims. It is also a discrimination against Muslims when they are excluded from the social and economic life of the nation. Ibrahim explained that the Sept. 11 attackers were not religious beings but a small group of extremists.

“We all want peace and happiness no matter what country we live in,” said Jay Kumar, an Early Childhood Education major.

Kumar wanted to know, why can’t Muslim women have more than one husband? and why should it be only the men that have more than one wife?

Ibrahim replied that men being killed in battlefield is a reason why women can not have more than one husband. This led to an idea of having a Muslim woman as a guest speaker for a future discussion so that her view could be shared.

“I hope to see peace in the Middle East,” Ibrahim concluded.

Philosophy advisors, Larry Harris and Grudzen have a variety of planned topics for future Philosophy club meetings, such as the issue of marijuana’s legality. Everyone is welcomed to join the meetings and bring their own topics for discussion.

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Ground Zero mosque debate