Suzanne Buchholz, Reporter
“No! I’m Not A Terrorist” was a presentation on April 20 meant to raise awareness about the misconceptions regarding Muslims and terrorism. Current acts of terrorism and how people correlate them to Muslim culture were also discussed.
The presentation was led by Zohra Sarwari, an international speaker as well as life coach and author. She’s written several books on topics ranging from self-help and encouragement to awareness of issues in Muslim culture. Sarwari has spoken at numerous colleges around the world, which is how Social Issues and Awareness Coordinator Emmalee Chamberlain heard about her and decided to invite her to speak at the Puyallup campus.
“I wanted to hold this event because I watched some of her presentation online and I liked the way she used modern day topics for students to understand,” Chamberlain said, “And the way she used humor to make her presentation entertaining.”
Sarwari’s presentation was based on her book titled No! I’m Not a Terrorist! It’s intended to bridge gaps between Muslims and non-Muslims by clarifying the definition of what it means to be a terrorist as well as debunk common stereotypes about Muslims. After the presentation, she accepted questions students had for her.
Sarwari explained that terrorists are people who commit horrible actions without remorse, and that the media often singles out Muslims specifically more than any other type of person. She also described how the first Americans who migrated to the United States from Europe could be considered terrorists as they terrorized Native Americans, but they’d never been branded as such.
About 100 people attended the event from 11 a.m.-noon in the College Center. Chamberlain said she was happy with the turnout.
“Out of all the events I’ve had this school year, I would have to say this was one of my favorite to attend and most successful,” Chamberlain said.
This event presented valuable lessons for students, Chamberlain said. She hopes they learned a few key points in the distinction between terrorism and the Muslim religion.
“I hope they learned about terrorism and Muslims and how they’re two separate things that don’t impact each other,” Chamberlain said.
Chamberlain said she has a couple more events planned before the end of the year, one of the events being similar to this by featuring a speaker. It’ll cover the upcoming elections and how to choose which candidate to vote for. This event, “Election 2016: How Will You Decide?” will be from 11 a.m. -12:30 p.m.on May 24 in the MPR.
Chamberlain said it’s a good idea for students to attend events such as this to increase their knowledge of social issues and how they affect everyone rather than just select groups.
“Social issues like terrorism (are) something that impacts people no matter who they are,” Chamberlain said, “And I think it is important for (students) to learn about it and what is happening around the world today.”
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