Zayed University hosts a lecture focuses on true understanding of Islam

05 Mar 2015

With an aim to establish a true awareness of Islam and warn young Emiratis against potential dangers hidden behind extremist and terrorist groups, Zayed University hosted a lecture led by Al-Mezmaah Studies and Research Center recently in Abu Dhabi campus.

Al-Mezmaah Center provides studies and researches that are focused on regional affairs in the UAE. It also organizes awareness campaigns and seminars to enhance the spirit of nationalism and belongingness among Emiratis.

The one-day lecture was attended by Prof. Reyadh AlMehaideb, Vice President of Zayed University and a group of prominent speakers and scholars including: Dr Amal Belhoul, a Psychologist and Social Consultant at Watani Al Emarat Foundation, Dr Abdul Hamid Al Ansari, Qatari writer specialized in human rights, cultural dialogue and political thought and former Dean of the Sharia and Law Faculty at the Qatar University, and Saeed Nasheed, Moroccan thinker and writer.

Panels were chaired by Dr. Salem Humaid, author, researcher and head of Al-Mezmaah Studies and Research Center in the UAE.

Thousands of Zayed University students attended the lecture, which focused on the true understanding of Islam as a religion not a political movement and the vital role of youth in nation building.

“Conducting such intellectual lectures can impact young Emiratis positively and expand their perceptions. Social network websites such as Facebook and Twitter have exploded in recent years and youngsters have become ardent fans of this high-tech way to connect with the wider world around them; however, they should be aware not to drift to any political or religious ideas that can influence them negatively,” Professor AlMehaideb, said.

“Effective dialogue can assist youth and encourage them to be productive members of the society," he added.

The panelists have praised the UAE as a role model of peace, tolerance and religious cohesion, highlighted the vital role of youth and emphasized their responsibilities towards the country’s progress.

“National military service is the first and most powerful weapon to face brutal organizations such as Muslim Brotherhood, Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) and others. Youth can do a marvelous job to protect their country,” Dr. Amal said.

Dr. Amal has also pointed out the significance of effective communication between families and youth.

“To protect our youth from imposed threats by extremist organisations and to cease youth recruitment by terrorist groups, they must have an effective dialogue with their families and Emirati psychologists. Awareness campaigns and lectures should be held regularly at schools and universities to ensure greater youth outreach,” she advised Zayed University students.

“There is an urgent demand for Emirati psychologists. It is essential to have dialogues with someone, who shares similar values and traditions. Emirati psychologists will be much more capable of explaining and warning youth against risk factors, which result from being involved in terrorist groups whether it is ISIL, Muslim Brotherhood or Al Qaeda, you name it,” Dr. Amal added.

Dr. Humaid pointed out that there is no justification valid for barbaric crimes such as burning Moaz Al Kasasbeh, the Jordanian air force pilot until death.

Panelists said that extremist and terrorist groups tarnishing the image of Islam by attaching their heinous crimes to the religion.

“The Jordanian pilot and Al Reem ghost crime, where Niqabi woman brutally killed an American teacher in the capital, are wreaking fear in our hearts,” Dr. Amal said.

Nasheed emphasized the urgent need of adopting creative approaches and curriculums to raise standards and prompt critical, creative and analytical thinking.

“Curriculums should teach students how to ask questions, make connections between ideas, think creatively, and reflect on their learning. Students should learn to trust their minds, which can lead them to civilization and modernity,” Nasheed said.

Students have had the opportunity to ask several questions during the lecture, which witnessed an increased participation from all ages.

Al Ansari has also addressed the responsibility of Islamic preachers and how they can shape the image of Islam.

“We must distinguish between the original Sharia objectives and fatwas (religious edict). Matters of daily life can be understood clearly from Quran verses and Sunnah. Religious edicts became a cheap troubling trend on several television channels,” he said.

“Islamic preachers are responsible to guide and advise wisely because Islam is a religion of peace and tolerance. Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) never took revenge upon anyone for the wrong done to him. Thus, all preachers and individuals should take Him as a role model to follow to eliminate the culture of hate,” Al Ansari advised.