Scholar on Islam, daughter work to erase stereotypes at ‘Ask A Muslim’ event in Centerville

Credit: DaytonDailyNews

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Scholar on Islam works to erase stereotypes at Ask A Muslim event

Credit: DaytonDailyNews

CENTERVILLE -- Dr. Saeed Al-bezreh and his daughter hope the question-and-answer session with about 100 residents Friday at the Centerville Library provides another section on the bridge to understanding between the Muslim and non-Muslim communities in the area.

Al-bezreh, an area dermatologist, was the main guest -- along with his daughter, Salma -- at what was billed as a "Ask a Muslim" program hosted by the Centerville-Washington Diversity Council.

The goal of the event was to have Al-bezreh, who also is a consultant and a scholar on Islam and social justice, speak about his experience as a Muslim in today's world, answer questions from the audience about Islam and help dispel myths.

"The hope is that we can walk out of this meeting with the understanding that we are very similar," he told News Center 7's James Buechele before the session.

"Muslims are eager to make their story heard. They are professionals. They are workers. They are like everybody else.

"The bottom line is that Muslims in America, Muslims in Ohio, are just as eager to support the common values, American values, as every other member of this community,” he said.

“Diversity brings strength, but there is no ambiguity in our commitment to our common values of this country."

Al-bezreh said Muslims understand the negative stereotypes that abound in society and understand why people have fears and some suspicion about Islam and Muslims.

"We are here to correct those negative stereotypes," he said.

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Dr. Saeed Al-bezreh and daughter Salma answered questions about Islam and spoke about life as Muslims in today's world, at a event Friday in Centerville, March 3, 2017. (James Buechele/Staff)

Dr. Saeed Al-bezreh and daughter Salma answered questions about Islam and spoke about life as Muslims in today's world, at a event Friday in Centerville, March 3, 2017. (James Buechele/Staff)

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Dr. Saeed Al-bezreh and daughter Salma answered questions about Islam and spoke about life as Muslims in today's world, at a event Friday in Centerville, March 3, 2017. (James Buechele/Staff)

Terrorism and preconceived ideas make bridging the cultures difficult, Al-bezreh said. When terrorists strike, Muslims are victims as well. Those preconceived notions become an excuse for people to lash out.

“The terrorists want to break us apart,” he said. “They want us to turn against each other. They want to get that power to move the 1.6 billion Muslims spread throughout the world.”

The terrorists do not that have power, the physician said, and they do not have that authority.

One of the messages he and his eighth-grade daughter wanted to leave with those who attended the library event was this: “Our strength comes from our ability to work together. We are all partners for common values and ethics.

“We are united to reject ideas of hatred, violence and xenophobia, regardless of what religious sticker is put on it.”

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