Faith-Witness and Sincerity speak to Enrichment Series Audience

In a chapel filled with more than 150 guests, Fadhail Ibraheem and Niken Astari shared what it is like to be Muslim in a United States that is struggling to understand the Islam religion while at the same time absorbing its growing population. In her introduction, Sister Stephanie Schmidt, Director of Monastic Formation, said: “We hope that this evening’s presentation promotes a better understanding of Muslims in our city and nation and a culture of acceptance.”

“If we can come to understand each other it will raise awareness and move those who embrace Islam beyond the role of ‘tourists’ in America,” said Fadhail. “The United States could model acceptance for the rest of the world.” She went on to say: “When you are good, when you are a good person, your religion won’t be questioned. I don’t like to judge; I try to be a good person.”

Both women expressed how personal interaction is the most effective means to create true interfaith understanding and counteract the anti-Muslim rhetoric that fills the world. Niken pointed out: “The word Islam has at its root ‘salam’ which means peace. As Muslims we seek peace with our God and with our neighbor.”

“I was very touched by the simplicity and honesty of Fadhail and Niken,” said Sister Anne Wambach, prioress. “They have enriched us all with their faith-witness, sincerity and willingness to accept even those who may judge them.”

There are an estimated 5 million to 7 million Muslims in the United States, the largest group of whom are African-Americans. It is the fastest-growing religious group. Overwhelmingly, the Muslims in the United States live here legally and are prosperous, peaceful and well-educated.

Photo: (L-R) Fadhail Ibraheem, Sister Stephanie Schmidt, Niken Astari