Islam is the world’s second largest religion, but Moslems only comprise less than one percent of the U.S. population, meaning many Americans aren’t that familiar with the faith. This lack of familiarity has fostered misconceptions, misunderstandings, and, in some cases, prejudice. We spoke with a Tennessee imam working to change that.
(1.) DR. OSSAMA BAHLOUL 2-WAY -- On February 21st, reports emerged American soldiers had burned copies of the Koran, the Moslem holy book, at an airbase in Afghanistan. The riots and violence that followed in that country resulted in several deaths, including U.S. military personnel. This incident and its repercussions highlight the lack of understanding on both sides and the necessity of promoting that understanding. The same day the Koran-burning story broke, Dr. Ossama Bahloul was at Murray State to address that very issue. Dr. Bahloul is imam of the Murfreesboro Islamic Center in Tennessee, and thanks to controversy over the Center's new facility, he's gained experience promoting greater understanding between American Moslems and the wider community. Dr. Bahloul conducts "Islam 101" presentations at colleges and churches. Before his lecture, Dr. Bahloul and I sat down to talk about spirituality, tolerance, and his work bridging the two.