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Reader Opinion: Continue to learn

On Dec. 1, Central Lakes College hosted a panel of speakers from the Islamic Resource Group who gave a presentation titled "Islam and Muslims; Beyond Stereotypes." I would like to thank CLC for hosting the event. I would also like to extend my thanks to the panel members from IRG for sharing their knowledge of Islam and the Muslim world, and especially for the respect and tolerance that they extended to the audience, respect and tolerance that was not reciprocated by some members of that audience.

I attended the event hoping to learn about a faith and culture that I only have a slight knowledge of, on the premise that learning about the world and the people in it can only be a positive thing. Other attendees could not get beyond the stereotypes that they had learned, and the discussion was quickly derailed. In trying to prove to the speakers that Islam was inferior to Christianity by cherry-picking verses from the Quran, they strayed far from Jesus' teaching that we should pull the beams out of our own eyes before pulling specks out of our neighbor's, who we should also love as ourselves.

I claim to be neither Muslim or Christian, but I believe that there are such things as good and evil. That which is good, is open and loving. That which is evil, is closed and fearful. It saddens me to live in a community which has so many people who are closed and fearful about things that they only think that they understand, because they can't see past the stereotypes. Myself, I will continue to try to learn about the world and my neighbors, and make my community a better place. I look forward to seeing the panelists from IRG when they return to CLC this winter.

Chuck Martin