Volume 95, Issue 19

Wednesday, October 3, 2001
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Code worries campus groups

Like porn, university now online

UCC forum sheds light on Islam

A beginners guide to university bigwigs

UWO meds get Tory bucks

United Way starts strong

UCC forum sheds light on Islam

By Kristina Lundblad
Gazette Staff

Western students got an important wake-up call yesterday at a lecture presented by the Muslim Students' Association.

In the University Community Center atrium, the MSA presented a forum entitled "Islam and Terrorism" which discussed issues surrounding the Sept. 11 attacks on the United States.

"Islam does not condone the unjust taking of human life," said Wael Haddara, the chief medical resident at Western's University Hospital. He added many politicians and Muslim organizations were quick to condemn the attacks.

Haddara also discussed the celebratory reaction some reacted with after news of the attacks spread. "How could anyone be happy with a loss of life of such magnitude?" he said.

While not excusing this behaviour, Haddara provided historical background to help explain some anti-US attitudes.

"We shouldn't be so amazed that Iraqis do not feel sorrow for us," he said, adding 6,000 people have died every other month for the last ten years as a result of United Nations-imposed sanctions.

Haddara believed prosecution of the terrorists must be conducted by the UN and not by one nation.

"I believe the best approach to combat [recent terrorism] is a multilateral and international approach," he said.

Noting that Canada is a multicultural society, Haddara disagreed with recent talk of changing traditional immigration policies and no longer welcoming strangers into our country.

"We need to consider our multicultural heritage very carefully, our response must not infringe on this," he said.

Sera Vavala, VP-campus issues for the University Students' Council, said the USC supported this forum as a means to raise the awareness of all students.

"We had heard of a couple of instances on-campus where Muslim students were being targeted, as well as other places in Canada and in the U.S..

"This was a good chance for Muslim students to say that their religion does not support terrorism," Vavala said.

MSA president Khurram Khan said they chose to hold this forum at Western because university is an environment that encourages free thought. Haddara was chosen to speak because he would take an intellectual approach appropriate for university students, Khan added.

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