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The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

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The God Dialogues: Islam

The God Dialogues: A moderated panel discussion between Christians, Atheists, and Muslims at 8 p.m. Thursday in Rudder 601.
Representing Ratio Christi and Christianity will be John Ferrer and Dr. Robert Marks; Representing the Atheist and Agnostic Student Group will be Shawn Hanrahan and Abid Mujtaba, and representing the Islamic Study Group will be Emad Mousavi and Shima Mohajeri.
The format will be that of a panel discussion, and the topic will center around two questions:
“What is the basis for Morality from your point of view?” and “What about Evil?”
Emad Mousavi’s long journey to the God Dialogues began in the small city of Rasht in northern Iran. Born the grandson of a Muslim scholar, he is the latest in a long line of such scholars in his family.
Mousavi’s home city has historically possessed a burgeoning international and open-minded culture, he said, which remained intact despite being overpowered by the Islamic conquest of Persia during the sixth century. It is not a very religious place, despite the majority of the population identifying as Muslims, but Mousavi and his ancestors have always had a strong tie to the Islamic faith.
At the age of 13, Mousavi realized that being labeled a Muslim didn’t hold special significance “since so many people are born into the title.”
This realization drove his choice of, and dedication to Islam as the religion by which he would define his life. Mousavi soon found that he enjoyed studying the Quran, Islam’s religious text.
“It is the best defined and most original scripture,” Mousavi said. “There is no large-scale argument about what is in the Quran as it has always been read and written in the original wording.”
Mousavi said when he was learning about his faith, he would quietly make his way to his room every night to read and memorize one verse from the Quran.
Although his lineage is strongly Islamic, Mousavi said his immediate family has not followed suit, making him strongly conscious of alerting his parents to his autodidactic religious studies. After first reading the Quran, Mousavi became a devout Muslim and has not looked back.
There have been times since Mousavi arrived in the U.S. in 2007, however, that he experienced extreme doubts about his faith. But these momentary crises of faith have allowed him, as Mousavi said, “to first see the Quran as a book, then as a valuable resource and finally a constitution for life.”
Mousavi is now a civil engineering graduate student, and looks forward to the God Dialogues as an opportunity to dispel misinformation that he believes has plagued his faith in America for too long. Mousavi said he deals with cultural misunderstanding daily, when students shoot unwanted glares at his wife’s Islamic garments.
“Unfortunately we live in a society where the media is able to promote inaccurate information and is able to focus on one small problem in a field of large issues,” Mousavi said. “Because not many Muslims live here, it is inevitable people don’t know about the real stories and lives of Islamic people. The Dialogues are an opportunity for others to learn the truths about other religions, and more importantly about the similarities to their own.”
Mousavi has already had experiences with Christian groups during his Islamic study group’s community dialogues project where discussions were “occasionally heated.” He has prepared for Thursday’s forum by extensively researching atheist groups, in addition to taking some fundamental points from his dialogues with Christian groups.
Mousavi said he has also been thinking about his own arguments, though the crux of his argument will come from his expertise in his own field.
“If I can show my side well — that is if I can show that Islam is and can be a force of social and religious good in the world — then I think I will do well,” Mousavi said.

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