Ahmed Kobeisy, Imam of the Islamic Society of Central New York and Islamic chaplain at SU, explained the differences between people who call themselves Muslims and the religion itself. He pointed out the inaccuracies of some media accounts, which referred to the attacks as being committed by Islamic terrorists. “There is nothing in the sacred Islamic texts that supports such terrorism,” Kobeisy said. “A Muslim is one who simply claims to be a follower of Islam.” He said the terrorists are extremists whose actions go against Islamic law and who are not representative of the majority of the world’s Muslims. For example, the hijackers killed themselves and more that 3,500 civilians. Islamic law forbids suicide, and those who commit such an act find punishment, not glory, in the hereafter, Kobeisy said. “What kills one soul is equal to killing all of humanity,” he said.
      Amber Nizami, a second-year law student and head of the Islamic Law Society, prepared and distributed a fact sheet on Islam and jihad for forum participants. Kobeisy also defined Islamic terms that surfaced in mainstream media coverage, such as fatwa (a religious verdict about a circumstance issued by an Islamic scholar or council) and jihad (a struggle, either internal or external in nature, such as a struggle to resist lustful or material temptations). “Jihad does not mean Holy War,” Kobeisy said. “There’s no holiness attached to war at all. War is ugly, not holy.”
      At a Light Work exhibition in the Robert B. Menschel Media Center, members of the University community saw the devastating effects that war has had on the people of Afghanistan. Human rights activist and internationally renowned photographer Fazal Sheikh captured the plight of refugees near the country’s northern border with Pakistan through a series of images and narratives. “Fazal Sheikh understands the power of conflicting emotions and has tried to illuminate this seemingly unresolvable global friction,” says Jeffrey Hoone, director of Light Work. “His effort shows a commitment to hope and healing rarely achieved by an artist.”

Steve Sartori
An American Red Cross worker checks on a donor at a campus blood drive.


Steve Sartori
A volunteer at the Center for Public and Community Service bags donated socks and T-shirts for rescue workers in New York City.

      Because of a general uneasiness about the threat of terrorism, the staff of the Slutzker Center for International Services sent a special alert to international students on campus that offered general safety tips. It also outlined suggestions to help them blend in and therefore diminish the likelihood that they would be targeted for acts of violence or harassment. Suggesting included speaking in English, dressing in American fashions, and avoiding dance clubs, bars, and other places where excessive drinking might occur. “It was sent out as a preventive measure and to show that we care about our students,” says Patricia Burak, director of the international students office.
      Six Arab students withdrew from Syracuse University after the attacks because their parents wanted them home, Burak says. However, she says the office has not received reports of any international students being harassed. Instead, she has fielded phone calls from people on campus who wanted to voice their support. “We’ve had several faculty members and American students express concern about the welfare of the international students,” Burak says. “The University community is worried about them and hopeful that they will remain here on campus to continue their studies.”

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Main Home Page Contents Chancellor's Message Opening Remarks
Reflections In Memoriam Time of Terror Lessons of Hope
Future Impact Voices

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