Google Custom
CivicLifeSportsSchoolsBusinessFoodOur HomesLetters/OpinionsCalendar

Published March 30th, 2011
Araim Discusses Islam in America with Lafayette Rotary
By Sophie Braccini
Dr. Amer Araim Photo Andy Scheck

Dr. Amer Araim offered interesting insights on Islam and triggered pointed questions from the audience at the Lafayette Rotary Club meeting on Thursday, March 24, in the Oakwood Athletic Club. The public meeting drew quite a crowd despite the rain. Araim is the president of Islamic Community Outreach of California and an Imam at the Dar-Ul-Islam Mosque in Concord.
Since 9/11, Araim has been invited by numerous groups to come and speak about Islam. He said that over 50 churches, some hospitals and many colleges in the Bay Area have invited him. Dignified and eloquent, Araim is an adept of interfaith dialogue and his goals are to share with his audience the roots of his faith, bringing out what they have in common, leading to an audience understanding that American Muslims are no different from themselves.
"Christians, Jews and Muslims believe in the same God," he says, "the difference is the way we receive the guidance through Qur'an." He explained that to be a Muslim is to submit to the will of God expressed in the Qur'an. He told the story of how the sacred book was revealed to Muhammad verbally through the angel Gabriel over a period of approximately twenty-three years. He listed the five pillars of Islam, insisting that it is the duty of a Muslim to give back to the community since wealth is considered a gift of God. His most important message, on Thursday, was that Muslims living in this country pledge to abide by American law. He tried to dispel misunderstandings. "In this country the word 'Jihad' evokes someone with a sword," he said, "Jihad means the struggle to control, especially the evil within the self, or self-defense. In America, this is done through the law; violence is not an option.
For him, the violence that has erupted in some Muslim countries and led misguided youth to acts of violence is the result of socio-economic or politic problems. "How do you interpret what is happening right now in the Middle East, this quest for democracy that is breaking out?" asked Rotarian Dick Holt.
"All these countries could be in favor of democracy," answered Araim, "but because of tribalism they have suffered dictatorships. But now people can communicate with others through the internet and circumvent government's control. They know what is happening in other parts of the world, they see that their rulers are corrupt, and out of desperation they face the oppression of their regimes." He added that he thinks that the Muslims in Egypt would welcome a secular state.
Dan Baker asked how Araim's wife would like to live in some parts of the Muslim world where women are oppressed. "Islam should not oppress women," he answered, "it is important to distinguish between tribalism and religion. Qu'ran says to protect women, not oppress them."
The general theme Lafayette Rotary's speaker series is "Building Communities."
After the meeting was over, the Rotarians continued to discuss that day's topic passionately. "He (Araim) is well-integrated into America, but he didn't address what happens on the other side of the border," said Mo Levitch, while another Rotarian added that the conditions of women in Islamic countries had not been discussed sufficiently.


print story

Before you print this article, please remember that it will remain in our archive for you to visit anytime.
download pdf
(use the pdf document for best printing results!)

Send your comment to:

Reach the reporter at:

Quick Links for LamorindaWeekly.com
send artwork to:
Classified ads
Lamorinda Service Directory
About us and How to Contact us
Letter to the Editor
Send stories or ideas to:
Send sports stories and photos to:
Subscribe to receive a delivered or mailed copy
Subscribe to receive storylinks by email
Our Homes

Copyright Lamorinda Weekly, Moraga CA