Islam stands for peace, says Progressive magazine editor


Jerry Burnes | Northern Star Amitabh Pal, managing editor of Progressive Magazine, speaks about violence in Islam Wednesday night at Hertiage Room of the Holmes Student Center.

By Candice Beasley

“Islam has a very strong strand of peace,” said Amitabh Pal, managing editor of Progressive magazine.

Pal spoke about his first book titled “Islam Means Peace,” and also touched on some misinterpretations of Islam Wednesday evening.

DeKalb Interfaith Network, the NIU departments of communications, history and sociology and the Muslim Student Association hosted the event in the Heritage Room.

Cele Meyer, one of the founders of DeKalb Interfaith Network, said she was intrigued on what Pal spoke on.

Pal discussed how after the tragedy of Sept. 11, Americans viewed Islam as a violent religion.

He said he was disturbed by this and wanted to counter those thoughts by writing a book. After conducting research, Pal was able to write about the positives of Islam and how the religion is for nonviolence.

He further explained that no religion is perfect and if violence occurs, it’s for self-defense. Pal expressed his favorite parts of the book are the many examples of mass non-violent movements.

“He who is not my friend, may God be his friend,” is one of the quotes Pal said from his book.

Pal explained he was very hopeful for the religion and the positive change it can bring. One of the listeners asked Pal, since he went through all this and feels so passionate about changing the perception, why wasn’t he Muslim.

“A few scholars are not Muslim…I think I’m too lazy,” he said.

During Pal’s childhood, he grew up around Muslims and felt he can speak on behalf for them and give them justice. Another audience member asked why there weren’t many people like him speaking on this matter.

“Violence sells and dominates the news,” Pal said.

Richard Amesquita, a contract specialist for the U.S. Department of Veteran Affairs, attended the event and said he enjoyed Pal’s take on Islam.

“It was refreshing, informative and timely,” Amesquita said.

Pal said writing this book was a learning process and right on time, due to the recent uprisings occurring in the Middle East.