Misconceptions of Muslim women exposed


Tahera Ahmed speaks at Women in Islam Tuesday night in Room 506 of the Holmes Student Center.

By Candice Beasley

DeKALB | There are a lot of misconceptions when it comes to women in Islam, said Tahera Ahmad.

“I was very impressed that NIU has a community that wants to learn,” Ahmad said.

Ahmad is an associate university chaplin at Northwestern University. The Muslim Student Association hosted an event Tuesday evening in the Holmes Student Center room 506 focusing on women in Islam. Ahmad was asked to come and speak to Muslim and non-Muslim students to clarify misconceptions such as arranged marriages, being forced to cover-up and abuse by men in the family.

Asna Qureshi, senior math education major and president of Muslim Student Association, said the event was successful in portraying women in Islam accurately.

Ahmad introduced her speech with a brief history of Islam and her journey as a Muslim. She presented a slide show with core beliefs and terminologies Muslims use. During her presentation, she expressed personal struggles she faced during her journey.

She said she didn’t understand the restriction in her belief which made her question her faith. It wasn’t until Sept. 11, when she allowed herself to turn towards learning more about her faith.

Ahmad also presented a video of Muslim women expressing their views on why or why not they chose to wear a veil which is known as a Hijab. There are two ways women can wear a veil or they can chose not to wear one at all, Ahmad said.

Ahmed, who wears a Hijab, explained that the veil is not meant to cause anti-feminine feelings.

“For me, it allows me to be more confident in feeling beautiful,” Ahmed said.

More than 70 people came to hear Ahmed speak and ask about the Islam culture.

“I think she is a really good dynamic speaker,” said Lalarukh Mukhtar, senior biology major.

Students asked questions during her speech about more clarification on women in Islam and the misconceptions.

“I liked that she touched on everything and the misconceptions people have,” said Adnan Mustafa junior biological sciences major.

Ahmed explained that universities are looking to have more chaplins on campus to educate students about the Islamic culture.