Terrorism and Islam: author to tackle tough issues

Nadia Dreid

Zohra Sarwari wears a lot of hats. She is an author, life coach, international speaker and homeschooling mother of four. This Thursday, March 5, she’ll speak to Georgia Southern University students about terrorism and how it does or does not relate to her religion, Islam.

“It’s a crash course on Muslims, Islam, terrorism, all of it at once,” Sarwari said.

The speech will pull heavily from one of Sarwari’s books, titled “No! I am not a terrorist!” which is also the name of the event. She said her speech will cover three larger issues: defining terrorism, understanding what a Muslim is and discussing why some Muslim women dress the way they do.

Sarwari also plans to tackle several smaller issues within those larger ones.

“Who are Muslims, what do they worship, what are they not?” Sarwari said of the questions she aims to answer during the event. “The difference between culture and religion . . . and then tackling some current event issues that are happening right now. How do we face them and how do we understand them and really deal with it at the end of the day?”

The talk was organized by the Center for International Studies, the Multicultural Student Center and the Arabic Club. Youssef Salhi, faculty advisor for the Arabic Club, said current events were what inspired the organizations to bring Sarwari to campus.

“We decided to bring somebody to campus to talk about issues that have been happening for a long time with Muslim extremism, especially with ISIS’s barbaric acts in Iraq and Syria and the terrorist attack on the French satirical newspaper and also what happened to the three Muslims students in North Carolina,” Salhi said.

Sarwari said she wants the event to be an opportunity for students to get answers for any questions they may have. If they are too shy to ask out loud, they can write the questions down – what is important is getting the answers. If anything, she said she would like students to leave the lecture feeling safer around Muslims.

“A lot of people are afraid of Muslims,” Sarwari said. “More than half the country is afraid of us, so I want them to not be afraid of us.”

The event will be held Thursday, March 5, at 6 p.m. in the Performing Arts Center.