"Class Survey Reveals Ignorance of Basic Islam," a Commentary by Shirien Elmasraya

January 30, 2007

Author: Shirien Elmasraya

Source: The Daily Reveille


I named my column "You think you know" not to be condescending but to convey a message that everything you thought you knew about Islam and the Middle East is probably wrong.

Last week I distributed a non-scientific survey to my Public Relations and Geography classes about the basics of Islam. First of all, I would like to thank the 200 students who participated and also my professors for allowing me to distribute them.

The results were depressing to say the least. Since I primarily write about Islam and things related to the Middle East I wanted to get a feel for just how much people actually knew and what areas I need to concentrate on.

You may think, "Ok, what's the big deal? Why is it important to learn about Islam?" Learning about Islam is one of the most beneficial things a person can do today. Why? Because Islam is at the center of world affairs and media coverage. Understanding the religion will open the door for peace making and appreciation, and shutting it out of your knowledge will only lead to an increase in turmoil and hate in the world.

I'd like to dedicate a number of my columns this semester to debunking the myths surrounding Islam, so as to educate people on the basics and relate them to the things they hear and see in the media. Because, as the popular saying goes, "Everything is not as it seems."