By Alhaji Mohamed Wusha Conteh 28th September 2013 updated 20:00
The Institute of Public Administration and Management (IPAM) Muslim Jama’at has been crowned champions after clinching the first position of the just concluded annual Qu’ranic, Azan and Quiz competition of the National Union of Muslim Students (NUMS) in Sierra Leone with theme “Debunking the Misconception of Islam in the Media” at the Mary Kinsley Auditorium Fourah Bay College on Saturday 28th September, 2013.
The program attracted hundreds of students from various learning institutions in Sierra Leone with five (5) competing institutions namely College of Medicine and Allied Health Science (COHMAS), Institute of Public Administration and Management (IPAM), Fourah Bay College (FBC), Njala University (NU) and Institute of Business Administration and Technology (IBATECH).
In her remarks the chairperson Haja Alari Cole commended the National Union of Muslim Students for taking the bold strides in reviving Islamic ethos in the University. She called on them to be a Mirror of Islam in the University so as to portray the true teachings of Islam and the Holy Prophet Muhammad (Peace and blessing of Allah be upon him).
Haja Alari Catalogued the causes of misconception in Islam to three basic reasons which are the natural gap in understanding between different cultures and beliefs, misconception arising from the words and behavior of some Muslims who have themselves misunderstood or disobeyed the teachings of Islam, or have confused Islam with their local culture or beliefs; and the deliberate distortion, misrepresentation and invention of falsehood about Islam by those who oppose Muslims for religious, ideological or political reasons.
Haja Alari Cole urged all to distinguished between the true teachings of Islam and the behavior of some Muslims and be fair to asses Islam on the basis of what it teaches and the result seen when it is practiced. She opined that it is not fair to assess Islam by what goes on in some Muslim countries where Islam is not put into practice, or where Islam is suppressed by the rulers.
In her remarks the guest speaker Haja Hawa Turay lashed out that the media has been used as a weapon to present a corrupt and manipulated image of Islam, showing it as a violent, intolerant and backward religion. She said Islam is one of the world's largest religions yet it is also one of the most misunderstood. For various reasons - be they political, economic.
Dilating on the topic “debunking misconception of Islam In the media”, Haja Hawa Turay lamented that when a Muslim commits a heinous act, he is a Muslim terrorist. Islam and Muslims are synonymous with the term “terrorism, extremist, and fundamentalism”. She emphasized that the Holy Quran clearly demonstrates the seriousness of killing an innocent person, and emphasizes the value of human life. "If anyone murders an innocent person, it will be as if he has murdered the whole of humanity. And if anyone saves a person it will be as if he has saved the whole of humanity."Quran 5:32.
Haja Hawa Turay said the essence of Jihad is to struggle and sacrifice for one's religion in a manner which is pleasing to God. Linguistically, it means to "struggle" and can refer to one's striving to do good deeds, give charity or to join an Islamic military action. The most commonly known form is the military Jihad which is permitted in order to preserve the well being of society, to prevent oppression from spreading, and to promote justice.
Haja Hawa Turay said the media generally portrays any Muslim who fights as a terrorist, regardless of whether they fight justly or unjustly, or whether they are oppressing others or being oppressed. Islam is a religion of love, mercy and tolerance. Naturally, religious tolerance is of utmost value in Islam. Muslims are commanded to respect the rights of non-Muslims and grant them complete freedom of practicing their religion. They are not to be forced into accepting Islam.
Delivering a lecture on non communicable diseases Dr. Mohamed Samai lecturer of the College of Medicine and Allied Health Sciences schooled the audience on best practices to attain good health especially in avoiding these diseases like diabetes, cancer, hypertension, kidney failure etc.
In his welcome remarks the vice president of NUMS Senessie Mansaray catalogued the strides taken to re-launch the National Union of Muslim Students and thanked former members of the University of Sierra Leone Muslim Jama’at under the dynamic leadership of Brother Wusha-Conteh.
Announcing the results, Chief Imam of NUMS Muctarr Jalloh disclosed that Sorie Bangura of COHMAS came first in the Azan, Mohamed Jalloh of IPAM first in the male Qu'ran, Ishmail Kebe first IPAM Quiz and Mariam Muktar Bah first in female Qu’ran. He revealed that the first position went to IPAM, second Njala, third FBC, fourth COHMAS, and fifth IBATECH.
In his vote of thanks Amadu Bah President of NUMS expressed his gratitude for the support of the various institutions and all those who in diverse ways contributed towards the success of the program. He called on other Institutions to join in reviving Islamic ethos in all the learning Institutions in the country.