Opinion: Let’s talk about faith

Marvin Logan is a senior pan-African studies major. Contact him at [email protected]

Marvin Logan

In light of recent events, I think it is important to turn the light back on religion. A couple of weeks ago, I wrote about the Muslim experience in America and abroad. As a country, diversity has become a hot-button topic. As a university, it has become an area of concern. However, faith seems to always be left out of the conversation. 

On Tuesday, three Muslim students at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill were murdered in an apartment building parking lot. The suspected killer later turned himself in. An examination of his personal social media pages revealed what can be considered anti-Muslim statements. It is unknown whether his comments and the killings are connected.

My first major gripe is that a reporter who falsified information has received more news coverage than this tragic incident.  In such events as Sandy Hook and Virginia Tech, we could not go more than one news segment without seeing the story. However, most major news networks did not carry the story until late Wednesday afternoon. How could we go more than 12 hours without this information being plastered all over the news? I cannot help but wonder whether it has anything to do with the students being Muslims. Their lives matter too. The concern over their lives matters. Solidarity matters.

My second gripe is why religion is not a part of the conversation when we talk about diversity. People’s views toward other people matter. In a world where hate crimes exist, talking about faith matters. The misrepresentations we constantly see in the news often paint Muslims as extremists and terrorists. It has been such a widespread misrepresentation that President Obama even took time to comment during the National Prayer Breakfast. We live on a campus with many students of the Muslim faith.  Their experience matters. I can’t help but wonder why when we talk about the experiences of the underrepresented, we often leave out our brothers and sisters who believe in the prophecies as told by Muhammad.

People look at me and treat me differently due to the color of my skin. People treat them differently because they wear a hijab. It brings me great concern that, as a university, we are ramping up talks of diversity and how we can gain ground, but not once have I heard a mention of faith. We have large communities of Christians, Muslims and Jews. We need to have a conversation about each other, with each other. We can stand to learn much. Even if someone is an atheist, we need to learn and hear from them, too.

If we are truly going to be diverse, we have to think about the experience of everyone.  We must challenge ourselves, and each other.