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Combatting stereotypes about Muslims, the Muslim Student Association held a panel discussion Monday night to try to help reconcile students' misconceptions about Muslims' attitude towards the war in the Persian Gulf. The two-and-a-half hour discussion, "Muslims' Perception of the Gulf Crisis," featured two Temple University professors and one graduate student presenting their views and answering questions about the Muslim perspective on the war. In the midst of the Gulf Crisis, many University students may have misconceptions about the Muslim attitude towards the war, according to Muslim student leaders who were at the program. Panelist Yasir Sakr, a University graduate student and Muslim activist, said that the program was aimed at introducing people to how the majority of Muslims feel about the war. "The media misrepresents our view to such an extent that they cause Americans to have a negative conception of our view," Sakr said. "I would like to invite students to come who are interested in hearing the often untold view and to allow them to hear how the Muslims feel about the events in the Gulf." The other two panelists were Mahmoud Ayoub and Khalid Blankinship, both professors of Religious Studies at Temple University. The panelists all gave a brief description of the events leading up to the Gulf Crisis and the accompanying tension in the Middle East, as well as a synopsis of Muslim religious beliefs before opening the floor to questions and discussion. According to Ayoub and Blankinship, Muslims do not condone Saddam Hussein's actions, but believe that the Western nations have no business in interfering with a problem that affects only the Muslim community. "The issue is not only the loss of lives, but the presence of colonial countries in the Gulf and their taking up of a dominant role," Blankinship said. "This is completely unacceptable . . . the Muslims will decide what is correct and incorrect on the basis of their own books." Ayoub and Blankinship added that the Muslim community believes that an important choice must be made in order to pick a side in the conflict. Their first concern should be the maintaining of the Muslim community, not the welfare of a single country within it. "A choice must be made between the greater and the lesser evil," Ayoub said. "The evil of Saddam's taking of Kuwait is lesser than the destruction of the Islam community." Many students said they enjoyed the discussion and were glad to have the opportunity to hear the Muslim perspective on the war. "It was very interesting and informative, " Engineering junior Ali Kazi said. "I'm really glad I came." But other students said they felt that the panelists were not completely credible. "It seemed like they were saying a lot of blanket statements and that they were using Israel as an excuse for the war," said College junior Carmel Gerber. "These people are professors of religion, yet they tried to predict the political outcomes of the Crisis. They understand the religious but not the political aspects."

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