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Saqib gives roses out at Wayne State. Photo Credit: Jessica Archer
Saqib gives roses out at Wayne State. Photo Credit: Jessica Archer

Meet Saqib. He’s been handing out roses, along with words from the prophet Mohammed, at Wayne State University to share the real meaning of Islam today.

The card attached to the rose in this picture reads as follows:

“The best of my community are those who when treated foolishly are tolerant, and when wronged they forgive, and when they are hurt are patient.”

Islamaphobia (the fear of Islam) is something that has spread around our country like wildfire. There are a lot of misconceptions about the community, even to the point some outlets talking about the Detroit suburb of Dearborn having “Sharia Law” (which is a false assertion and not based in fact). Here’s a hilarious debunking of that assertion.

Islam, like Christianity or other religions, has a variety of people, and a variety of beliefs. But one thing is for sure – the more we all understand and respect each other, the better. There are groups working to make that bridge happen. Sometimes, one rose at a time. One of those groups is right here in Metro Detroit, the Wayne State University Islamic Society Of AhlulBayt – ISA. Their student president, Syed Saqib Hussain Javed-Rizvi, is the one in the picture.

It’s important to note that Islam and Middle Eastern culture of many kinds is part and parcel of Detroit’s story. Metro Detroit has the highest concentration of people from the Middle East in the United States. Immigration to our region from the Middle East started in the 1870’s, and now the majority of the suburb of Dearborn is of Arab descent as well as approximately a quarter of the enclave of Hamtramck. The community that has roots in the Middle East in Metro Detroit is diverse in a variety of ways from country origin to religion (many, in fact, are Christian).

Metro Detroit has the unique opportunity to be a bridge in a turbulent situations where other places are not. Hopefully, that’s something we can accomplish and be proud of. It’s clear Saqib is trying his best to make that go.