jannat sheikh

Misconceptions concerning Muslims

BY JANNAT SHEIKH
Features Writer

There are many people, including a few County College of Morris students, who are understandably unaware of true Islamic beliefs. Misrepresentation of Islam, the second largest religion in the world after Christianity, are spreading rather than being corrected.

Furthermore, Islam is the fastest growing religion according to Pew Research Center, a “nonpartisan fact tank.” There are approximately 1.6 billion Muslims. The number of Muslims is predicted to exceed the number of Christians by the end of this century if the current demographic trends of Muslims continue to increase.

“I feel like there are a lot of misconceptions about Islam,” said Rachel Miller, a psychology major at CCM. “People should be more open to understanding [Islam] the way they are open to understanding most other religions.”

Miller said that she respects Islam just as any other religion in the world. She believes that Muslims, the followers of Islam, should be respected like everyone else.

Of course, some common falsities of Islam continue to create confusion. A couple of the misconceptions are regarding Jesus and his importance in Islam and the impact of feminism in Islam.

In fact, Jesus is considered to be a prophet in Islam. Unlike Christianity, Jesus is not believed to be God’s son in Islam. Some people think that Muslims do not accept Jesus, however, Muslims believe him to be a messenger of God.

In addition, one of the ways these misconceptions can be erased, or at least decreased, is by spreading knowledge and the truth.

“Islam has such a negative connotation in the media these days, and it’s a shame,” said Christine Quigley, a liberal arts major at CCM. “I feel that it is such a peaceful religion.”

Quigley said that she learned about Islam in her middle school world history class. The knowledge she gained led her to view Islam as she said she views every other religion, with respect.

Dr. Milton Bennett’s Developmental Model of Intercultural Sensitivity (DMIS) helps explain the significance of moving from ethnocentrism (believing one’s own beliefs and values are superior) to ethnorelativism. One who is ethnorelative would be open to and respectful towards other religions and cultures. Becoming ethnorelative is the last “step” to Bennett’s DMIS.

“The first thing I think of when I hear the word Islam is Muslim women,” Quigley said. “A lot of people think that Muslim women are oppressed because of how the media portrays them, and I learned that Islam actually preaches feminism. I think people fail to recognize the strength and capacity of Muslim women.”

Approximately six-in-ten Muslim American women say they wear the headcover, or hijab, at least sometime according to Pew Research Center. Some people mistake the hijab for oppression while many view the hijab as a symbol of feminism.

All in all, the fact is that Islam is growing, and the number of Muslims are increasing. There are approximately 3.3 million Muslims of all ages in the U.S. as of 2015 according to a survey done by Pew Research Center.

“I think people need more knowledge about the religion of Islam,” said Muhammad Bilal Ahmad, a business administration major at CCM. “It is not a religion of hate and racism. It is the religion of peace.”

Ahmad said that some people have asked him strange questions in the past regarding his religion, Islam. He has gotten questions such as, “Are all Muslims terrorists?” Even though this question was asked in a joking manner, it was disrespectful toward Ahmad.

Nearly half of the Muslims in America fault their own Islamic leaders for the lack of condemning extremism, according to Pew Research Center. Approximately 48 percent of Muslim Americans say Muslims leaders have not done enough.

In any case, knowing the facts and spreading knowledge is key. As said by Martin Luther King Jr., “Nothing in the world is more dangerous than sincere ignorance and conscientious stupidity.”

Blackboard becomes backbone of campus communication

BY JANNAT SHEIKH
Contributor

Grades, presentations, discussion boards and assignments are just moments away from students at County College of Morris through Blackboard Learn, an online learning portal.

CCM students are assigned to a Blackboard account from their first day on campus in order to access information for some classes. Not all professors use Blackboard, which frustrates some students who want to keep their work organized.

“I find Blackboard helpful when it comes to communicating with professors about homework assignments and material that was reviewed in class,” said Carsyn St. John, a occupational therapy major at CCM. “I would find it even more useful if each professor was required to use the learning portal.”

St. John is not alone in her desire for a more universal adoption of Blackboard throughout campus.

“I actually like Blackboard,” said Faiza Khan, a humanities major at CCM. “It bothers me when professors don’t utilize it.”

The idea that Blackboard is a useful tool stems from its access to class materials and constant updates of grades.

“[Blackboard] keeps me organized and let’s me know how I am doing throughout the semester,” Khan said.

Other students consider Blackboard to be a bit outdated and in need for improvement.

“I would really appreciate if there was a chat, similar to Instant Messenger, to either chat with your professor or even a help desk,” said Jenny Carroll, a communication major at CCM. “Going back and forth from Blackboard to e-mail is tedious. Having a way to communicate on Blackboard fast and effectively would be ideal.”

Carroll said that she is a student that has had several online classes, and professors who love Blackboard. However, she personally feels that Blackboard was frustrating to navigate at first.

“Overall, Blackboard is very boring, and the layout is not interesting to maneuver whatsoever,” said Carroll.

Blackboard Learn can be accessed at courses.ccm.edu.

New year’s resolutions denied or applied: students attack back

BY JANNAT SHEIKH
Contributor

Many people, including students at the County College of Morris, decided what they want to enhance or change about themselves in 2017.

While some people stick with their New Year’s resolutions, it’s more common to throw in the towel, according to research by the University of Scranton which estimates that only 8 percent of people achieve their New Year’s goals.

“I actually made a list,” said Hope Motzenbecker, a communication major at CCM.  

“Maybe I deleted it,” Motzenbecker said, as she searched through her phone. “Yeah, I deleted it.”

Motzenbecker recalled that one of the resolutions on her list was to practice the piano everyday. She explained that she did not go through with her resolutions because she had other things to do.

Approximately 40 percent of Americans take part in New Year’s resolutions according to Forbes. The other 60 percent do not set goals for the upcoming year.

“I wanted to get more organized,” said Miguel Romero, a criminal justice major at CCM. “I wanted to get a new job, to make more money.”

Romero said that this year has been going very well for him. He said he is more organized and he recently got a raise at his current job, falling in line with his resolutions.

On the top of the most popular resolutions list is to get healthier according to NBC News. The data from Google shows that “get healthy” was searched 62,776,640 times in 2016.

“I wanted to run more,” said Valentina Marmolejo, a communication major at CCM. “But I haven’t really been outside because it’s been raining nonstop… It’s also freezing so it’s kind of killing any motivation I had in me.”

Many are in the same boat as Marmolejo. Although people are enthusiastic about their resolutions, different variables can slow down the process of accomplishing a certain goal, and, in the end, make walking away the easiest option. Only time will tell how well people do maintaining their resolutions this year.