Islamic Center open house to feature speakers on Islam and terroism

Posted March 21, 2013, at 9:59 p.m.

ORONO, Maine — A California marriage and family counselor will outline the “Psychology of a Terrorist” at 4:30 p.m. Saturday, March 23, at the annual open house at the Islamic Center of Maine, 151 Park St.

Yassir Fazaga of Mission Viejo, Calif., will talk about what factors, including religion, shape a terrorist. He also will discuss “Misconceptions About Islam” at 9 a.m. Friday, March 22, at the Wells Conference Center at the University of Maine.

The programs are sponsored jointly by the University of Maine Muslim Students’ Association and the Orono mosque.

Fazaga was invited to speak in Maine after officers in the Muslim student group heard him lecture last year at a national conference.

“In this country, terrorism is mainly associated with Islam,” Nabeel Hashmi, 20-year-old president of the Muslim Students’ Association, said Wednesday. “We want to break that misconception.”

Hashmi, who graduated from Bangor High School, said that the student group and members of the mosque were looking for a “hot topic” that would be relevant and entice people to attend the event.

Vice President Abdulraheem Sbayi, 20, of Lincoln said the Muslim Students’ Association is partnering with the Honors College in an effort to broaden students’ education and to bring more cross-cultural involvement to the Orono campus.

“There are many misconceptions about Islam, but a lot of them are minor details,” Hashmi said. “There is a lot of mixing between religion and culture. We want to be able to help students separate the religious form the cultural. It is also important to have a more intellectual discourse about Islam.”

Fazaga was born in Eritra in Northeast Africa, according to information on the website for the Orange County Islamic Foundation, where he is the religious leader. He moved to the United States when he was 15 and earned a Bachelor’s Degree in Islamic Studies from the Institute of Islamic and Arabic Sciences in Virginia. Fazaga also has a Master’s Degree in Marriage and Family Counseling from the California State University of Long Beach.

For more information about the open house, call the Islamic Center of Maine at 866-3410 or visit http://www.theicmo.com. For more information on the Muslim Students’ Association, visit http://umaine.edu/msa.

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