Letter: Islamic Studies would help broaden education

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I am writing as a Religious Studies major to express my support for the creation of an Islamic Studies program. Recent debates in The Daily (among other, wider forums) illuminate the ongoing need for an elevated level of education concerning the role of Islam in global cultural and religious events, past and present. For Northwestern students entering any number of fields including politics, education and global economics, even a cursory understanding of the diversity of beliefs encompassed under the umbrella of Muslim identity is essential and must become more readily available. For those (like myself) with a special interest in religious history, a program that engages the depth and breadth of Muslim traditions, not just in Africa and the Middle East but also in Asia, Europe and the United States, would broaden academic opportunities. Northwestern’s wonderful program in the Arabic language would also be enriched by (and enrich) such a program. Most of all, Islamic Studies would expand Northwestern students’ opportunities to become more culturally aware and politically active in times of political strife and intensified anti-Muslim sentiment within the United States. A deep and complex understanding of Islam can only improve our abilities to work locally and globally for justice and peace. – Lewis WallaceWeinberg senior