Professor Motier Haskins of the UI School of Social Work speaks at the Cup O' Justice kickoff event "Racism in Muslim Communities" in the IMU on Wednesday, Sept. 13, 2017. Haskins spoke about distinctions in racism between Muslim countries and in America. (Lily Smith/The Daily Iowan)

Finding discrimination in the world

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University of Iowa Adjunct Assistant Professor Motier Haskins addressed a small crowd in the IMU on Wednesday about racism in the Muslim community during the kickoff event for the 2017 Cup o’ Justice series put on by the UI  Chief Diversity Office.

Cup o’ Justice is a yearlong series of discussions that started in 2014. The discussions invite leaders of change to share their stories, knowledge, and lessons they have learned with an audience.

“Our goal is to promote intergenerational dialogue about social justice,” said Dana Dominguez, a diversity resource coordinator at the Chief Diversity Office.

Born in Harlem, New York, Haskins works as a social-work faculty member and teaches courses pertaining to such issues as discrimination, oppression, and racism.

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He noted racism in the Muslim community exists through laws, customs, attitudes, and words in the United States and around the world.

“It’s hard for some people to hear that racism exists, especially since Islam addresses both sexism, the oppression of women, and racism,” Haskins said.

Haskins noted the Muslim community is tremendously diverse, with no racial ethnic group that makes up the majority. At the UI, Muslim students come from numerous countries, he noted.

He started his presentation by describing the religion itself, core beliefs, the Five Pillars of Islam as well as explaining what the Quran says about issues such as gender and racial equality. Haskins said Islam means peaceful submission to the will of God and that some biases and stereotypes of Muslims are not of people who are peaceful.

He ended his presentation with a brief discussion with the audience.

One attendee of the event shared her experience with racism in the Muslim community when her family did not approve of her choice of whom to marry.

“He’s a Muslim, he grew up in the same area that I grew up, but when we came together to get married, my family said no because he’s black,” she said.

The couple waited 19 years before her family said it was OK. She said her family tried to arrange a marriage for her, but she said no.

“I already picked the one that I wanted to live with for the rest of my life, but they said no,” she said.

— by Emily Wagnen

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