Muslims come to the Auburn Islamic Center on Armstrong Street five times a day as Asim Ali leads the adhan, the muslim call to prayer.
Since Muslims in Auburn have no official imam or muezzin, all calls to prayer and prayer services are done by whoever has the greatest knowledge of the Quran or can best recite the adhan melodiously.
Most student Muslims who attend the service come from all over the world and represent all different backgrounds, with attendees from Chad, UAE, Nigeria, Bangladesh and Auburn.
“Only 1% of Americans are Muslims,” Ali said.
Because of the low percentage of Muslim-Americans, other Americans will likely not meet a Muslim-American.
“That’s not gonna happen, but if we can make an effort, we can start to break down the mental stereotypes that we have,” Ali said.
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Ali turned his attention to Trump and what it is like to live life as a practitioner of the Islamic faith in a country where the sitting president and other politicians like Roy Moore repeat Islamophobic talking points and pursue anti-Muslim policies.
Ali chooses his words carefully when he speaks on politics and his faith.
“I think that we have the type of society that we want,” Ali said. “The words our leaders say have an impact, and when the president uses words like ‘infest’ to describe us, to describe the refugee caravan, it has an impact. If this isn’t the type of society that we want, we should demand better from our leaders.”
However, Ali and the Auburn Islamic Center have been supported by the Auburn community. Ali is not from Auburn but has always felt appreciated by everyone from the Auburn University president and down.
“Violence has no place in Islam,” Ali said. “In our religion, if you kill one person, it is like you have killed all of humanity, and you will be called to answer for it on the Day of Judgment. He who saves one life saves the entire world.”
Ayman Ahmed, sophomore in undeclared science and mathematics and member of the Auburn Islamic Center from Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates, said he wants people to know that Muslims are also interested in science and learning.
Ahmed does not let living in a country where the leader has pursued such staunch anti-immigration, anti-Muslim, anti-Arabic policies and made less-than-flattering statements about those groups bother or change him.
“I still try to treat people the same as I would otherwise,” Ahmed said.
Ahmed described Muslim life in Auburn as very different from where he grew up. Ahmed said that, while there are no actual physical mosques in Auburn, more people go to the mosque in Auburn than in his hometown.
“I think that America is the best place to raise kids who are Muslim,” Ahmed said. “The challenges we face often lead to a stronger faith. People won’t believe just because it is convenient.”
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