A look at this year’s Diversity Convocation

A look at this year’s Diversity Convocation

Ori Tsameret, Contributing Reporter

Students gathered last Monday, Oct. 21, to see Khaled A. Beydoun, associate professor at the University of Arkansas School of Law and senior affiliated faculty at the University of California-Berkeley Islamophobia Research & Documentation Project. 

Beydoun came to campus for the annual Diversity Convocation. The Diversity Convocation, held annually by the The Carolyn Barber-Pierre Center for Intercultural Life, features discussions on a wide array of topics, particularly those pertaining to marginalized communities on campus. This year, the evening focused on Islamophobia, particularly American Islamophobia.

A leading scholar on topics including Islamophobia, national security, anti-terrorism law and civil liberties,  Beydoun delivered a comprehensive presentation on the different faces of Islamophobia in the United States. He emphasized Islamophobia’s intersection with race and discussed  various racial tropes often attached to Muslims in America. 

Beydoun explained how tropes can lead to misconceptions about Islam as a religion and the Muslim population in the United States. He also brought up misconceptions about the racial makeup of Muslims, noting that the size of the Arab-Muslim community is greatly overestimated. 

“This was a very much needed conversation,” junior Joanitah Nakiggwe said. “Having an expert come to Tulane and engage with us opened my eyes up to the many ways Islamophobia will manifest itself but also the many simple ways that I can be an ally to the Muslim community and work to combat such hatred.”

Beydoun’s presentation covered the wide-reaching intersections Islamophobia has with different identities both on a broader scale and through individual anecdotes. He told the story of meeting a student looking to convert to Islam but fearing to do so based on his undocumented status, noting that it could make him more suspicious to immigration authorities.

The event concluded with a question and answer period in which students and Beydoun continued the conversation.

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