"We are here really to search for knowledge,” guest lecturer Abdul Karim Baram of the Islamic Center of Bloomington said at the start of the event.
Ignorance breeds fear, fear breeds hate, and hate breeds violence, he projected onto the screen. Education breeds confidence, confidence breeds hope, and hope breeds peace.
He provided a broad definition of Islamophobia: prejudice, hatred or bigotry directed against Islam and Muslims.
Baram said the roots of Islamophobia include fear, racism, assumed religious differences and the perception of an uncivilized people.
He said the real principles of Islam include honoring mankind, embracing diversity, freedom of choice and advocating justice for all.
After the lecture, sophomore Max Heeren asked Baram about the difference between the acceptance of Islam and the Daesh (ISIS) terrorist group.
"From every religion, every culture emerges nonsense people,” Baram said. "From my perspective, I call ISIS nonsense, because it connects to Islam in no way, in no manner.”
He said terror groups like ISIS result from oppression and are like the explosion of a container placed in a fire, but they do not represent all Muslim people.
Bloomington Against Islamophobia organizer Amanda Lanzillo said the rest of the week’s classes will focus on education about what Islam really is and also on the way it mixes with other identities.