Between my nerves and the general tone of the class, I don't know whether it was effective or not. Hindsight is 20/20 and I am replaying moments wishing I had added comments or made points that may have been far more beneficial. One thing that I mentioned but I don't know if it was properly heard amidst the many questions and comments in the session was this-- And this is really crucial...
It is really impossible to look at Islam through the eyes of a non-Muslim and to be able to understand it as a Muslim understands it. This is because coming from various cultures and backgrounds we have biases and opinions that create filters on how we view certain points. Likewise, me being a Muslim will likely not be able to understand a point about a non-Muslim value system that is opposite of a practise within the religion. (A convert may or may not be the exception to this.) Those in the West worship their freedom, wealth and liberties, while Muslims worship Allah. Allah has outlined the way we should live and as a Muslim it isn't problematic because we strive for adherence to our religion, not for personal gains and accomplishments. While the non-Muslim works towards gaining freedom, idependence... the list could go on and on, the Muslim works towards a mastery of the self which is complete worship of our creator. I just want to highlight this again, as the point of my presentation to the class today was not to come to an agreement. It was to present the information of the Qur'an and the Hadith (the sayings and actions of Muhammad (May Allah's peace be upon him) with truth and accuracy so whether or not a person accepts or believes them, they will know what their students, and Muslims believe. God willing this was taken from today's presentation and the class did leave with a specific knowledge about Islam and its practices and not anger that there was disagreement and we didn't all see eye to eye.
The other thing that I pray for, is that when one of these teachers has a student that comes to them telling them their hijab was ripped off by someone, or that they were called a camel-jockey, or that they cannot do a particular assignment because it is against their religious beliefs, that they will be met with sensitivity, support, and respect. Being different isn't easy, and being different and hated by a lot of society is especially difficult. Be a safe person to those students--
I am very greatful for the opportunity I was given to speak in the class today. Any goodness that comes from it is solely from Allah and any error was mine alone.