Saturday, March 11, 2017

USA: ‘Coffee, Cake & True Islam’ spurs discussion in Round Rock


“We want to set the record straight about Islam and offer an opportunity to ordinary Americans who are hesitant to meet Muslims or never had a chance to.”

Round Rock Corner Bakery Cafe - Weekly “Coffee, Cake & True Islam” event.
Photo Nicole Barrios
Times of Ahmad | News Watch | US Desk
Source/Credit: Statesman / Austin Community Newspapers
By Nicole Barrios | March 10, 2017

Questions about clothing, culture, heaven and hell were discussed Wednesday night over coffee and cake as neighbors came together to learn more about one another.

“Don’t you get hot in the summer wearing something on your head all day?” asked Susan Sneller. “I want to take everything off and fan myself in summer in Texas.”

Nadia Ahmad welcomed the question. In the summer, Ahmad explained, she and other Muslim women wear clothing made of lighter weight material with good ventilation. “Don’t worry, we’re fine. We’re not forcing ourselves,” she said with a laugh.

That conversation and others were held at the “Coffee, Cake and True Islam” event, which drew a small crowd of 13 people Wednesday at the Corner Bakery Cafe in Round Rock.

Ahmadiyya Muslim community, a sect of Islam, is hosting the weekly event, which coincide with nationwide discussion events held the past several months. Ahmad, a member of the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community of Austin, said the discussions in Round Rock started out slowly in November but ramped up in January.

The Ahmadiyya Muslim Community of Austin’s mosque is located in Round Rock, and the group holds the weekly chats in Austin and Round Rock. The meetings are held every Wednesday, which Ahmad said could go on for a few more weeks or continue indefinitely.

The aim of holding the chats is to promote truth and love in the face of extremists, lies and hate that may divide the Muslim community and the non-Muslim community.

“We want to set the record straight about Islam and offer an opportunity to ordinary Americans who are hesitant to meet Muslims or never had a chance to,” Ahmad said.

Ahmad, a Round Rock resident, said the discussions over coffee foster an open dialogue at neutral spaces for people to ask about anything that is troubling them or to simply want to learn more about Islam.

She said she’s had a positive experience at the events with so many visitors showing an interest in learning about her religion.

Sneller, who lives in northern Travis County, came to the event Wednesday for the first time to meet someone of the Muslim faith. She said she’s been upset about the current political climate and wanted to reach out to the Muslim community.

“What would you say if you could talk to Trump?” Sneller asked Ahmad.

“We would invite him to Coffee, Cake and True Islam,” she said, garnering laughs from the group.

The discussion turned to ISIS and Sneller asked if there is conflict in the Muslim religion. Ahmad said there are clear teachings in the Quran that reject terrorism.

“People like this will take things too literal and don’t see the bigger picture of when those words were being said,” she said. “(They are) using the religion as a tool to brainwash people for their own political gains.”

Other more theological discussions were had at the event comparing and contrasting what Muslims and Christians believe about heaven and hell, as well as justice and mercy. Others broke off into smaller groups to simply learn more about one another, asking about education, jobs and family.

Round Rock resident Brandon Miller and Khurram Malik, from Austin and a member of the Ahmadiyya Muslim community, sat and asked each other questions.

Miller brought a Bible with him. Malik said Miller taught him about the gospels of Matthew, Mark, Luke and John, as well as the life of Jesus.

“I’m going to go back and reflect on those,” Malik said. “We’re just trying to share our understanding.”


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