Birmingham Muslims have grown increasingly concerned about the threat of ISIS, especially after a 20-year-old Hoover woman was recruited this year to join the terrorist network.
The Birmingham Islamic Society has scheduled a discussion of ISIS on Friday, June 12, at 6:30 p.m. at the Harbert Center, with a leading U.S. Islamic scholar speaking on the terrorist threat.
"We are against all extremism," said Ashfaq Taufique, president of the Birmingham Islamic Society. "They do not follow Islam. It is very important we get the word out."
Hoda Muthana, 20, abandoned her family and flew to Syria earlier this year to join the terrorist group popularly known as ISIS, the Islamic State in Syria. Muthana graduated from Hoover High School in 2013 and was studying business at UAB before leaving the country.
"We have already been a victim of ISIS recruitment," Taufique said. "She is there with them right now. She grew up in front of us. I know her. That was a turning point for us."
The Muslim community lives with the fear of their youth being radicalized by terrorists. " We are very concerned about our youth," Taufique said. "We are very concerned about our youth being brainwashed. They can take innocent, weak minds and brainwash them into disobeying their parents."
Yasir Qadhi, who has a PhD and is a resident scholar of the Memphis Islamic Center, will speak Friday night at the discussion, "Is ISIS Islamic?"
Qadhi, a professor at Rhodes College in Memphis and dean of academic affairs at Al Maghrib Institute, has been an outspoken opponent of ISIS and has had death threats issued against him by the terrorist group, Taufique said.
Qadhi has combined a traditional Eastern Islamic seminary education with a Western academic training of the study of Islam. "He is a good example of how we live American values while also living the doctrine of Islam," Taufique said. "He is very outspoken on so-called ISIS. I hate to associate the word Islam with these people."
Tickets for the Frdiay night lecture at the Harbert Center are $20, and can be purchased online. The Harbert Center is located at 2019 Fourth Ave. North in downtown Birmingham.
Ramadan, the Islamic holy month of fasting, begins June 17 and the Birmingham Islamic Society will welcome visitors to the Hoover Crescent Islamic Center. Visiting groups are welcome to schedule appointments to have dinner at the mosque. The center will offer presentations to visitors every night of Ramadan, which ends July 17.
"We want the community at large to come visit us," Taufique said. "If there is ever a time when they can come and meet us, this is the time. We are going to do a whole lot for our community by sitting down and talking to each other. We've got American values, we follow our own faith, and that's the American way."