Local News

Partnership between Muslims, non-Muslims could be key to preventing attacks

Posted September 19, 2016 10:29 p.m. EDT

— Exploring the fears felt by Muslims and non-Muslims was part of a panel discussion held in the Triangle Monday night.

The program, called Between Hope and Fear: Islam in North Carolina was recorded in front of a live audience in a UNC-TV studio and touched on fear surrounding Islam and why it’s important for Muslims and non-Muslims to get closer together.

The discussion on Islam in North Carolina was planned long before the bomb explosions in New York and New Jersey over the weekend. Deonna Kelli Sayed described what it was like, as a Muslim, to hear the news of those attacks.

“There is this feeling of heaviness that just overcomes you,” she said.

Sayed said she knew that the attacks meant that she would have to work to defend who she is.

“You can never be fully human; you are always having to explain why you are not this monster,” she said.

To change that, Abdullah Antepli of Duke University said Muslims must acknowledge that people are afraid.

“Of course there is a radical form of Islam. Denying such reality, that cancer in the world of Islam, is basically denying a reality which is right in front of us,” Antepli said.

Sayed said the closer neighbors get together, the less they learn to fear one another.

“We have to speak. We don’t have the option of hiding anymore,’ she said.

While some acknowledged that there are some legitimate fears about the Muslim community, experts said working together with Muslim neighbors to report those who could cause trouble could be what prevents the next attack.

“Ironically, it is by making us a more inclusive society that actually might help us to make progress on this very difficult issue of preventing these attacks from happening in the first place,” said David Shanzer with the Triangle Center on Terrorism and Homeland Security.

The program, which was moderated by WRAL News anchor David Crabtree, will air at 10 p.m. Thursday on UNC-TV.