Sanjida Cabot, from Islip, New York, USA, is a physician and the mother of twin toddlers. She has been a Bahá’í since 2011. Before that she grew up as Bangladeshi-American Muslim. She was born and raised in Ohio and, by her own choice, wore hijab between the ages of eighteen and twenty-two, including for two years after September 11, 2001. She took the Wilmette Institute’s course on Islam once before she declared as a Bahá’í and found it pivotal in helping her answer many of her lingering questions. Now that she has taken Islam for Deepening and Dialogue a second time, she and her local study group of five (which she coordinates) has turned what they learned into a PowerPoint.—THE EDITORS
by Sanjida Cabot
As a formal final project, our local study group in Islip, New York, gave a PowerPoint presentation entitled Islam: An Exploration at the Bahá’í Center in Valley Stream, New York. There were nearly forty adults in attendance and one seven-year-old child (I mention her because she asked us some insightful questions including “What does ‘equality of reward from Allah’ mean?”). Most of the attendees were mostly Bahá’ís, but there were also some Muslims and seekers. Our PowerPoint was about an hour long, and then we had about an hour of discussion. People seemed to enjoy our presentation and got a lot out of it.
We really enjoyed the course on Islam as a group, and we all learned a great deal, not just in gaining new background but also learning about “how” to study Islam as we go forward. For, as Shoghi Effendi has said, “The mission of the American Bahá’ís is, no doubt to eventually establish the truth of Islám in the West” (Lights of Guidance 1665: 496). Now that we have a little knowledge base, we hope to continue to learn about Islam and other world religions.
The Islip Study Group’s PowerPoint “Islam: An Exploration” contains 42 colorful and informative slides. The members of the study group prepared and presented different sections of the program.
· The Introduction: Ellen Homayoon.
· History of the Islamic Empire: Akbar Owens
· Misconceptions about Muslim Women: Harriet Pasca-Ortgies
· Muslims Speaking Out: Sanjida Cabot
· Islamaphobia: Sanjda Cabot