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Riem Spielhaus was a speaker at UH-V and my class had the special privilege to meet and talk with her the night before her presentation. Riem is a researcher at the Centre for European Islamic Thought in Copenhagen, Denmark. She came to discuss the topic of Muslims and identity. I enjoyed meeting and talking with her. Our class had the opportunity to ask her questions and learn how other countries view Muslims.

She shared a lot of information with us, but a few things she said really stuck with me. One of her points that really stood out was on how Muslims are usually viewed as a homogeneous group and that we need to begin viewing them as individuals. She wants people to see and understand that Muslims are human and are very diverse. She stated that just because Muslims share the same religion does not mean they believe or have the same intentions. She also pointed out that Muslims are not only viewed this way here in the U.S. but in many other countries as well. The main reason for this is the media and how they only focus on the negative. So this negativity in the media ends up being all that we are exposed to about Muslims. This is very true and quite sad. It is something that not only happens to Muslims but to other minority groups as well. This is something I hope to change about myself and to be a little more conscious of in the future. Taking the time to educate myself on these different minority groups would help in understanding a little more about them.

I thank Riem for taking the time out of her busy schedule to come talk to my class and answer the many different questions we had for her. It was a great learning experience and has inspired me to learn more about Muslims and other minority groups.