DALLAS – Seeking to change misconceptions that Islam is a male-dominant religion, Muslim students at the University of Texas are championing efforts to show that the Islamic faith endorses women’s right and bans domestic violence.
“Muslims are always on defense,” Ali Mahmoud, president of Alif Laam Meem, the founding chapter of the new Alpha Lambda Mu Fraternity, told ABC News in a phone interview.“We usually get called in to explain ourselves and instead we decided to take the offense and tell people what Islam is instead of what it isn't.”
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Members of the Muslim group have marched in Dallas to highlight that Islamic teachings are against domestic violence.
"Muslims Say No to Domestic Violence" and "Muslims Say Yes to Women's Rights" were among slogans carried by the Muslim marchers.
Mahmoud says that people often have the wrong idea when it comes to Islam and domestic violence.
"We wanted to clarify the misconception that any kind of domestic violence is allowed in our religion," he said.
"And it may seem apparent through the media that it's allowed, but that's majorly a cultural phenomenon and not an actual teaching of our religion."
In Islam, marriage is a sacred bond that brings together a man and a woman by virtue of the teachings of the Qur'an and the Sunnah.
Each partner in this sacred relationship must treat the other properly and with respect.
Woman is recognized by Islam as the full and equal partner of the man in the procreation of humankind.
By this partnership, she has an equal share in every aspect. She is entitled to equal rights, she undertakes equal responsibilities, and she has as many qualities and as much humanity as her partner.
Moreover, the relations between the spouses in Islam should be based on tranquility, love and mercy.
The Muslim march has won positive reactions.
"We're just starting and we're still trying to figure out what it means to be a Muslim fraternity,” Mahmoud said.
The group posted a photo on their Facebook page about fraternity that has been liked more than 1,000 times and shared more than 1,500 times.
Pictures and word of the fraternity have traveled across several websites as Tumblr, Twitter, Upworthy and the Dallas Morning News.
Mahmoud says that his group is different from typical fraternities as members nether drink nor believe in "adultery or fornication".
He says that his group wants to create a brotherhood focused on "constructing real men" in line with the teachings of Islam.
Mahmoud also thinks they are "not very binding" and the fraternity "felt institutionalizing brotherhood was the best way to help develop a league of Muslim male leaders who stand up and serve the community."
Though there are no official estimates, the US is home to from 7-8 million Muslims.An earlier Gallup poll found that the majority of Americans Muslims are loyal to their country and optimistic about their future in the United States.
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