Katie Ella Field Professor Johnston Assignment #7 October 25th, 2010 Islamophobia: The View from Inside the
Faith “No one has a monopoly on ignorance. Ignorance can lead to fear, which in turn can lead to hate and violence,” as stated by Yahya Frederickson at the end of his presentation on Islamophobia and its prevalence in the United States today, which took place in the Room of Nations at noon on October 25th, 2010. Throughout his presentation, Dr. Frederickson, a professor of English at Minnesota State University-Moorhead and devout American Muslim, appealed to his audience’s logos, or logical viewpoint, as he described common misconceptions that many Americans have had of Islam since the terrorist attacks of September 11th, 2001. To begin with, Dr. Frederickson used a PowerPoint as a relevant presentation aid to help the audience follow along with what he was saying. In the PowerPoint, he cited specific examples from the text of the Qur'an, as well as the Bible, and provided pictures to give a reallife visual of some of the things he was discussing. However, his PowerPoint was also a weakness throughout his presentation because it was obvious that the slides had been hastily thrown together and not planned well. I say this because often words, and even pictures, were missing from the slides, which allowed for a bit more confusion on the topics being discussed. Secondly, Dr. Frederickson used many denotative definitions to aid in his descriptions of the Five Pillars of Islam, as well as his own list that explained the Five Pillars of Islamophobia.
This allowed for his presentation to gain credibility, meaning that the audience trusted him as an informant. Moreover, the presenter used his personal experience as an aid to describe how he became a Muslim and why he feels that it was the right choice for him. At the beginning of the presentation, he explained that he had been born of the Christian faith, but after spending four years in Yeman as part of the Peace Corps, he decided to convert to Islamic faith. This allowed for his ability to know a lot about two of the most popular religions prevalent in our world, which in turn gave the audience a feeling of trust in his knowledge. In addition to these concrete examples of a good presenter, I noticed that his delivery was very relaxed and open to the audience and their questions. He exemplified great eye contact with the audience throughout the presentation, and used appropriate hand gestures to re-iterate his points. A drawback of his relaxed technique was that he often got interrupted during his presentation by audience members that wanted to argue about what he was saying. After being interrupted for the fifth time, a representative from the Memorial Union finally intervened and asked that all questions and points of inquiry be saved for after the presentation. This reflected badly on Dr. Frederickson because it showed that he couldn’t keep the audience controlled throughout his presentation.
Finally, as mentioned in the above paragraph, Dr. Frederickson allowed for a questionanswer session at the end of his presentation so that audience members could clear up any points that weren’t described well throughout the hour-long speech. This appealed to his ability to
handle questions and challenges from the audience while keeping his cool and answering the questions in an effective way. Overall, the presentation was very well organized and effective, and I could follow the outline in my head well enough. I left with a greater sense of understanding for the Islamic faith and unclear points in the faith were defined for me throughout. I also learned a phrase that I will conclude my observation with: As-Salaam Alaykum, or “Peace be upon you!”