Florida Atlantic University's first student-run news source.


Florida Atlantic University's first student-run news source.


Florida Atlantic University's first student-run news source.


Mustafa Akyol set to visit and give a talk at Palm Beach State College

Mustafa Akyol is a Turkish journalist that defends the Islamic faith and speaks out against terrorism and extremism. Photo courtesy of Mustafa Akyol

Mustafa Akyol has traveled the world, spoken at universities, written a book and newspaper columns, and given a talk on TED advocating for what he’s most passionate about: the Muslim faith and Islamic culture.

And now he’s bringing his first-hand knowledge and deep-rooted opinions to South Florida.

On Monday, April 9, from 2 to 5 p.m., Akyol will give a talk at Palm Beach State College (PBSC), called “Muslims and Liberalism,” to discuss issues about the Muslim faith and speak out against Islamic extremism. The first part of the event is a luncheon where Akyol, organizers and attendees will eat, drink and mingle. After the lecture, there will be a panel discussion, according to Peter Baez, President of the Peace Studies Student Association at FAU.

The Peace Studies Student Association, the International Student Club at PBSC, and the Istanbul Center in Miami came together to sponsor Akyol’s visit.

“The organizations’ goal is mainly to raise awareness and educate the student body,” Baez said, who is a senior political science major. “I think generally speaking, whenever we think Islam we think radical Islam. I think this could bring us closer to a conciliatory stance on this. I think there’s a difference between radical Islam and Islam, period.”

Born and still living in Istanbul, Turkey, Akyol is educated on the history of the country, as well as its present-day issues. He writes columns for two Turkish newspapers, Hürriyet Daily News, Turkey’s oldest English language daily, and Star. According to TheWhitePath.com, a website dedicated to his writings, his articles have also been in other publications, like Newsweek, Washington Post, Wall Street Journal, among others.

When discussing how people should be free to express their faiths in his TED talk, he said, “I think forcing people to uncover their head is as tyrannical as forcing them to cover it. It should be the citizen’s decision.”

Baez said one of the reasons they considered inviting Akyol was because of his book, Islam Without Extremes: A Muslim Case for Liberty, in which he looks at the Islamic faith through the perspective of individual liberty. In the book, Akyol stresses the importance of finding a balance between cultural traditions and social, political and religious freedoms. In other words, people should not only understand each other’s traditions, but all other aspects of society should reflect this acceptance.

Akyol is visiting FAU to discuss the importance for Muslims to be able to be socially, religiously and politically free. Photo courtesy of Mustafa Akyol

“It’s essentially based on his book where he’s advocating that this is possible. Democratization and Islam can be placed within the same orbit,” Baez said. He spoke for the other sponsoring organizations when he said they hope this will educate students. “This could be possible, to break the barriers between ‘us’ and ‘them,’” he said.

“Muslims and Liberalism” will be on Monday, April 9, in the Humanities Building (Room HT 103) at PBSC from 2 to 5 p.m. The address to PBSC is 3000 Saint Lucie Avenue, Boca Raton, FL 33431. The event is free and open to the public.

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