“Let go of Us vs Them mindset” says Imam

It’s time to let go of the “Us vs. Them” mindset.

Omar Atia, Imam at the Islamic Center of Evansville, told the Rotary Club of Evansville and community members that everyone needs to “cease and desist and stand against” that mentality. Atia spoke and answered questions about his religion at Rotary’s first meeting of the year on Tuesday.

Atia, who accepted the role of Imam in December 2014, said the divisive mindset is being propagated from all sides. He stressed that it’s important everyone stands for “what all faiths call to do, which is that we elevate.”

“That we be there for each other as a community,” he said. “And think about our city and realize that God didn’t guide us to Him — regardless of our faith — so that we could use that against people. It’s to use it for people.”

Rotary President Elect Luke Yaeger said he thinks the club serves as a place for “centers of influence” to spread messages.

“We’ve tried to be very intentional about giving information to our members and the public in general about issues that we as a community are facing,” Yaeger said. “Or maybe that we’re facing as a nation or as a world. And so the timing of this topic, and certainly our connection to Omar and many other leaders of faith, has provided a good forum for us to be able to bring this to the forefront.”

Atia has more than 16 years of leadership, consulting and training experience. He moved to Evansville in 2012 with his wife and three children. A year later, he co-founded his international consulting company, ThoughtFire, which trains large corporations in “applied creativity” and “lean management.”

Atia was born in Illinois and lived in Cairo, Egypt, for part of his childhood, but has resided in Indiana most of his life. He graduated from Purdue University with a bachelor’s degree in chemical engineering and a master’s degree in interdisciplinary engineering.

“So if there’s one thing to remember, it’s to model what you believe God genuinely loves,” he said, “and don’t deceive yourself into something that self-serves.”

Source: Evansville Courier&Press

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