DALLAS - Fighting misconceptions about Islam as a male-dominant religion, a new Muslim fraternity at the University of Texas in Dallas has took to the streets to protest domestic violence, voicing support to women rights granted in Islam.
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 on Monday, April 8.
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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The protest, organized last March, was arranged by members of new Alpha Lambda Mu Fraternity.
Attendants, all Muslim males, held signs that said "Muslims Say No to Domestic Violence" and "Muslims Say Yes to Women's Rights" at the Men's Rally Against Domestic Violence in Dallas.
Protesting the abuse of women, participants wanted to put a correct misconceptions about Islam.
Born and raised in Dallas, Mahmoud thinks 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.
Launching their new fraternity, reactions on campus have been generally positive.
"We're just starting," Mahmoud said, "and we're still trying to figure out what it means to be a Muslim fraternity."
The group posted a photo on their Facebook page 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 Tumblr, Twitter, Upworthy and the Dallas Morning News.
Being different from typical fraternities, the group doesn't drink and they don't believe in "adultery or fornication," Mahmoud said.
He added that the group wants to create a brotherhood focused on "constructing real men" in line with the teachings of Islam.
Offering an alternative to Muslim student organizations, founders of the new fraternity wanted to help young Muslim to navigate the complicated Muslim life on a college campus.
But Mahmoud also thinks they're "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.
Reproduced with permission from OnIslam.net