Imam to City College: ‘I’m your neighbor’

Taha Hassane shared insight into Muslim community culture, influence


Imam Taha Hassane of the Islamic Center of San Diego spoke to San Diego City College students via Zoom. Zoom screenshot

Shamere Grimes, Multimedia Journalist

Students and faculty at San Diego City College had the opportunity to speak with an Imam, which is a religious leader in the Muslim culture, in an effort to learn more about the Muslim community.

Imam Taha Hassane of the Islamic Center of San Diego spoke via Zoom earlier this month about how the Muslim community has influenced people in the U.S. in an event hosted by World Cultures.

Hassane emphasized the importance of getting to know one another no matter one’s denomination – Muslim, Jewish, Christian or non-religious. 

Hassane chose the title “Know your Muslim neighbor” for a reason.

“We are all neighbors, whether we like it or not,” he said. “We live in the same neighborhood.”

Hassane gave insight into popular terms in the religion. Islam, for example, means “submission to God” and the word Islam is derived from the word Sadam, which means peace.

When Muslims greet one another, he added, they say “Salam” or “Aleikum,” which means may peace be with you.

Hassane also mentioned well-known men who are a part of the Muslim community. He noted that Muhammed Ali, Malcolm X, Fareed Zakaria is part of the community.

He also talked about Keith Ellison, the lead prosecutor in the George Floyd case in Minnesota. Ellison is the first African-American elected to Congress from Minnesota and the first Muslim to serve in the House or Senate, according to his official biography.

Islamophobia was a prevalent topic Hassane talked about, touching on bullying, racism and harassment that is solely based on the faith of the victims. 

Hassane has had his own experience with racism. He reminisced about an experience at a conference where the speaker was talking about the “threat,” referring to the perception that Muslims pose a threat to American society. 

Hassane said he wanted to speak to City College students in order to create a unity and understanding about people who are different from them.

“I’m your brother, I’m your sister, I’m your neighbor,” he said.