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By Izabela Szydlo

Khalid Yasin knows how to attract a crowd. Last Wednesday, about 500 Ryerson students and neighbours packed into the Student Campus Centre to hear the Islamic sheik deliver a passionate lecture about the Prophet Mohammed’s life and contribution to civilization.

Namarig Ahmed, who organized the event, said she thought the night was a success.

“The speaker was amazing,” she said. “He’s very proficient, especially with those who don’t know about Islam, but at the same time he speaks at a level where he connects with Muslims.”

Although Yasin, who converted to Islam in 1965, touched on the recent controversy about cartoon depictions of the Prophet Mohammed, he didn’t focus on the issue. “I don’t think… the person (who drew the cartoons) had any idea who Mohammed was,” he said during his speech.

The ignorance displayed by the cartoonists should not undermine the achievements of the Prophet, he added. Huda Ashoor, a third-year Applied Chemistry and Biology student said she understood why the controversy was not addressed in great detail.

“It’s easy to talk about how Prophet Mohammed wasn’t what the cartoons portray him to be,” she said. “But it’s more important to show who this man was through his biography. That’s what the speaker did.”

Yasin highlighted many achievements of Muslims, linking them back to Prophet Mohammed who founded the religion. Some of those accomplishments include the invention of the telescope by Abdul Hasan, the creation of the watch by a man named Kutbi and the discovery of soap by Muslim chemists.

Wednesday’s event was Yasin’s second time speaking at Ryerson. His first lecture, which was held last semester, brought out a crowd of about the same size.

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