Pittsford, N.Y. — Adham Hamid has many things on his mind that go beyond the concerns of an average graduate student.
The Libyan native has feared for the lives of his parents, learned of a cousin’s death during the overthrow of the Gadhafi regime, and watched from afar as violent anti-American protests resulted in the deaths of Americans, including U.S. Ambassador Chris Stevens.
“Those who were responsible for what happened to the U.S. Embassy only expressed their own opinions or point of view,” Hamid bluntly stated. “We as Libyans condemn completely what happened.”
At the same time, Hamid supports peaceful protests that have come in light of an anti-Muslim film.
“I support any protest when it really has a case,” Hamid explained.
Hamid and many other Muslims feel as though the anti-Muslim film amounts to a personal attack, according to Middle Eastern studies expert Muhammad Shafiq.
“Religion and culture is together; it is very much a part of the life,” said Shafiq, Ph. D., Executive Director of the Hickey Center for Interfaith Studies and Dialogue at Nazareth College.
“Our national identity is our American dream, our American patriotism, our flag, our constitution,” Shafiq said. “For them it’s their culture and their religious life together.”
Hamid is studying to become a professor in the United States. He would like to return to Libya some day, but not until violence from these protests and elsewhere disappear.
“You can’t guess where is safe, where is not,” Hamid said. “Sometimes it’s safe, sometimes it is not.”