Religious students share perspectives, clarify misconceptions

Cynthia Mao


Representatives of three religions convene to discuss issues that affect freedom of belief

El Estoque conducted an interview with three religious students at MVHS to explore different religions and the cultural impact of them in students' lives. Senior Jonathan Cheong, President of the Roots club on campus, is a Christian. Junior Iqra Shaikh is a Muslim, and the Social Outreach Manager of Muslim Club. Sophomore Srisruthi Ramesh practices Hinduism.


EE: You guys have probably heard about the building at Ground Zero and how they're trying to get this religious center over there. Do you have anything to say about it? 


IS: I feel impacted. It's just a little bit ridiculous. People need to become more tolerant. Sure, there [were] some radical people who bombed a building, and that was really sad, I can't even imagine the losses, but it didn't impact just Christians and Jews and Hindus—it impacted everybody.


JC: I don't know if you guys heard, but after the announcement that they were going to make a Muslim community center, [this pastor] was basically going to go and preach against gay people, and preach against Muslims. I feel like people who base Christians on such radicals need to talk to someone and just figure out, what is Christianity really about?


EE: On that note, do you have anything you want to share about, if you wish people knew more about your religion, something that they're misinformed about? What would you want them to know?


SR: The only thing that a lot of Indian people at MVHS feel is that some of the beliefs in our religion are a little bit outdated. My dad is kind of strict about how late I can stay out at night. I know a lot of families now that are a lot more lenient in certain matters, but families like mine are still trying to bridge the gap.


IS: I'd like people to think that not all Muslims are terrorists. Also, a common misconception with Islam is that women are abused. None of that's true. 


EE: So do you see similarities between you guys? Maybe in the way you practice or just being religious in general?


JC: I feel like all religions are similar in a sense, as in they give purpose to one's life. They long to have that meaning, something to follow, some sort of course to take. All religions also kind of emphasize being a good person. 


SR: I agree with Jonathan. I think that all of us have that idea that God, whatever God you believe in, he or she will be there to protect us, no matter what goes wrong in the world, no matter how corrupt people get, no matter what natural disasters happen, there's something that will control it, and I think that's a big reason why people are religious and something that connects us all.