The Queens College Muslim Students Association hosted an event on Nov. 23 for Sheikh Yusuf Estes to impart his philosophy about Islam to students.
Estes was born in 1944 as a Christian in Ohio. Born Joseph Estes, he converted from Christianity to Islam in July 1991 in Egypt. His name was changed from Joseph to Yusuf.
He has been a Muslim Chaplain of the United States Bureau of Prisons through the 1990’s. He also served as a Muslim delegate to the United Nations World Peace Conference for Religious Leaders, which was held at the UN in September 2000.
Estes is currently an American preacher from Texas and is active in Islamic missionary work in the U.S. He has been a guest speaker for many Islamic events and on satellite television channels.
At the lecture, Estes discussed humanity in the Quran, president-elect Donald Trump, social media and the reasons why the U.S. is divided.
“The reason why we have such division in our country is because the whole concept of someone thinking that they are better than someone else. If we can’t get past that way of thinking, then we are in trouble. And there are Muslims who think like this as well. Only Allah has the knowledge and no one knows the heart of other people like he does,” he said.
Estes also recommended for students to download an app, which is available for iPhones and Androids called “Guide Us.” It contains news from Islamic regions and has choices to watch live events such as this event. Estes also mentioned that the media could be false at times.
“What happened in San Bernardino, California, one of my volunteers had children in that building. Her story was different than the papers,” he said.
Estes mentioned his thoughts about president-elect Donald Trump becoming President of The United States.
“I was asked last night in an interview, ‘What is good about Donald Trump being president and what is bad about it?’ He did some good actually. I see Muslims waking up and seeing that it is crystal clear that we must do something. What is bad about it, is that the concept of one thinking better than the other is going to be more of a challenge to change it. Also, I do not like it when people and Muslims slander him in social media because we have to remember the goodness in our hearts. Patience is really important, only Allah knows all and can judge,” he said.
Estes further discussed more of social issues that are currently going on in the U.S.
“Today, they talk about Black Lives Matter. Why do we have to say that? Because it is still in our mindset. We need to accept all kinds of people. And the whole situation about Trump and immigrants is saddening. We all are immigrants. Do you know why we have a problem when people are saying, fat immigrants, and skinny immigrants? It’s because it is saying that one thinks he is better than anyone else,” he said.
Estes finished the lecture with a question to the students.
“You are the future and look at those who are younger than you. They are the future after you. What are you going to leave them with?”
The event had a bake sale and students who are Muslim were given the time to pray. An attendant of the event, Mohammad Chowdhury a junior and a computer science major, shared what he had to say about the event.
“I don’t consider myself to be an Agonistic rather than a Muslim and the reason why I came was because I wanted to see Yusuf. I heard about him before and was curious about it. I really enjoyed the lecture. I thought it really brought things into perspective in terms of to understanding one another as a society,” Chowdhury said.