WHEN SUSHMTA KAMBOJ joined my *World of Islam class* as a student two years ago, she spoke of the vast distances between Islam and Hinduism in India.

Growing up in Yamunanagar, about three hours north of New Delhi, she recalls, ''In school, every joke was about a Pakistani. The news constantly showed Pakistan and its people as the enemy.

We would go the border between India-Pakistan and shout to the other side during parades.

In that environment, it is easy to believe that one is indeed very different.''

This summer she became instrumental in closing those gap.

She had gone home taking a copy of my book :
''Journey into Europe : Islam Immigration and Identity''  with her. It was well received.

''For me, the most glorious moment was when I gave my father *Journey into Europe*, and saw him not only to read but also later in the day share bits from the book with family and friends.

My father has a knack for sharing what he reads in books.

He shared with fascination Islamic contributions to Muslin society and his friends listened wide-eyed and struck with wonder.

Now, this is a rare sight in a Hindu household and for me, this epitomizes Professor Ahmed's  influence and impact.''

Sushmita, saw the impact of building bridges extend beyond her family, noting, ''After sharing  Journey into Europe, I witnessed many family friends also begin a very positive conversation about Muslim society.

Suddenly the negative connotations attached to Muslim societies began to disappear.''

She had done it : this young student had built bridge on the basis of knowledge and scholarship.

Sushmita's commitment to the pursuit of knowledge was evident when she wrote to me from home during her summer holiday in 2017 and instead on returning to school early to help with my book, Journey into Europe.

In her email she said : ''In light of the recent atrocities around the world. I have thought about your confident and restless nature that believes in changing whatever you do not like in this world.

The philosophy of self-creation and self-assertion that you practice also reminds of Poet and Philosopher Iqbal's philosophy of Khudi.

I remember learning from my grandfather, who himself embodied that philosophy and shared it as his last words to me.''

!WOW! The World Students Society,  thanks author and researcher Professor Akbar Ahmed, the Ibn Khaldun Chair of Islamic Studies at American University, Washington DC, and author of Journey into Europe :
Islam, immigration and Identity.

The Honor of the publishing continues to Part 2.


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