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Rob Asghar visits Alvernia

Date: 2/20/2010

BY: Leah Della Croce, Alvernia University Freshman

Pakistani-American political writer Rob Asghar visited Alvernia on Tuesday, February 16 to speak about what he described as the “Muslim American experience,” and to offer some insight into the steadily increasing tension between the Muslim people and other religions.
Asghar was born in San Jose, California to Pakistani-American parents of Muslim faith. He considers himself to have been devoutly Muslim as well, until around the age of 14. Since then, Asghar has explored various religions, which has provided him with a broader understanding and respect for all religious beliefs and ethnicities.
Currently an LA native, Asghar has published political and cultural essays and articles in various newspapers worldwide. He is also a published author. One of his most recent endeavors includes the publishing of Lessons from the Holy Wars: A Pakistani American Odyssey in 2010.
Asghar expressed that his goal for speaking at Alvernia was to offer reflections on the experience of Muslim people, particularly Pakistani Muslims, in the United States. He also gave examples from his own personal experiences, both in the United States, and in visits to Middle Eastern nations. During the event, Asghar discussed the Muslim faith, and how various interpretations it, such as that of the Taliban, differ from the traditional Muslim beliefs and values.
The ultimate message students took away from Asghar’s presentation was that of respect and tolerance for diversity; through discussing his own personal experiences, from both cultural and religious perspectives, he demonstrated that acceptance and appreciation of diversity is what separates this country from the rest.

  • History: Established as a private four-year liberal arts college in 1958, Alvernia celebrated its 50th year by being awarded university status in 2008.
  • Heritage: Founded by the Bernardine Sisters, a Catholic religious order, the university embraces the Franciscan core values of service, humility, collegiality, contemplation and peacemaking.
  • Motto: “To Learn, To Love, To Serve”
  • Campus: The main campus in Reading is 121 acres, with two satellite campuses in Philadelphia and Pottsville (Schuylkill County).
  • Location: Our residential campus is situated three miles from center-city Reading, in the scenic Blue Mountain area of Eastern Pennsylvania.
  • Enrollment: 3,000 students attend Alvernia including 1,500 traditional undergraduates, 600 continuing education students, and 780 graduate students. Over 77% of first-year students live on campus.
  • Faculty: Our professors are accomplished scholars, experts in their fields, and supportive mentors. The student-to-faculty ratio is 14:1. Most classes are 20 students or fewer.
  • Athletics: NCAA Division III, member of the Commonwealth Conference of the Middle Atlantic States Athletic Corporation and member of Eastern College Athletic Conference, 8 men’s and 10 women’s intercollegiate sports.