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'The Muslim Guy' And Wash. U. Alum Arsalan Iftikhar On Marathon Bombings And Muslims In Daily Life

Erin Williams

Since his days as a student in the classrooms of Washington University, ArsalanIftikharhas made a career out of educating others on the myths and realities in the Muslim world.        

Iftikhar, whose website and Twitter handle are both titled "The Muslim Guy," says his life changed the day he saw his religion come under attack after September 11, 2001, and has since dedicated himself to encouraging international and interfaith dialogue through his weekly commentary on NPR’s ‘Tell Me More,’ news stories and writings, and his book “Islamic Pacifism: Global Muslims in the Post-Osama Era.”

An international human rights lawyer by trade, he is now based in Washington D.C. and was recently at his alma mater to receive a Distinguished Young Law Alumniaward. He feels that searching for commonalities and dialogue is the best way to humanize our understanding of unfamiliar issues about Muslims and other minorities.

“I always joke – I wish people had Muslim cousins that could help humanize us to them,” he says. “We deal with the same issues that everyone else deals with. We put our pants on one leg at a time as well.”