Islamic Awareness Week Challenges Stereotypes:
Opening Dialogues About Another Way of Life

Muslim Student 1

Muslim Student Association President Binetou Fall (Left) and Secretary Teajan Damra (Right) celebrate Hijab Day. Photo Credit / Essam Almutair

Muslim Student Association President Binetou Fall (Left) and Secretary Teajan Damra (Right) celebrate Hijab Day.
Photo Credit / Essam Almutair

By Erin McGuire
Staff Writer

From March 21-24, a series of events took place as a part of Islamic Awareness Week.

“During Islamic Awareness Week, we will be organizing a range of activities and events aimed at opening dialogues about our way of life, developing contact with individuals, promoting social interaction and celebrating our culture,” stated the event description.

“We will endorse better understanding and awareness of Islam throughout the week. We will focus on raising awareness and removing any misconceptions surrounding our community.”

Event coordinators say that was the main goal of the week: to bring awareness to the Islamic culture and to defend against stereotypes.

Binetou Fall, president of the Muslim Student Association, said that they wanted to make themselves more visible on campus.

Fall explained that the Islamic religion promotes peace, but is so often misunderstood. She also said the Islamic Awareness Week events were intended to raise awareness and show people what it is like to be a Muslim.

Fall said that she knew that she could create events that were all lectures and presentations, but instead wanted the events to be interactive. That way, people could really understand what it was like to have those experiences.

The two biggest interactive events included Fast-A-Thon and Hijab Day.

On March 22, students were encouraged to take part in a fast until sundown, at which point they were provided with food and talked about their experiences.

Although Muslims fast for thirty days, this one-day fast gave students an idea of what it would be like.

Hijab Day was put into the itinerary as a way for students to observe the reactions of others around them.

Fall shared some of the shocking reactions that students faced.

“One professor told a student ‘I hope you’re not hiding a bomb under that scarf.’”

Some students who were working on campus swiping eCards reported that people would throw their cards at the students wearing a Hijab.

“It’s sad that this is happening on our campus,” said Fall. “For that one day, these students got to experience what it is like being a Muslim woman every day.”

The week’s events concluded with a presentation about “The Purpose of Life.”

According to the itinerary, “Muslims believe that God has created us to be His trustee on earth. We were created to worship God and we are being tested in life to be recompensed after our death for what we earned. The purpose of life is to better yourself and to always give back.”

The Muslim Student Association designed the week’s events with this purpose in mind.

For anyone interested in joining the Muslim Student Association or anyone who would like to learn more about Islam, meetings take place every Tuesday from 2-3 p.m. in Stroud 203.

You can also contact Binetou Fall at bfall@live.esu.edu.

Email Erin at:
emcguire1@live.esu.edu

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