The Independent Voice of Southern Methodist University Since 1915

The Daily Campus

The Daily Campus

The Independent Voice of Southern Methodist University Since 1915

The Daily Campus

The Independent Voice of Southern Methodist University Since 1915

The Daily Campus

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MSA educates campus on Islam

Last week, the Muslim Student Association held SMU’s 9th Islam Awareness Week, a celebration of culture and informing students about Islam. A display of fact filled posters, artwork, cultural finger foods, literature and speakers were presented daily inside the Hughes-Trigg Commons.

Islam Awareness Week is a nationally recognized event held by Muslim Student Associations at universities and colleges nationwide.

Monday’s theme was titled “WWMD” or “What Would Muhammad Do,” analogous to the Christian WWJD motto. It featured displays about the life and teachings of the Prophet Muhammad, who spread the message of Islam and whose character and manners are followed by Muslims all over the world.

On Tuesday, eye-catching posters filled with quick and easy facts, a movie about the Hijab (Muslim women’s head cover) and two panelists were presented discussing “Women in Islam.” The speakers, Yasmin Rolland and Farah Murad, spoke about the role of women in Islam and their own experiences as Muslim women.

“The main message was to inform the public about the rights, status and achievements of women in Islam as well as clarifying long held misconceptions regarding the treatment of women in Islam,” said Lena Dirbashi who chaired the “Women and Islam” display.  

The next day, “Islamic Art” was featured, including clothes and tapestries of Islamic heritage, much of which included meticulous patterns and designs. Percussionist Jamal Mohammed, a member of the SMU faculty, also performed.

Closing the week-long event was the “Islam and Science” display, which looked at the scientific aspects of Islam with some of our most famous discoveries like the concept of Algebra and science in the Quran, Islam’s holy book.

Although not widely publicized because of spring break the week before, it attracted a good number of people.

“Throughout the four days of IAW, the questions and response received from students was overwhelmingly positive,” said Shakeeb Mir, vice president of the MSA, “Hopefully we were able to dispel some of the misconceptions of Islam and able to illuminate the truth.”

Islam is the fastest growing and second largest religion in the world, and MSA organizers say that they tried to present the topics that are most necessary and interesting to the SMU community.

“There are a lot of misconceptions out there about Islam,” said Asad Rahman, president of the MSA, “So we try to dispel them with exhibits, speakers and literature so that the community is a little more aware that our religion is not about terrorism or violence, but a vibrant religious culture that has made many major contributions to the world.” 

According to MSA organizers, the point of Islam Awareness Week is to not only present Islam to the rest of the SMU community, but to raise awareness in Muslims themselves. “It’s an event that really unites our organization and encourages ourselves to become more aware of our own religion,” said Rahman.  

MSA members find the need for Islam Awareness Week at SMU especially. “Its a great way to present Islam and Muslims to an environment dedicated to learning,” said Dirbashi, “Because the Muslim population constitutes an extremely small population at SMU, this strengthens the need to present Islam.”

MSA’s final event of the year will be the Fundraising Dinner, which will commemorate MSA 20th anniversary by hosting a fundraiser for needy children over the world.

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