Islamic Awareness Week aims to knock down misconceptions

4/19/2012

By William Murrel

With hijabs to try on, Middle Eastern recipes to taste, and copies of the Quran on display, Islamic Awareness Week is in full swing at Purdue University.

In a tent at Memorial Mall Wednesday, members of the Muslim Student Association shared information about Muslim culture.

“This is very important and a pleasure to all of us,” Purdue graduate student Sameer Mojlish said. “Students come to ask us questions (about our religion and culture) and it’s a great opportunity to share with them our faith and beliefs.”

Mojlish was one of several students in the tent representing Islam, a culture many Muslims feel is often misrepresented and undervalued in the media.

“The Muslim community is huge and this is a big opportunity to get people together to help them understand us better,” Purdue graduate student Mohammed Abukhater said. “The media often shows pictures of Muslims as extremists and acting crazy.”

“Even though it may be interesting to show those things in the news, it’s not true of all Muslims,” he said.

To aid with understanding cultural misconceptions, the awareness tent was littered with fact cards and posters titled, “What is Islam?”, “What do Muslims believe?”, “What is the Qur’an?” and others.

A Middle Eastern recipe of Baklava and clothing materials like hijabs and kurti were on display and available for people to try on.

“Nowadays, especially after 9-11, Islamophobia has been on the rise,” Muslim Student Association president Aurangzeb said.

“There have been multiple hate crimes against Muslims in the United States. Recently a mother of five in California was killed in her house and a note was left calling her a terrorist and informing her to return to her country,” he said.

Issues like these are very serious if people’s lives are in danger because of Islamophobia, the Pakistan native said, and it’s important to do something to educate people and tell them about Islam and Muslims.

Along with daily outreach at the tent, Islamic Awareness Week features an open house and guest speakers such as Hamza Abdullah and Husain Abdullah, who are Muslim players in the National Football League. Events wrap up today following a speech by Muslim enthusiast Shaykh Khalid Yasin at 6:30 p.m. in room 112 of the Physics Building, 525 Northwestern Ave.

“By showing how we are, our everyday life, and how we’re very normal and approachable shows that what’s presented in the media is skewed,” Purdue senior Nasar Ansari said.

“What we’re doing is showing the more representative face of Muslims and Islam.”

Source: http://www.jconline.com/article/20120419/NEWS0501/204190323/Islamic-Awareness-Week-aims-knock-down-misconceptions

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