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MSA to observe bi-annual ‘Islam Awareness Week’

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Parthenon File Photo MSA member and Marshall graduate student Waleed Asif dons a “USA” hat as he dyes a shirt in the colors of the American flag on Buskirk Field in celebration of “Hijab Day” for Islam Awareness Week last semester.

Parthenon File Photo
MSA member and Marshall graduate student Waleed Asif dons a “USA” hat as he dyes a shirt in the colors of the American flag on Buskirk Field in celebration of “Hijab Day” for Islam Awareness Week last semester.

The Muslim Student Association will have its ‘Meet a Muslim ‘event Monday on the Memorial Student Center Plaza.

The event will take place from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. as part of Islam Awareness Week.

“The MSA holds a week of events every semester with the purpose of educating people about Islam, clearing misconceptions associated with the religion and knocking down those barriers people often feel with people who are different from them,” said Suzann Al-Qawasmi, president of MSA. “On Monday we have our Meet a Muslim event, which gives people an opportunity to come and get to know us. It might sound silly, but so many people here have never had a real conversation with a Muslim before, and what a better way to learn about it than to come and speak to someone who practices the faith? In our past experience with this event, we find that people are always so surprised to learn that we believe many of the same things they do.”

Other events for the week include a board game night Monday, a “Politics and Popcorn” event Tuesday for election day, a hijab event Wednesday, a bake sale Thursday and an open house at a mosque Friday.

Al-Qawasmi said proceeds from Thursday’s bake sale will be donated toward a nonprofit home for recovering addicts.

“Families from our mosque bake desserts for our bake sale that are so different from anything many people usually get to taste,” Al-Qawasmi said. “We’ll have desserts that are popular in countries like Syria, Morocco, Jordan and Palestine, including baklava.”

Following the bake sale, MSA plans to have a discussion about addiction Thursday evening, although plans are not yet finalized.

“We’re going to have an interfaith dialogue discussion about addiction and solutions in faith,” Al-Qawasmi said. “The plan is to have a representative from each of the three Abrahamic faiths.”

All the events are open for any student to attend, and Al-Qawasmi said it is a welcoming environment.

“We tend to get a really positive response during Islam Awareness Week,” Al-Qawasmi said. “We try really hard to create a safe space where people feel comfortable to ask anything they want to know about Islam or what it’s like being Muslim in America. Hatred and fear stem from ignorance, so when people feel safe to ask, to learn and even challenge their preconceived notions, that’s when we’re able to make positive changes.”

Olivia Zarilla can be contacted at [email protected]

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