The Muslim Student Association hosted Islam Awareness Week this past week to help students, faculty and members of the community better understand and appreciate the religion of Islam.
This year’s theme was “Islamophobia in the Western Media.” Islamophobia is a phenomenon in which individuals harbor an irrational prejudice, hatred or fear of Islam and Muslims, believing that Islam is a violent political ideology rather than a religion.
MSA hosted several speakers throughout the week with the purpose of addressing this misunderstanding.
“[We are hosting these events] to help our fellow American brothers and sisters understand Shariah and to tackle rampant Islamophobia,” said MSA President Bilaluddin Mohammad. “And to educate all the students and communities during the Islam Awareness Week.”
Mohammad said in recent years many different groups have been trying to generate Islamophobia and create the perception that Muslims shouldn’t be a part of the American Society.
“In the past couple of years, a group of conservative pundits, analysts and bloggers have identified Shariah, or Islamic religious law, as a growing threat to the United States,” he said. “These pundits and analysts argue that the steady adoption of Shariah’s tenets is a strategy extremists are using to transform the United States into an Islamic state. But what is quite amazing is that the vast majorities who argue against Shariah know very little or nothing of what it is its definition, its scope or even the processes of implementation.”
In Islam, Shariah is the religious teaching of Allah. Shariah governs the different spheres of a Muslim’s life, such as worship, which includes prayer, fasting and pilgrimage. It also includes interaction with others such as being honest, fulfilling oaths and being loyal, said Mohammed.
Tonight the organization is hosting the last speaker of the five-day series at 7 p.m. in Neumiller Hall, room 145. Sabeel Ahmed will speak and examine a few of the personal laws and society based laws of the previous prophets and the lessons we can learn in our day and age.
Ahmed was born in India and moved to the US more than 15 years ago. He is currently the Circle of North America Director of the GainPeace Project, an outreach project of Islamic Circle of North America, and is a full time ambassador in the Muslim community.
Students, faculty and staff who are interested in learning more about the religion of Islam are invited to attend tonight speaker as well as congregation prayer which will be held this afternoon at 1 p.m. in the Garrett Center.