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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat

 

    Students aim to reverse Islam’s ‘bad rap’

    Some Muslim students are taking on the task of educating the UA community about Islam during Islamic Awareness Week.

    The Muslim Students Association is promoting awareness of the Prophet Mohammad and his life through an evening lecture series and an informational tent on the UA Mall this week, said Ehab Tamimi, a biochemistry freshman and MSA member.

    Amid the controversy of the Danish cartoons and other published caricatures of Mohammad, the MSA is trying to let the UA community know what Islam is really all about.

    “”It’s important that fear is taken out as a barrier between people,”” Tamimi said.

    Evening lecture series

    Today
    “”Mohammad: Family Man””
    6:30 p.m. – 9:00 p.m.
    Aerospace and Mechanical
    Engineering building, Room 202

    Tomorrow
    “”Mohammad: Man of Negotiation and Mediation””
    6:30 p.m. – 9:00 p.m.
    Aerospace and Mechanical
    Engineering building, Room 202

    There are misconceptions that Mohammad was someone who caused terror, but the MSA’s goal is to erase or modify that perception by showing everyone that he was a man of peace and mercy, Tamimi said.

    “”It’s an obligation for us to show the rest of the world that the true message of the prophet was submission to God and learning how to get along with each other,”” Tamimi said.

    The most popular misconceptions about Islam are that women are mistreated and that it is a violent religion, said Freeha Azher, a molecular and cellular biology senior and secretary of the MSA.

    “”A lot of people are ignorant,”” Azher said. “”We are trying to show them what Islam is all about.””

    Educating the public is the most important thing that Muslim students can do to correct these commonly held misconceptions, Azher said.

    Sam Glicken, a media arts freshman, said he doesn’t really understand Islam, so he stopped by the tent to learn more.

    “”(Islam) gets a bad rap,”” Glicken said. “”Too much attention is focused on the negative, and more attention needs to be paid to what the religion is really about.””

    Angela Watkins said she was drawn into the tent because she enjoys learning about other cultures, and the free baklava didn’t hurt either.

    “”It’s important to erase stereotypes for any and every culture,”” said Watkins, a biochemistry senior. “”People are still people. Information and learning are the keys to doing that.””

    Sarah Dehaybi, a Near Eastern studies sophomore and president of the MSA, said this year’s event is structured a little differently than in the past and focuses more on the life of Mohammad than in previous years.

    “”Our goal for the week is to promote awareness, understanding, education and to encourage interest in Islam,”” Dehaybi said while practicing her henna tattooing technique on willing subjects. “”Unfortunately there are a lot of misconceptions and misunderstandings about Islam in the West.””

    There has been some opposition to the MSA’s presence on the UA Mall in past years, said Miriam Hoda, a physiology senior and student coordinator for MSA.

    “”Mostly it is people who have set ideologies and aren’t open to new things,”” Hoda said. “”They hear things from one source and think they’re true.””

    A distinction needs to be made between fundamentalists and true followers of Islam, said Neema Eshrati, a psychology freshman visiting the booth.

    “”It’s important to learn outside of what CNN shows us,”” Eshrati said. “”Knowledge brings understanding and tolerance for one another.””

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