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Students promote Islam

| Monday, March 31, 2014

In order to fight misconceptions about the Muslim faith and educate people about specific aspects of Islam, the Notre Dame Muslim Students Association (MSA-ND) is hosting its first Islam Awareness Week from Tuesday to Friday of this week.

S.M. Moududul Islam, MSA-ND secretary, said the organization began planning the week last semester, using other universities’ Islam Awareness Weeks as models.

He said the goal of the week, which is funded by a Graduate Student Life grant, Campus Ministry, the Islamic Society of Michiana South Bend Mosque, the Center for Social Concerns and the Kroc Institute for International Studies, is to provide a series of unified events that allow the Notre Dame community to ask detailed questions about the Muslim faith.

“The idea of Islam Awareness Week is to have multiple events within a week so that we can draw the attention of the people here on campus and let them know about Islam, and also to let the people ask questions,” Islam said. “We are having different talks and different … events at which there can be close interaction between the audience and the speaker. It is good to have that forum where you can ask questions.”

MSA-ND vice president Md. Itrat Bin Shams said the week would also be an opportunity to learn about certain facets of Islam, such as the pilgrimage to Mecca and the concept of the hijab, in more detail.

“[The goal is] to let people know about specific aspects of Islam, some things that are maybe known to us but not to people who believe in other faiths,” Shams said.

The week will begin with two events focused on Hajj, the fifth Pillar of Islam, in which Muslims make a pilgrimage to the holy city of Mecca. On Tuesday, there will be a screening of the documentary, “Seven Wonders of the Muslim World,” which features seven mosques in the Islamic world and tells the story of seven pilgrims’ journey to Mecca.

On Wednesday, during Campus Ministry’s regular “Prayer from Around the World,” Dr. A. Rashied Omar, a research scholar of Islamic Studies and peace building at the Kroc Institute, will give a talk on Hajj.

“We always see the image of the Kaaba in Mecca on TV, but we don’t exactly know any people who are non-Muslim who know what is going on there,” Islam said.

“So the idea is to have a lecture, and in addition to the lecture we are having a video demonstration on the pilgrimage to Mecca … [Dr. A. Rashied Omar] will be discussing the spiritual aspect as well as the rituals.”

Directly following Omar’s lecture will be a dinner titled “I Believe In . . .” which will consist of small-group discussions of each participant’s faith.

On Friday, MSA-ND will provide transportation for 12 students to the mosque at the Islamic Society of Michiana for a prayer service.

“Some students from Notre Dame can come with us to see how we perform our prayer and also, there’s a speech just before the prayer by the imam, the leader in the mosque,” Shams said. “They can see the whole picture. The mosque, for us, for Muslims, is not only the place for the prayer, [but] it is [also] a community center, so they can see how these things connect with each other.”

The week will culminate with a lecture by Hisham Mahmoud, an instructor of Arabic at Harvard University and prominent scholar of Islam on Friday evening. Mahmoud will discuss the importance of Jesus and Mary in the Islamic tradition.

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About Emily McConville

Emily McConville is a news writer and photographer for the Observer. She is a senior studying history and Italian with a minor in journalism. She is from Louisville, KY and lives off-campus.

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  • vinienco

    msa is a muslim brotherhood offshoot.

    • When it comes to pislam, all we hear is takiya.

  • Jay Shawn

    We don’t need any more Islamic awareness. How about you Muslims show awareness of what you’re doing to combat extremism and radicalism?

    • Dome

      for students like us? by doing programs like these of course. This program isn’t one way, it’s a two-way program. We’re not only sharing what we feel about Islam but we wanna propagate the idea to our Muslim brothers and sisters that interfaith harmony is possible and that we can share about Islam in a peaceful way. Thanks for opening up the discussion, Jay!

    • João Pedro Santos

      In Syria and Iraq, Muslims are fighting ISIS. You’re welcome.

  • M.

    And, sadly, these ignorant comments show exactly why Notre Dane students need awareness about Islam.

    • M.


    • Sounds like you’re ignorant about Notre Dame.

    • DoubleEIC

      Do you think any of the below comments are actually from ND students? They are all from trolls who run around looking for Muslim stories to comment on.

      • João Pedro Santos

        I seriously hope so. At least in ND I’ve been lucky with the people I know.

  • sfa

    I am aware of the sins against humanity people have committed in the name of Islam.

    • sfa

      I’ve also read the Quran and can see just how fundamentally misguided this religion is.

      • The unholy koranus itself is fundamentally misguided.

  • Rob

    You all are ignorant. Don’t vote