Muslim Student Association hosts annual Islam Awareness Week
Natalie Weber | Tuesday, April 17, 2018
In order to educate the Notre Dame community about their faith, the Muslim Student Association (MSA) kicked off its annual Islam Awareness Week on Saturday and is hosting events through this Friday.
“Generally, the week is here to raise awareness about Islam and answer questions about it,” sophomore and MSA vice president Douha Morchid said. “We’re inviting students to actually ask us questions. Where sometimes they might be shy to do so on a daily basis, this is an opportunity for everyone to actually come and ask us.”
On Monday, the club hosted a “Hijab Day” and handed out free hijabs and donuts in LaFortune Student Center.
“People usually have a lot of questions around hijabs, and I guess the best thing is to make them try it and see how it feels and also answer their questions,” Morchid said. “And as a hijabi on campus it feels good to see more hijabis around, at least for a day.”
Last year, Morchid said, the event was so popular hijabs ran out by the early afternoon.
“Last year, I remember at 1 p.m. I didn’t find any hijabs for my roommates,” she said. “So people actually interacted more with it than I expected. I think last year was the first time that I experienced this — which is a nice thing — and I feel like the Notre Dame community is open to trying things, which is actually nice.”
The group aims to continue discussion throughout the week, Morchid said, with an Islam Awareness Week Dinner on Tuesday, a Quran halaqah — or study session — Wednesday and an interfaith discussion with the Jewish Student Association and Iron Sharpens Iron on Thursday.
Morchid said the halaqah will allow students to learn more about the Quran, Islam’s sacred text.
“[We] technically just get together with Muslim and non-Muslim students [to] just discuss some verses from the Quran,” she said. “It’s just an open discussion and everyone is invited if they have questions. It’s really open and we don’t really have someone who knows a lot about the religion, but we just want to [generate] discussion about maybe some controversial verses in the Quran.”
Abdul AlJumaily, a graduate student and member of the Muslim Student Association, said his favorite event of the week is the Friday mosque visit.
“We have a religious belief that if you attend Friday prayer and then you attend the following prayer, that if you follow the main commandments in our religion, all your sins for that previous seven days are wiped clean, as long as you abstain from major sins,” he said. “It’s also a great time for community to interact with our fellow students.”
More than anything, AlJumaily said, MSA aims to engage the Notre Dame community this week and dismantle misconceptions about their faith.
“Islam more than any other religion has been misrepresented in terms of extremism and violence, so it’s great to come out here and interact with the community and show a friendly face and do the Lord’s work,” he said.