The Muslim Student Association (MSA) hosted “Meet a Muslim Day” at University Park on Tuesday, Nov. 20.
The event was intended to inform students about the value of their Islamic culture and religion.
“The number one reason there is Islamophobia is that people have never actually met a Muslim,” said Hadi Nasr, a third-year urban regional planning student and president of the Muslim Student Association. “Their only perception of what a Muslim is through media and typically those outlets are not the best representation of what a Muslim is.”
Booths provided a variety of cultural activities to encourage students to start a conversation about defying Islamophobia and stereotypes about Muslims and to help them really understand the religion and culture of Muslim people.
“You come out here and you can see what we do outside of the classroom and how we want to spread our religion in a cool way just like everyone else,” said Maryam Saleh, a second-year business marketing student. Students were able to try on hijabs and get henna tattoos.
Another booth offered notecards where students could get their names written in Arabic calligraphy.
There was also a questionnaire booth where people could ask questions and express any fears or concerns based on Muslim stereotypes and get answers.
Rayyan Musulmani, a second-year biology student involved in MSA, expressed her desired outcome of this event.
“We’re just hoping to remove any stereotypes that people have of Muslims and just to understand that we’re a peaceful religion,” she said. “And just because that 1 percent of Muslims committed terrorist attacks, like obviously we’re not responsible for those. We just want to put out that we’re peaceful too.”
The main idea that MSA members wanted to get across to other students was the idea that Muslims are human too. By encouraging an open conversation, MSA wanted students to get to know and really understand what Islam is about.
“Our morals, our values, what we do and our actions are based off this religion,” Nasr said. “Sure, some of the things we do are a bit different than other people, but in general, the overwhelming concept is that we are still human beings at the end of the day.”
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