Islamic Awareness Week to battle stereotypes

From Pakistan to the Middle East, Islam is highly respected, but the West has a different perspective of the religion, said an associate professor of religion.

Negative stereotyping of Muslims and Islam is common in society, and Islamic Awareness Week will help correct some of the misinterpretations, said Yushau Sodiq, associate professor of religion.

The Muslim Student Association has organized a weeklong event to raise awareness about Islam and teach the community the true values of the religion.

Fidaa Elaydi, a sophomore sociology major and president of MSA, said Muslims and Islam are perceived in a negative way by the community and Islamic Awareness Week is highlighting all the positive aspects through discussions and lectures designed to clear the myths and misconceptions about the religion.

“Islam truly is a religion of peace and tolerance and acceptance contrary to common belief,” Elaydi said.

Students are interested in religious diversity and want to learn about religions, even though they attend a Christian university, said Sodiq, who teaches Islam in a course about discovering other faiths.

“TCU is a liberal and secular institution and not a religious institution,” Sodiq said. “(Islamic Awareness Week) gives students the opportunity to learn a religion and its traditions regardless of whether they believe it or not.”

Speakers from the Dallas/Fort Worth Islamic community will lecture on various topics, such as the tolerance and acceptance Islam has brought to the world, the equality and justice it preaches to the Islamic feminist movement and the commonalities the religion has with other religions, Elaydi said. This will help present Islam in a more favorable way than the way media portray it, she said.

Elaydi said one of the goals of the week is to show that Islam is “relatable” to other religions.

“It teaches values and beliefs that aren’t different from the values and beliefs most people share in any religion,” Elaydi said.

Yasmine Javeed, a sophomore advertising/public relations major and MSA vice president, said the events of Islamic Awareness Week will primarily help educate the TCU community about Islam.

“It will answer the questions about what students think and what it really is,” Javeed said.

The week is going to end with a visit to the nearby Masjid Al Ibraheemi mosque that will include a presentation and a question-and-answer session on the five pillars of Islam, or the five duties every Muslim practices, Elaydi said. The visitors will also have an opportunity to observe a Muslim prayer session in the mosque, she said.

For Your Info

Islamic Awareness Week

Tolerance in Islam Luncheon by Imam Ahmad Zaree
When: 11:30 a.m. today
Where: DJ Kelly Alumni Center

Islam: The Original Feminist Movement by Sister Iman Kirmali
When: 11 a.m. Wednesday
Where: Wright/King Media RoomChildren of Abraham by Rabbi Ralph Mecklenburger, Pastor Tim Carson, Imam Moujahed Bakhach
When: 3 p.m. Thursday
Where: Student Center Lounge

Visit to a local mosque, Masjid Al-Ibrahimi
When: 6:30 p.m. Friday
Where: Meet in the parking lot behind Beasley Hall