This week, from May 11 to 14, UWT’s Muslim Student Association (MSA) and Student Activities Board (SAB) are hosting a series of events for the students on campus during Islam Awareness Week. The events are set during lunch hour, from 12-2, and the purpose is to eliminate Islamophobia and to educate students on the basics of what Islam is. Events are open to all students, and students are encouraged to attend to ask questions, to learn, and to be open to new perspectives.
“This is a brand new event on campus-it’s never been done before. We’re really excited” says Suhaila Hanno, a junior Global Studies major and Business minor. Hanno is the president of Muslim Student Association, and is very happy to bring this event to UWT. “We want to try to eliminate Islamophobia, and to let students know what the religion really is. All people get is the misconceptions in the media. This week is all about bringing each other together and sharing our experiences to this campus.”
Kicking the week off will be Islam 101, an information session about the basics of Islam from 12-2 p.m. at Commerce Plaza on May 11. Four facilitators will answer questions about the basics of Islam. Students are welcomed to stop by and ask questions at the table.
On May 12, 12-2 p.m. in WCG 110, the Women in Islam event will host a panel of 6-8 Muslim women students speaking about their perspectives and experiences of being a Muslim in America. One topic these women will cover is the wearing headscarves, and how many women do not view it as oppressive, but as a personal choice of empowerment.
A fashion show will be held at on Wednesday May 13 from 12-2 p.m. in the Mattress Factory. Muslim students will dress in cultural garb to show that Islam is not just one culture, but many. Egyptian Muslims have different traditional clothing than Indian Muslims, and through this fashion show, students can explore the similarities and differences.
The culmination of events is the Fast-a-Thon Banquet on Thursday May 14. With the beginning of Ramadan coming up on June 17, students can practice fasting for a day (or a couple of hours) and share their experiences. During the 30 days of Ramadan, Muslims practice fasting during the day, abstaining from food and drink, and break at sunset. At 6:00 p.m. in UWY 303, MSA will host a banquet where everyone will share food, drink, and talk about the importance of fasting, why it’s important, and what it symbolizes. UWT Political Science Professor, Dr. Turan Kayaoglu will be present at the banquet to share information about fasting. Students can also enjoy a performance from the Seattle traditional folk dance Dabke Team, to wrap up the week.
Students can use #FearNoIslam on social networking sites like Facebook, Instagram and Twitter to showcase the cool things they see during that week and even after.
To get involved, MSA needs students who are open to setting up, decorating, and presenting at these events. Anyone is welcome to help, Muslims and non-Muslim students.