For anyone seeking an opportunity to interact with Muslim students or a chance to explore a different culture, look no further than the College’s Islamic Society.
One of a variety of religious groups on campus, the Islamic Society provides a way for Muslim students to meet and celebrate their faith.
“I think it is nice because it is a way for me to meet other Muslims,” President Fatima Mughal said.
Omar Selim, freshman, international business major, is enthusiastic about the organization. “I haven’t had much of a chance to be friends with Muslim kids,” he said. “This gives me that opportunity.”
Manar Darwish has been advising the group for the past three years, ever since her arrival at the College. “The Islamic Society is a way for students to share their heritage,” she said.
“I just think, being Muslim, it’s nice being able to meet other Muslims,” Summer Eishenawy, freshman biology major, said.
The Islamic Society is one of the smaller organizations on campus, a fact Mughal suggests is related to the school’s small population of Muslim students.
“I think a lot of people don’t know we exist.” Mughal said.
As a result, the group has advertised to increase membership. The group publicized its latest event, a Ramadan celebration, which took place this past Friday.
The gathering celebrated the nightly breaking of the fast most Muslims participate in from sunrise to sunset during Ramadan, the ninth lunar month. The Fast of Ramadan, recognized as the time of the prophet Muhammad’s first revelation, is considered the fourth of the Five Pillars of Islam.
Both Muslim and non-Muslim students were encouraged to attend the event, which also included a speaker, Daniel Abdalhayy Moore, a published Sufi poet and a convert to Islam.
The Islamic Society often invites non-Muslim students and welcomes their thoughts and questions.
“I think it’s cool when we’re able to bring other people in,” Mughal said. “We’re very open to meeting with people.”
Darwish recognizes the group’s attempts to spread the awareness of Islam. “They are trying to reach out and give a positive view of themselves,” she said.
“I wish people would realize that this group is not just for Muslims,” Eishenawy said. “From the other perspective, it’s for education.”
The Islamic Society hosts an Islamic Awareness Month each year and is planning one for the Spring semester.
The month includes guest lecturers and a Middle Eastern Buffet.
Events like these are particularly important in the wake of Sept. 11. However, the Islamic Society maintains they have experienced very few problems relating to Sept. 11, Darwish said.
“I don’t think any of our students experienced any sort of difficulties,” Darwish said.
Mughal reported no problems, although some people felt uncomfortable. “After 9/11, a lot of newspapers came here to talk to the club.”
Despite the recent racist incident on campus, involving anti-semitic sentiment in the form of a swastika drawn on a Jewish sutden’t door, overall the group expressed positive thoughts.
“I do think we have a really good campus,” Mughal said. “People are very receptive.”