Muslim students seek to educate

Elizabeth Putnam

As he watched the second plane hit the World Trade Center on television, one concern immediately sprung into Fahed Siddiqui’s mind.

“I thought, if this involves Muslims, then there is going to be a lot of discrimination against us,” said Fahed Siddiqui, a member of the Muslim Student Association.

But in an effort to mitigate discrimination and educate non-Muslims about the Islamic faith, the Muslim Student Association is presenting a three-part lecture series aimed at providing a window into the Islamic culture.

The group has held similar presentations for the past two semesters and had planned these events before Sept. 11.

“It’s been planned for a while, but the interest has increased so it’s important we hold the series again,” said Muhammad Siddiqui, an MSA member.

The events will be open to everyone, but non-Muslims are especially welcome.

“We are trying to keep it to non-Muslims who want to learn more about Islam,” said Fahed Siddiqui. “We are expecting a large response and we have limited space. This way those who don’t know much about it can learn.”

The series will take place over the next three Wednesdays in a question-and-answer format. The themes will be “What Everyone Should Know About Islam and Muslims,” “The Qur’an: The Islamic Way of Life” and “Women in Islam: Liberation or Suppression.”

Muhammad Siddiqui said the first lecture will give students an overview of Islam. It will also highlight the beliefs and practices of Muslims and compare them with other religions.

The second lecture will focus on the Qur’an and how it guides Muslims.

“Time changes and the Qur’an doesn’t. It always applies. That’s the beauty of it,” Muhammad Siddiqui said.

He also said the final lecture will tackle misperceptions of Islamic women.

The National Muslim Student Association is coordinating similar activities to educate students about the Muslim faith.

“MSA National recognizes that Muslim students on college and university campuses will be subject to backlash from ignorant and uninformed faculty, staff and fellow students,” said President Altaf Husain.

The group’s national leaders immediately condemned terrorism the day of the attacks.

“Any such attack which targets innocent people is not only unjustified, it is also counterproductive to any agenda that the perpetrators wish to pursue,” Husain said.

The National Muslim Student Association suggests members walk away from any situation of intimidation or harassment and always walk in groups of two or more.

The University’s Muslim Student Association hasn’t experienced any discrimination since the attacks, Muhammad Siddiqui said.