Campus News

Islam Week kicks off at Butler Plaza

Members of the Muslim Student Association fielded questions about Islam and distributed free copies of the Quran on Monday. | Claire Andersen/ The Cougar

Braving rain and mud, the Muslim Student Association hosted students at Butler Plaza Monday for an afternoon of faith, education and  ‘I met a Muslim and they gave me this FREE shirt!’ t-shirts.

MSA members hosted the first event of Islam Week, Islam 101, and answered questions posed by students about Islam—even ones about the most controversial issues.

“It’s important to have this open dialogue where students can ask any questions so people can see that we are students, we are here and we exist,” said former MSA president Ahmed Sarraj.

Several passing students stopped by the tent to ask questions or to pick up one of the free copies of the Quran that were being distributed.

“I hear a lot of anti-Muslim propaganda, so I feel like I should actually read the Quran instead of taking everything at face value,” said sophomore biology major Ariana Wells. “I don’t think I have a place to argue about something that I’m not necessarily 100 percent about.”

MSA groups all over the country also hosted Islam Week events in effort to bring a greater understanding of Islam and to debunk common misconceptions about Islam faith and culture.

Events at UH include a discussion about women’s rights Thursday and an interfaith dialogue and lunch Friday at the A.D. Bruce Religion Center.

“UH is one of the places that doesn’t have a lot of those negative ideas (about Islam), but there are still some,” said sophomore MSA member Tahira Raza. “One that comes to mind is that girls wear the hijab to protect themselves from men.”

Sarrai shared that MSA hopes that students of other faiths and cultures will come engage in open dialogue so they can understand the truth about Islam.

“The point of it isn’t to shame anyone or belittle anyone for believing what misconceptions they hear,” Sarraj said. “We understand. We don’t try to judge anyone for what they think.”

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