The Davidsonian: MSA sponsors Islamic Awareness Week

The Muslim Student Association (MSA) sponsored events ranging from an annual feast and lecture to film screenings concerning the perspectives, values and people of Islam during last week’s Islamic Awareness Week.

The festivities began on Mar. 18 with the third annual MSA feast and lecture, which addresses issues pertaining to Islam as well as the public’s perception of Islam.

This year’s topic was “Abrahamic Plurality:” a lecture concerning the similarities and the differences among Judeo-Christian-Islamic beliefs.

Ahmed Rehab, Executive Director of the Council of Muslim-American Relations, Chicago Chapter, delivered the lecture.

The event garnered over 200 interested peers, teachers, staff and community members from Davidson and Charlotte.

MSA Co-President Nafisa Isa ’08 said that the event “shows MSA’s commitment to Davidson and its community by its willingness to share intimate aspects about its faith.”

MSA held an Islamic awareness panel on Monday, a session in which people could ask anonymous questions pertaining to anything about Islam to a panel of various practitioners.

The panelists ranged from Islamic scholars to converts to Islam. “The panel proves that Islam is not a monolith,” Isa said.

Tuesday through Thursday MSA sponsored an art showing in the Union Atrium.

The art exhibit was composed of pieces representing the experiences of Davidson students in the Islamic community. Some pieces were provided from the homes of students, and others were photographs and items acquired from students’ travels abroad.

MSA Co-President Fareed Cheema ’10 said that he hoped people would “see the wide diversity of Muslim people outside of Arabia. Muslims come from around the world: Indonesia, Indian, etc.”

On Thursday night, the MSA sponsored a movie, “The Road to Guant√°namo.” According to Isa, this event reflected the political side of MSA.

The movie tells the story of three Bengali youths-also British citizens-who traveled to Afghanistan to volunteer and ended up being detained, interrogated and tortured by the U.S. military.

“We showed the movie to raise awareness, not necessarily about Islam, but about our common values, like torture being wrong,” Cheema said. “It also showed that our government isn’t necessarily always supporting what it claims.”

The final event in the Islamic Awareness week occurred this past Sunday with the “Women in Islam” lecture by Edina Lekovic. Lekovic spoke about how Muslim women can function and contribute to society.

“Lekovic’s speech showed that Islam does not have radically different values concerning women,” Cheema said. “We just have different approaches to those values, like what we consider modesty.”

Isa was pleased with Islam Week overall

“I’m glad people supported MSA,” she said. “Also the fact that we had so many co-sponsors proves that Davidson is willing to learn more about Muslim culture. MSA really does have a future here.”


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