Muslims unite for Islam Awareness Month in Feb.
Published: Wednesday, February 9, 2011
Updated: Wednesday, April 4, 2012 22:04
Correction appended: A previous version of this story incorrectly identified Nadine Abu-Jubara as Nadine Falestine. The names of Amatullah Shahid and Abdullah Sabawi were also misspelled.
Hostile actions of a few violent Muslim extremists have given Americans a very negative view of what it means to be Muslim according to Nadine Abu-Jubara, a UCF and the Muslim Student Association alumna.
On Feb. 7, the MSA kicked off its events for Islam Awareness Month and looks to combat the misconceptions of Islam and its practices.
Funded by SGA, MSA has planned a whole month of events to give students and faculty an inside look at their religion and organization.
The month serves as a venue for UCF’s Muslim population to share their stories and help the student body understand the many misconceptions surrounding Islam practices, many of which have been fed through popular media outlets.
“Unfortunately, those who believe everything they see on TV carry this misconception. Anyone willing to take 5 minutes to do some real research on Islam can quickly dismiss this misconception” Abu-Jubara said.
MSA has given UCF students an easy way to do that research by hosting ten events promoting the education and acceptance of the Islamic society.
Amatullah Shahid, an MSA member responsible for planning these events, hopes students will keep an open mind and attend at least one of the activities in February.
She feels that the most important thing for students to understand is the role of relationships between men and women of her faith.
Covered from head to toe, Shahid hopes people can accept that she has chosen her path and her dress of her own free will.
She said women are not forced to act or dress modestly; they do it because it pleases God —it’s just that simple, according to Shahid.
To reinforce this idea, Altaf Husain, a social worker and contributing writer to Islam Online, has been invited to do a lecture on “Men, Women, and Modesty ... That’s so last year, isn’t it?” in which he will discuss commonly misunderstood topics about the roles and rights of men and women in the Islamic society.
Husain will be speaking in CSB 101 on Friday, Feb. 11, at 7 p.m.
Students who are interested in getting a more narrow sense of gender roles can attend “Women in Islam” in HEC 125 at 6 p.m. or “Manliness in Islam” in HEC 118 at 7:30 p.m. Both events are Tuesday, Feb. 15.
Abdullah Sabawi, president of MSA, is especially excited about getting his religion’s message out to the students and faculty.
“By learning about other faiths and breaking down the barriers of ignorance, we increase in mutual understanding and are ultimately a more peaceful community,” Sabawi said. “If someone were to attend only one event, I’d recommend Convert Stories because the Q&A session is likely to encompass many aspects of Islam.”
Convert Stories is scheduled for Monday, Feb. 28 at 7:30 p.m. in COMM 101.
Through Islam Awareness Month, Sabawi hopes to help people learn about Islam as it was revealed in the Qur’an, thus making a clear and distinct separation between extremism and true Islam.
“It is vital that we use our time at UCF to do more than just sit in a classroom,” Abu-Jabara said. “We are here to gain knowledge about the world around us.”
For more information on the MSA, visit their Facebook page by searching “Muslim Student Association (UCF Chapter).”
For a more one-on-one approach, stop by the MSA’s booth in front of the Student Union, usually stationed on Mondays and Tuesdays from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.