The following is an excerpt from an article posted in the Dailynebraskan.com in April 2018:
“University of Nebraska-Lincoln students will be able to learn more about Islamic and Arabic culture this week by exploring everything from Arabic coffee to Islam’s perception of marriage and relationships through the upcoming Islamic Awareness Week.
The events, hosted by the Muslim Student Association, begin on Tuesday, April 3. On the first floor of the Nebraska City Union from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m., the club will hold “Hijab Day.” MSA members will discuss women’s issues with students by talking about women leaders in Islam, and explaining the concept of hijab.
Hijab is a literal and figurative veil most often worn by Muslim women to preserve their modesty. Head scarves will be available for students to try on, and even take home.
On April 4 from 3 to 5 p.m., booths in the Nebraska Union will offer information about Islamic and Arabic influences in topics like art, science and architecture. MSA members will explain the information and answer questions from students.
On April 5, the club will host a fundraising event from noon to 2 p.m. in the Nebraska Union Crib. Students can buy Arabic desserts and coffee, henna art or Arabic calligraphy T-shirts. All proceeds will benefit displaced people in Syria and Myanmar.
That same day, from 3 to 5 p.m., Imam Yaser Birjas will discuss relationships, marriage and family in Islam in Hamilton Hall. Birjas is the leader of the Valley Ranch Islamic Center in Irving, Texas, and regularly holds workshops on marriage, parenting and family life in Islam.
Finally, on Saturday, April 7, MSA will partner with Islamic Relief USA for another fundraising event. From 12:30 to 2 p.m. at the John Breslow Ice Hockey Center, admissions from skating will go toward humanitarian causes in Syria and Myanmar.
Mohamed Aly, secretary for MSA, said Islamic Awareness Week was formed in response to the negativity and stereotyping he has seen at UNL and in the United States.
The sophomore computer science engineering has seen women’s hijabs pulled, has heard racial slurs and his friends have been treated differently because of their skin color.
“We’re not going to stand still against this hate,” he said. “We’re going to reply with awareness and peace. We will spread love and apply Islam to prevent the hate.”
Aly said he looks past the symptoms — violence, offensive language or discrimination — to find the cause of hatred.
One way to address hatred is to examine the family roots, Aly said. He said he sees problems in the structure of families in the U.S., and said Islam’s concepts can help.
“Society is built on its families,” he said. “How can we have a loving society if its families are not good?”
The lecture on April 5 with Birjas will address how Islam’s view on family life can be applied to the culture in the U.S.
Islamic Awareness Week is an annual event for MSA, but Aly said this year it will dive deeper into Islam’s core concepts.
“In the past it’s focused on Islam’s basics and rituals,” he said. ‘But Islam is more than that, and right now we need more than that.’ “
Read the full post on Dailynebraskan.com