The Muslim Students’ Association held its annual Islam Awareness Week last week.
“It’s so important for us to take the opportunity to facilitate dialogue within the UTM community to talk about the Islamic faith,” said Maryam Khattab, the president of the MSA.
Booths were set up throughout the week in the CCT atrium to showcase Islamic art and books. There was also a booth where students could try on a hijab.
“I’m really open to different cultures and religions. I think we all believe in one higher spirit; we just do it differently,” said Liza Noritsyn, a fourth-year student who tried on a hijab and had a henna tattoo done. “It was great to learn about new things and people.”
The theme for this year’s Islam Awareness Week was “Faith in Action: Knowledge, Service, and Environmentalism”.
“The purpose of the theme was to demonstrate what Islam means, not only on a personal spiritual level but also on a broader scale. We also wanted to use these because we felt like they were common values to draw upon,” said Khattab.
The events held throughout the week included a bake sale, a community café, lectures, and an open mic night. The proceeds from the bake sale went to New Muslim Care, a foundation geared towards helping new Muslims integrate into the broader Muslim community. MSA also hosted a week-long food drive for the UTM Food Bank.
Tuesday’s community café featured a discussion on the environment, moderated by Imran Haq, a UTM alumnus, public speaker, and administrator at Al-Huda institute Canada. The discussion focused on Muslims’ responsibility to the environment.
“As Muslims, for us, the Earth is a gift from God,” said Amna Haleem, an MSA volunteer who attended the event. “It’s part of our core beliefs to have to take care of everything around us and treat it as a gift.”
The first of two Thursday lectures was given by Katherine Bullock, a political science professor at UTM. Bullock talked about academic and intellectual contributions made by Muslim figures.
The second lecture was given by Shaykh Abdalla Idris Ali, a U of T alumnus and current secretary general of the Islamic Society of North America based in Canada. His talk focused on the Islamic teachings about pursuing religious and secular knowledge. The lecture was attended by 70 students.
The final event of the week was an open mic night featuring poetry and spoken word performances about Islam, the struggles of completing an undergraduate education, perspectives on war, and respect for elders. There was also a comedy performance by Hamilton’s MOIST theatre group.
The first Islam Awareness Week was held in 2007.