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Sunday, February 20, 2005

Stanford Events Highlight Islamic Diversity

by Johanna Sophie Santos Bassetti
Source: Daily Stanford


Islam Awareness Month kicked off last Sunday with the first of four dinner and lecture events in a series titled "A Taste of Islam 2005." Organizers from both the Muslim Student Awareness Network, or MSAN, and the Islamic Society of Stanford University, or ISSU, said they hope that the events will dispel misconceptions that people may have about the religion and highlight the diversity of Islamic cultures.

Each of the dinners in the series will spotlight different Islamic countries, including Egypt, China, Ethiopia and the United States. Organizers said they hope the themed dinners will help defy media portrayals that all Muslims are Arabs and vice versa.

The first speaker event addressed the role of women in the religion, and the events to come will address the concept of Jihad, what it means to be Muslim and the Muslim-American experience.

Sophomore Shelley Cheung, vice president of MSAN and an organizer of Islam Awareness Month, cited a poster for the month's events at Tresidder Memorial Union that was graffitied to say "Terrorism = Jihad," to stress that there are still many myths about the Islamic faith that need to be countered.

"I was extremely saddened by this incident but optimistic that Islam Awareness Month will change the perspectives of many here in our Stanford community in a positive manner," Cheung said.

MSAN began organizing Islam Awareness weeks in 1997 and since then, it has not only become an annual tradition, but has expanded to encompass more information…

SEE ALSO:

SPEAKER AT STANFORD TELLS WOMEN TO RECLAIM ISLAM (02/14/05)
Jennifer Liu, Daily Stanford, 2/14/05
http://daily.stanford.edu/tempo?page=content&id=16117&repository=0001_article

Interpreting of the holy texts is one of the most important ways for Muslim women to assert their rights, said Ingrid Mattson, professor of Islamic Studies at Hartford Seminary, at an event titled "Clearing the Path to God: Women Reclaiming Islam."

The talk was the first of a series of four during Islamic Awareness Month designed to raise awareness about misconceptions of the Islamic religion, a collaboration between the Muslim Student Awareness Network, or MSAN, and the Islamic Society of Stanford University, or ISSU.

"We're essentially introducing the religious community," said event coordinator and MSAN officer Ali Kemal Okyay, a fourth-year graduate student in electrical engineering. "The talks will introduce what Muslims believe, what we practice, and why we do it. We hope this event will foster greater understanding about Muslims and Islam…"

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