Last Wednesday and Thursday, the Muslim Students’ Association of Concordia University, held one of two annual Muslim awareness days at Concordia’s Hall Building.
Taking place during the second week of Ramadan, the goal of such an event was to educate and teach not only students but also the general population about Islam and to disintegrate the misconceptions surrounding Muslims.
“This is a way of clearing up the misconceptions people have about Islam and Muslims,” said Ali Merali, vice-president of activities and one of the principal organizers of the event.
“This event allows people to see for themselves what we are about and not rely on the distorted views of the media,” he added.
Artwork, carpets, pictures and quotes from the Koran decorated the different booths. The Muslim Civilization group gave information about Islam’s past and gave a detailed look inside their history.
The Women of Islam group allowed people to uncover the truth behind the lives of Muslim women, one of the most controversial groups within Islam and the ones generating the most misconceptions perhaps.
“People think Muslim woman are oppressed, ignorant and forced to wear a veil when in reality we choose and accept to wear them,” said two young veiled ladies who declined to give their names.
There was also a professional calligrapher, Harun Saleh, who wrote people’s names in Arabic. His art attracted many passerby’s who could admire and buy some of his work.
Ku, head of the design team of a new clothing brand called Muslim Gear, explained that this non-profit organization and that the money raised goes to Montreal-based charities. “It’s also a way of creating a Muslim identity and for fellow Muslims to feel stronger about their origins.” The support and participation has been enormous according to Merali. “It’s been packed. People are really interested in the whole process, there has been a lot of enthusiasm about the event as well.”
David, a Montreal citizen and former student was impressed by the event, “it’s an incredible way to reach out to the community in general, it washes away the stigma around Islam.”