Al-Nur to host awareness week
Though in America Islam is often associated primarily with the Middle East, the majority of the world's Muslim population resides in countries outside of the Arabian Peninsula. To raise awareness about Islam in other parts of the world, Al-Nur will be hosting its second annual Islamic Awareness Week.
Al-Nur, the Islamic branch of the Dartmouth Campus Ministries, created the idea for Islamic Awareness Week last year. The original event, held last spring, was intended "primarily as a response to the growing interest in and curiosity of Islam and Muslims following Sept. 11," according to Tanya Ghani '03, president of Al-Nur.
This year, however, Ghani said that Al-Nur was more interested "in showing how Islam fits in different societies."
The first event of Islamic Awareness Week will be a film about the African-American Muslim community. On Monday, Al-Nur will host a screening of Aminah Abdul-Jabbar film "Bilalian" a feature-length documentary about the African-American Muslim community and cultural identity. Bilalian is a term coined by the son of Elijah Muhammad -- an early leader of the Nation of Islam -- for the followers of the Nation of Islam
Abdul-Jabbar will be coming to campus herself to introduce the film and discuss her experiences as an African-American Muslim.
On Thursday there will be a speech entitled "The Relevance of an Islamic State" on the existence of an Islamic village in upstate New York. According to Al-Nur, the speech will focus on how this society is run, what rules and regulation it has, and how the village interacts with surrounding areas.
Events conclude on Friday evening with a discussion co-sponsored by Delta Sigma Theta sorority on "How will the Iraqi War Impact the Islamic World?"
Though not a sponsor, Al-Nur will be helping Shamis, the College's Arab Cultural Society, promote "Sights, Sounds and Music of Lebanon" in Collis Commonground. Shamis plans to feature a different Arab country each term to "break the generalizations and stereotypes upheld about the Middle East region as a whole," Ghani said.
Though mistakenly included in some of Al-Nur's e-mail promotions about the upcoming week of events, Shamis emphasized in a responding promotional e-mail that the two events were unaffiliated and that "there is not religious or political focus" of Shamis or any of its events.
Al-Nur was founded in 1983. It currently has about 50 members from the Dartmouth community.
"Our focus at this point is to just have a forum where Muslim students can relax and interact, so apart from overseeing the prayer space we recently obtained at Rollins chapel, we try to arrange social events such as dinner gatherings or just meeting up for coffee," Ghani said.