Atrium buzzing with Islam Awareness Day

Tuesday, April 7th, 2009

The University Community Centre atrium was a source of cultural exploration and spiritual reflection yesterday as students browsed the Islam Awareness Day display.

Islam Awareness Day is an annual event organized by the Muslim Students’ Association at Western. Many campuses across North America are taking time this week to learn more about the religion, said Habeel Gazi, an IAD project manager.

This year’s event dealt with topics like women’s issues, faith, science, racism, equality, Jihadism, terrorism, and maintaining heritage in Canada.

“[The event should] take care of some misinformation about Islam,” Gazi said, adding it’s especially important in a post-9/11 political environment.

“It’s a great opportunity for students to ask important questions,” he said.

Muslim Student Association President Hassan Ahmad agreed there are many facts Western students might not know about Islam. One example he gave was the meaning of “Jihad,” a Muslim word meaning “to strive” or “to struggle,” which can be applied to intellectual, physical or spiritual problems encountered in everyday life.

The MSA, a faith-based club, has been active at Western for 40 years. In addition to IAD, the club arranges several study circles and social gatherings throughout the year for its 300 members.

Jill Martin, a first-year visual arts student, was impressed by the exhibit.

“It encourages students to expose themselves to religions and cultures that are different from their own,” she said.

For more information about the MSA and its upcoming events, visit

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