Muslim Student Association invites students to Islam Awareness Week

By on March 3, 2014
Islam Awareness

As Black History month comes to a close, UAB is taking two weeks to bring awareness to another minority on campus: our Muslim students.

UAB has the largest Muslim community out of any university in Alabama.

UAB’s Muslim students and Interfaith Dialogue co-hosts Islam Awareness throughout the last week of February and first week of March.  It aims to help students understand what it is to be Muslim and facilitate better understanding and dialogue.

The first event this week is a film-screening of “Koran by Heart,” a film that follows three Muslim children as they compete in a Koran recitation competition, and the second will be a discussion panel between a Christian pastor, Jewish Rabbi, and Muslim leader

I sat down with Abdullah Shaheed, the association’s social coordinator, to talk about the events, the association, and what he hopes the week accomplishes. Shaheed described how Islam has been misunderstood in recent years, and his hope that events like Islam Awareness Week will introduce students to the true nature of Islam.

“UAB prides itself on diversity, so I think it is important to be willing to be open to different religions and cultures,” Shaheed said.

The association’s hallmark event is the tri-religious discussion panel, and while the idea of having the religious leaders argue their own points sounded to me a bit risky,  Shaheed, laughing, reassured me that he expects nothing but civil cultural discourse.

Shaheed and his fellow Muslim Student Association members- like most organizations at UAB-are a diverse bunch.  Since its renaissance, the association has grown in both numbers and assortment. Like UAB’s campus, the Islamic faith is a puzzle pieced together with different nationalities, languages, and skin tones.

After looking at statistics on the faith, I was surprised to learn that the largest Muslim population exists in Indonesia, followed by India and Pakistan. Shaheed said that this is reflected in the Muslim Student Association, as majority of the students are from the Indio-Pakistani region. However, people of Islamic faith live all around the world. This year, MSA welcomed a new member from the opposite side of the world as India Pakistan–an exchange student from Ecuador.

I asked Shaheed about his feelings about being Muslim in Alabama, and he again laughed. “I get along with people pretty well. It does not bother me if someone is a different religion. Everyone has their differences,” Shaheed said.

Events like Islam Awareness Week are working to help facilitate better understanding between people of different faiths.

For more information on Islam Awareness week, visit the Muslim Students Association Facebook page at

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About Zuzanna Turowska

  • Gary Rumain

    slam Awareness?

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