Islam Awareness Week under way

By Linda Luk

The Muslim Student Association will educate the community and celebrate its faith starting today during Islam Awareness Week.

“Islam Awareness Week is an annual event,” said Maie Seif, secretary of the Muslim Student Association. “It is not only unique to NIU, all the Muslim Student Associations in the United States and Canada celebrate it. This is a week when we get speakers from out of town and we invite everyone here to hear what Islam is all about.”

Although this is an annual event, Seif said it’s particularly important this year.

“With what is going on around the world after Sept. 11, a lot of people have a negative point of view on Islam,” Seif said. “What we want to do is straighten people’s view about Islam.”

This year, IAW includes many events.

Tuesday’s event titled “What is jihad, really?” hopes to educate the real meaning of the term.

“Jihad means ‘inner struggle,’” Seif said. “The news has been translating it as holy war.”

Wednesday’s event, “Gender Equality: How Islam Changed My Life,” features Amina Peterson from Chicago’s Intercity Muslim Action Network.

Hatim Soliman, vice president of the Muslim Student Association, hopes to increase awareness about the Islamic faith on campus and disarm some of the stereotypes about Islam.

“It is a good opportunity for people to come out and learn about another religion,” Soliman said.