The Brock student population is proudly diverse, with a mosaic of students who celebrate and value a range of beliefs. However, the generalizations and stereotypes surrounding these beliefs can often be mistaken as truth. This is one of the inspirations for Islam Awareness Week, hosted by BrockU MSA.
From March 23 to 27, the Brock Muslim Student Association (MSA) worked to dispel the stereotypes and myths about Islam, the practices and beliefs through marketing, booths, lectures and other events.
Throughout the week, members of this BUSU ratified club handed out flyers and set up exhibits in Guernsey Market to encourage their peers to learn more about what Islam is really about. Henna tattoos were offered, as well as getting your name written in Arabic, both of which proved to be a big hit on campus.
“This year we decided to have them in Market because many students are already there either studying or eating, and once they saw a few students at our booths, more and more started coming over,” said MSA member and third-year Physical Geography, student Nayrah Islamovic.
Due to recent global events within the last few years, Islamovic wanted to help educate the public and disprove the beliefs and ideas that some media outlets have perpetuated in regards
“We wanted to show students that the real message of our culture is being helpful, kind, loving and to do good, which are all not related to what the media is saying about us,” said Islamovic.
“It’s sad that we are labelled by a small number of people that are doing injustices and hurting others, and that people actually believe what the media says. What those people are doing does not truthfully represent the rest of us. We just want people to feel comfortable around us.”
Based on their experiences on campus, both Islamovic and fellow MSA member and first-year Concurrent Education student, Jannat-Ul Firdous, found the Brock community to be widely accepting.
“Early this school year, I was surprised to find that everyone was welcoming,” said Firdous.
“However, I found that people tend to stick to their groups, with no one really breaking through the barriers to learn about others. I know that they have questions and we want to answer them, encouraging a comfortable atmosphere. The reality of the club made the transition from high school to university much easier because I had all of these mentors around me as a support system. I’m glad that I’m part of this club,” she added.
Within the next year, the MSA hopes to expand on their events, including extended hours for henna and Arabic calligraphy, and creating more marketing material to get their club’s message out to the public.
“We want students to know that we are always open to questions. We encourage dialogue about Islam and we hope to teach everyone at least one new thing through our events,” said Islamovic.
The BrockU MSA is on Facebook and Twitter. Like them at facebook.com/brockumsa and follow them @BrockUMSA.