REGINA – As political rhetoric in their southern borders focuses on banning followers of their faith, Muslim students in the University of Regina, Saskatchewan, are working to spread acceptance and social cohesion in their community, hosting the annual Islam Awareness Week.
“(It’s) an annual, huge campaign that aims to educate the public about Islam,” Munir Osman, president of the Muslim Students’ Association (MSA) at the U of R, where he’s in his second year of engineering studies, told Regina Leader Post on Sunday, January 22.
“Our objective is to reach the majority of Canadians and to clear any misconception or stereotype about Islam.”
Osman is one of several students at the University of Regina who do their part to challenge stereotypes and spread understanding.
The U of R’s Muslim Students’ Association (MSA) unites with NAIT (in Alberta), the University of Alberta and University of Saskatchewan for the annual Islam Awareness Week.
According to Osman, the MSA not only provides support to the approximately 1,000 Muslim students on campus, but strives to promote understanding, acceptance, and social cohesion between Muslims and non-Muslims.
“When we promote the knowledge of Islam, and we can better understand Islam, we can curb the rise of Islamophobia and stuff like that,” he said.
South of the border, the talk over barring Muslim immigrants or even creating a registry for those who are in the US or visiting, was never experienced by Osman in his newly-adopted country.
“In Canada, it’s a little bit different than the United States. I hope so,” he added.
“I think that any negative attitude toward Muslims is because of some of the stereotypes and misconceptions, so when we educate the people about Islam and what it is exactly by authentic sources rather than relying on un-credible sources, I think we can make a difference.”
The awareness week will include a series of lectures by respected scholars which begin at 7 pm.
On Monday, Dr. Jamal Badawi’s talk is titled “Shook the World” in ED 106; Tuesday is Shaykh Abdurrahmann Murad on “So Close, Yet Above It All” in ED 106; Wednesday is “Real Talk” by Ustadh Abdullah Al-Andulusi in ED 106; Thursday is “Script vs. Scripture” by Dr. Reda Bedeir in RIC 119; and on Friday “Life Hacking … Life” by Shaykh Gyasi McKinzie in RIC 119.
“We are doing our best to promote tolerance and acceptance,” said Osman.