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Islam Week Educates Maine Students, Eradicates Islamophobia

MAINE – The Muslim Students’ Association at the University of Maine, North Eastern US, concluded their Islamic Awareness Week which took place last week to correct the Islamophobic stereotypes spreading about Islam and Muslims.

“These events show that there is a Muslim community on campus,” Sara Imam, Secretary of the association, told Maine Campus.

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“As with any religion, there are different kinds of Muslims. They think of one Muslim person and think they must behave one certain way,” believes Imam, a 2nd-year Pakistani American student of microbiology and anthropology.

The event came after months of planning, which started in February.

Running through the weekend, the event organizers said they hope to educate the public on Islam and to break stereotypes that people might have about the second most practiced religion in the world.

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Dr. Saadia Mian tried to correct one misconception about Islam in her talk on Friday, April 6, titled “Honoring Women in a Dishonoring World.”

More than 50 people filled the hall, leaving no empty seats for the presentation of women’s celebration in Islam.

Dr. Mian shared the story of Maryam, who is believed to be the first female to have a leadership position in any faith. Traditionally, men were encouraged to carry on religious scholarship.

During another talk on Saturday, April 7, the Islamic Center of Maine hosted an open house for people interested in hearing Shaykh Saad Tasleem’s talk titled “Spiritual Contentment and Societal Harmony.”

The Islamic Awareness Week gave many people an opportunity to pay a visit to the Islamic Center for the first time.

The Honors College encourages trips to the Islamic Center, yet many people before the event were unaware that there is a mosque down the road.

“Instead of assuming what you see in the media is true, it’s always better to ask come and ask a question. There’s nothing wrong with that,” Imam expressed.

According to the 2010 report of the Association of Religion Data Archives (ARDA), the percentage of Muslims in Maine was less than 1%.

The Islamic Awareness Week was a unique event as a 2010 study has named Maine as the least religious state in the US.