CALIFORNIA – The Muslim Student Association (MSA) at California State Polytechnic University, in Pomona, California, has hosted “Meet a Muslim Day” at University Park to inform students about the value of Islamic culture and religion.
“The number one reason there is Islamophobia is that people have never actually met a Muslim,” said Hadi Nasr, a third-year urban regional planning student and president of the Muslim Student Association, The Poly Post reported.
“Their only perception of what a Muslim is through media and typically those outlets are not the best representation of what a Muslim is.”
During the event, held on Tuesday, November 20, booths provided a variety of cultural activities to encourage students to start a conversation about defying Islamophobia and stereotypes about Muslims and to help them really understand the religion and culture of Muslim people.
Another booth offered notecards where students could get their names written in Arabic calligraphy and a third for henna tattoos.
“You come out here and you can see what we do outside of the classroom and how we want to spread our religion in a cool way just like everyone else,” said Maryam Saleh, a second-year business marketing student.
MSA members hope the event would help introduce Islam in a correct way to the university students.
“We’re just hoping to remove any stereotypes that people have of Muslims and just to understand that we’re a peaceful religion,” Rayyan Musulmani, a second-year biology student involved in MSA, said.
“And just because that 1 percent of Muslims committed terrorist attacks like obviously, we’re not responsible for those. We just want to put out that we’re peaceful too.”
Encouraging an open conversation, MSA wanted students to get to know and really understand what Islam is about.
“Our morals, our values, what we do and our actions are based off this religion,” Nasr said.
“Sure, some of the things we do are a bit different than other people, but in general, the overwhelming concept is that we are still human beings at the end of the day.”