INDIANA – A new anti-Islamophobia group at the Indiana University of Pennsylvania hosted an inclusive Jumm`ah (Friday) prayer on October 13, to educate about Islam and counter hate inside the campus.
“We have a big Muslim population at this university, especially for a small town in Western Pennsylvania. We want [our international students] to feel more comfortable here,” history professor Christine Baker told The Penn.
“We want to do more events that make the Muslim community on campus more visible and provide opportunities for people to learn about Islam.”
Baker and assistant sociology professor Michelle Sandhoff run the United Against Islamophobia (UAI) group.
Baker studies Middle Eastern history, and Sandhoff studies Muslims in the American military.
Their research has led them to encourage others to stand up against Islamophobia.
The group hosted “Inclusive Friday Prayer” from 1:30 to 3 pm Friday in the Humanities and Social Sciences (HSS) Atrium.
The event welcomed the public to socialize and learn about the organization, as well as have snacks and Arabic coffee.
The organization wants the campus to learn more about Muslim students and create an understanding among communities.
Last year, the organization participated in a unity rally against the hate crimes that occurred after Donald Trump was elected president in November.
Around 60 people came to the rally, attracting new members to UAI and its ideology.
UAI works with the Muslim Student Organization and the Saudi Student Organization to collectively organize events.
It also participates in the monthly Stand Against Racism that the Racial Justice Coalition for Change organizes, which happens on the first class day of every month.
UAI will be showing a film on Nov. 15 titled “New Muslim Cool,” the story of a Puerto Rican-American Muslim rapper from Pittsburgh.