Islam Awareness Week Aims to Embrace Diversity

This article was originally published on the Charlatan online.

This year’s Islam Awareness Week aims to create awareness of the Islamic religion and culture.

The event, which is being held from March 20-24, is run by volunteers with a number of exhibits demonstrating various aspects of Islamic culture.

Biftu Helo, one of the co-ordinators, said the week is focused on the important theme of diversity.

“What we want people to take away is that Islam is a religion that accepts people from all different ethnicities and backgrounds–there is not one image of a Muslim. Muslims can come from anywhere and be anyone,” Helo said.

Muslim_Percent_Population_v2
Muslim populations are concentrated in several areas, but exist throughout the world.

She added the event’s message of diversity is combined with an effort to try and create awareness and understanding of Islam.

“I find a lot of people try to get their information about Islam through the media or through alternative sources which may not always be correct,” she said. “We find that one of the best ways to talk about the religion is to actually talk about it with other students, and this is a good platform for doing that.”

People are free to pass through and see the exhibits as they walk through the University Centre atrium, one of the most popular ones being the henna station. There is also a hijab station, as well as exhibits of posters which show various aspects of Islamic culture and art.

Visitors are guided through by volunteers who explain the meaning and significance of the pieces. There was also a table giving away free copies of the Qur’an in a variety of languages.

“I haven’t tried [henna] before and seeing it was for $2, I was like ‘why not?’ And it’s for the cause,” said Dera Emilfe, a second-year communications and media studies student.

This year, Islam Awareness Week is raising money for the Somalia Education Fund, Helo said. She added the group was started by Carleton students, and aims to fund transportation, tuition, food, and uniforms for children in Somalia so they can complete high school.

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