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With Courage and Kindness

Nazifa and Mohamed
Nazifa Wazirzada and Mohamed Mobarak are organizing Islamic Awareness Week at UMD. Their goal is to promote a more tolerant world where all people, all races, and all faiths are respected.  
Hand painted with henna
UMD students will paint hands with henna on Tues, April 5.  
Feast of Nations
On Thurs, April 7, everyone is invited to wear a hijab or a hat for the day. Chaltu Hassan, MSA president (left), and Badhatu Wako, MSU treasurer (right), helped plan the events.  

UMD Students Present Islam Awareness Week

Nazifa Wazirzada and Mohamed Mobarak admit that it takes courage to present a whole week of Islam awareness activities.

"Islamophobia is very real," said Mohamed, who is majoring in computer science at the Swenson College of Science and Engineering. "Hatred and misconceptions are being perpetuated by the mainstream media."

Nazifa, a freshman who grew up in Eden Prairie, Minn., and Mohamed, a junior who grew up in Egypt, belong to the UMD Muslim Student Association (MSA). "Our answer to the misunderstandings is to be kind," said Mohamed. MSA hopes the week will promote a more tolerant world where all people, all races, and all faiths are respected.

A Week of Events - Monday, April 4 to Friday, April 8

Nazifa said, "Islam teaches us to be the best we can be." For MSA, that means having fun and sharing information about Muslim cultures around the world.

"We want to spread awareness," Nazifa said. During the week, "we are painting hands with henna on Tuesday, giving away hats and scarves on Thursday, and serving traditional foods on Friday." There will be an Islamic Art show, a Trivia Quiz, and students will be on hand to answer any question about Islam.

The group is expecting interesting questions. There's a wide range of backgrounds among UMD's Muslim students and customs vary widely. "UMD has Muslim students from the U.S., Iran, Egypt, Pakistan, and many countries in Africa. UMD Muslim students come from so many countries, "I can't name them all," said Mohamed.

Hijab Day - Thursday, April 7

"On Thursday, we are inviting everyone to wear a hat or a hijab. It will be fun," said Nazifa. "We'll be taking photos during the day, too. The group photos will be between classes, just before noon and just before 1 p.m." MSA has purchased hijabs to give away. People are also invited to bring their own scarves. The scarves should be at least 36 by 36 inches and larger scarves will work.

The group has high hopes for the week. "We want to introduce people to our culture," said Mohamed. He likes to remind people that the word Islam is derived from the Arabic root "Salema" which means peace and purity.

SCHEDULE -- APRIL 4-8, 2016

All events will be held from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. at the tables in Kirby Commons (lower level of Kirby, outside the bookstore).

Monday, April 4
- Islamic Art and Culture Display

Tuesday, April 5
Henna hand painting
- Trivia Style Q&A

Wednesday, April 6
Ask a Muslim. All questions are invited.

Thursday, April 7
Hijab Day, Hats for guys. Two photo sessions will be held, just before noon and just before 1 p.m. MSA has purchased hijabs to give away. People are also invited to bring their own scarves. (36 by 36 inches or larger).

Friday, April 8
Taste of Ramadan. MSA will offer tastes of traditional foods that are commonly eaten after sundown when breaking the Ramadan fast. Try dates, pistachios, dried fruits, fresh fruits, and other foods.

- A banquet will be served in the Kirby Rafters at 7 pm.

The UMD Muslim Student Association is a non-political, faith-based organization dedicated to uniting the Muslim community and raising cultural and international awareness. They welcome everyone to come to their events to participate or just observe.

To find out more about the events, contact wazir004@d.umn.ed or

About UMD'S Multicultural Center | About UMD'S Muslim Student Association




By Cheryl Reitan, March/April 2016.

UMD News Articles | News Releases
Cheryl Reitan,

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