BY JAHNA PAIGE
The University of Mary Washington’s Islamic Student Association (ISA) and the James Farmer Multicultural Center held their annual Islamic Cultural Celebration to celebrate Islam as being a unique culture through an entertaining and educational lens. The event took place from Monday, March 31 through Thursday, April 3.
“Islam is unique in that there truly is unity within diversity. Muslims originate from all over the world and have so many different customs and traditions that make them unique,” said ISA president Thikiri Yee.
The week’s events included an Islamic art workshop led by Washington, D.C.-based artist Nadia Janjua, and a panel discussion on the cultural diffusion in Islam, featuring Imam Osama Eisa, Professor Al-Tikriti and Shahid Khan, who will all be teaching a Quran and Hadith course at UMW this fall.
The art workshop, led by Janjua, taught students how to make geometric prints, a popular form of art in the Islamic community.
“The workshop was fun and enjoyable. I’ve always found Islamic art to be beautiful and charming,” said senior Marjahn Goodman
The panel discussion explained the divergence of Islam over 1,400 years since it was introduced and how it spread throughout other civilizations. The three experts gave a more global view of Islam as being a universal and simplistic culture.
The most anticipated event of the week was the banquet, which included a free Mediterranean dinner and a keynote address by Salma Abugidhieri, director of Peaceful Families Project.
Salma Abugidhieri’s keynote speech discussed the misconceptions of domestic abuse in the Muslim community. Through reading Quranic verses, Abugidhieri illustrated how Islam actually supports women, contrary to popular belief.
A majority of the participants who attended ISA Week were culturally and religiously diverse, both Muslim and non-Muslim. The fact that ISA Week was creative for non-Muslim students and community members helped with the turnout.
In addition to the creative approach, Yee said that the “hardwork of Dr. Marion Sanford, director of the James Farmer Multicultural Center, and her team, the Diversity Leadership Council, the Finance Committee and the SAE office, particularly Mr. Joe Mollo and Ms. Becky Bezdan, helped ensure that ISA week turned out to be a success.”
The message the celebration held was the theme of diversity.
“From Afghanistan to Zimbabwe, Islam is not regionally confined, nor is it race-specific. When people come to any of ISA Week events and see that, whether it’s the cross-cultural foods of the diverse ISA members, then to me they have understood true Islam,” said Yee.
BY JAHNA PAIGE